Summary: THE PASSAGE WE HAVE BEFORE US TODAY IS ONE THAT DEALS WITH CONFLICTS THAT RISE UP IN THE CHURCH. IN FACT CONFLICTS OCCUR ON A REGULAR BASIS. SOME OF THE CONFLICTS ARE SMALL, AND EASILY RESOLVED, OFTEN INVOLVING ONLY A COUPLE OF PEOPLE, OVER A MINOR IS
ISSUES ARISING IN THE CHURCH
The Do’s and Don’ts of conflict
Acts 15:1-19 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved."
2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses." 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 "'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things' 18 that have been known for ages. 19 "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
INTRODUCTION: THE PASSAGE WE HAVE BEFORE US TODAY IS ONE THAT DEALS WITH CONFLICTS THAT RISE UP IN THE CHURCH.
IN FACT CONFLICTS OCCUR ON A REGULAR BASIS. SOME OF THE CONFLICTS ARE SMALL, AND EASILY RESOLVED, OFTEN INVOLVING ONLY A COUPLE OF PEOPLE, OVER A MINOR ISSUE. OTHER CONFLICTS HAVE DEEPER ROOTS. THEY HAVE FESTERED FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, THEY HAVE GARNERED SUPPORT AS THE ISSUES HAVE BEEN WHISPERED AMONG PEOPLE. WHEN THESE ERUPT, THE FALLOUT IS SIGNIFICANT, THE DAMAGE IS EXTENSIVE, AND THE EFFECT LINGERS ON FOR DAYS, OR WEEKS, OR MONTHS.
AT TIMES, UNRESOLVED CONFLICT – OR RESOLVED CONFLICT ATTAINED APART FROM BIBLICAL TEACHING CAN AT TIMES INJURE, HOBBLE, OR EVEN KILL A CHURCH.
SUCH SITUATIONS WE WOULD BE WELL TO AVOID!
TRANSITION: HERE WITHIN THE INTERACTION OF THE CHURCH OF ANTIOCH AND JERUSALEM, WE CAN SEE GOD’S DESIRE FOR DEALING WITH CHURCH CONFLICT.
I. ISSUES NOT OPEN FOR DISCUSSION
a. THE ISSUES THAT DEFINE US AS AMERICANS
i. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
ii. THE BILL OF RIGHTS
iii. THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
iv. WHEN THESE ISSUES ARE THREATENED THEY ILLICIT TREMENDOUS RESPONSE, PROTEST, AND PASSION
b. ISSUES THAT DEFINE US AS A CHRISTIAN/BIBLICAL CHURCH
i. OUR PRACTICES
2. LORD’S SUPPER
3. REGENERATE MEMBERSHIP
ii. OUR BELIEFS
3. JESUS CHRIST
4. HOLY SPIRIT
10. THE CHURCH
11. END TIME
AGAIN THESE ARE ISSUES AND SHOULD BE ISSUES THAT WHEN THREATENED, CHALLENGED, ETC. WOULD DRAW TREMENDOUS RESPONSE TO
c. UNIQUENESS OF THE EARLY CHURCH
i. THERE ARE NO ISSUES CLOSED FOR DISCUSSION
ii. THE FOUNDATIONAL ISSUES AND DOCTRINAL ISSUES ARE STILL BEING DEFINED.
iii. FOR THE EARLY CHURCH – EVERY ISSUE WAS OPEN FOR DISCUSSION, AS WAS THE ISSUE OF SALVATION AND GENTILES
II. THE ISSUES OPEN FOR DISCUSSION
a. THE LEVEL OF DISCUSSION
i. “DISPUTE AND DEBATE”
ii. “MUCH DISCUSSION”
b. SALVATION AND GENTILES