Summary: Disagreements among believers don’t have to wreak the church.
WHEN SAINTS DISAGREE
Acts 15:1-2, 36-41, 28-30
(adapted from a message from Steven Shepherd Church of Christ (When Christians Disagree)
This title came from a sermon booklet by Dr John R. Church.)
INTRO.- Do people ever disagree? Do Christians ever disagree? What a question! Of course, they do. All people disagree at times.
ILL.- Two boys were fighting and one was on top of the other. Finally, the mother of the boy who was on top came out and called her son. He hit the boy on the bottom a few more times and then spit in his eye.
His mother said to him, “Why do you fight all the time? IT MUST BE THE DEVIL IN YOU.” After a little thought, the boy replied, “It may be the devil in me that makes me fight, but spitting in that guy’s eye was my own idea.”
Brethren, we live in a world of discontent, and I really believe that most of it is the devil’s fault. He is a liar, a deceiver, and a troublemaker. He is out to cause trouble for people anyway he can. And if he can get people to quarrel and fight with one another, then he will. He will use every dirty tool he can think of to cause wars, fighting and discontent. But he can’t do anything we don’t allow him to.
ILL.- A very wealthy man was dying and decided to face up to the fact. He called his attorney to his bedside and after telling his wife not to cry, he started to dispose of all his worldly possessions.
“I want to leave my Cadillac to my son George.” His wife Bertha interrupted and said, “You should leave it to Joe. He’s a better driver and he’ll take care of it.” “Okay,” the man said.
He went on, “I want to leave my Rolls Royce to my daughter, Linda.” His wife Bertha interrupted again and said, “You’d be better off to leave it to the your nephew Willie.” “All right,” he said, “I will leave my Rolls Royce to my nephew Willie instead of my daughter, Linda.”
He went on, “And I leave my Volvo to my niece, Sally. She is such a sweetheart.” Again, his wife Bertha interrupted and said, “I think Judy should get it.”
Unable to take it any longer, the man said, “BERTHA, PLEASE, WHO’S DYING? YOU OR ME?”
Yes, husbands and wives often disagree. And even on the deathbed, some married couples will never agree.
ILL.- A teenage daughter was talking to her dad as the boom box was playing her loud music. She said to her dad, “Did you ever hear any music as good as that?” Her dad replied, “Yeah, only once when two trucks collided and one exploded.”
Do parents and their children ever disagree? What I want to know is: DO THEY EVER AGREE ON ANYTHING?
Is there ever disagreement in the workplace? Between the boss and the employees? Between the employees and the employees? Of course. All the time.
Not only is there disagreement in the home and in the work place, but also, in almost every place you can think of! Disagreements even happen in the church!
ILL.- The evangelist was preaching when suddenly a heckler in the audience shouted, “Listen to him! His father used to drive a wagon led by a donkey.”
“That’s right,” said the evangelist, “and today my father and the wagon are gone. BUT I SEE WE STILL HAVE THE DONKEY WITH US.”
Do Christian people ever disagree about ministers and other matters in the church? Why, of course, they do.
I spoke to Rueben of how we hear people say they want to attend a church like those in the Bible where there was peace and no conflict. I used to think the same. However, the Bible don’t bear that out. The Gospels tell of conflict among the disciples, Acts does, Romans, 1Cor, 2 Cor., Gal., Phil., Col., Thess, Timothy, James, as far as I went. Point well taken.
Larry Crabb wrote “The difference between 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.” In other words, it is how we handle conflict that determines the level of our spiritual maturity!
I Cor. 1:10-11 “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.”