September 23, 2012

Spirit Filled Conflict

Passage: Acts 15:1-41

Bible Text: Acts 15:1-41 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: The Solid Acts of God
Acts 15:1-3 While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the Christians: Unless you keep the ancient Jewish custom of circumcision taught by Moses, you cannot be saved. Paul and Barnabas, disagreeing with them, argued forcefully and at length. Finally, Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question…
What about Conflict?
Matthew 18:15-17 …if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more…and if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church…
The Matthew 18 Principle
Our goal is biblical unity that implies community.
The mark of community—true, biblical unity—is not the absence of conflict. It’s the presence of a reconciling spirit.
Developing community, true biblical unity, does not happen naturally; it must be intentional.
Learning to Fight Fair
Often what undermines the conflict resolution
process is the lack of verbal discipline
Conflict is inevitable but disunity is unacceptable
We believe in biblical accountability
The Matthew 18 Principle
Step one, go directly to the person privately
If step one fails, try again, and take a mature other believer to help us communicate
If step two fails go to a Pastor or elder for communication and resolution help
Acts 15:6-11 So the apostles and church elders got together to decide this question. At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. God, who knows people’s hearts, confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he gave him to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he also cleansed their hearts through faith.
Why are you now questioning God’s way by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the special favor of the Lord Jesus
Salvation — whether for Jew or Gentile — is through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Acts15:12-14 There was no further discussion, and everyone listened as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. When they had finished, James stood and said, Brothers, listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. And this conversion of Gentiles agrees with what the prophets predicted.
Acts 15:16-18 Afterward I will return, and I will restore the fallen kingdom of David. From the ruins I will rebuild it, and I will restore it, so that the rest of humanity might find the Lord, including the Gentiles — all those I have called to be mine. This is what the Lord says, he who made these things known long ago.
Unity in the midst of diversity is the result of the Lord’s amazing grace, mercy and love.
Acts 15:19-21 And so my judgment is that we should stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God, except that we should write to them and tell them to abstain from eating meat sacrificed to idols, from sexual immorality, and from consuming blood or eating the meat of strangled animals. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations
Essentially, the letter instructed the Gentile converts to strictly avoid idolatry, immorality, and eating the meat of strangled animals — activities, common among the non-Jewish population.
Acts 15:28-31 …they called a general meeting of the Christians and delivered the letter. And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.
But why submit to any compromises?
Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Why is it not sufficient to just be obedient?
Submission deals with our attitudes
Obedience deals with our actions
Biblical submission is willing obedience
The Bible teaches unconditional submission. The Bible does not teach unconditional obedience.
What is the exception to obeying authorities? When the action would directly violate the Word of God.
99% of the problem with obedience is simply that people don’t want to do it. Submission does not take place only when we agree BUT also when we disagree.
Submission is a key to harmony in relationships
Biblical submission is based on valuing one another as equals
Biblical submission is choosing to obey and glorify God in relationships
Biblical submission is a mark of equality rather than inequality
Ephesians 5:21 You will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ

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