Deep Creek Baptist Church
Sunday June 19
- Psalm 19 (To The Tune of O Worship The King)
- The Love Of God
- All I Have Is Christ
1 John 2:15–17ESV
- James 4:1–3 (ESV)4 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.Conflicts are Inevitable and disruptive.The Bible is clear. Each of us is a selfish sinner. No exceptions. Therefore, conflict is simply inevitable.Conflict is more than simple disagreement.Peacemaker Ministries defines it as, “A difference in opinion or purpose that frustrates someone’s goals or desires.”· In a conflict at least one of the people involved, if not both,o becomes upset because he fears he may not get what he wants—o even if what he wants is simply to have someone else see a particular situation the way he/she does.· James strikes at the heart of it when he writes,Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.· While we saw last week that James seems to be talking about the unlimited pursuit of pleasures no matter the cost.o But not all pleasures are bad,o nor is the pursuit of all pleasures bad.· On top of that, not all conflicts or differences of opinions are not sinful as well.· Sometimes we get into conflicts over passions that are good and honorable.EXAMPLES· Moreover, people can sometimes deeply disagree over significant matters without an actual conflict arising.§ For our immediate purposes, however,§ it’s enough to say that generally,o we recognize conflict when we’re in it—§ we know the difference between simply disagreeing with someone and§ finding our hearts rising up in offense or frustration or anger because of something someone else does or says or believes.o As long as we live this side of heaven,§ we will continue to experience conflicts with others,§ and we will continue to hear God’s call to repentanceo Relational conflict,§ like everything else God puts in our path, is used by him for our good.o When responded to with humility,§ long-suffering, grace, and forgiveness,§ such conflict leads to stronger, more Christ-honoring relationships.o Whether we are the offender or the offended,§ if we choose to delay the resolving of our conflicts with one another then we short-change ourselves—· hindering our own spiritual growth· and that of others.§ To resist or neglect the resolution of conflict,· especially between yourself and another Christian,· is a small but real rejection of the gospel itself.· No wonder it can hinder our prayers.So, what do we do about it?Have a Sense of Urgency?o The Bible exhorts us to do everything in our power to resolve conflict ASAP.o The clearest scriptural call to this duty is found in MatthewMatthew 5:23–24 (ESV) Pg 96323 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.o Those are radical words.o The original Jewish hearers were able to place these words of Jesus into a familiar context.o For them, the Lord was referring to animal sacrifice within the Temple.o This was a solemn, somber, and deeply meaningful act of worship and trust that lay at the heart of the Old Covenant.o For us, this would correspond to our most significant interactions with God as his children,o including private worship through personal prayero as well as corporate worship.o But here Jesus is saying there is one good reason to stop right in the middle of it all—because you have other, more important business.o There is no point in singing songs in church;o there is no point in praying a passionate, heartfelt prayer in church;o there is no point in putting a generous donation in the offering plate –o if you are harboring hatred and contempt for another human being in your heart.Spurgeon said:“I would anxiously desire to be at peace with all men before I attempt to worship God, lest I present to God the sacrifice of fools.”o Jesus considers conflict resolution among believers a high priorityo He tells us plainly that it is better to interrupt or postpone our worship than to engage in it under the wrong conditions.God is not interested in receiving our worship until we honestly face the wrongs we have committed against one another.o Listen, brothers and sisters,o do everything you need to do to be at peace with other peopleBEFORE you come in here to worship –and before you stand before God at the final judgment.o And the former is intended to foreshadow the latter.o that is why we give you a few minutes to review the state of your heart before we serve communion.o We are doing that to HIGHLIGHT THE CONNECTION between our audience with God hereo and our audience with God THERE.o In both cases, you want to come before the Lord in a state of peace.Conflict resolution s urgent.o So do what you need to do to get yourself into that state of peace.o Reach out.o Send an email.o Make a phone call.o Extend an olive branch.o No matter what it costs you.Lloyd Jones again is helpful here, he says:“I must humble myself, make a fool of myself as it were, and let the other person gloat over me if necessary, as long as I have done everything I can to remove the barrier and the obstacle.”4Have you done that?Do it before the next communion – do it before the final judgment.o To come before God aware of unresolved conflict with another Christian,o when it is within our power to seek resolution to that conflict,o renders our worship false and hypocritical.o Unresolved conflict hinders our relationship with God,o and this hinders our prayers.The Bible says...Pursue Restoration.§ Instead of avoiding our interpersonal conflicts or delaying their resolution,o Scripture compels us to pursue peace relentlessly.o Notice the active verbs in the following verses that urge us to pursue and preserve godly personal relationships.Matthew 5:24–25 (ESV)24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prisonThese are in your handoutsHebrews 12:14 (ESV)14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.1 Peter 3:11 (ESV)11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.§ So we see that conflict often goes unresolved because we allow it—o we neglect to take conflict as seriously as Scripture implores and commands us to.o We neglect it because it is hard.o We neglect it because we say to let sleeping dogs lie.o We neglect it because it scares us, will we only make things worse.o We refuse to or simply because we don’t know-how.Conflict Reconciliation is a test of the genuineness of your salvation.Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.The New Testament expects us to extend to those who sin against usthe same level of free and unqualified forgiveness that God has extended to us.o Indeed, the Bible permits no other standard.§ A pattern of refusal to forgive others reveals a lack of understanding or appreciation of the long-suffering of God.§ Because forgiveness does not come naturally to man,o forgiving others is evidence of God’s grace being active in one’s life.o The flip side of this is thata consistent lack of forgivenessmay be an indication that we have never experienced the saving grace of God.§ Therefore, you and I must consider this:o the harder it is for us to genuinely forgive others,o the more likely we have not in fact been forgiven by God.§ If we habitually hold grudges against others who hurt us,§ then God’s warning is very strong,James 2:13 (ESV)13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.§ A consistent refusal to forgive, as God has forgiven,calls into question the genuineness of the professing Christian’s conversion.§ The Spirit calls you to examine yourself,2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!So How do we pursue Reconciliation?The Way of ReconciliationAdmit your Responsibilityo Since self-centered pride is the heart problem behind an unforgiving spirit,the remedy is humility and others-focused love.We need to humble ourselvesbefore those whom we have wrongedas well as those who have wronged us.o We must clothe ourselves “with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5).We must see how we have contributive the problem before we can approach themWe must see our part in the conflict weather it be 10% or 90 %,we must acknowledge how we have offended others and God in our pride and selfishness to get what we want.Go to the Person You Have Wronged (v.24)So you realize that somebody has something legitimate against you. What then?Matthew 5:24 (ESV)24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.Go to the person you have wronged.The longer you wait, the harder it will become and the more your relationship will be damaged.If you are in the wrong, go the person and make it right. Apologize. Ask their forgiveness. Be reconciled.If you are not sure that you are in the wrong but think you might be, go anyway and talk it out.If you are convinced you are not in the wrong, ask the Lord to search your heart and make sure one way or another.Let me just say at this point that it is amazing how much conflict ensues in churches because people will not talk.Christian people, for some reason, have a great deal of trouble simply talking to one another.They have problems talking to you about their issues with you, but they have not problems talking to others about it.Your personal relationships,as well as the unity of the body of Christ,are worth the initial awkwardness of the conversation you need to have.Go Quickly and Try to Make Amends (v.25a)Next, go quickly.Matthew 5:25 (ESV)25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.Jesus recommends hopping up in the middle of church and going out to make things right.There is no delay in His instructions.It is gloriously awkward!Paul says the same in Ephesians 4:26Ephesians 4:26 (ESV)26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,Why should we immediately get to work when the Lord brings us conviction in this matter?Because the devil has immediately gotten to work in the moments you are not speaking.andOvercome conflicts with deliberate and focused loveSometimes when you go and make amends you will see reconciliation take place right away,because both you and the other party have allow God to work in yours and their lives. .Thats great that is what all pray for and hope for.Just because it may comes easy does not mean the process is easy.Sometimes it may take some time and repeated efforts to accomplish reconciliation.Do not loos heart andprayerfully keep trying.Other times those that we have offended or have offended uswill be stubborn and defensive and resist our efforts to be reconciled.Sometimes they will become even more antagonistic and find new ways to frustrate or mistreat us.Our natural reaction is to strike back at such people, or at least to stop doing anything good to them.Instead of reacting spitefully to those who mistreat you,Jesus wants you to discern their deepest needsand do all you can to meet those needs.Luke 6:27–28 (ESV)27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.Romans 12:20–21 (ESV)20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Sometimes this will require going to them to show them their faults.At other times there may be a need for mercy and compassion, patience, and words of encouragement.You may even have opportunities to provide material and financial assistance to those who least deserve it or expect it from you.Paul’s reference to “burning coals on his head”indicates the irresistible power of deliberate, focused love.Ancient armies often used burning coals to fend off attackers (Ps. 120:4).No soldier could resist this weapon for long; it would eventually overcome even the most determined attacker.Love has the same irresistible power.At the very least, actively loving an enemy will protect you from being spiritually defeated by anger, bitterness, and thirst for revenge.And, in some cases,your active and determined love for your opponentmay be used by God to bring that person to repentance and reconciliationHave you sought such forgiveness but he or she will not grant it, or will not meet with you?In this case, you do not need to abstain from participation in public worship or private prayer. IIf you have obeyed Romans 12:18 (“so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”),then you must pray and wait, and wait and pray.Continue to ask, “Lord, search me. Change me.Show me if there is one more right thing I must do.”Continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to choreograph a grace-filled reconciliation.But until that time reconciliation time comesKeep Doing what is RightRomans 12:17 (ESV)17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.Live do that those who have something against you cannot use your further actions against you.Act in such a way that any reasonable person who is watching or hear of the situation the situation or hear about that they eventually acknowledge that what you did and are doing is right.Do not Criticize,Do not SlanderDo not GossipPray for themServe them if you canLove them in a deliberate focused way.Reconcile because you have been reconciled.§ Why does the Bible put all this emphasis on conflict resolution?o Underlying all the reasons we’ve already discussed, there is a theological reason.o The Scriptural call to reconciliation among brothers and sisters in Christ grows from a deeply important gospel-motivated root.2 Corinthians 5:18 (ESV)18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;Genuine Christians are forgiven sinners who live in community with other forgiven sinners, all of whom realize that until the end of their earthly lives there will be a need to regularly grant and receive forgiveness.When you live with this mindset you can be assured that the often-neglected duty to resolve conflict will not hinder the effectiveness of your own prayer life.God rejects the prayers of thosewho actively harbor offenses,but receives the prayers of thosewho seek peace and pursue it.* * *Heavenly Father, thank you for opening my spiritual ears to hear your Word, and the eyes of my heart to see ways in which I rebel against you passively, by neglecting to do as you have commanded. Forgive me for my carelessness, laziness, and willfulness. Make my heart soft and submissive, like pliable clay in the potter’s hands.Lord Jesus, you taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” I praise you for being my peacemaker, for reconciling me—a wayward sinner—back to my loving heavenly Father. Indeed, you are the Good Shepherd who has led me to the heavenly pasture; you are the guardian of my soul. Make me eternally grateful for your blood that was shed to purchase my redemption. Let me never forget the price you paid to make my forgiveness not only possible, but also real.Persistent Spirit, guard my heart from the slow-growing callous that leaves it dull to hearing, and feeling-less in regard to the biblical urgency to resolve my conflicts. Stand as an armed soldier at the door of my heart forbidding bitterness from taking up residence as the result of lingering anger or the stubborn refusal to forgive those who wrong me. Show me how I have grieved you and quenched your powerful work in my heart, and move my will to repent.
- What a Friend We Have in Jesus
- What a Friend We Have in Jesus
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