Conflicts in a Church

Matthew 18:15-17
15
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
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17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Again, like a previous entry, this is for those who are part of a local church (assembly), a local body of believers. If you are part of a universal/invisible church and body, this will not apply to you. You can go on and read another article that would be more appropriate. But for those who belong to a local body of believers, you realise, even if you have been there a short time that people can offend you. The reality is that Christians are not perfect. They may be saved and have the Holy Spirit, but it does not mean they are always walking with God. Nor does it mean they are not struggling with their flesh (Galatians 5:17). Jesus gave His disciples instructions on how to deal with conflicts in a local church.

1. Deal with the Offence One-to-One
Matthew 18:15

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee,
go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

This verse explains that the offended person should go to the one who has offended him and try to work things out to make the relationship right. An immaturity in many Christians is when they spread a relational problem with gossip; this only provokes and escalates the problem. Jesus said that if an issue is to resolve between you and another person, you should address it just between the two of you.

We must approach the offender in love.
Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Initially, we shouldn't also mention the situation to anyone else. Jesus says that we should go directly to the one who has offended us and work for the right relationship.

If someone has done something truly offensive, God's plan is not for us to hide the problem, allow bitterness to build in our heart, or spread the issue throughout the church, but that you go directly to the other person. Having a spirit of love, humility and having an end goal of the restored fellowship is vital in this. Restoring the relationship is why Jesus said in
v.15, "…if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." God's process for dealing with offences allows us to regain fellowship through restoration.

James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Unlike the modern corrupted Bibles, the 1611 translators correctly used the word "faults". We are supposed to confess our faults to one another, especially in a church, or assembly of believers. We should confess our sins to God, not to other people.

We need to learn to deal with offences as quickly as possible and to keep them as small as possible. Most can be dealt with by a quick and simple meeting of two spiritual Christians—one acknowledging the offence, and the other asking for forgiveness.

Some offences are not quite so simple. So what if it is more complicated?
2. Go To Them With Witnesses
If the offender refuses to admit his wrong-doing or to settle the matter, the offended one then goes with witnesses.

Matthew 18:16
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

In some cases of sinful behaviour or compromise, which you have already personally addressed with the right spirit, you may need to move to this step. Perhaps you need to talk to the pastor or a godly leader in the church to ask for help.

If this fails, the final recourse is to…
3. Take The Matter To The Church.

Matthew 18:17
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

The last and final step that Jesus gives in dealing with an offence is that the matter's brought before the church.

This instruction that Jesus gave would be impossible if the word "church" referred to a universal, invisible body of believers. Imagine trying to bring an issue before the universal body of believers. This instruction could only be done in an ekklesia, a "called-out assembly of believers", a local assembly. Perhaps those who believe in a universal church, need to rethink their position. Since they have moved onto another article, I am preaching to the choir.

Most of the time, a conflict never gets to this point. Either sin has caused someone to leave the church, or it was settled in the first two steps. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church how they should deal with a brother who was walking and living in open sin, refusing to repent, and expecting everyone at church to condone his behaviour.

1 Corinthians 5:11–13
11
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Sometimes this is what it takes for someone to turn from sins in their lives and make things right in a church family, church body. In every step of this process, the Lord lays out, and we need to remember that the purpose of all of this is restoration—not condemnation. When a brother or sister wilfully offends, we need to first begin by going to them one-on-one, in love, looking to reconcile.



Discover how you can receive Christ's forgiveness today!
See this video.

_________________________________________
Want to learn more?
Join us
Sundays for our Sunday Meetings 10:30am & 11:30am in the city centre.
7 Lower Mallow, Limerick City, County Limerick, 061.22.44.22 or 086.79.39.106


(At An Carraig Baptist Church, we take a literal, fundamental approach to the Bible (AV 1611). We are also a local, independent body of believers, which means we are not subject to any religious hierarchy. Being "Baptist" means, we hold to the Bible-based, Baptist Distinctives, that has been the hallmark of true Baptist churches through the centuries. You are welcome to join us at any of our weekly meetings, or schedule to meet for tea/coffee.)

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Legalism: What it is. What it is not.

A couple years ago, we had a couple who came to our meetings. They were saved Christians, but they took a strong stand not to celebrate Christmas, which is one of my families
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favourite holidays. These were not Jehovah's witnesses, they were Bible believing Christians. When I mentioned this situation to another believer, he immediately accused them of being legalists. "Legalism?!?" I thought. I was surprised to hear the word, because this is not one I normally use. Knowing the definition, I personally would not have applied it to this situation. Words and definitions are very important. So I wanted to take a moment to address this word which is so often misused. What is legalism?

What Legalism is…

First, legalism means to mix works with grace for salvation. A legalist is someone who believes, or teaches, that one must keep the law in order to be saved. This goes
contrary to the Bible and contradicts the definition of grace.

A second definition for legalism is to add human tradition to the Word of God, teaching the tradition as if it was what God said to do. The Bible is clear about placing traditions over the Bible. This is one of the things that
the pharisees did. Consider the following verses…

Jesus said the following about holding traditions over the Word of God…
Mark 7:9: And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Mark 7:13: Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

The Apostle Paul also said concerning tradition…
Colossians 2:8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Jesus and the Apostle Paul were both very clear that we are not to place traditions above the clear teaching of the Bible. The Jewish leaders were doing this at the time of Christ. (ie They added traveling restrictions to the Sabbath day.) A modern example of a tradition that is not in the Bible would be Christmas. Nothing in the Bible says we must celebrate Christmas. This also goes for Lent, Easter, and every other "Christian" holiday, because according to the Bible itself, there are no holidays, or holy days, that are required to be kept (See Colossians 2:16 below). This does not mean I am personally against someone celebrating the birth of Christ, but I have no problem with someone who does not. This definition for "legalism" also
could not be applied to the situation I mentioned at the beginning, unless the people were adding it to salvation.

Colossians 2:14: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Colossians 2:15: And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Colossians 2:16: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Colossians 2:17: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

In context, these verses above are specifically referring to the Jewish ordinances. The Jewish holy days and dietary restrictions of the Old Testament were done away with in at the crucifixion. They were "a shadow of things to come", a picture of the coming messiah, and when He came and fulfilled His purpose, the ordinances were no longer needed. In other words, since Christ died on the cross I am not to judge whether someone keeps the Old Testament holy days, or not.


“What Legalism Is Not”

Legalism
is not New Testament, separated, holy living. Consider the following verses…

Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The New Testament is clear that a born-again Christian is saved by grace without works, but he is also supposed to live a life of good works. These good works do not save a man, nor do they maintain his salvation, but they
reveal to the world that they are saved. It reveals that they have power over sin and the flesh. A believer is to follow the Word of God, not to be saved but because he is saved.

Consider some other verses…
Ephesians 5:11: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Titus 2:11: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Titus 2:12: Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Titus 2:13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Titus 2:14: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Titus 2:15: These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

I John 5:3: For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

There are some who accuse others of being "legalists", simply because they live holy, separated lives. Taking New Testament commands seriously and applying them to one's life IS NOT "Legalism", it is the responsibility of every born again believer. Also, for a Bible preacher to exhort God’s people to obey the details of God’s Word through the Holy Spirit's power is also not legalism. Rather, it is the responsibility, and
what God requires, of every gospel preacher. Although this is not popular in modern contemporary churches, a pastor is supposed to preach the whole counsel of God. If he does not, he is misleading his people.

Ezekiel 3:20: Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Ezekiel 3:21: Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.



Discover how to receive Christ's forgiveness today!
See this video.


_________________________________________
Want to learn more?
Join us
Sundays for our Sunday Meetings 11:30am & 5:00pm in the city centre.
7 Lower Mallow, Limerick City, County Limerick, 061.22.44.22 or 086.79.39.106

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How healthy is your body?

"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." -1 Corinthians 12:12

(For verse links, please click and read online)

This entry is for those who are part of a local church (assembly), a local body of believers. If you are part of a universal/invisible church and body, this entry is
not for you.
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Being a part of a universal/invisible church and body, hopefully you are in one that holds pure doctrines (1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 4:14-16), and one that has an universal/invisible pastor (1 Timothy 3:1-7). I also hope that it is a universal/invisible church that carries out the ordinances of the Lords Supper and Baptisms (1 Corinthians 11:2). It should also be a place that, when you have an issue with another believer, you can take that issue before the universal/invisible church as Jesus said (Matthew 18:15-17). The Bible also says we need to be faithful and not to miss the universal/invisible church services (1 Corinthians 14:23; Hebrews 10:24-25), so you can fellowship and get encouragement from the universal/invisible people. (Listen to Pillar and Ground of Truth, Ecclesiology Sermons)

All kidding aside, for those who attend, and are members of local bodies of believers, like the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:2), the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1) and the Ephesians (Revelation 2:1), you need to understand that you are a member of a body (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:27). God compares a church to a body because it is something we can relate to. Every member, every part of our physical body, is essential. Is there a part of your body you would want to be cut off? Imagine our body without eyes? Without a nose? Without legs? Did you know the big toe is vital for a human being to balance on their feet, yet we think so little about it. It is the same with a local body of believers. Some believers are more noticeable than others, but every individual is essential and needed for a local church to function correctly.

(I Corinthians 12:12-27)
Imagine a nose deciding, I am going to depart and go off on my own. Imagine a hand saying I don't need eyes, feet and legs, yet this is what is happening throughout the Christian world. Christians detach from local bodies and go it on their own.

How can a physical nose reach its full potential without being part of a physical body?
How can physical fingers reach their full potential without being part of a physical body?
How can a physical heart reach its full potential without being part of a physical body?
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Sounds like something out of a 1950's horror film.
How can a born-again Christian reach their full potential without being part of a body of believers?
Unfortunately, this is happening with Christians throughout the world, and it is killing Christianity and churches. It weakens Christians, because like a nose or fingers without a body, they will NEVER reach their full potential for God. (1 Corinthians 12:15-16) The reason is that they've detached themselves from a body of believers, a church, an ekklesia, a called-out assembly. Like an eye cannot say I am fine on my own; neither can a Christian because they need and should be relying on a local body of believers.

Similarly, if you disassemble a human body it dies, and it is the same as a church. A body that is disassembled and scattered is not a body. A body without parts is a hurting body. A part without a body is not functioning correctly. A local church, a local body of believers, is vital to the sustainability of a Christian. A Christian needs to be part of a local church for their well being. This is what God says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.

Body parts function together. Every member of a local body of believers is so vitally important. Their purpose is to function together in unity (Ephesians 4:16), unity of doctrine (Ephesians 4:13-14), unity of Spirit (Ephesians 4:4), and a unity of purpose, to lift the name of Christ and spreading the Gospel.

The Bible says God is the one who places people in a body of believers (1 Corinthians 12:28). If you are part of a universal/invisible body, don't pay any mind to what was said, but if God has placed you in a doctrinally sound (Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:17) body of believers, you should stay there, immerse yourself, and get involved in all that they do. Make yourself an important, relied upon member of that body. Be consistent, faithful, and helpful and watch how the Lord blesses your life with growth and fruit. Then you'll see that church, that body of believers, grow and do great things for Christ.

Please feel free to email any comments or questions. [email protected]

If you need help finding a church,
here is a sermon that covers this very topic.
Here are some
local churches that we would recommend.



Discover how you can receive Christ's forgiveness today!
See this video.

_________________________________________
Want to learn more?
Join us
Sundays for our Sunday Meetings 10:30am & 11:30am in the city centre.
7 Lower Mallow, Limerick City, County Limerick, 061.22.44.22 or 086.79.39.106


(At An Carraig Baptist Church, we take a literal, fundamental approach to the Bible (AV 1611). We are also a local, independent body of believers, which means we are not subject to any religious hierarchy. Being "Baptist" means, we hold to the Bible-based, Baptist Distinctives, that has been the hallmark of true Baptist churches through the centuries. You are welcome to join us at any of our weekly meetings, or schedule to meet for tea/coffee.)

Read the rest of the article…

Questions for Bible Believers (updated, clarified & revised)

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
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In this verse, the Bible tells us clearly that Christians are to "be not drunk with wine". I have several questions to ask ourselves.

1. If this means it is OK to drink so long as we don't get intoxicated, how can we follow this command without actually breaking it?

2. Who would be more strict about drink? God or the government?
http://www.askaboutalcohol.ie/alcohol-and-driving/
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3. Since this verse specifically says "wine", Does that mean it is OK to be drunk with hard liquor or beer? Would this apply to marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs or not?

4. According to this verse, can a Christian be "filled with the Holy Spirit" while they are drunk?

Email your comments… [email protected]
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