Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered in My name, I am there in the midst." These passage is often used to defend the teaching that Christ is present whenever "two or three" are gathered in His name. I have heard people use this in regards to prayer and even bible studies. But is that what this verse means in its larger context? Let us look at the larger context: The entire passage is on church discipline. Verses 18-20 teach that God validates the discipline decisions of the local church when the church is agreed on it. Now, is Christ, through the Holy Spirit, present if two or three Christians are gathered? Certainly. But He is also there if only one is gathered. He is there if thirteen are gathered. It is just that Matthew 18:15-20 is teaching something different. Why is this important? Because discipline is lawfully applied only within the church, not outside the church.