The Victorious Christian Life

2 Chronicles 20:1-23

Introduction

The Christian life is not a playground, it is a battleground. Sometimes we forget this fact- perhaps because we are so accustomed to this life, or because we are so distracted from spiritual things- we lay down our arms, surrender our position, and forsake our posts.

Because the enemy is largely invisible, we forget how fierce the battle is raging, and how essential it is that we are ready for war each day!

The Bible tells us that there are three enemies that we face: (1) The world; (2) The flesh; and (3) The Devil. I call these these the External Enemy, the Internal Enemy, and the Infernal Enemy.

Every single day of our lives we feel the direct impact or influence of these three enemies. However, many of us no longer “struggle” in the fight because these enemies have infiltrated and taken out our defences. Even though we know that ultimate victory is ours, we have become prisoners of war, and are shackled to the cleverly devised strategies of these enemies.

The Bible tells us that ultimate victory is ours in Christ but that does not mean that we can just cruise. We are to fight moment by moment. The Lord would have us live victorious Christian lives every day, but that is so hard. It requires much time, effort, energy, and focus.

This message comes to us today because I am concerned for us. I am concerned that there are some who have raised a white flag, packed up their spiritual arsenal, and are venturing into enemy territory without protection. I am concerned that there are those who are running away from the fight because it is too hard. I am concerned because there are some who have been wounded by the deceitful darts of the evil one and are believing his lies. I am concerned that there are few left on our battleground who are truly wrestling with the enemy, and are being left without support and backup.

As we venture into the life of Jehoshaphat and the kingdom of Judah let us learn together how we can live The Victorious Christian Life.

Context

King Jehoshaphat was a man who loved God and sought to abolish the idolatry that so often became a problem in the life of God’s people.

The Bible tells us that “his heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord” (2 Chronicles.17:6).

Furthermore, Jehoshaphat was so concerned with his people knowing the truth of Scripture that he sent out “Bible teachers” throughout the land who expounded the law of God to them (2 Chronicles17:7-9).

It is very clear from 2 Chronicles 19 that Jehoshaphat was a man who knew God, and established his kingdom on His truth and righteousness.

1. The Reality of the Battle

“A great multitude is coming against you….” (2 Chronicles 20:1-2)

God had been blessing the people of Judah because Jehoshaphat loved the Lord and established his kingdom in righteousness and truth.

A great army approaches the city of Judah with the intention of dethroning King Jehoshaphat and destroying the people of God.

Dear friends, we too are in a battle. God’s people today are still being attacked by many adversaries. Our enemy is invisible but the effects of his efforts are clearly manifested. God’s people are fighting for truth in a world that not only believes a lie, but propagates it. God’s people are attacked constantly by the world, the flesh and the devil.

Do NOT THINK that a church or family which is established on God’s truth and righteousness is somehow inoculated against warfare! Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are not fighting visible enemies.

We fight against:

  1. Sin in all its forms (Romans 6:12-13)
  2. Our Self – the mind, desires of the flesh, natural tendencies, temptation (Romans 7:15-25)
  3. The Devil and his kingdom (1 Peter 5:8)
  4. False teaching (Colossians 2:6-8)

We fight for:

  1. Word of God and the truth of God (Jude 3)
  2. The Gospel (1 Timothy 1:11)

Scripture is filled with analogies of battle for the Christian:

1Timothy 1:18  This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

2 Corinthians 10:3-4  For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Ephesians 6:10-12  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

1 Timothy 6:12  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Peter 5:8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

2. The Correct Response to the Battle

King Jehoshaphat though rattled by the news of this oncoming army and their intentions responds in a way that pleased the Lord. Consider the following observations:

a) Set his face to seek the Lord

“Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord…” (2 Chronicles 20:3)

What would you do if you were confronted with an army who were passionately pursuing your life and the life of your people? Though the king’s initial response was fear, he very quickly was driven to his knees to seek the Lord.

More than anything today, God’s people MUST seek the Lord. They must be driven to their knees and beg God in His awesome power to fight for them.

The great need of this hour is for God’s people, the Church of Jesus Christ to seek Him and Him alone. We pursue so many other things but it is time to seek the Lord.

1 Chronicles 16:11  Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Psalm 14:2  The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

Hosea 10:12  Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

Dear friends, the path to victory begins by pursuing the Lord.

Turn your attention away from all other forms of “help and hope”, and seek the Lord.

b) Proclaimed a fast throughout Judah

“And proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” (2 Chronicles 20:3)

Fasting is something that most 21st century Christians have never considered.

The Bible is full of instances where God’s people in times of distress or in preparation for some great task fasted and prayed.

Fasting is not primarily about abstinence from food, but a period of specific concentration upon the Lord without the distraction of “earthly things”.

Fasting in times of great sorrow

2 Samuel 12:19-22  But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’

Nehemiah 1:4  As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Fasting in times of great spiritual warfare

Matthew 4:1-2  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Fasting in the New Testament Church

Acts 13:2  While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

c) The Unity of God’s People in Prayer

“And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 20:3)

History shows us that when the people of God are in distress or under attack they will unite and gather together with one purpose: to seek the Lord collectively.

All the major revivals have come about on the back of prayer. God’s people recognised the prevailing sin of the nation and the need for true revival in the church. Men and woman began to gather and pray and fast and beg God to fight on their behalf. It was at these times that great awakenings were seen and God was most glorified.

If we are to see God work in our little church and communities it will come about through prayer. Prayer is something that should be the natural language of the Christian. Consider the power of prayer:

  1. Moses Prays and intercedes for his people and turns away the wrath of God (Exodus 32:9-14)
  2. Elijah calls down fire from heaven (1 Kings 18:36-38)
  3. Elijah prays for rain to come (1 Kings 18:42-43)
  4. Hezekiah’s victory over Sennacherib (Isaiah 38:21,36)
  5. Joshua prays and the sun stands still (Joshua 10:12-13)

James 5:16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1John 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Acts 12:5-7  So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.

3. The Right Understanding of God & Ourselves

2 Chronicles 20:6-12

As we begin to look at the contents of Jehoshaphat’s prayer we quickly realise that he had a wonderful understanding of the character of God and his own inability to fight this battle.

Consider the following observations:

a) The Sovereignty of God

“You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” (2 Chronicles 20:6)

God is in control. Though the armies rage against us and enemy seeks to destroy us, though we are tossed upon life’s billows roll, let us remember that it is God who holds the reins. True victory will be experienced when God’s people recognise and rejoice in His sovereignty over every part of life.

1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

Job 42:2  “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Psalm 115:3  Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.

  1. God is sovereign in creation.
  2. God is sovereign in salvation.
  3. God is sovereign in legislation.
  4. God is sovereign in administration.

b) The Powerful Acts of God in the Past

2 Chronicles 20:7-11

One of the sure ways to maintain the right perspective of God is to recount the blessings and the outpouring of his power in the past.

This is what Jehoshaphat did.

Consider what great things the Lord has already done for you.

Illustration:

I look back on my own life and I recount times when I was crushed and bruised and broken and ready to quit. People had falsely accused me, the battle was so fierce and I could do nothing to rescue myself from the feelings of despair. Along came God like a bird and swooped down and carried me into his bosom where peace, love, joy and security were found.

Victory will come when we remember who our God really is.

c) The Powerlessness of the Believer

“For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)

Jehoshaphat was aware that he and his people did not stand a chance unless God intervened.

MCCBC will never have the victory until we recognise our own inability and cast ourselves upon the mercy of God. We will never see great things occur in our lives and in the lives of the lost until we learn to cast our lot on God.

So many today are trying to manufacture spiritual work in the life of others without turning to the Lord.

Friends, I am completely at the mercy of God this morning. No eloquence or elocutionary skills on my part will bring about change and revival. It must be God.

Zechariah 4:6  Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.

d) The Importance of Fixing our Eyes on the Lord

“But our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)

If we are to be victorious in our battle it will come about because our eyes are on the Lord.

Today it would seem that the Christian is looking everywhere else. He is looking to his own abilities, strength, wealth, prosperity and so.

If the Christian’s eyes are not on the Lord, how will we ever effect a lost generation with the gospel when we ourselves are not looking to the Saviour?

e) The Battle Belongs to the Lord

“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)

Victory will come for us when we realise that this battle that we are involved in every day is God’s. He fights for us and nothing can overcome Him. We are quickly defeated when we are not turning to Him for strength, help and enablement in the fray.

f) The Importance of Praising the Lord

“He appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love endures forever.”
(2 Chronicles 20:18-21)

How important it is for us to praise the Lord. In spite of the raging battle, in spite of the hardship of life, we must praise the Lord. The Lord delights in our praise.

4. Victory over the Enemy (vv.22-23)

“And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men…”
(2 Chronicles 20:22-23)

How did he do this? Who did he use to perform this ambush?

Questions we will not have an answer to until we get to glory.

The important thing is that it was God who fought this battle and he was victorious.

How will we be victorious in the battle?

  1. Recognise the reality of the battle.
  2. Have the correct response.
  3. Understand God and ourselves
  4. And then….victory will be ours!

Be Strong in the Lord

Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage.

Your mighty defender is always the same.

Mount up with wings as the eagle ascending

Victory is yours when you call on His name.

Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;

And be of good courage for He is your guide.

Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;

And rejoice for the victory is yours.

So put on the armour the Lord has provided,

And place your defense in His unfailing care

Trust Him for He will be with you in battle,

Lighting your path to avoid every snare.



The Truth about Fellowship: Unity in Diversity

Reading: Philippians 4:1-9 | Preaching Text: Philippians 4:1-3

Introduction

We enter the final chapter of Philippians today, and it is filled with spiritual treasures.

True fellowship is exclusively available to those who are believers. It is made possible only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

When real fellowship is experienced it is a foretaste of heaven. Believers living in harmony, mutual edification, deep worship, loving exhortation, humble reconciliation, and spurring one another on to greater sanctification is more precious than anything this world affords.

A church that is unified in love and doctrine can set the world on fire. Similarly, a church that is marked by conflict and division will impact the world negatively and severely hinder attempts to reach people with the gospel.

Acts 2-5 traces the origin of the early church. In these chapters we find believers meeting together daily, devoting themselves to Scripture, fellowship, the Lord’s Table, and even selling houses and lands for the benefit of the entire Body of Christ. However, Acts 6 begins with a complaint from the Greek speaking Jews who felt they were being unfairly treated.

In this example we observe how quickly issues can arise, and how important it is that the church as a whole exercise their commitment to true fellowship, dealing with differences, offences and conflict.

It is an utter inconsistency for those who are “in the Lord” to be at variance with one another. Christ does not permit it; the apostles would not allow it; and we must not legitimise it either.

In this sermon we are introduced to the kind of fellowship that Paul expressed, an important instruction he gave to the Philippian church, and his plea for unity in the midst of a broken relationship.

Join me as I preach a message entitled: The Truth about Fellowship: Unity in Diversity.

Fellowship Expressed

“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” Philippians 4:1

Consider the change that grace wrought in Paul’s life. In Acts 9:1 Saul was breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord! Now consider his attitude toward Christians!

When the grace of God enters the soul of man, that individual will never again be the same. The sinner becomes a saint. The haughty become humble. The persecutor becomes the peace-maker. The murderer becomes a minister. The hater becomes a healer. The fiendish becomes the friendly. This alone is a work of God in the soul of man. Such is unmistakably seen in the life of Paul the Apostle.

Take note of the endearing terms used in this first verse: “brothers, love, long for, joy, crown, beloved.”

I’ve organised this verse into five small compartments which should help us to appreciate how fellowship is expressed.

  1. Spiritual Connection
    1. “Brothers” (not males, but brethren).
    2. The church is not a club. It is the household of faith. A living organism.
    3. Our “connection” is not based upon personalities, hobbies, ethnicity. Our fellowship rests entirely upon Christ and the salvation He has brought to us.
  2. Tender Affection
    1. “Whom I love” – A derivative of “Agape” which speaks of divine love. Not based upon appearance, commonality, loveliness, but dependent on the Spirit of God who pours out heavenly love into our hearts.
    2. “And long for” – Literally “yearned for”. This is the only time this word (in this form) is used in the Bible. Paul earnestly desires to be reunited with these believers.
    3. “My beloved” – Same as “whom I love” but repeated to emphasise his deep affection.
    4. Paul uses this word for “beloved” 27 times throughout his writings to describe the church! How he loved, cherished, and tenderly cared for the church.
  3. Present Joy
    1. “My joy” – Paul’s fellow-believers were a great source of joy. Knowing the reality of their faith and commitment to the gospel provided present comfort and peace.
    2. In writing to Thessalonica:For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? (1 Thess.2:19)
    3. Again Paul writes:For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God” (1 Thess.3:9)
  4. Future Reward
    1. “Crown” – There are a number of different Greek words for crown. This particular word (“stephanos”) is the victor’s crown for winning the race. It stands in contrast to the “diadema” which is the king’s crown.
    2. The Philippians were Paul’s trophy. His future reward, and the fruit of his ministry.
  5. Exhortation
    1. “Stand firm thus in the Lord” – This is not a suggestion, it is an imperative – a command.
    2. Paul does not operate as some dictator who barks out orders, he lovingly issues a command with the authority of heaven.


True fellowship involves each of these components: a real connection through Christ; tender affection made possible through the Spirit; present joy through unified faith and service; evangelism and discipleship which produces eternal fruit; and loving exhortation and instruction which finds its source in divine truth.

Steadfastness Instructed

“Stand firm thus in the Lord.” Philippians 4:1

To “stand firm” is to “keep one’s footing, persevere, to be unmoved.”

It is precisely the same word used in Philippians 1:27 – “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”

The Christian is NEVER to stand still in relation to growth and service, but ever to stand fast as to faith, hope, love and the gospel!

What should the believer stand firm in?

They were to moor their spiritual lives to the unchanging truths of the gospel. Though there were many “enemies of the cross” (3:18) who would seek their destruction, they were to remember their “citizenship in heaven”, their glorious future, and the reality of the resurrection (3:20-21).

Paul’s command was simple: DO NOT DEFECT; do not turn to the left or the right; stay the course; Run the race; Persevere in the fight of faith.

The Bible is replete with commands to remain steadfast, and there are many promises made to those who endure.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

2 Timothy 2:12 If we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

Since a glorious future awaits the believer (3:20-21), let us press on and remain steadfast until He returns.

Unity in Diversity

“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:2-3

Let me begin this third point with a shocking statement. Are you ready for this….?

The church is not inoculated from disagreements, disunity and dissent! All Christians are humans and like families, have tussles. Believers are still living in the flesh, and where people are involved, there will be problems.

James wrote:What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (James 4:1).

One thing that we can all be assured of is that pride will always be at the centre of disunity.

King Solomon wrote:By insolence [pride] comes nothing but strife…” (Proverbs 13:10).

Even the blessed church of Philippi had problems with disunity.

Paul introduces us to two individuals in that local church: “Euodia (not Euodias) and Syntyche”.

All that we know of these individuals is found in these two verses.

Let’s get the facts straight first:

  1. Pronunciation: “You-o-dear” and “Sin-ti-chee” – It is a little humorous that at the centre of this conflict is “sin” and “o dear”!
  2. These were two women at variance with each other in the church at Philippi – Some believed that they were husband and wife, but the Scripture plainly says: “help these women”.
  3. The issue(s) that existed between these women was public enough for Paul to be made aware of it in a Roman prison, and the impact was serious enough for him to include it in this epistle.
  4. The word “entreat” is used twice indicating Paul’s STRONG desire for reconciliation to take place.
  5. Paul does not join sides in this issue, but simply pleads for their unity.
  6. Paul enlists the help of an unnamed individual to assist as a mediator between these women in the Philippian church (“true companion” v.3).
  7. Both of these women have worked alongside the apostle in gospel ministry in the past.
  8. Paul calls upon these women to “agree in the Lord” not necessarily agree in every sense!
  9. Both of these women are believers and named among others who are written in the Book of Life.


That gives us the facts. Now let me throw in some possibilities and implications:

  1. Euodia and Syntyche had some significance in the Philippian church and were likely deaconesses.
  2. The issues that exist were probably not doctrinal because Paul gives no specific instruction as he does on many other occasions. It is also hard to believe Paul would beg for unity when serious doctrinal issues exist. Although I cannot be sure, it is my contention that this was a “personality issue” which resulted in serious, ongoing conflict in the church.
  3. The issue between these women is probably not as big as the impact that their broken relationship has had on the church.


It is an
utter inconsistency for those who are “in the Lord” to be at variance. Although this occurs, it must not be sustained.

The desire for unity in the church is not only a Pauline notion.

Jesus prayed for unity in His church:

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11)

Peter encouraged unity in the church:

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (1 Peter 3:8)

Paul appealed for unity in the church:

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Cor.1:10)

David knew the Value of Unity:

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

Biblical Illustrations of Reconciliation or an Attitude of Forgiveness:

1. Jacob and Esau – Jacob had deceived his father into giving him the blessing which was rightfully Esaus. He also operated as an opportunist and convinced his brother to sell his birthright.

Esau had every reason to hate his brother and even exact vengeance on him in the form of death. However, instead of operating with this attitude, Genesis 33:4 says, “Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”

2. Joseph and his brethrenThey sold him into slavery. He was left in a prison for years. When God allowed their paths to cross, Joseph did not exact revenge on them. Genesis 45:15 says, “And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them”.

3. Jesus at the crucifixion – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

4. Stephen at his death – “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).

BEFORE WE CLOSE, I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO DEAL WITH SOME SPECIFICS THAT SHOULD HELP US HERE AT MCCBC.

Disagreements, conflicts, hurts and offences are part of life and as a church we have and will continue to experience them. To help us work through these matters, I have produced a few questions and comments for us to consider.

Question 1

Is there a brother or sister in the Lord from whom you are estranged? I’m not asking whose at fault! I am asking whether an issue exists.

Remember, it is NEVER ok for disunity to exists between brethren.

Question 2

Am I willing to initiate reconciliation despite where the fault lies and regardless of how I think the other party will respond?

In other words, will I humble myself and be obedient to the command of Christ to be unified with the brethren?

Question 3

Can I absorb this issue in love and relegate it to the category of trivial without it having any impact on the relationship?

This requires honesty and a searching of the heart. Lots of people say “I’ll just cover this issue in love, but never do!

Question 4

If I say nothing, will this issue have ongoing repercussions to our fellowship? Grudges, bitterness, critical spirit, etc.

Question 5

Is this a biblical issue or a personality conflict? E.G. a man with long hair vs. clothes that don’t match. E.G. foul language vs. jokes that aren’t funny.

Question 6

Is this issue an offence which needs confrontation according to Matthew 18? Is this sin in the life of a brother or sister as defined by the Scripture?

Question 7

Is this “feelings-based” or fact-based? E.G. “I feel like you don’t like me” etc.

Question 8

Is this issue petty? Does it really matter?

Question 9

Have I prayed and searched my own heart for pride and bitterness? What is my motivation for confronting this person? To help them see how wrong they are?

Question 10

Am I willing to forgive the faults, flaws and offences motivated by Christ’s forgiveness of me (Ephesians 4:32)?

Question 11

Am I willing to suffer injustice and false accusation for the greater cause of unity and the furtherance of the gospel?

Question 12

Post-Reconciliation: Can I worship the Lord alongside the brother or sister with whom I have been reconciled? In other words, have all offences, sins, differences of opinion etc. been absorbed in the love of God?

Dealing with Issues in Practical Terms:

I don’t want to be too prescriptive. Here is a general “cheat-sheet” for restoration and reconciliation and they are all based upon Scripture principles and precepts.

  • Recognise the fragmentation – something is wrong.
    • Maybe a snide comment, an angry glare, or something else.
  • Seek the wisdom of God in prayer and in the Scripture.
    • Do not spring into action, fall on your knees!
  • Consider your ways and determine the state of your soul (inner man).
    • Take inventory of your own spiritual life (check for logs and specks).
  • Begin to identify any relationship breakdowns – find the roots (not the tree).
    • Don’t let your “feelings” govern this aspect!
  • Humbly and lovingly approach the individual.
  • Be swift to hear and slow to anger.
  • Speak the truth in love.
  • Enlist the help of a godly, unbiased mediator.
  • Sincerely seek forgiveness and restoration.
  • Worship together.

Let us be always ready to reconcile. Always ready to work through issues in love and humility. Always concerned with the testimony of Christ in His church. Keeping short accounts with Christ and one another.



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