Temple Baptist Church - 4-28-2019
A. We have been in chapter 14 for several weeks because of its importance in maintaining complete unity within the local church.
B. The greatest problem in churches is that of Christians not getting along.
Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: (Shall not stand, not might not stand! This is an emphatic prophecy by Christ Jesus. Satan fully understands this principle and continually tries to get his “foot in the door” of the local church.)
C. Normal divisions within local churches are not doctrinal in nature. Everyone of us in Temple Baptist Church tonight are on the “same page” doctrinally.
1. There are times when “wolves” come in our doors and try to get anchored on the pews, but I have gotten pretty vigilant concerning their characteristics and watch for them. Unapologetic preaching of God’s Word normally takes care of that problem.
2. The Holy Ghost has identified the number one problem with division within the local church in this chapter. The enemy is always among us because we all have the potential to be just that. I have seen good people become divided over things that matter little.
D. How to keep down personal conflict is very simple but easily forgotten. We need to realize that there is diversity in the Body of Christ! We have liberty in Christ, but this is neither liberty to sin nor liberty to hurt others.
1 Corinthians 12:13-25 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to bemore feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
1. Our personalities are different. (Introverts and extroverts)
2. Our temperaments are different. (Easy going and fly off the handles)
3. Our upbringing, therefore, our outlook may be different. (Some get excited and some don’t)
4. Our spiritual maturity is at different levels. (Everything from babes to giants)
5. Our spiritual desires are at different levels. (Some desire to serve while others observe)
6. Our positions are different. (Pew people to pastors)
E. GOD RECEIVES US ALL! If God receives us, then we are to receive each other.
1. Receive Those Who Do Not Agree With You. Romans 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. (I know we have the same Holy Spirit, but I have learned that not everyone has the same convictions. Some Christians are carnal while others are pharisaical.)
a. If someone has a conviction, you should honor it as much as possible in their presence. 1 Corinthians 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
b. If someone does not have a conviction, you should not try to enforce yours upon them. I Corinthians 9:21-22 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (This does not mean to go against your personal convictions, but to stay away from areas of contention.)
2. Receive Those Who Continue To Be Babes In Christ.
a. There are some who refuse to grow spiritually and will always be babes in Christ. Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (They are blown about and the strong need to be a stabilizing force for them.)
b. There are some who will always oppose themselves. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (They continue to hurt themselves and the strong are to love, pray, and help them when possible.)
3. Receive Those Who Continue In Unfaithfulness.
a. There are some who will never be faithful to the Church. Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Be considerate of them though they are not considerate of you. Go out of your way to make them both welcome and wanted.)
b. There are some who will never be faithful to serve the Lord. 1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (Continue to serve the Lord faithfully without indicting those who do not. It is between them and the Lord, not them and you.)
4. Receive Those Who Have Failed The Lord.
a. There are some who failed in the area of service. Acts 15:37-39 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.
b. There are some who have failed in the area of sinfulness. 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirmyour love toward him.