Quarter’s Theme: CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN THE CHURCH
UNIT 1 – The Reality Of Conflict In The Church (Lessons 1-3)
LOYALTY CAMPAIGN MONTHS
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 208, 215
Devotional Reading: JAM. 3:14-18
Topic For Adults
UNDERSTANDING OUR DIVERSITY
Topic For Youths
HANDLE YOUR DIFFERENCES WITH CARE
Topic For Intermediates
BE OF ONE ACCORD
MATT. 16:16-19; JAM. 4:1-3; ACTS 15:36-40; PROV. 10:12; 2 COR. 1:9, 12:7-10; JAM. 4:1-3; 1 COR. 10:31 – 11:1
10/9/2017 LESSON 2
REASONS FOR CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins (Prov. 10:12) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Don’t Trust In Self
2 Cor. 1:9; 12:7-10; Jam. 3:16
Despite Jesus’ warning in John 6:63 that the flesh profits nothing, that it is the Spirit that gives life, some still place their confidence in their intelligence, beauty, talents, wealth, connection, etc rather than in the Spirit of God. Those who trust in themselves often cause problem in the church. 2 Cor. 1:9 enjoins us not to put our trust in ourselves but in God. Anything done outside God promotes division which makes conflict inevitable. Don’t use human sense and coin it with the slogan, ‘God says’ to do the work of God when He has not actually said anything. You must be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and be connected to God so that you can be profitable to the kingdom (Jn. 15:4-8). “Self trust is an offspring of pride.” Examine yourself and be sure you are not after vain glory.
Point of Emphasis: Self-confidence is born out of pride and ignorance.
Prayer Point: Lord Jesus, help me not to operate according to the dictates of the flesh but in accordance to Your leading.
To deny the existence of conflict in the church of God is like saying every hour of the day is light without darkness. Conflicts occur whenever people interact and work together. It is a dangerous fallacy to think that conflicts do not occur in the church because we are Christians. The National Evangelical Fellowship conducted a survey in 2011 on the extent of significant conflicts in churches. The result revealed that all was not well in the church.
The lesson of this week opens our eyes to the inevitability of conflicts in the church and how this could be approached in Biblical ways.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: TRUE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE CHURCH (MATT. 16:16-19; JAM. 4:1-3)
Some view the church as a place of worship where perfection is expected from her members. Conflict which serves as hazard that catches people in the web outside is considered as alien. Some think the church should be made up of people that have conquered obstacles and vices which are common outside the church. Rationally, the church consists of people and not Angels. This group of people are from different backgrounds, nations, races temperament, views, etc. They were brought to be transformed from their past evil ways to decent life in Christ. They were admitted into the church at different times and the rate of assimilation differs. Suffice then to say that the church is made up of both mature and immature people with different agenda. Admittance to the church is open to everybody.
Thinking that there won’t be conflict is an illusion. If the existence of conflict in the church cannot be denied, then the onus rests on us to examine reasons for its existence with a view to minimizing the cause and providing remedy for the existing ones as God gives us the enablement.
The church is an avenue through which conflict can be resolved. Also, members of the church should ask for God’s help to find ways out of conflicts. No matter the happenings in the church, Jesus has a wonderful love for her. He promised to build His church and that the gates of hell will not prevail over it.
PART 2: CAUSES OF CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH (ACTS 15:36-40; PROV. 10:12; 2 COR. 1:9; 12:7-10; JAM. 4:1-3)
- The reasons why there is conflict in the church vary. Principally, search for pleasure “hedonism’ which leads to hostility (Jam. 4:1-6) is responsible for most conflicts.
- Misunderstanding that ensues as a result of poor communication (Jos. 22:10-34)
- Views and priority placed on goals, gifts, callings, interest, can cause conflicts. Church members have talents or interests that vary from one to the others.
- Competing over limited resources such as valuable materials – Gen. 13:1-12
- It could also be as a result of sin, a bad habit and use of foul language. James. 4:1-2
- The intention of some to exert self-ego, dominance on others. This is done through evil urge to prove that they are better, stronger, richer and more useful than others.
- Lack of true and genuine love for each other. If we apply the golden rule, then there will be no problem.
PART 3: ANTIDOTE TO CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH (1 COR. 10:31-11:1)
Conflict is not generally bad since God created us differently or uniquely. As human beings, we will always have opinions, desires and positions that differ on issues about life. Many of these are not necessarily right or wrong. It is as a result of how God endowed us differently. We must learn to work with people who see things differently. We must give heed to our guiding principles of doing things.
We should see conflict as a means and opportunity to demon-strate the love and power of God in our lives and not as occasion to impose our will on others. We must operate consistently in line with what our spiritual fathers have ruled on. Acting against their opinion as led by the Holy Spirit is displaying the spirit of disobedience.
Furthermore, we must glorify God during conflict. The best way to do this is to depend on His grace, bringing into our remembrance the unmerited favour, undeserved love, mercy, forgiveness strength and wisdom which God gave us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ resolved the conflict of sin by putting to death our pride and self-centredness. Paul enjoins us to become living sacrifices and to give up our pride (Rom. 12:1). This way, we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Jesus challenged us to take up our cross and follow Him by dying daily to self (Matt. 10:38). We must therefore live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2:20)
We should realise that conflict originates from us as a result of self pleasure, ‘Hedonism’. If we should live to please others by adapting to the golden rule, most of the conflicts in our midst today would be overcome.
- Is it reasonable to deny the existence of conflict in our midst?
- Why do we have conflicts in the church?
- Mention some of the causes of conflict.
- Why is conflict not generally bad?
- What are the antidotes to conflicts?