Summary: Is conflict always avoidable? Is conflict always a sign of failure? Can good come from conflict?
Is conflict always avoidable? Is conflict always a sign of failure? Can good come from conflict?
I want us to learn that conflict is a part of the full Gospel message.
We will discuss Luke 12:49-56, a world on fire, family conflict and interpreting the times.
Luke 12:49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
53 ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’”
54 Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. 55 When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. 56 You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
The World on Fire (vs 49-51)
Jesus came to set the world ablaze. The context is specifically about the fire of division. Peace on earth is in the hearts of men as a gift of the Holy Spirit, but not between all people now. That peace comes with his Second Coming. In the meantime, there will be division between people. Conflict is part of Jesus’ divine plan.
Literally, Jesus brought division. Analogously, Jesus suffering is another symbolic baptism among many non-literal baptisms in the Bible. He brought the fire of division. Morally, if we have no church conflict, we should ask if ours is the genuine Christianity of Christ. Prophetically, we should not be shocked by the division that comes within churches and between Christians and non-Christians.
Naïve Christians are shocked by it. Older Christians try to avoid it. But, where human beings are division is unavoidable. We cannot always run and hide from it. So, we should not be shocked when conflict comes around, and be prepared for it when it does. When Jesus preached about his bringing division, he was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified. We must also remember that although in our country converting to Christianity sometimes causes family problems, in Muslim, Hindu and many other societies it almost always does. Conflict can be good for us. Like fire purifies metals, conflict can purify us. A Christian who has seen many battles is more mature than one who has been mollycoddled.