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Summary: This lesson teaches the importance of the church dealing with conflicts within the church family.

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Title: Making the Most of Our Relationships 4 “The Safest Place On Earth”

Text: Matthew 18:1-21

The church is a wonderfully weird place because people are a part of it!

HERE ARE THE TOP 10 THINGS YOU’LL PROBABLY NEVER HEAR IN CHURCH

10.Hey! It’s MY turn to sit in the front pew!

9. Sign me up for nursery duty for a whole quarter!

8. Preacher, I was so enthralled, I never noticed your sermon went overtime 25 minutes.

7. Personally, I find visitation night much more enjoyable than golf.

6.

5. I volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the teenage Sunday School class.

4. I love it when we sing hymns I’ve never heard before!

3. Could you please preach more about money!

2. Preacher, we’d like to send you to this Bible seminar in the Bahamas.

. . . And the number one thing you’ll probably never hear in church and certainly not with us:

1. Since we’re all here, let’s start the service early.

Introduction: We are in a series of lessons entitled “Making the Most of Our Relationships” This is lesson 3 entitled “The Safest Place on Earth.”

‒ We are the church of our Lord!

‒ We are His family!

‒ Sons and daughters of God!

‒ Brothers and sisters in Christ!

‒ We are a diverse people with many opinions and backgrounds.

‒ An with all this being true, we can take to heart a truth that is very clear.

‒ It is not a matter of “if” conflicts are going to occur but “when” are they going to occur.

Conflicts are a part of our every day life.

‒ There are sports conflicts like the one tonight. The Super Bowl

‒ There are conflicts in the work world.

‒ Strikes, grievances,

‒ Kids are bombarded with conflicts at school.

‒ Dating

‒ Friendships

‒ Family

Conflicts are also a part of church life. Where there are people there will be conflicts.

‒ The Church, however, ought to be the safest place in the world to have a conflict.

‒ Larry Crab said in his book, The Safest Place on Earth, “The difference between the spiritual and unspiritual community is not whether conflict exists, but is rather in our attitude toward it and our approach to handling it. When conflict is seen as an opportunity to draw more fully on spiritual resources, we have the makings of spiritual community.”

‒ How true that is. We ought to see conflict as a time of spiritual growth and maturity. If we do not, there is a problem somewhere.

‒ As we grow let us use the wisdom of God that comes from His word to learn how to deal with one another in a loving, Christian way!

**Conflicts will do one of two things, depending on how we handle it.

‒ Draw us closer to one another and to God.

‒ Push away from one another and to God.

‒ One thing we must understand is that we cannot have God without each other.

‒ (1 John 4:20-21 NCV) "If people say, "I love God," but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen. {21} And God gave us this command: Those who love God must also love their brothers and sisters."

Let’s look at Matthew 18 to discover how we are to handle one another in conflict in a way that will draw us closer together.

TRANSITION: First, if conflict becomes an occasion for us to draw more deeply on spiritual resources, then…

1. We Must Have The Right Attitude (Matthew 18:1-5 NCV) "At that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, "Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" {2} Jesus called a little child to him and stood the child before his followers. {3} Then he said, "I tell you the truth, you must change and become like little children. Otherwise, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. {4} The greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is the one who makes himself humble like this child. {5} "Whoever accepts a child in my name accepts me."

A. The Right Attitude is HUMILITY

1. In the Christian walk there are some things that we all have in common. One of those is that not one of us can stand and say we are better than the other when it comes to the “sin department.”

1. “Admitting brokenness is the key. Because each of us is an imperfect, sinful human being, at times we do act in an unloving fashion. So, when approached in conflict, or doing the approaching, humility is the prevailing attitude.” (Matthew Rogers)

2. In Humility there ought to be some ground rules for dealing with one another. Marshall Shelly suggests what he calls “The Three P’s.”

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