in the Church
Introduction. (Matthew 20:20-21; Luke 9:46). The events described in these passages
is most curious. These men who would be given the sacred honor of spreading the
message of the gospel to the world—who would walk and talk with the Son
of God Himself—who would receive the Spirit of God within them directly
to direct their very words—here are bickering and quarrelling about honor
is “seeing the forest and missing the trees.”
overlooked the glory of the life to come for temporal glory!
We may look
smugly at such accounts and ridicule their short-sightedness, but we
don’t have to look far to see the same blindness in our own day. Brethren
quarrel and bicker—churches divide and fragment, grow cold and die
because conflict continues today as it did in the early church.
is carnal. 1 Corinthians 3:3 tells us, “where
there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not
are given great honor. 1 John 3:1
declares, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that
we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us,
because it did not know Him.”
I’d like for us to study together what the Bible can teach us about
conflict within the church. We will look at three biblical guidelines regarding
how to deal with conflict.
I. People do not Have to Be Identical to
A. Twelve Apostles (Luke 6:12-16).
1. Fisherman (Luke 5:1-11). Viewed as
common and unsophisticated.
2. Tax Collector (Luke 5:27-32). Viewed as
either crooks or Roman collaborators.
3. A Zealot – Josephus tells us it
was the zealots who started the conflict which would lead to the destruction of
Jerusalem by Rome.
4. Some were Judeans,
some were Galileans.
B. In Christ the Different Become One.
1. This is unity of faith not personality
2. In Christ many become one (1 Cor.
II. Conflicts will Occur.
A. Analogy with marriage.
1. We must understand that conflict occurs.
2. The challenge is how to
deal with conflict.
B. There is difficulty in
functioning together (1 Cor. 12:15-21; 22-27). Paul’s words show the
struggle of functioning together.
C. We must understand that
conflict must be dealt with (John 17:20-23). Jesus prayed that His people would
D. Some conflicts are
necessary (2 Tim. 4:1-5; 3:1-5).
III. Conflicts Must be Resolved with the
Word and not the Will.
A. I honestly believe that most conflicts
could be resolved if the only thing that was allowed to be placed between
people was the word of God.
B. The word of God is
impartial. It reveals truth to both sides in any conflict.
C. We must not “love
strife” (NIV “loves a quarrel.”).
D. The word has power (Heb.
E. We must keep the unity
of the Spirit in the “bond of peace” (Eph 4:1-6).
Conclusion. There will be differences and conflicts
within the church just as there are in any relationship. The challenge is to
ever look to the word of God to allow it to direct us through all conflict.
Kyle Pope 2010