In Matthew’s Gospel the word church is used in 18:17 and in 16:18. In the Greek the word for church is “ecclesia” meaning a gathered community. A church is not a physical building but a community of people who gather around Jesus.
In Matthew 18:15-20 church is mentioned in the context of dealing with the sin of a brother or a fellow Christian.
The use of the word “brother” conveys the fact that when we come to Christ we become part of God’s family or the community of his church. Too often in the west our cultural value of individualism affects how we approach church. This spirit of individualism is a temptation for us to do our own thing if we don’t like what the leadership or the church decides should happen.
God has designed us to be part of the body of Christ. The body of Christ is the church and this means that our decisions about a church are not taken just in light of what it means for me or how it affects me but we are concerned for God’s purposes revealed in His word and the overall community.
The church is a community and family of believers not just individuals
For this type of fellowship to develop God’s people need to spend time together getting to know each other and serving each other. 1 Cor 12 reminds us that while we are united by Christ and His Spirit we each have different gifts and so our Christian growth will be maximized when each person finds their gift and learns to exercise those gifts for the building up of the body. We can’t mature in our faith by ourselves. We need each other – the church,