Aug 30 2020 1 Kings pt 4 - Navigating a Time of Conflict and Divide pt. 2

Lord, thank You that You have defeated death! We pray for Lewis and Gigi – that You would help them to recover in Your healing power. Speak to our hearts – help us to understand the times we live in and what we are to do as Your followers – as witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

This is really part 2 of last week – you might want to go back to put things into context…

1 Kings 12:15 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite. 16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: "What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse's son? To your tents, Israel! Look after your own house, David!" So the Israelites went home.

This division will be devastating to the nation. I’d like to take this same understanding and put it in our context. It is no secret that we live in a divided world and a divided country. It has probably been true for a long time, but the events of 2020 have brought us to a tipping point. This has created a lot of division – and an even greater problem – division in the Christian world. I’d like to talk about unity among believers – the blessings that God brings when we are united! There are many promises of blessing for that in the Bible.

Our challenge – as Christ followers – how to be witnesses in these times of turmoil. Unity among believers is essential for us to be witnesses to the gospel of Jesus. He said – By this – will all men know you are my disciples – IF – you love one another. If you don’t, you won’t!

I think we need to ask ourselves. If outsiders were listening to Christian conversations – about so many things – would they know – by those posts – those conversations – those blogs – that we are His disciples by the way we love one another? They ARE listening! The world is paying tremendous attention! Those outside the church talk about what they see and hear in Christians.

Unity and agreement on issues are NOT the same thing! Christians have disagreed on all sorts of things forever – and that does not mean that we don’t love one another. The easiest thing would be if everyone just agreed with ME! And you’re thinking the same thing!

I’m jumping from Kings – to the New Testament – to shed some light on some principles to help us live in unity:

1 Cor 1:10 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.

NAS – is what I cut my teeth on – I urge you, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no division among you.

The problem with that – it caused people to think that Paul was talking about uniformity of opinion – but he is not talking about that at all

End your division! That is significant. What is the context? And if you just pull the words out, you go astray – it is a fatal flaw in understanding what it says.

NIV – an updated version – I appeal to you… that you all agree with one another in what you say!

All agree

Agree together

Agree in what you say

You might say – well these are all different! Do you know what that means? You need to dive deeper! I encourage you to use more than one translation! It is important to do that! At least read one, for sure!

If you were to look this up and see what this LITERALLY SAYS – that you all say the same – that you all talk the same!

In the deeper dive - you would discover that was a common saying used in their time for political communities in their world – urging those political communities to not have any factions within that community.

We just had two back-to-back conventions in our country. In them – And I only watched clips the next day – but everyone – whether democrat or republican – spoke with one voice, didn’t they? If you go back to the primaries – there was no agreement at all!

But in this time, they are speaking with one voice – that is what Paul is saying here.

Context – if we were to look at the very next verse – they were lining up giving their loyalties to three different leaders – I am of Paul/Peter/ or Apollos – and they are saying – no, no, no, we need to follow THIS one!...

That is what Paul is saying – stop the dividing. Then right after that – to speak with one voice – and what that voice should be – nothing except Christ crucified! That needs to be the voice the world hears from the church and no other! I am determined, he says, to know NOTHING among you – except Christ crucified.

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Paul spends a lot of time in Corinthians speaking of all the diversity in the church – ethnicity, race, gender, theological conviction – and he praises all of that – and then tells us how to get there in Chapter 13 – loving one another – it is in every wedding – what it teaches about love – and THEN – the world will look on us and say, Wow! That is something entirely different.

Ephesians 4:31 31 You must put away every kind of bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk. 32 Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.

8 Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. 9 Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. (1Peter 3:8)

James 3:13 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom…

We place way too much focus on being right – and way too little on DOING right. We need deeds that unite. People building bridges and tearing down walls – by our deeds –

Wisdom is connected to humility – and that is counter-intuitive. When we think we are right, we tend to be arrogant. He is saying – in your understanding – to demonstrate tremendous humility. – Real wisdom only comes with humility.

You can have knowledge without humility – but you can’t have wisdom without humility.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure

(motivation of the heart – a motivation of love – and in no way a motivation to get our own way. It is easy to use wisdom, er, knowledge, to get our own way) Wat is our motivation? Is there any SELF in our motivation? Rip it out! I am as much to blame as anyone. We want to get our way – we think it is the best - and we have to remove that. In doing that we discern together what God wants – and you can’t discern together until you rid self and pull it out. Crucify it! I am crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live.

; then peace-loving

Peace needs maintenance! Much more than a car! It takes continual work! Unity takes continual work! If you are not working on peace and unity, the natural tendency

, considerate, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Who do we view as enemies? Jesus has instructions – Bless and do good!

Gentleness The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, (2Tim. 2:24-25)

We live in a time where gentleness does not exist – it has been written off. Some think gentleness sis weakness – but it is strength and courage to accommodate others when there is a difference of opinion.

To do this – Tom and I were talking – and he said this – and I said – oh, I was thinking about that earlier – that most we disagree with are people of good will – decent human beings – and most of those you think aren’t, are! I know there are those who aren’t. But we need to see that all people are created in the image of God – really see them that way – when we look at people to see someone who looks a little bit like God!

The final thing we need to do -

Romans 14:4 Who are you to pass judgment on another's servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

There was a divisive thing in the church in Rome – meat sacrificed to idols – it was a HUGE practical problem – about as big as any issue we can think of today – they wanted to others to no longer be part of the church based on what they believed – and he says this – who are you to judge?

Romans 14:4 Who are you to pass judgment on another's servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

They are the Lord’s servants! And they don’t stand before you or me – they only stand before God – and Paul says – God is able to make them stand!

I’m going to give one assignment. Peter quoted from the Sermon on the Mount – over the next month – read the Sermon on the Mount –

Matthew 28: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Teaching them to discern all that I’ve commanded you…. – And we think, yeah, discipleship course – assurance of salvation, baptism, etc. – but that is NOT what this is saying! Matthew wrote to teach us something – there is the birth/magi/genealogy – etc. – and then Chapter 5 comes – 3 chapters straight of the longest teaching of Jesus recorded!

Then he is expounding and living out that teaching – and then the last verses – go back to chapter 5 – and read 5-7 and understand it as a foundation of the teaching.

The most important sermon ever given! None more important!

Let’s pray – Lord, we ask that You would create within Your people – Christians throughout this world – a love and unity that the outsiders say – that is different from everything else we see – and that would attract people – and our light would shine to glorify -

Matthew 11:28 28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

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