Summary: There are steps to resolving conflict in our relationships.
November 4, 2012
Text: James 4:1-10
Subject: Submitting to God
Title James Part 7: Conflict Resolution in the Church
Last Week in our James series I talked to you about how the words you speak will affect both your relationship with God and with one another. Let me begin by asking you a question. What is the one thing that the New Testament says will be the determining factor that shows the world that we are Christians? We will love one another. There are ten places in the New Testament where the phrase, “love one another” is found. And in each case that same love is shown as the defining characteristic of what it means to be a Christian, at least from an outward perspective. 1 John 4:11-12, 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
The passage in James that we read today deals with the lack of love in the church. There were conflicts and James gives us a good outline for conflict resolution, not only in a church setting, but also in our personal relationships.
Love is the foundation of who we are. If you are in Christ, you have God’s love in you. It is up to you to allow it to flow out of you in order to be and experience the abundant life that God has in store for you.
Read James 4:1-12
I believe this is God's Word…
I believe it is for me…
I accept it as mine…
I appropriate it to my life today…
As we go through this passage today I want you to understand that I am not condemning anyone or trying to point a finger. There are no motives or hidden agendas. . I am just continuing with our series in James.
Conflict Resolution in the Church:
1. Recognize that there is a problem… Isn’t that the first step in taking care of any problem that you might have? If you don’t see it as a problem then why would you want to fix it? 1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Once you have done that then understand the source… Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? A little boy asked his father,” Daddy, how do wars start?” And his dada replied, “well son, take for instance World War 1. It began when Germany invaded Belgium.” Mom had been listening to the conversation and felt the need to add her two cents worth, “Why don’t you tell him the truth? It began when someone murdered Archduke Ferdinand in 1914.” “Who is telling this story, you or me?” with that Mom left the room in a huff slamming the door behind her. When the dishes in the cabinets finally stopped rattling the little boy said, “Dad, never mind. I think I understand how wars get started.” What kind of battle is this? It is a spiritual battle. The war of the flesh against the spirit man. The word translated as “desires” is the same word used to refer to the philosophy of life in which pleasure is the chief goal. So what James is saying is that the problem is the desire to have personal satisfaction regardless of what it costs. Now, look at how deep it goes. 2You want something (in the flesh) but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. Do you think that these people were actually killing one another? It is possible I suppose, but I think that what James is trying to say is that the quarrels and battles that are taking place are not coming from a place of love but instead, a place of hatred. 1 John 3:15, 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. Look at the last part of verse 2. You do not have, because you do not ask God. In spite of all their own efforts to get what they wanted the truth is that they were going about it in the wrong way. They were killing (hating) and coveting, quarreling and fighting instead of praying. Verse 3 gives us some real insight to the mindset of the Christians that James was addressing. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Oh God I come to you today concerning Sister Jones. Lord would you open her eyes so she can see how awful she looks when she starts crying and shouting out in the middle of church. Doesn’t she see how much it bothers everybody?” Folks, that is asking with wrong motives. That is asking God so you can have it your way instead of trying to find out what He wants.