Summary: A sermon on dealing with conflict
Peace for the New Year Colossians 3:15
The motto of the Apollo 11 flight was "We come in peace for all mankind."
This motto was on the plaque which was deposited on the face of the moon.
The landing was on the Sea of Tranquility. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin found a tranquil and peaceful scene on the moon.
There had never been any human beings there to disturb the peace!
We live in a world of unrest, a world of war and conflict where there is no peace, anywhere.
• Professor Quincy Wright, in his book, "A Study of War", shows that in the 461 years from 1480 to 1941 the various nations experienced wars as follows: Great Britain 78 wars, France 71, Spain 64, Russia 61, Austria 52, Germany 23, China 11, Japan 9, the United States 13. And in addition, 110 wars were fought, often ruthlessly, against the Indians within the United States.
Conflict is not good for us. Conflict in any form is unfriendly to spiritual growth.
Our entire being is dislocated and thrown off balance when there is conflict.
Conflict causes rumblings and disharmony down to the very core of our being.
Have you ever noticed how grumpy we get we are in conflict with someone?
We become fixed on the conflict and life becomes filled with turmoil and discontent.
We all know what causes conflict.
Conflict erupts when we don’t get our way.
If you want to do something your way, and I want to do it mine, and we can’t agree, we have a conflict.
We have conflict because we do not have inner peace.
We are not content with who we are, what we do, or what we have.
Peace is not the absence of war or conflict.
Peace is an inner attitude that has its roots in thanksgiving.
Galatians 5:22 lists it as a fruit of the spirit.
A Christian definition of peace would be "the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is".
• The Academy-Award-winning movie, Patoon, was about the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. It depicted not only the cruel and inhumane way some of our soldiers treated the enemy, but also how brutally they treated one another. In the closing scene, one of the American soldiers who survived the war was reflecting on his experiences in Vietnam, and he said, "I think now, as I look back, we didn’t fight the enemy, we fought ourselves. The real enemy was within us."
Isn’t that how it most often is?
The greatest enemy we have is ourselves, and the biggest battles we fight are within.
We struggle with conflicts that rage within our own hearts.
We try to provide our own peace.
We weigh the pros and cons of any given situation, and seek within ourselves to provide a reasonable and logical solution to the conflict.
In this one verse of Scripture we are encouraged to "let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts".
Real and lasting peace can only come from Jesus Christ.
I. Peace is created by Christ
• In an article in the "Moscow Gazette", a reporter by the name of Gustave Valbert in his day could report that "From the year 1496 B. C. to A. D. 1861 in 3358 years there were 227 years of peace and 3,130 years of war, or 13 years of war to every year of peace. Within the last three centuries, there have been 286 wars in Europe alone. He added that from the year 1500 B. C. to A. D. 1860 more than 8000 treaties of peace, meant to remain in force forever, were concluded. The average time they remained in force was two years."
Who knows how many more years of war can be added in the 137 years from 1861 to 1998.
And we can only guess how many more treaties have been broken.
Mankind does not create peace.
We might attempt to stop war or conflict, but the results are always temporary.
It’s been said that peace is a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
The only way to end war and conflict on a global level; on an national level; on a local level; or on a personal level is to let the creator of peace decide all matters of difference among us.
We need an umpire.
The word "rule" is actually a sports term borrowed from the Greeks.
It can be translated "umpire" and describes the duty of an arbiter who held the prize in his hand while the contest proceeded in the stadium.
It was this umpire who conferred the prize on the victor at the close of the games.