Summary: In order to have a happy year we have to take care of the past, before we can work on the future.

Ephesians 4:15, 25

Matthew 18:15-17

Luke 17:3-4

Matthew 5:43-48

Purpose: To lay out the major pit falls that come when discord is evident in the church.

Aim: I want the listener to demonstrate love through forgiveness and avoiding gossip.

INTRODUCTION: Two men who lived in a small town got into a terrible argument that they could not resolve. So they decided to talk to an old man who they thought had a lot of wisdom. The first man went to the old man’s home and told his version of what happened. When he finished, the old man said, “You’re absolutely right.”

The next night, the second man called on the elderly gentleman and told his side of the story. The old man responded, “You’re absolutely right.”

Afterward, the old man’s wife scolded her husband. “Those men told you two different stories and you told both of them that they were absolutely right. That’s impossible – they can’t both be absolutely right.”

The old man turned to his wife and said, “You’re absolutely right.” [1]

The old man was no help at all. The temptation is to come to our own conclusions about problems, or to look to others for their input, rather than searching the Scripture for help.

2 Timothy 2:23-25 23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. [i.e. solutions to problems that are not based on God’s Word] 24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those [using God’s Word] who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, (NAU)

When we depend on God’s Word for answers to our problems then peace will be the result. Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (NAU)

In order to have a happy year we have to take care of the past, before we can work on the future.

► I. Unload Baggage from the Past

► A. Speak about past problems biblically

Ephesians 4:15,25 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. (NAU)

These two verses are in the middle of a discussion about church unity and precede the topic of relationships in the church.

Relationships stand or fall on their communication.

► 1. Verbalize your thoughts “speaking the truth...speak the truth”

The idea here is that face to face communication is preferable. Written communication is more impersonal and the tone of what is said, and the attitude of the writer can be misunderstood.

This is why John said, 2 John 12 Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full. (NAU)

Paul certainly implies a face to face situation when he says, Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. (NAU)

► 2. Tell only the truth “speaking the truth...speak the truth”

A little girl came to her mother, saying, "Which is worse, Mommy, to tell a lie or to steal?" The mother replied that both were so sinful she could not tell which was worse. "Well, Mommy," replied the little one, "I've been thinking a good deal about it, and I think it's so much worse to lie than steal." "Why, would you say that, sweetheart?" asked the mother.

"Well, you see, Mom, it's like this," said the little girl, "If you steal a thing, you can take it back, unless you've eaten it, and if you've eaten it, you can pay for it; but a lie is forever." [2]

For the Christian, honesty is not the best policy , it is the ONLY policy.

There are times we shouldn’t say every truth we are thinking. If you are asked, “What do you think of my new dress?” It might be best to say, “Well, it is a new dress, isn’t it?” or “That is a very interesting dress.”

Sometimes we hear the maxim, “the truth hurts.” But, nothing hurts like a lie. The truth can hurt, but it also has power to heal. Once a problem is identified then it can be solved. If sin is discovered, then there is a cure: God’s forgiveness.

John the Baptist's message from the wilderness was not, "Smile, God loves you." It was "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come." Jeremiah was not put into a miry pit for preaching, "I'm OK, you're OK." It was for crying against the adultery, idolatry and other wickedness of his nation. Noah's message from the steps of the ark was not, "Something good is going to happen to you." He condemned the world and was a preacher of righteousness. Jesus Christ was not crucified for saying, "Consider the lilies, how they grow," but for saying, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . children of hell ...fools and blind guides . . . whited sepulchers ...generation of vipers." [3]

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