Acts 15:1-15
Conflict Resolution in the Church

Conflict Resolution in the Church

In the passage of Scripture this morning we are confronted with a situation which threatens to tear the early church apart. Serious division and differences of opinion have arisen in the church which if left unaddressed and unresolved could be catastrophic.

Fundamental differences:

  1. The Jewish Christians were raised on the teaching of the Torah
    • The Ten Commandments formed the basis of their relationship with God
  2. There were radical differences between Jews and Gentiles
  3. How were the two groups expected to meet together for worship and to break the bread of communion together?

What was the solution?

  • Paul's decision - We're not going to unnecessarily burden non-Jewish people who turn to the Master
  • Christ Jesus paid the penalty for your sin and mine on the cross.
  • He paid for it completely
  • He gave his life to open wide the way to salvation
  • You are saved by grace plus nothing
  • When God sends his Spirit to live in your life, God's grace will transform your life

How do we define how we should live together as brothers and sisters?

  • We can please God by living together in unity and love
  • Gentiles do not need to become Jews in order to be Christians
  • No do we need to keep a shopping list of rules and regulations in order to gain God's favour
  • Salvation is a free gift of grace

On the other hand:

  • when we become Christians we become members of God's extended family and we must strive to guard the unity of our new family.
  • We need to be considerate toward the cultural sensitivities and traditions of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

O Lord, grant that we might approach our differences 
in a similar spirit of courage, kindness and
spiritual discernment!

In conclusion:

  1.  If you have never surrendered your life to Jesus I encourage you to do so. He loves you just as you are. There is nothing you can do to make him love you more and there is nothing you can do to make him love you less. Salvation is not based on your performance.
  2. When differences and tensions arise between us let’s get together face to face and resolve those differences. Those discussions will sometimes be heated and passionate but that’s okay.
    • But avoid using emails to deal with sensitive issues. And avoid talking behind each other's backs seeking support for your position. Strong families are built on honest dialogue.
  3. Avoid the temptation to become moral police. Sanctification is the work of The Holy Spirit who lives in each of our lives. Trust in him.
    • The evangelical church has gained a reputation for being harsh and judgmental instead of graceful. Let’s change that image.
    • Please. The only person who has a right to confront my behavior is the person who has demonstrated his or her unconditional love for me.
  4. Joy, trust, and unity should be the trademark of the Christian faith, not rules, procedures, and regulations. Let’s avoid being Pharisaical.