Have you ever noticed that just when things seem to be going well some sort of conflict will pop
up in your life?
Everything is great at work and then all of a sudden your boss becomes unreasonable, or a
coworker pulls you aside and starts telling you about the other coworker that they can't stand and
next thing you know you're caught in the middle.
You made it to the weekend and you're just about to kick back and relax when your wife lays
into you about that thing you forgot to do... Or you're the wife that can't relax because your
husband forgot to do that thing and he totally flips out when you remind him.
As long as we share our lives with other people there will be conflict, but it doesn't have to end
with chaos and destruction. As we'll see today, it's possible to work through conflict in a way
that honors God.
I. Conflict is a given – verse 1
Conflict will Come - Call it drama, or whatever you like, but we cannot totally escape it. We
think, understand, and communicate in different ways and those differences are going to breed
We also have a very real enemy who Jesus said desires to steal, kill, and destroy, and he seems to
love to use conflict as a means for tripping us up in every arena of life.
I was serving in a church where we were busting at the seams so we went to two services and
saw even more growth. Just a few months later our pastor made a decision that a few people
didn't like and before long that conflict grew into something that caused nearly 100 people to
Here we see things going relatively well, until someone has a complaint. It seems like a valid
complaint, but it still brought the church into conflict. Instead of letting it get out of control,
however, the leadership used great wisdom.
Deal with it directly - The Apostles dealt with the issue head on. It's a mistake to let things just
continue to spiral out of control rather than dealing with the issue. It's also a mistake to talk
about the other person rather than talking to them.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he
listens to you, you have gained your brother."
Others first - One of the biggest traps of conflict is that we wind up fighting for our own desires
at the expense of relationships. No matter what it is that you are fighting for, it damages your
cause if you hurt others and damage relationships in the process.
Jesus said that we're to love others, period. No way around it. We are to operate with love, even
with those we consider and enemy. And love puts others first.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than
yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
II. People aren't the problem – verses 1 - 2
It's amazing how simple problems and disagreements can cause us to turn on each other. We
destroy relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and other believers over some of the
silliest things because we fall into the trap of thinking that the other person is our enemy.
Remember that the problem is the enemy, not the other person. Work together to overcome
the obstacle, don't let it turn you against each other.
Notice what they did: The 12 came together to devise a plan. They called the disciples together
and gave them with the plan, and delegated choosing of the seven to the church, and then the
church entrusted the work to the seven. They worked together instead of against each other.
III. Make Peace Carefully – verse 2 - 4
The Apostles were not willing to make peace at any cost. They realized that the solution could
not take them away from their main mission.
The Apostles existed to lead, teach, and pray, and those things could not be sacrificed on the altar
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to
equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all
reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to
the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
In the same way, we cannot afford to seek peace at any cost.
Avoiding addressing an issue
Using technology as a crutch
Burying your emotions
Just like with the Apostles, peace at any cost carries a higher price than we can pay. Facing the
issue is not only an act of obedience to God's word it's also necessary for the health of our
relationships and our souls.