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Matthew 18

18
The Most Important Person in the Kingdom
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2Jesus called a little child over and had them stand in the middle of the group. 3Jesus then said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you’ll never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And anyone who welcomes a child like this one in my name welcomes me.
Don’t Cause People to Sin
6“But what if someone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin? It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around their neck and drown at the bottom. 7Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Things like that must come. Woe to the person who causes them! 8If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter life with only one hand or foot than to go with two hands or two feet into hell, where the fire burns forever. 9If your eye causes you to sin, pull it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter life with one eye than to be thrown into the fire of hell with two eyes.
The Story of the Lost Sheep
10-11“Make sure you don’t look down on one of these little ones. I tell you, their angels in heaven see face to face my Father who is in heaven.
12“What do you think? Suppose a man owns 100 sheep and one of them wanders away. Won’t he leave the 99 sheep on the hills and go look for the one that wandered off? 13Truly I tell you, if he finds that sheep, he’ll be happier about it than about the 99 that didn’t wander off. 14It’s the same with your Father in heaven. He doesn’t want any of these little ones to be lost.
When Someone Sins Against You
15“If your brother or sister sins against you, go and tell them privately what they’ve done wrong. If they listen to you, you’ve won them back. 16But if they won’t listen to you, return with one or two others. Scripture says, ‘Every matter must be proved by the words of two or three witnesses.’ 17If they still refuse to listen, then tell it to the community of believers. And if they refuse to listen even to the community, then treat them the way you would treat an unbeliever or a traitor.
18“Truly I tell you, what you tie up on earth will be tied up in heaven, and what you set free on earth will be set free in heaven.
19“Again, I tell you truly, if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20Where two or three people gather in my name, I am there with them.”
The Servant Who Had No Mercy
21Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive a brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “Not seven times, I tell you, but 77 times.
23“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him. 24First, they brought him a man who owed 10,000 bags of gold. 25Since he wasn’t able to pay, his master ordered the man, his wife, his children, and everything he owned to be sold to pay back the debt.
26“Then the servant got down on his knees in front of him. ‘Give me time,’ he begged, ‘and I’ll pay everything back.’ 27His master felt sorry for him, so he forgave him what he owed and let him go.
28“But then that servant went out and found another servant, who owed him 100 silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29“The other servant got down on his knees. ‘Give me time,’ he begged him, ‘and I’ll pay it back.’
30“But the first servant refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison until he paid back what he owed. 31When the other servants saw this, it made them very angry. They went and told their master everything that had happened.
32“Then the master called the first servant back in. ‘You ungrateful servant,’ he said. ‘I forgave you everything you owed because you begged me to. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on the other servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34The master was so angry that handed him over to the jailers to be punished until he paid back everything he owed.
35“That’s how my Father in heaven will treat each of you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Matthew 18

18
(We have not yet translated 18:1-14. You can read those stories and messages in Mark 9:34-47; Luke 15:3-7; 17:1-2.)
What if a Christian does something wrong to you?
15Jesus told his followers, “If another one of my followers does something wrong to you, then you have to go to them and talk about it. Just the 2 of you can talk about it together, while you are alone. If they listen to you, and if they agree with you, then you can call them your friend again.#Luke 17:3
16But if they don’t want to listen to you, then take one or 2 other people with you, and go to that person. These other people will hear you talk about the wrong things that person did, and they will hear what that person says, and they will find out what is true.#Deuteronomy 19:15 17If that person will not listen to all of you, then go to the church, and tell the people in the church what happened. Let them sort it out and talk to that person. If that person doesn’t want to listen to them, then you can treat them like somebody that doesn’t follow me. They are like somebody that doesn’t know God, or like somebody that doesn’t do what God says.”
18Then Jesus told his followers, “Listen. You are the people that will know what God wants. If you all agree that something here on this earth is wrong, it will be something that God in heaven already said is wrong. And if you all agree that something here on this earth is all right, it will be something that God in heaven already said is all right.#Matthew 16:19; John 20:23
19I’m telling you this again. If you agree together about something, even if it is only 2 of you, and then you ask my father in heaven to do that thing, then he will do it for you. 20You see, if you get together to respect me, I will be right there with you, even if it is only 2 or 3 of you at that time.”
The story about the work-man that was hard on another man
21Then Peter went up to Jesus and said, “Teacher, if somebody is always doing wrong things to me, how many times do I have to forget it and not do payback to that person? If I forget it 7 times, is that enough? Then if they do another wrong thing, I can do payback, right?”
22Jesus said, “No, not 7 times, but I say lots of times, like 77 times.”#Luke 17:3-4; Genesis 4:24
23-24Then Jesus told them a story. He said, “I will tell you a picture story to show you what it’s like in God’s family. There was a big boss that loaned some money to his workers. After a while he wanted them to give it back. So he started to check up on them, and he got his soldiers to bring those workers to him. They brought a work-man that borrowed a real lot of money, like millions of dollars, and the boss said, ‘Give me that money now.’
25The work-man said, ‘No, not yet. I haven’t got any money right now.’ The big boss was angry. He wanted to get some money back, so he told his soldiers, ‘Grab this man, and his wife, and his kids, and all his things, and sell them to another man. He will make them work for no pay.’
26Then the work-man got down on his knees in front of the big boss and said to him, ‘Please, please give me more time, then I will give you back all your money.’
27Then the big boss felt sorry for his work-man, and he changed his mind, and he said, ‘All right, you don’t have to give that money back to me. I’ll forget it. You can go free now.’
28But after that, his work-man went away, and he met another man. Before this time, that other man borrowed a little bit of money from the work-man, just 100 dollars. So the work-man grabbed that other man’s neck and said, ‘Give me back that money right now. It’s my money.’
29That other man went down on his knees and said, ‘Please, please give me more time. Then I will give you back your money.’
30But the work-man said, ‘No way. I will not forget what you owe me.’ And he put that man in jail, and he told the boss over the jail to keep him there until he gives back all of that money.
31Some of the other workers saw what happened, and they were not happy about it. So they went to the big boss and told him all about it. 32Then the big boss got the work-man to come in, and said to him, ‘You are really bad. You asked me to forget about all my money that you borrowed. It was millions of dollars. And I was good to you. I said that you didn’t have to give it back to me. 33So now you have to feel sorry for that other man and be good to him, just like I felt sorry for you.’ 34The big boss was really angry, and he told the soldiers to grab that work-man, to beat him up, and to put him in jail. He will stay there until he can give all that money back to the big boss.”
35Then Jesus said, “It’s like that with you, too. You have to be good to all my other followers. If they do something bad to you, don’t do payback to them. Just forget it. Then, in the same way, my father in heaven will not do payback to you.”
(We have not yet translated chapter 19. You can read those stories and messages in Mark 10:1-31.)