Summary: Examining the sometimes dysfunctional relationships in a church or (faith family)
One Dysfunctional Faith Family
There is an episode of the Andy Griffith Show that chronicled the story of a married couple that made sport of arguing, fussing and fighting. Things got so intense between the two that a complaint was made and Andy had to step in to get control of the situation. Andy began to work with the couple and he trained them to play nice. Every morning he would instruct them on how to deal with each other. They would come together at the breakfast table and he would make them say things like "morning dear" and "morning honey". It seemed that Andy was making great progress, but after a while the couple began to take their hostility out on the other citizens of the town. Finally Andy realized that even though their marriage seemed dysfunctional to everyone else, it seemed to work for the couple.
If we are honest, there is a bit of dysfunction in all of our families. We all have those relatives who are good people, but when certain individuals get together in the same place (usually at thanksgiving dinner) there is going to be a disagreement or even a fight over politics, religion or SEC football.
The church is a family... we are a faith family. And at times there is an element of dysfunction among certain members of a faith family.
The term "Dysfunctional" is defined this way:
1) Relating badly: characterized by an inability to function emotionally or as a social unit
2) Not performing as expected: or failing to perform an expected function
For some time we have been walking though Paul's epistle to the Galatians. If you have been with us for any amount of time you have seen that this was a dysfunctional group of people. They people that Paul was writing to had come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. But there was a group called the Judaizers who were causing much trouble among the church. I believe if we closely examine the different types of people who were present in the region of Galatia we will see some actions that are still represented in the church today. So let's look to our selected text and consider the thought "One Dysfunctional Faith Family"
In the faith family you will find people with different personalities, qualities and abilities. Many times, when different types of people get together it won't be long until there is trouble! But God intended for His people to be unified!
Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
Why is it that you encounter arguing, fussing and fighting in many churches today? It is not because the church is made up of people, but because the people that make up the church have lost focus! When we get self out of the way and Jesus Christ becomes the TRUE purpose and the center of all that we do, then there will not be conflict and controversy in the church! Every church can (and should) be like the early church... all throughout Acts we find that the church was in harmony and "in one accord"!
As we examine this dysfunctional faith family in Galatians we will see certain actions from different people. We will see that:
i. Some Members Were Deceptive
ii. Some Members Have Retreated
iii. Some Members Were Concerned
Let's begin in verse 17 and then we will back up and cover verses 8-16. We find in verse 17 that:
I. Some Members Are Deceptive- v17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. 18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
The false teachers were eager to win the favor of the Galatians. But their zeal was not according to knowledge. There intentions were not good, beneficial or CHRIST CENTERED! They wanted to isolate the people and shut them off from Paul so that they would have the influence. There are people in the Church today who constantly cause trouble. I believe that an overwhelming majority of the troublemakers that we find in the church are lost and on their way to hell. They may have made a profession of faith, they may be active in the events of the church... they have the look, the walk and the talk but they don't have Jesus! Though they are lost, they are still on the rolls of churches all across the world... and they have an impact (A NEGATIVE ONE!)