Conflict Starts in the Heart

September 16, 2006

CONNECTING with my Lord
 Read Mk 14:35-36 [Context: In the Garden, before the Crucifixion]
These verses give an amazingly honest testimony of how Christ was looking at his soon-to-come crucifixion.  What do you see as His thinking struggle? 
- ‘the cup’ could refer to the actual physical suffering of the crucifixion, OR (more likely) the reality of becoming sin for us (the spiritual element – refer to 2 Cor. 5:21)
- Tempted to do His own will (tempted like us) cf. Heb. 4:15-16)
What was His response?
- Submission to the will of the Father! OBEDIENCE!
How would you summarize what was driving His response?
- Life was not about Him; He came to glorify the Father and fulfill the plan of redemption!
Point: Jesus had a heart for the glory of God and was tempted in all ways like us, yet without sin – He chose to please the F
CONNECTING into my Life
When I am in a disagreement with my spouse (or someone else), generally what am I wanting?
[I want to be right, I don’t want anyone to differ with me, etc.]
What desires do I have that sometimes grow into controlling demands or idols that trigger or aggravate conflicts in my life?
[various answers]
How do I judge and/or punish those around me when my sinful idols are not being satisfied?  How does my behavior affect others?
[examples]
What can I do to diminish the influence of idolatry in my life?
[replace/put off the idols with putting on love for God in my heart!]

CONNECTING into my Church!
Prayer Time: Pray for our church and ABF to ‘put off’ idolatry and ‘put on’ true worship of God!


Conflict Starts in the Heart
God uses conflict to reveal the idols of our heart!
1. The PROGRESSION of an idol: James 4:1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures
1) I DESIRE –may not be inherently wrong, but can become an idol
2) I DEMAND – the birth of an idol (Heart: I deserve it, must have it)
 Isa.42:17 They will be turned back and be utterly put to shame, Who trust in idols, Who say to molten images, "You are our gods."
 Idol = anything apart from God that we depend on to be happy, fulfilled, or secure // other than God that we set our hearts on (Lk. 12:29) // that rules us (Eph. 5:5) // we trust, fear, serve (Isa. 42:17; Lk. 2:4-5; Mt. 6:24). 
Point:  Given its controlling effect on our lives, an idol may be referred to as a “functional god.”
3) I JUDGE – “I’m not getting what I want, and it’s your fault!”
 James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
4) I PUNISH – … until I get what I demand (Cain: Gen. 4:8)
* Punishment Techniques:


2.  Expose idols by asking “X-RAY” questions.
 Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD.
 With what am I preoccupied? [What do I dwell on, think about, or meditate on most of the time?]
 How would I complete the statement:  If only __________, then I would be happy, fulfilled, and secure.
 When a certain desire is not met, do I feel frustration, anxiety, resentment, bitterness, anger, or depression?
3.  The CURE for an idolatrous heart:
 REPENT & receive God’s refreshing forgiveness (Acts 3:19)
 Worship and DELIGHT yourself in the Lord  (Ps. 37:4)
 Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
END OF DVD – Open Discussion/Small Groups

CONNECTING  IT! – GROUP DISCUSSION
Idol = anything you make more important than pleasing God!
What thoughts/images come to mind when you hear the word “idol”?
[bowing down, control, emptiness, Israel in the OT – Baal worship, Corinth in the NT – worshipping the Greek god Zeus, etc.]

What would you list as five common “idols” in our society?
[various answers and order in which they are given]
1. Material Possessions
2. Sexual pleasure
3. Status (position of a job, etc.)
4. Approval (praise of men)
5. Entertainment/Comfort – i.e. sports, time off, no work, etc.

“The human heart is a factory of idols; it’s not that we want something, it’s that we want it too much.” – John Calvin
Q: How does a person determine if something is an idol:
1) How do you respond when you don’t get it?
2) Are you willing to sin (clearly violate God’s Word) in order to get it?

CONNECTING to the Word – Small Groups
 What do the following verses communicate about idols”?
 Exodus 20:3"You shall have no other gods before Me.”
[Simple:  God is 1st place – period] – this isn’t hard to understand, but hard to obey due to the curse of sin


 Exodus 20:4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
[don’t make any idols of any kind, anywhere!]


 Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
[The Lord is omnipotent – the Creator – therefore worthy of worship]


 Psalm 115:1-8 [READ – what an awesome description of idols; the remaining verses speak of the greatness of God – v.9-18]
[various answers – the weaknesses of our idols – whether graven images for things in our hearts; they don’t satisfy!]

[v. 9-18 – READ if possible – note the contrast – why do we have idols knowing this is true . . . it’s the hardness of our hearts]

 1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.
[bottom line: There is only one true god, others are fake!]
 1 John 5:21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
[be watchful, careful, don’t think you can’t be guilty of idol worship]
 If we really believed and practiced the following verse, what impact would that have on our lives – especially in times of conflict with others?

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
‘glory’ = to give the right opinion of God

[various answers – we would be much less concerned about our opinions, if we are right, if the other person changes, if we get our ‘demands’ – we need to be consumed with the glory of God and praising Him before each other, the Body of Christ, the world!



CONNECTING with my Lord
 Read Mk 14:35-36 [Context: In the Garden, before the Crucifixion]
These verses give an amazingly honest testimony of how Christ was looking at his soon-to-come crucifixion.  What do you see as His thinking struggle? 


What was His response?


How would you summarize what was driving His response?

 

CONNECTING into my Life
When I am in a disagreement with my spouse (or someone else), generally what am I wanting?

 

What desires do I have that sometimes grow into controlling demands or idols that trigger or aggravate conflicts in my life?


How do I judge and/or punish those around me when my sinful idols are not being satisfied?  How does my behavior affect others?


What can I do to diminish the influence of idolatry in my life?


CONNECTING into my Church!
Prayer Time: Pray for our church and ABF to ‘put off’ idolatry and ‘put on’ true worship of God!


Conflict Starts in the Heart
God uses conflict to reveal the idols of our heart!
1. The ___________________ of an idol: James 4:1-3
1) I ____________ –may not be inherently wrong, but can become an idol
2) I _____________ – the birth of an idol (Heart: I deserve it, must have it). Isa.42:17
 Idol = anything apart from God that we depend on to be happy, fulfilled, or secure // other than God that we set our hearts on (Lk. 12:29) // that rules us (Eph. 5:5) // we trust, fear, serve (Isa. 42:17; Lk. 2:4-5; Mt. 6:24). 
Point:  Given its controlling effect on our lives, an idol may be referred to as a “functional god.”
3) I ___________ – “I’m not getting what I want, and it’s your fault!”
 James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
4) I _____________ – … until I get what I demand (Cain: Gen. 4:8)
* Punishment Techniques:


2.  Expose idols by asking “__________” questions.
 Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD.
 With what am I preoccupied? [What do I dwell on, think about, or meditate on most of the time?]
 How would I complete the statement:  If only __________, then I would be happy, fulfilled, and secure.
 When a certain desire is not met, do I feel frustration, anxiety, resentment, bitterness, anger, or depression?
3.  The CURE for an idolatrous heart:
 __________& receive God’s refreshing forgiveness (Acts 3:19)
 Worship and ______________ yourself in the Lord  (Ps. 37:4)
 Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.


CONNECTING  IT! – GROUP DISCUSSION
Idol = anything you make more important than pleasing God!
What thoughts/images come to mind when you hear the word “idol”?

What would you list as five common “idols” in our society?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

“The human heart is a factory of idols; it’s not that we want something, it’s that we want it too much.” – John Calvin
Q: How does a person determine if something is an idol:
1) How do you __________ when you don’t get it?

2) Are you __________________ (clearly violate God’s Word) in order to get it?

CONNECTING to the Word – Small Groups
 What do the following verses communicate about idols”?
 Exodus 20:3"You shall have no other gods before Me.”

 

 Exodus 20:4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

 

 Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.


 Psalm 115:1-8 [Consider v. 9 – 18!]

 


 1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.

 

 1 John 5:21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

 

 If we really believed and practiced the following verse, what impact would that have on our lives – especially in times of conflict with others?

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
‘glory’ = to give the right opinion of God