We give anyone who worships with us an opportunity to ask a question via a contact card under the section “I have a question.” We believe that all Scripture is truth and all truth should be clear, so if something is not clear then we hope to find an answer to the question. It could be from a sermon (hopefully not) or a radio program or even in their own quiet time.
Here is a recent question and my answer.
If God is with us always, what does it mean when God is with us when 2 of 3 are gathered? What is the difference?
That is a very good question about an idiom that is often used in churches and Christian circles. We are probably even guilty of saying these words in our prayer, “God we know that Your Word says that where 2 or 3 are gathered, then you are present in their midst.” Well, unfortunately, the Scripture being referenced has nothing to do with worship or having a church service.
That is why it is so very important that we understand the context of a Scripture when we use it over and over again. Let’s look at the text in the full context.
Matthew 18:15-20: 15“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
You can see from the context of the verse that the subject at hand has nothing to do with corporate worship, God being present with the believers or God’s power in numbers. In fact, the context is that Jesus is speaking about reconciling sin between two Christians and even church discipline.
If a fellow Christian sins against you, you are to go to them and address the issue. If that does nothing you are to take two or three others and address issue (presumably the pastor and/or deacons). If that does nothing, then that person will be taken before the church for corporate discipline. If they are still unrepentant, then they are to be removed from the church body. Then our Lord closes the statement with the promise that if two or three witnesses have experienced the unrepentant person and have reached out to them, then they are in full accordance with the Biblical response of church discipline.
Now, back to the statement; “where 2 or 3 are gathered God is with us.” Is that true? Yes. But guess what, if you are all by yourself, God is still with you. If the living Holy Spirit of God is present in you, then God is always with you, no matter how many other brothers and sisters are in the room with you.