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Faithlife

Can't We All Just Get Along

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Philippians 4:2  I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.

1.      There are an abundance of issues that tend to set people against each other.  That is most evident in marriage and family, second in the church.

THE BUILDING

Ten Little Christians, standing in a line, One disliked the pastor, then there were nine.

Nine little Christians stayed up very late, One slept too late on Sunday, then there were eight.

Eight little Christians on their way to Heaven, One took the low road, then there were seven.

Seven little Christians chirping like some chicks, One disliked the music, then there were six.

Six little Christians seemed very much alive, but one lost his interest then there were five.

Five little Christians pulling for heaven's shore, but one stopped to rest, then there were only four.

Four little Christians, each busy as a bee One got her feelings hurt, then there were three.

Three little Christians knew not what to do, One joined the sporting crowd, then there were two.

Two little Christians, our rhyme is nearly done, differed with each other, then there was one.

One little Christian, can't do much 'tis true; brought his friend to Bible study -- then there were two.

Two earnest Christians, each won one more, that doubled the number, then there were four.

Four sincere Christians worked early and worked late,Each won another, then there were eight.

Eight splendid Christians, if they doubled as before, In just a few short weeks, we'd have 1,024

In this little jingle, there is a lesson true, You either belong to The Building, Or to the wrecking crew!

2.      The roots of most conflicts are not spiritual.  They are personality based, emotional hot buttons.

3.      Even the greatest saints can be sidetracked by personality conflicts.

Acts 15:35  But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.  36 ¶ Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing."  37  Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,  38  but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.  39  They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,  40  but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.  41  He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Keys To Agreement

4.      The first person to take initiative in solving a conflict is the one who:

q      Values the relationship most highly

q      Who sees a greater picture

q      Who is exercising a more immediate obedience to God

q      Who is not controlled by pride

The one who lags behind is the one who is listening to the voice of pride or pity.

5.      Spiritual issues do not separate people.  There is nothing spiritual that comes between people who call themselves Christians.  See definitions of wisdom and unity in James 3 & 4.

James 3:13 ¶ Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  14  But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  15  Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  16  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

 17  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  18  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  1 ¶ What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?  2  You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.  3  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  4  You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  5  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? {Or that God jealously longs for the spirit that he made to live in us; or that the Spirit he caused to live in us longs jealously}  6  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." {Prov. 3:34}  7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

6.      True evidence of Christlikeness is found in relation to people and often most revealed by the manner in which they handle conflict.  People may approach Christlikeness from a totally different direction but in doing so they become more and more like each other as well.  A common object of faith tends to do that.

q      1Jo 2:5  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love {Or word, love for God} is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:

q      1Jo 2:18 ¶ Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.

q      1Jo 3:10  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

q      1Jo 3:16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

q      1Jo 3:24  Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

q      1Jo 5:2  This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

God's Diversity

I used to dislike denominationalism.   Over the years I've come to appreciate denominationalism as I came to realize that God's family has an incredible amount of diversity.  A recent discussion brought me to an even greater appreciation of God's diversity.

The church growth ideas list had some discussion of having members wear name tags during Sunday morning services. One pastor mentioned that the "official" name tags used by his members had been stolen during a break-in.   To replace them, members were making their own using stickers and felt markers.  He observed that it seemed to make some visitors feel more welcome since all of the name tags were now the same.   I was tempted to tell him that the theft of the name tags might have been for a reason, but then I realized we need churches that use name tags.

We serve a God who loves us enough to provide churches who use name tags for people who want to wear name tags.

He loves us enough to provide blue jean churches for those who feel comfortable wearing blue jeans.

He loves us enough to provide a "Cowboy Church" for cowboys who want to worship Him in their own special way.

He thinks enough of us to provide a church were people who want to jump up and down on the pews are allowed to jump up and down on the pews for those who feel the need  to jump up and down to worship Him.

He loves us enough to provide churches where people are quiet and contemplative for those who feel the need to be quiet and contemplative to worship Him.

He loves us enough to provide cathedrals of great architectural beauty for those who want to worship in a building with great physical beauty.

And He even can take a lowly hog house and turn it into a place to worship Him.  (YUP, there is a Free Will Baptist Church near my home of Marion, Kentucky, that renovated a former hog house into a church).

When I consider the variety of churches and denominations (Biblical Term:  Tribes) represented on this group and I marvel that while we have our minor differences we are all worshiping the same God.

Ain't God awesome?

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