Summary: I talk about ways you can glorify God during conflict.
(This sermon is based on the book “The Peacemaker” by Ken Sande. Alot of the information in this sermon was gleaned from his book.)
Intro: Three burley fellows on huge motorcycles pulled up to a highway café where a truck driver, just a little guy, was perched on a stool quietly eating his lunch. As the three fellows came in, they spotted him, grabbed his food away from him and laughed in his face. The truck driver said nothing. He got up, paid for his food and walked out. One of the three cyclists, unhappy that they hadn’t succeeded in provoking the little man into a fight, commented to the waitress: “Boy, he sure wasn’t much of a man, was he?” The waitress replied, “Well, I guess not.” Then, looking out the window, she added, “I guess he’s not much of a truck driver, either. He just ran over three motorcycles.” (1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking by Michael Hodgin)
For the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at what the Bible says about conflict and how we are supposed to deal with it. What is conflict? Conflict is a difference in opinion or purpose that frustrates someone’s goals or desires. For example, it can be as minor as squeezing the toothpaste from the top or bottom (or which ever way you prefer). It can be as major as your child dating someone you entirely do not approve of. Anytime there is a difference in opinion that frustrates someones goals or desires—there is conflict.
You know, when we go through a conflict we often times feel as if we were the only ones going through conflict. Well, conflict is nothing new. It has always been around and guess what? As long as there are people, there will always be conflict. There was conflict between Adam and Eve. “The man said, the woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12 Adam and Eve’s son’s had conflict too that ended in murder. “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” Genesis 4:4-5 There was conflict between Moses and the people of Israel. Jesus even had conflict with his disciples.
When we think of conflict though we think it is always bad. But in reality some differences are natural and beneficial. In other words, healthy conflict can help us out. God has made us differently on purpose. We have different make up, different out looks on life, different things we enjoy doing. God didn’t make us up that way to confuse us but to help us. To learn from one another. When handled properly, disagreements can stimulate productive dialogue, encourage creativity, promote helpful change and generally make life more interesting. For example,
On the other side of the coin, not all conflict is neutral or beneficial either. Many disagreements are the direct result of sinful motives or behavior. James 4:1-2 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t’ they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.” When conflict is the result of sinful desires or actions that are too serious to be overlooked, we need to deal with them in a straightforward manner.
Many of us know the Bible tells us we need to deal with conflict yet we fail to do it. We react in all kinds of ways. We react. We flee. We freeze. Let’s face it, nobody likes conflict (if you do I’m worried about you.) There are two ways to deal with conflict—God’s way or the wrong way. What I hope to accomplish by this sermon series is to teach you and I how to respond to conflict God’s way. In essence, that we would be peacemakers!
Jesus was serious about maintaining unity and peace. First of all he wants you to experience peace with God. You do that by turning over the leadership of your life to Jesus Christ. Secondly, he wants you to have peace with yourself. This is ultimately accomplished when you turn your life to Christ and your sins are forgiven. Oh, how sweet it is to be forgiven! Thirdly (and the point we are emphasizing today) is that he wants you to be peace with others. Why was Jesus so adamant about maintaining peace? Because his reputation depends on it !
READ JOHN 17:20-23
And according to the Bible there is a radically different way to respond to conflict. Look at 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1.
Do it all to the glory of God. And that includes the way we handle conflict! So, how do we glorify God (magnify God, make his name great/desirable).