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Februar 26, 2006.

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Sermon Outline

Tools For Everyday Life – “Dealing With Conflict”

February 26, 2006.  Pastor Matt

Matthew 18:15-20.


This passage is included among other passages that talk about salvation and how those who are saved should act towards each other.


We are told to go and work things out because we are family and God has purposed for us to work together in establishing His kingdom


We can’t always work things out with the lost because we are not operating under the same set of rules/ principles


How do we resolve conflict among believers?


Matthew 18:15.  "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.


Step 1: Go directly to that person


18:15.  go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.


-         this is assuming the person is not right there with you

o       if they are there with you, then deal with it right then and there


-         this also works when we think or heard that someone has sinned against us


Stopping gossip will prevent most of this from happening

Proverbs 16:28.  A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

-         Gossip destroys relationships.  It destroys churches

Proverbs 26:20.  Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.

-         A church that does not gossip is a church that rarely fights


Romans 1:28-29.  Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,


-         When mankind is described as wicked, gossiping is among the list of things that make a man wicked


-         Don’t take someone’s second hand information


        Ever played the phone game and mess it up? (I can hardly remember what I said or did yesterday.  How can I accurately tell you what someone else did?)


When should I confront a person?


Matthew 18:15.  "If your brother sins against you,


You go to them when they have sinned against you.


When they have broken one of God’s commands in the Bible and it affected you personally.


-         This does not include nit picking or pointing out people’s differences

o       We are all made uniquely different in the eyes of God

o       Often the problem lies within us and not the person who has “offended us.”


These do not qualify:


“This is what they mean”                                     “This is what he was thinking”

“It was your tome of voice”                        “It was your facial expression”


However, this does work for:


When you jump to conclusions/ fill in the blanks

When past junk may be effecting today.

It may be an instance of miscommunication.  (Ask did I hear you correctly or, I fell like you said)


An important thing to remember (when being confronted or when you are doing the confronting):


Proper confrontation is always about winning each other over.


Matthew 18:15.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over


-         It is not about getting your way, making people see it your way, speaking you mind, venting, or getting even, etc.


When someone comes to you, they are trying to make the relationship right again


When you go to someone, your goal is reconciliation.


Remember our goal is not to play the part of the Holy Spirit and point out others faults.


Our goal is to have unity among believers.  Unresolved conflict will eventually show its ugly head once again.

Step 2: Bring witnesses along


Matthew 18:16.  But if he will not listen,

 (If you have not worked things out)

take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'


A witness is someone who:


-         seen the actual offense

-         actually been offended along with you

o       (We do not compile people’s faults against them.) 

o       (We are to deal with conflict one instance at a time and then let it go.) 

o       (Forgive and move on!)


This step is based on…


Deuteronomy 19:15.   One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  


In OT days, if you falsely accused a man of something, the punishment would be given to the false accuser.


Deuteronomy 19:16-19.   If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime, the two men involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time.  The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you.


If you can’t find two or three witness, you probably need to drop it.


You could be the one in the wrong


Step 3: Take it to the church


Matthew 18:17a.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church;


This is not a public execution of someone who has offended you


In NT times, the church was a room full of people working things out/ making it work


In conflict with someone (get in close quarters with that person and stay there until you work it out. 


You can’t be close to a person and ignore the fact that you are at odds with each other.


Imagine a room full of Christians who are all there to help you work through your differences instead of the common idea of a room full of people who want to pick sides and go to war with each other.


This taking it to the church needs to be at an intimate, personal level as it was in New Testament times.


Possible ways you can do this: 

-         Within a small group

-         With the pastor and deacons


The key is to not select a group of people who will be in favor of you


The key is to take it to a group of people you are already intimately connected to


(Once again, showing the importance of koinonia within the church)


Step 4: Treat him as an unbeliever.


Matthew 17b.  and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.


How do we treat unbelievers?

-         Do we kick them out of the church?

-         Do we turn a cold shoulder to them?

-         Do we be mean to them?




This is some ways you can treat a non-believer:


Matthew 5:38-42.  (The same passage the original context of two witnesses came from)


A. Turn the Other Cheek


Matthew 5:38-39.  "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.


-         Revenge/ payback is not part of God’s plan

-         We are to respond in a way that is different from the way the world responds


B. Go the Extra Distance


Matthew 5:40-42.  And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.


-         We usually say, “I’ll do what they want, but that’s it! Nothing More!”

o       God’s ways are not man’s ways

-         Yes, what they are doing may be wrong, but God still wants us to be a witness to them.


C. Show Them Love


Matthew 5:43-44a.  "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I tell you: Love your enemies


1 Corinthians 13,

John 15:13 tells us that there is no greater love than laying your life down for another person


D. Pray for them


Matthew 5: 44b.  and pray for those who persecute you,


-         Great things happen when we pray

-         God works things out when we pray

-         Put the situation in His hands and let him do what He can do when you have done all the above

-          Pray that God would change your heart if need be





Why do we go through all this trouble of overcoming conflict?


Acts 13:47.  For this is what the Lord has commanded us: " 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'


Everything we do is about bringing people to Jesus, especially in how we deal with conflict


Dealing badly with conflict will either push people away or draw them near to Jesus.