These questions were left in the Offering plate on Sunday, Anonymously. I think they are great questions that people often consider:
#1 How does one Reconcile?
-It all depends on who you're reconciling too. We cannot be reconciled to God apart from Jesus Christ. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20). We can only be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, that is, surrender and submission to Him.
Human reconciliation is another matter. Jesus says if our brother has something against us, we're to leave our offering at the altar (not even give it), and go and make it right. (Matthew 5:21-26). Paul reminds us that, if possible, as far as it is from us, to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
#2 Matthew 7:1-3- DO Not Judge, Matthew 7:3-5 "Speck of dust in your brother's eye when there is a plank in your own eye"
-Most translations use a correct form of the word, but miss the meaning: Jesus is literally saying "Do not condemn" It is like John 3:17 "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." We're called to make judgement calls in many circumstances. Jesus even says a few lines in his sermon later "“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." (Matthew 7:6). Jesus also says the measure you use (in condemnation) will be used against you. He's warning of being critical, not of correction, and not even of judgement. Speaking of unrighteous judgement (judging His works on the Sabbath), Jesus said "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24) Consider all of this in conjunction: Do not condemn. Do not be critical, but also look at yourself when trying to correct a brother (plank vs. Speck). Do not give righteous judgement to someone who is in open rebellion (give to dogs what is sacred). Judge with righteous judgement, not based on appearance. How can we judge with righteous judgement? Look at the scriptures, which, according to 2nd Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
#3 Luke 17:3-If your brother sins, Rebuke Him!
What is the point of a godly rebuke? It's always reconciliation with the Father. Our sins cause us to further rebel. Just like 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, the scriptures are profitable for rebuking. The point of any church discipline is the hope of restoration and reconciliation...BUT we have to remember that we're to do so in love and truth through God's word. We can't compromise in God's word. James reminds us: "My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20)
#4 Romans 3:23-24
Not sure what is being asked, but let's look at the section:
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
I left the numbers on the verses in question. I'm not sure what was being asked or alluded to here, but I understand the point of this passage in its entirety: we are saved by Grace through faith. Consider who Paul was addressing here: Jewish Christians in Roe who were trying to make the gentile believers fall in line with their traditions, and gentile believers who were at odds with the traditionalism of the Jewish Believers. Paul was addressing this particular point to say "it's not a matter of birth that saves us: we are not saved because we are children of Abraham. We are not saved by following traditions (in this case, circumcision), We are saved and justified in Christ alone." This does not, however, excuse Church Discipline, as the other questions ask. We have gotten away from church discipline. Jesus is the one who saves us. We are justified by Grace through Faith and not by works. Absolutely. Yet, even as we have seen in the words above, we are called to do our part to help our brothers and sisters get there. The Body of Christ functions together. Church don't close their doors due to lack of funding. They close their doors through compromise, a slow, gradual slope. God removes the lampstands of a church. The warnings of Revelations 2-3 should be apparent for all of us in this regard. We are saved by Grace through Faith, but we cannot let sin run rampant in the church.
#5 "Murder is not a greater sin than a lie."
All sin is offensive to God. Neither sin is greater or lesser; they are both a part of the 10 commandments, and both are equally offensive. James write "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it." (James 2:10).
Those of us who try and get by on works would do well to remember this: if you judge yourself by works, you judge yourself by the law, and breaking even one (lying, or anger, which Jesus equates to murder), you're guilty of breaking it all. We would also do well to not look down on someone because our sin is not as bad as theirs. It is all offensive to God. Jesus died for all sin, and each sin, whether anger (murder), or lying, put Jesus on the cross.
#6 "Did not Jesus call the Jewish Leaders hypocrites and Vipers?"
Yes he did. Often. And why? What is a Hypocrite? The term was used to describe the Greek actors of the day. They would wear a mask over their face to play a role, and then go home and be who they really were. Jesus is comparing the Religious Leaders to actors playing a role who would not do the things they were telling others to do. He said this of them:
"“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23:2-12)
Do you see the collation between actors and Pharisees now? Hypocrites and Vipers. They were poisonous (like the Vipers who were killing Israel in Numbers 21, they were killing Israel Spiritually. Jesus' woes to the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23 is where the term "Practice what you preach" comes from. Keep asking questions! This is important, and I, and the Elders will do our best to answer from a Biblical perspective!