Nevertheless, they both need an opportunity to stop sinning and correct their hearts and behaviors before any one else needs to be involved.

Jesus then said in Matthew 18:16: “But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

The spiritual maturity needed to take several others to confront the sinning couple—and do it well—is incredibly difficult. Most Christians stumble here. It is just too painful and embarrassing.

Jesus concluded in Matthew 15:17: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

At this point I would definitely step aside and allow the elders to do their work of confrontation and restoration.

As a pastor who had to handle a situation like this, I can tell you we never told the “whole church” about the sinful behavior and refusal to repent which culminates in church discipline. Information is extended only to those over whom he had personal ministry. We considered this to be his “church”. Since he was being asked to leave the church we had to tell those he led why he was no longer in leadership. This stopped all sorts of rumors.

By the way, in implementing this final step, remember how Jesus treated the “pagans and sinners”. He loved them.

May God make the correct approach path so clear that you can’t miss it.

Love, Roger

Dr. Roger Barrier recently retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work isGot Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answerfrom Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.