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Conflict In the Church - Part 9

David Wright


David Wright

Lead/Senior Pastor, Hendersonville SDA Church


  • September 14, 2019
    10:15 AM
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Well this last spring pastor Heineman my wife and I accompanied with a lot of the other ministers and the Carolina Conference had the opportunity to go to what is referred to as the holy land of while we were there we saw many sites and my favorite are always the natural sites that are probably very similar to how they were in Jesus' time and there are a few of those most sides are not that way those you that have been there you understand how this oftentimes can go it'll be a mosque or a church or multiple things fighting over exactly the spot and they all claim the location and so on and so forth and it's very hard to pinpoint and know for certain is this exact place or not and really that was not our purpose and it doesn't need to be known exactly was this the pebble or the stone or whatever what have you but just to be walking in the footsteps of Jesus is remarkable but this place here some of you have been here and recognize it one of 2 sites that is a little bit debated but most people agree that this is more than likely where Jesus was crucified and just a few feet from there was buried in a tomb and you can hardly see any Simlins of that anymore in fact the tomb has been carved out on all sides and now looks more like a room than a tomb but the idea is still this is where it took place and again whether it was there or not doesn't so much matter but the fact as I share with you some time ago for me just knowing I was in the general vicinity of where this happened you know that the eyes of the universe I should say were being gazed upon this spot as Jesus died well 1st sake of illustration and for those that have been there you'll know there's this latter and you walk in this bottom portion here and you wonder around it's always very crowded from dawn to dusk there's all different groups that claim this spot and this latter has been there for quite some time church of the holy step liquor is shared by there are many in the Greeks the cops the Roman Catholics the Ethiopians this Iranians and the Muslims they all claim this holy site so this latter located on. Ledge above the main entrance it's believed that it was placed there sometime in the 801 story is that an Arminian there was an Armenian monks who were locked inside and so somebody put the ladder to help them out and it stayed there and it is remained there until this day for the very simple reason no one can be certain or be sure which group was the one that put the ladder up who's responsible for taking the ladder down and so the latter simply remains to be there for over 100 years now the latter is there because they're wondering and or you know who has the jurisdiction to remove it you may say well that's a little bit over the top but there in Jerusalem arguments as what I would consider as minimal as these can escalate virtually overnight or even in the midst of while you're there at the wailing wall wherever it might be our tour guide said you know without any warning they could just shut everything down there could be some protests just after we left there was some of that but even here at this site in November 2008 the Internet was flooded with videos and you can still find them on youtube of a fistfight between Armenian and Greek monks and what were they fighting over well a small section of the roof of the church is disputed between the Copts and the Ethiopians though at least one Coptic monk at any given time sits there in a chair to kind of guard this area that they call their own and on a particular summer day in well it was a summer day a hot day and they moved the chair just 8 inches to try and get more in the shade and get the picture monk on the roof guarding his area move the chair over 8 inches this was interpreted as hostile act and a violation of status quo by the time it was all over 11 were hospitalized after a fight resulting from this provocation interesting this morning we are talking about conflict is there ever a conflict in the church is there ever a conflict in this church it's with a bit of embarrassment that I share with you that this week coming into the office pastor Haim was upset Well 1st I was upset. Because he was in my parking space and the knee responded by saying well I was there 1st and there was a little bit of and young ha and I told him he had an ugly face and he proceeded to push me on the push he went back and forth I tried to grab his hair but I couldn't get enough he ended up in a headlock we went out the door and I pushed him down the bank into the bushes and he got all scratched up but you can't see it today because he's in a suit whereas pastor I mean is that true not quite Don't listen to his version of the story conflict does conflict take place within the church and if so is there a way that Christians should deal with conflict in a way that is different then everybody and anybody else deals with conflict are we held to a higher standard when it comes to conflict others might say conflict is the reason I'm not part of the church I have enough you know in my own life I don't need to go to church and be arguing and backbiting and all of the rest I don't need that there's just too much conflict in the church well as Reverend conflict in your family is never a conflict in your home is there ever a conflict in your marriage are there ever issues that need to be discussed things that need to be resolved not just within your home but even at work and outside so really the question is not does conflict exist the question is what do we do with conflict I mean there's a room here full of many people and I would be very surprised if we always agree on everything my grandmother had a phrase or a saying she says if 2 people always agree one is not needed but not everybody always agree on how we should do church what it should look like what the song should be is the more uplifting that is to uplifting the colonies being brighter know the colors to bright you know any number of things and I find myself chuckling at times when I sit on various meetings and committees down over the years as we spend time arguing who's going to change the batteries in the clock and whose job it is and you know really. Lismore in our series on Paul we find ourselves in Acts Chapter 15 we find. The church not so much individuals but larger than that the church in conflict so if you brought your Bibles on bite you turn with me to Acts chapter 15 where we're going to do our best to seek out how this early church as we often refer to it dealt with conflict the next chapter 15 beginning in verse one and it says and certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren the members if you will unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved this is really referring to we can just pause right there and go back I put this on the screen x. this chapter 12 verse 43 it says in the Lord said to Moses and Aaron this is the ordinance of the Passover no foreigner shell eat it but every man servant who is bought for money when you have circumcised him then he may eat yet word is getting out that this is not taking place this is not happening and so people are starting to feel upset you were called circumcision was an outward sign and a heart condition God had made a covenant with Abraham and you may recall Abraham tried to fulfill the promise on his own so God gave to Abraham a sign which would cause him to think and remember his attempt to work out the promise of God and his failure it didn't give him anything but rather it was a constant reminder that he could not do anything in and of himself and that everything was to be done in and for him by the Lord this promise of sand of the seasons stars in the air you are not going to make this happen Abraham I will do this so did God fulfill his promise to Abraham Yes he did did he raise up a great nation yes God did did they keep passover and all this ceremonial laws yes they did they did become part of their identity as a Jewish nation yes it did but did they lose the point of these. Ceremonies Yes they did and when the all timid fulfillment of the sanctuary of Passover of the feast days when the embodiment came in the form of Jesus did they recognize him another verse I want to read here Daniel Chapter 9 verse 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many use me for one week but in the middle of the week he shall bring and into sacrifice and offering it as a whole the Jewish nation missed it they didn't see Jesus as the Son of God they didn't see him as a fulfillment of prophecy but instead they hated Jesus and they successfully sought his death in there and they hung him on a tree and so after his death and resurrection God helps Paul and others see that Jesus was in fact the film and he was the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world and so now everything that they know to be is changing I imagine the Jewish nation like many of us in this room were not so comfortable with change we've always done it this way our fathers did it this way our grandfathers did it this way it was so important to them held in such high regard and this was their identity I imagine many of them living very close to the Temple Mount seen it every single day the customs of Judaism of Passover of sacrifice they were ingrained in who they were and now you're telling me and now you're telling us is no longer needed we should just close up shop I mean this Jesus that was born to simple parents makes all this void I mean it's incredible structure that we have is enormous it's huge it's breathtaking and now you say it's been fulfilled is done and so I imagine some of these radicals like Paul and Barnabas as they are seen as radicals are saying things like all of the sacrifices and offerings have been fulfilled in Christ their new identity is in Christ Paul and Barnabas remember they made that 1st missionary journey they come back to Antioch where the work with the Gentiles really took off where they were. The great revival there with the Gentiles were scripture tells us they were 1st called Christians there in Antioch is in this place that certain men are teaching counter to what Paul and Barnabas are teaching so we continue on verse 2 in Acts Chapter 15 therefore when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and the elders about this question Paul this point did not say hi I'm going to start my own church you all are in apostasy you haven't followed the biblical mandates or whatever it might be he doesn't start some reform movement no he says let's gather the world church together and let's hammer this out let's solve this once and for all and many referred to this as the 1st general conference session where delegates from around the world would travel and come perhaps by and the taste and come to the Jerusalem Council your attendance is needed we want you to be part of making a decision on this most important matter so continuing on verse 6 now the Apostles and elders came together to consider this matter and when there had been much dispute Peter rose up and said to them Men and brethren you know that a good while ago God chose among us that by my mouth the Gentiles that hear the word of the Gospel and believe pause right there commentators agree Peter is referencing the vision God gave him in Acts chapter 10 in the member of the sheet coming down with all kinds of unclean animals and then God says rise up and eat and he says No Lord from never read anything that is unclean and as the story unfolds Peter begins to understand this is not talking about rats sandwiches this is talking about no man no gentiles to be considered unclean because a god. Possible is now going to go forward to all Acts 1034 and 35 then Peter opened his mouth and said In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality but in every nation whoever fears him and works right as this is accepted by him no partiality this is the context of salvation he's saying the doors are wide open anybody can come in that's what he came to understand as a result of his vision and if we are to continue on the verse $36.00 it says that Jesus is Lord of all I imagine for all of us here that aren't Jewish that's good news and so Peter raises up or rises up and he says man and brother in you know that a good while ago God chose among us that by my mouth we can say by my vision by the Revelation Jesus gave to me the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe continuing in verse 8 so God who knows the heart acknowledged them the Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us and made no distinction between us and them purify and their hearts by faith now therefore why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear but we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as a verse 12 than all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles let us tell you some stories from our 1st missionary journey of how God is working through this close heathen people how they are being filled with the Holy Spirit verse 13 and after they had become silent James he's going to stand up and say a few words he answered saying Men and brethren listen to me Simon or we could say Simon Peter has declared how God at the 1st visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name and with this the words of the profits agree just as it is written in verse 16 is quoting scripture Amos 9 and. Well after this our eternal rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen down I will rebuild is ruins I will set it up so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord even all the gentiles who are called by my name says the Lord who does all these things so conflict in the church how did the church reach a conclusion well there's several things that the church did 1st off we find doctoral confusion all studying scripture all coming to different conclusions that's where we find it then the church decides let's come together let's gather in Jerusalem let's have our meeting Peter says I was shown in vision Peter Paul and Barnabas speak of their experience that they're having out in the field and then James says scripture agrees with the vision with their experience and he makes his conclusion which we haven't read just yet those are important steps within the body of the church to come to a conclusion they all come together they all discuss they dispute and Peter raises up and he says I saw on vision notice Peter's not citing scripture but his vision then Paul and Barnabas get up and say our experience confirms his vision then James stands up and takes Peter's vision and the word and he says it all agrees and makes his conclusion this I would propose to you is the Bible account of coming to a doctrinal conclusion on a matter I hear many today say in regards to all white no she can't have any say in the formation of doctrine but my question is are they being biblical to which I respond No they're being profoundly biblical the scripture example is the Bible the gift of prophecy visions of his prophets and their experience and the conclusion is it all agree I mean let's stop and think Jeremiah is writings affected the way God's people understood the word day Paul himself was inspired by the Holy Spirit and it influenced their understanding of the word but while it influences the understanding Scripture never does it contradict scripture so when Paul. Day Yes go by Scripture but Paul like Jeremiah influenced the understanding of scripture in Paul's day Paul wasn't in the Bible was he and they could have said we don't need you Paul we don't want another prophet we have the Bible because they have said that in Paul's day and my question is if they had said that would they have been doing God's will I don't think so because God raised up Paul and gave him a message for his people and that message influenced their present understanding of Scripture and so on x. 15 with scripture with a spirit of prophecy with their experience they all put those together they say they all agree and they come to a conclusion and was the conclusion let's read about verse 19 therefore I judge said James that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God but that we write to them to do a few things abstain from things polluted by idols abstain from sexual immorality of stain from things strangled and from blood then they sent a letter to any oc with Paul and Barnabas and others and how did Paul respond to the conclusion skip with me to verse 31 you can read the whole thing later this afternoon if you like it's a little bit repetitive in parts but in verse 31 it says when they had read it this is when they take the letter back up any I can say this was a conclusion that if they read Joyce over its encouragement and then verse 35 Paul and Barnabas also remain in Antioch teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord with many others also the church received a decision made by the Jerusalem Council and they move forward in Mission friends are times that you may not agree with the decision that the church makes but the end of the day we have to recognize the church is not about me and it's not about my cherished opinions is it rather it's about God leading his collective body forward in the work so the church board or church business meeting may make a decision that I don't agree with it's happened before. And it will happen again right they make a decision that I don't agree with and I'm I think it's a wrong decision and in that mean I have made my stand I've made my appeal I wanted people to side with me and in the vote was taken and I was voted down Ouch befriends when I leave that meeting it's not this person said this and that person said that and my argument was this no when we leave the me the Christian response is to say this is what the church decided we're going to have hot pink putas this is what the church decided you don't say I was totally against it and this person was born and because this is a no come as we need to get them yeah you get the toilet paper we'll go over there has a night I will do the whole days of really well that'll show him that how the church handles conflict I hope not we have to leave our own opinions aside and move forward with the mission of the church so we've looked at how the church reach a conclusion How does Paul respond the conclusion that they were that was easy that was what he wanted in the 1st place Ok but I would say those that didn't like there were obviously those opposed to that idea and the ruling if you will or the consensus that was brought before everyone somebody was against it somebody was not happy but I would hope they'd be mature enough to say we've been searching the scriptures we've been searching through the Spirit of Prophecy and the visions that have been had and we listen to people's experience we pray that God would guide us and this was the conclusion and so even though it's not what I was and fought the way things would have gone I'm going to go forward in mission we can say the voice of God through His Church has spoken but lastly what should we do when people rebel against the conclusion now this is a little bit of a tricky one because I think the devil can distract us from a mission by becoming so engrossed in correcting the errors of others and we have counsel that the wheat and the tears they will grow together until when the harvest and who's in charge of the harvest God's in charge of the harvest so we know. Oh there's going to be wheat and tares among there's going to be good and bad among there's going to be the sheep and the goats befriends I believe there's still a time to hold people accountable to the collective decision of the church and you might say well where's a biblical example of that I'm glad you asked her with me if you will the Galatians chapter 2 relations Chapter 2 verses 11 to 13 here Paul is writing and we're looking at what do we do when people buck against the conclusion of the larger group and I don't imagine that Paul took everybody to task but I imagine he had a better relationship with Peter perhaps but whatever the case we read there in Galatians chatted to begin in verse 11 now when Peter had come to Antioch Paul says I withstood him to his face because he was to be blamed for before certain men came from James he would eat with the gentiles I mean that's what was decided right we're all one in Christ so he would be with the Gentiles but when they came these certain men I imagine these certain men are the ones opposed to the decision that was just made however long ago that it was but when they came he withdrew and separated himself fearing those who were of the circumcision and the rest of the Jews also play the hypocrite with him so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy so the church had spoken some obviously didn't like the decision they were bucking the decision I would imagine and Peter's eating with Gentiles intil these men show up and so he would draw as he separate himself from the Gentiles over peer pressure because of the influence of those that didn't agree and Peter plays the hypocrite and Paul calls him out and some here may be quick to say you know we don't follow creeds of the church we must follow our conscience and do what we feel is right for friends we're not talking about a heavy church or one dictates what's to be done ironically the Roman Catholic Church for instance believes that Peter was the 1st pope you heard that before and that. Obes are infallible but notice that Peter is not the one that comes the conclusion x. if seen it's James and notice that it's Peter here in Galatians chapter 2 that is rebuked for plain they hypocrite and so now we're not talking about a few We're not talking about a pope a ruling power of just a handful but we're talking about Apostles elders representatives from various parts of the world sealed and they're studying scripture they're studying Spirit of Prophecy they're evaluating that with the experiences they've had in the field and they probably come to a conclusion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and so when the process is followed when there's been intense Bible study when they've studied the gift of prophecy when they hear the experience of others and when collectively the body says they all agree me then I need to be supportive of the decision regardless again of my cherished opinions and so here we have an example of Paul calling Peter to accountability over what the decision was at the Jerusalem Council we've been going to last events in our prayer meeting and there are some interesting quotations there in chapter 4 if you haven't read it recently and have been going to the book out encourage you to pick up a copy and look at it but Chapter 4 it says some of advance the thought that as we near the close of time every child of God will act how independent Lee of any religious organization but I have been instructed you could have said I have been shown right like Peter did by the Lord that in this work there is no such thing as every man's being independent we work together as a body collectively it is true that there is strength and safety in numbers that's not to say the numbers can't get it wrong but if the whole world church is gathered together and made a decision on something maybe for the 3rd time and I still decide I am right I worry about that here's another quotation God has invested his church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising for in so doing he despises what. Oh the voice of God and we have that in Matthew $182.00 don't we whatever is bound on earth of the balun heaven let loose don't really be loosed in heaven God often speaks through His Church have we seen that abuse absolutely we have but just because there's a counterfeit doesn't mean there's not a genuine and so when the collective body goes through the proper process and makes a decision God Then it and we need to say Ok and get back to our mission on this one here here's one I think I skipped over it God has ordained that the representatives of his church from all parts of the earth when assembled in a general conference shall have authority there that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man or of a small group of man the full measure of authority and influence on them said friends in times of conflict in the church and yes that's not a bad thing it just depends on how you respond to conflict conflict that drives us to our knees that drives us back to scripture that causes us to have to search through the Spirit of Prophecy to humbly listen to the experience of others and come together and ask the Lord leading when handle in that way conflict can be beneficial conflict can be a blessing in fact conflict can move the mission of the church forward and when we accept the outcome of the church board or the church business meeting or the constituency sessions the local conference or union or division when the World Church comes together what we call a general conference session friends we need to trust the outcome and move forward in missions and at times as we see Paul doing hold people accountable to the decision reached through God leading of his people and we must ultimately remember and recognize that I'm not in control of God's church and neither are you I'm not the head and neither are you God is in control of his church and it is his work and so I do all that I can to influence the sphere in which that he's given to me I do all that I can to be faithful to the Bible to Spirit of Prophecy. To be prayerful to be humble but the end of the day the outcome is not about me it's about trusting that God has it all under control Romans 9 verse 284 he begin to the Lord for He will finish the work and cut it short in Wright's isness it doesn't say and David will finish the work it doesn't say you'll finish the work or you'll finish the work it says he'll finish the work and so when I see something happening over here and it troubles me I say Lord I don't know how I can influence that situation if there is something I can do please show me what I can do but if I can't do anything from way over here I'm just going to pray and ask that you will continue to be in control and trust that you are I had one more story there is no need to doubt to be fearful that the work will not succeed God is at the head of the work and he will set everything in order it doesn't say a few things everything he's at the head of matters needed just at the head of the work God will attend to that and work to right every wrong let's have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port do you believe that does that give you assurance today I believe god's of the head of the work that he will finish the work and so if there is conflict in the church has had to ask Is there conflict in the church that is too big for God to overcome if matters need adjusting at the head of the work you believe God's in control of that too and if we do we don't have to fear we don't have to stress we don't have to strategize we don't have to have back room means we can trust that God is faithful and that he will finish the work and bring the ship the 7th Avenue search safely into port last 1st year my one verse 19 young man teenager maybe barely a teenager called to be a mouthpiece for God and in the midst of that calling chapter one of Jeremiah verse 19 God says they will fight against you Jeremiah there will be conflict you can count on that you read through the book envoy was there conflict. Says they will fight against you but they will not prevail against you why from with you says the Lord to deliver you friends conflict is inevitable as long as we're on this planet there will be conflict but the Christian should respond differently and even though conflict in search is inevitable this verse reminds me that defeat is impossible because our alliance is invincible despite the challenges and conflicts we face we can be of good courage because God promises to be with us and he will deliver us we simply need to trust and obey their Heavenly Father we thank you that you are at the head of this work we recognize that the church as enfeebled and backwards as it can be at times is still the apple of your eye that your children are here in your church and that you long to reveal yourself through these your people around the world Lord I pray that we will trust you to be the head of the work the jury will trust that you will finish the work and cut it short and right is now according to your will and your plan and that our role is simply to trust and obey to. This media was brought to you by audio a website dedicated reading God's word through sermon audio and much more if you would like more about audio. If you would like more service leave w w w audio 1st stop or.


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