Problems Are for Solving

July 9, 2005

Introduction:
If you could rid yourself of one thing to make life better, what would it be?
- There’s probably a lot of ways many of us would respond, it wouldn’t be long before we got to the subject of conflicts with other people.
This summer we’re doing a series entitled Embracing the Adventure of a Growing Family.
- The Scriptures teach that Problems are for Solving, and God’s Word provides clear and compelling principles regarding conflict resolution that we’re going to study this morning
It is not an exaggeration to say that this is a major theme of Scripture...
-  And the Lord has much to tell us to help us handle conflict well, and with that in mind, let me ask you to turn to Philippians chapter 4...
-  [READ 4:1-7]
- In these verses, we can learn three principles to help us handle conflicts well.


I. Conflicts are Inevitable.


- John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
- INPUT:  Why would Jesus teach that conflicts are inevitable?
   - Let’s think about the varied sources from which conflict arises...
A.  From the world.
- James 4:4 - ...whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
- 1 John 2:15 - If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
-  And that is not talking about the world of people.  We are always to love people because God does.  However, it is acknowledging the existence of a world system that is violently anti-God.  So we are in conflict with the world system and the world’s way of viewing life
B. With the devil.
- 1 Peter 5:8 - ...the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
C. In our own flesh.
- Matthew 26:41 - Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
D. From inside the church.
E. Possible wrong responses to this fact?
1.  Ignore them.
-  Some folks hate confrontation, and they hate disagreements, and they hate communication about anything substantive or distasteful. So, they just ignore the problem as if isn’t happening even though it is.
2. Let them fester underground.
-  Some believers have all kinds of stuff going on underneath the surface.  They’re bitter, and they’re distant, and they have feelings they don’t even understand, and often it’s because they handled conflicts inappropriately.
3. Try to insulate yourself.
-  In other words, you simply cut yourself off from people or situations where conflict has occurred.
4. Address them with the same selfish goals and methods that led to the conflict in the first place.
5.  Solve them with a sledgehammer.
- There’s not going to be real communication.  There’s not going to be real solutions.  It’s going to be quick, it’s going to be hard, and it’s going to be over.


II. Conflicts are Meant to be Solved.


- One of the key phrases here is in verse 2...live in harmony...
A. Future harmony is possible.
- The reason some people avoid dealing with conflict is, they wrongly believe that the relationship is irreparably damaged.
- The Greek text literally reads, “be of the same mind”, which is why the NIV translates this phrase...”agree with one another.”
B. The Lord is honored by reconciliation.
-  Notice Paul said in verse 2: “Live in harmony.”  In what?  “in the Lord”...
- The reason many people struggle with solving conflicts is that the methods they are using are decidedly unspiritual.
-  When God’s people take up this challenge...”to live in harmony in the Lord,” God is greatly honored by that and He stands ready to bless it.
- And that is true, in part, because fundamental to the character of God is that reconciliation occurs between offended parties...
- Pick any book of the Bible, and you won’t have trouble finding an emphasis on reconciliation.


III. Remember Key Principles of Conflict Resolution.


A. Prepare the person adequately.

1. Speak of your relationship with them.
- “brethren”
- These weren’t his enemies.  A relationship existed.
2. Speak of your love for them.
- “my beloved”  [twice]
3. Speak of their importance and value to your life.
- “my joy and my crown”
- Paul viewed these ladies, and this church and the way they lived, as part of his reward for faithful service.  Sure there was disagreement, but they were extremely important to him.
B. Understand that spiritual stability is required, and developed by solving conflicts biblically.
- “stand firm in the Lord”...
- Unsolved conflicts produce instability.  Conflicts handled unbiblically produce instability...
- Conversely, for people who develop the ability to communicate and solve issues, there is a strength and a stability that comes to that person and that relationship.
C. Keep the conflict pointed, focused, and simple.
- Proverbs 10:19 - When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
- Often it is very wise to simply ask, what is the exact problem as you see it [try to define it biblically]
- Also be quick to show deference if it’s simply a matter of opinions.
D. Enlist the help of others.
E. Remember their value to the team.
- “shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel”
- The fact that they are having problems now does not negate that they have been a blessing to the church in the past...

Conclusion:  It is important to keep short accounts because of the brevity of life.

 


Embracing the Adventure of a Growing Family
Problems Are for Solving – Phil. 4:1-7
Introduction:
-  Three principles to help us handle conflicts well.

I. Conflicts are ____________________.
- John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
- INPUT:  Why would Jesus teach that conflicts are inevitable?

A.  From the____________.
- James 4:4 - ...whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
- 1 John 2:15 - If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

B. With the ____________.
- 1 Peter 5:8 - ...the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

C. In our own ____________.
- Matthew 26:41 - Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

D. From inside the ____________.

E. Possible ____________  ____________________ to this fact?

1. ____________ them.

2. Let them ____________ underground.

3. Try to __________________ yourself.

4. Address them with the same _______________  ____________and
_______________ that led to the conflict in the first place.

5.  Solve them with a ________________________.

II. Conflicts are meant to be ______________.
- “live in harmony...”
A. Future harmony is _______________.

B. The Lord is honored by ________________________.
- “in the Lord”...

III. Remember _______  ____________________ of Conflict Resolution.

A. ____________ the person adequately.

1. Speak of your ____________________ with them.

2. Speak of your __________ for them.

3. Speak of their __________________ and ____________ to your life.

B. Understand that spiritual ________________ is required and developed by solving
conflicts __________________.
- “stand firm in the Lord”...

C. Keep the conflict ________________, ________________, and ________________.
- Proverbs 10:19 - When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.

D. ______________ the help of others.

E. Remember their value to the ____________.
- “shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel”

Conclusion:  It is important to keep short accounts because of the brevity of life.
Embracing the Adventure of a Growing Family
Problems Are for Solving – Phil. 4:1-7
Introduction:
-  Three principles to help us handle conflicts well.
I. Conflicts are Inevitable.
- John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
- INPUT:  Why would Jesus teach that conflicts are inevitable?
A.  From the world.
- James 4:4 - ...whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
- 1 John 2:15 - If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
B. With the devil.
- 1 Peter 5:8 - ...the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
C. In our own flesh.
- Matthew 26:41 - Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
D. From inside the church.
E. Possible wrong responses to this fact?
1. Ignore them.
2. Let them fester underground.
3. Try to insulate yourself.
4. Address them with the same selfish goals and methods that led to the conflict in the first place.
5.  Solve them with a sledgehammer.
II. Conflicts are Meant to be Solved.
-  “live in harmony...”
A. Future harmony is possible.
B. The Lord is honored by reconciliation.
- “in the Lord”...
III. Remember Key Principles of Conflict Resolution.
A. Prepare the person adequately.
1. Speak of your relationship with them.
- “brethren”
2. Speak of your love for them.
- “my beloved”
3. Speak of their importance and value to your life.
- “my joy and my crown”
B. Understand that spiritual stability is required and developed by solving conflicts biblically.
- “stand firm in the Lord”...
C. Keep the conflict pointed, focused, and simple.
- Proverbs 10:19 - When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
D. Enlist the help of others.
E. Remember their value to the team.
- “shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel”
Conclusion:  It is important to keep short accounts because of the brevity of life.