What is the main thrust of Matthew 18?

What is the main thrust of this passage?

"For" at the beginning of verse 20 indicates that this verse provides the reason for the previous teaching.

How does the Lord provide for the protection of His "little ones?" Is there a place where righteousness reigns? What authority does it have? How will it be able to make right decisions?

The church (v. 17) is the place where His own find ultimate protection. There they can be preserved, corrected, and restored to Him (vv. 15-17). The church is to be a place of impartiality where justice prevails. It has divine authority (v. 18). Obeying His infallible Word and humbly depending on God for guidance (v. 19), it carries out God's will.

The reason for this is because He dwells there ("there am I"). This is not merely stating that He is present when believers are together. The church (v.17) has the character of the House of God (1Ti 3:15). This is the place of His administration, the "gate of heaven" (Gen 28:17). Here heaven and earth are united in carrying out the will of God (Mat 6:10; 18:18). When the King reigns on earth, He will be the One in Whom this administration centers (John 1:51). Anticipating that, He administers through His own, by His Word, on behalf of His own where two or three are gathered to His name. Here He protects His own and maintains heaven's righteous standard.

This verse is a powerful statement, giving God's view of an assembly.

D. Oliver