Summary: This sermon gives the Biblical purpose and process of resolving conflicts.
By: JB Hall
• The Goal of Scripture in Conflict Resolution
A. Galatians 6:1 – 3 – Reconciliation; not Retaliation.
B. James 5:19 & 20 – Convert; not condemn.
C. Matthew 18:15 – 17 – Restoration; not Retribution.
A. The key to understanding each command is to understand the type of judging.
B. The first phrase in James 4:11, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren…” helps us to understand that the type of judgment indicated here is critical judgment – criticism.
C. The judgment indicated in I Corinthians 5:12 is that of evaluating a brother’s unrepentant sinful activity – see Verse 11 “…if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner…”
D. Railer - n. One who scoffs, insults, censures or reproaches with opprobrious (contemptuous) language.
E. Notice the verb usage in this verse, [be]; this is present tense; not indicating one who was involved in these sins but has since repented; but rather one who is presently involved; an unrepentant sinner.
F. Also, please note the specific sins listed.
G. Also, please note in Verse 13 that the response to these sins commanded in Verse 11 applies only to Christian brothers, not the lost.
• John 7:24 – We are not to judge according to the appearance; but we are to make righteous judgments; having all the evidence and judging impartially.
• Since the goal is restoration, not retribution, there must be a process by which we attempt to secure this restoration.
• James 3:5 & 6 – Spreading information to others is not the method of Scriptural restoration.
A. Proverbs 18:8 – Talebearing is very destructive and is never the approach to take to resolve a conflict or restore an erring saint.
B. Leviticus 19:16 – Here God warned the children of Israel very clearly to not pursue this kind of action.
C. Romans 16:17 – When a talebearer is identified, the proper Biblical response is to avoid him/her.
• Matthew 18:15 – 17 – When one Christian trespasses (sins) against another.
A. Notice the care that is to be given to maintain the optimum level of privacy throughout the process until either reconciliation has taken place or the unrepentant offender is excommunicated.
• I Corinthians 6:1 – 8 – When there is a dispute between Christians.
A. A church council or court is to be set up and a judgment rendered that must be accepted by both parties.
B. I Corinthians 6:7 & Romans 12:19 give the response if a brother is contentious and not willing to comply with Biblical standards in conflict resolution – either personal or legal conflict resolution; they are to be excommunicated, or removed from the church roll.
• In Summary – The goal of Biblical conflict resolution is to resolve the conflict; not to condemn or critically judge another for the offense.
• If a resolution cannot be arrived at, we are to follow the Biblical directives of how to deal with unrepentant offenders. Unrepentant sinners are to be excommunicated, or removed from the church roll.