Big Idea Because of the Gospel, conflict can produce character. The Gospel & Conflict
The Context for Conflict Four Foundational Fractured Relationships With God With Self With Others With Creation
The Crucible of Conflict The crucible is for silver, & the furnace is for gold, & the LORD tests hearts. Proverbs 17:3
The Centrality of the Gospel The Gospel Gospel Connections Gospel Conduct
The Gospel, The Connection, The Conduct Romans 5:1-4 1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, & we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 & endurance produces character…
The Gospel, The Connection, The Conduct 1 Peter 1:6-7 6 In this you rejoice (According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again …to an inheritance…guarded through faith for a salvation… – v. 3-5), though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise & glory & honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…. (v. 13 Therefore…set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…)
Focus on the Family This conflict is most painful. This conflict is most difficult to resolve. This conflict glorifies God when resolved. This conflict draws people into the family when resolved.
Focus on Forgiveness (Matthew 18) 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" What is the limit to the forgiveness I must give in Your Kingdom, Jesus? 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” There is no limit to the forgiveness you must give in My Kingdom, Peter.
Focus on Forgiveness (Matthew 18) 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents (one talent is worth about 20 years wages; 200,000 years of wages; $8,000,000,000 at $40,000/year; $38,193,223.64 per month on a 30 year loan at 4%). Debt #1 Count the Cost of Conflict
Focus on Forgiveness (Matthew 18) 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. King’s First Response 26 So the servant fell on his knees imploring him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” Debtor’s Plea #1 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. King’s Second Response Costly Forgiveness
Focus on Forgiveness (Matthew 18) 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii (one denarii is worth a day’s wage for a laborer; $16,000 at $20/hour; $76.39 per month on a 30 year loan at 4%), Debt #2 and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, “Pay what you owe.” Man’s First Response
Focus on Forgiveness (Matthew 18) 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” Debtor’s Plea #2 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. Man’s Second Response Unrelenting Mercilessness 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.
Focus on Forgiveness (Matthew 18) 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” Forgiveness should beget forgiveness. 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. King’s Third Response
Focus on Forgiveness (Matthew 18) 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart. Forgiveness should beget forgiveness. Big Idea Because of the Gospel, conflict can produce character.
Because of the Gospel… Situation Knee-jerk Response Gospel Response When I realize that a conflict exists… I fight or flee. I take the initiative to seek reconciliation (Rom. 5:8).
Because of the Gospel… Situation Knee-jerk Response Gospel Response My top priority when I’m in conflict… I vindicate myself. Glorify God by reflecting His reconciling love.
Because of the Gospel… Situation Knee-jerk Response Gospel Response When others behave like enemies… I treat them like enemies. I love my enemies, like Jesus did.
Because of the Gospel… Situation Knee-jerk Response Gospel Response When I’ve done something wrong… I cling to my self- righteousness. I trust that I’m forgiven then confess.
Because of the Gospel… Situation Knee-jerk Response Gospel Response When I or others keep doing the same sins… I become hopeless. I have hope because Jesus promised change.
Because of the Gospel… Situation Knee-jerk Response Gospel Response When others have done wrong… I build a case against them. I recall Jesus’ kindness towards me.
Because of the Gospel… Situation Knee-jerk Response Gospel Response When others hurt me deeply… I dwell on their wrongs. I forgive as God forgave me.
Because of the Gospel… Situation Knee-jerk Response Gospel Response When conflict persists in my church &/or LIFE Group… I disengage &/or leave. I recall, Jesus died to make us a family. (Eph. 4:3)
Homework View conflict as an assignment, not an accident. Get the log out of your own eye so you can see the speck in your brother’s eye. Count the cost of conflict & feel the loss. Initiate forgiveness with the person you’ve sinned against. Initiate reconciliation with the person who has sinned against you. What homework has God assigned to you? Meditate on the Gospel.
Because of the Gospel, conflict can produce character.