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Summary: This can be viewed on Itunes podcast or Video cast under ExperienceChurch.tv or viewed online at www.experiencechurch.tv. Conflict is inevitable within the church, so how do we deal with it.

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American Idols - The Progression of an Idol

Exodus 20:4-5 (New Living Translation)

4"Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. 5You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god!

Colossians 3:5 (Contemporary English Version)

5Don’t be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.

(REVIEW)

Idolatry - Greed leads to conflict and division.

Current Stats of Conflict in the Church.

• Born again Christians in the U.S. file 4 to 8 million lawsuits every year, often against other Christians, costing nearly $40 billion dollars.

• There are approximately 19,000 major, scarring church conflicts in the U.S. each year (an average of 50 per day).

• 35% of born again Christians who have been married have gone through a divorce, the same percentage as our general population.

• 1,500 pastors leave their assignments every month in the U.S. because of conflict, burnout, or moral failure, costing the church at least $684 million each year.

Fights! Arguments, pain, rejection,

1. Conflict Starts with Innocent Unmet Desire. Immoral desires should be obviously destructive.

Cross Roads – Led by our Spirit or Flesh

Romans 8:5-8 (English Standard Version)

5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

2. I Demand - Flesh

It no longer is a desire to us – it becomes a need that we deserve and must have at any cost in order to be happy and fulfilled.

An idol is anything apart from God that we depend on to be happy, fulfilled, or secure.

“It is often not what we want that is the problem, but that we want it too much.”

1 Corinthians 10:23 (New Life Version)

23We are allowed to do anything, but not everything is good for us to do. We are allowed to do anything, but not all things help us grow strong as Christians.

3. I Judge

We judge those that are standing in our way!

• Our Spouse

• The Pastor – or - The people

• Our Boss

• A friend

• Stranger

As Dave Powlison writes:

We judge others—criticize, nit-pick, nag, attack, condemn— because we literally play God. This is heinous. [The Bible says]"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to judge your neighbor?" Who are you when you judge?

James 3:13-18 (English Standard Version)

13Who is wise (foolish) and understanding (don’t understand) among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

Wisdom is not measured by degrees but by deeds. It is not intellectual but behavioral. It is not a matter of acquiring truth in lectures but of applying truth to life. Being led by the Spirit is the true mark of Christian Wisdom.

14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle – (a fruit of the spirit - Jesus said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5),

Robert Johnstone a 19th century commentator wrote:

“I do not know that at any point the opposition between the spirit of the world and the Spirit of Christ is more marked…than with regard to this feature of character.

That “the meek” should “inherit the earth”—they who bear wrongs, and exemplify that love which “seeketh not her own,”

—to a world which believes in high-handedness and self-assertion, and pushing the weakest to the wall, a statement like this of the Lord from heaven cannot but appear an utter paradox.

The man of the world desires to be counted anything but “meek” or “poor in spirit,” and would deem such a description of him equivalent to a charge of unmanliness.

Ah, brethren, this is because we have taken in Satan’s conception of manliness instead of God’s.”

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