The Strength of Solving Problems

Dr. Steve Viars August 12, 2012 Luke 17:1-10

Please Note: the full transcript is available in the Manuscript link above.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Romans 10:9-10, 13 - that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation…for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

3 principles to help us channel our God-given strength into addressing the issues that can divide us

I. Problems Between People are Inevitable

A. Stumbling blocks will come – v. 1

skandalon – offenses, snares

James 3:2 - For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

James 3:6 - And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

B. Failing to handle problems between people properly is a serious issue

1. Woe to him through which they come – v. 2

2. It would be better if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown in the sea – v. 2

3. Be on your guard – v. 3

II. Problems Between People Can Be Solved

A. Step One – If you believe a person has sinned against you, go and speak to him privately

1. But doesn’t the person who sinned have a responsibility?

Matthew 5:23-24 - Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

2. What does it mean to “rebuke”?

epitamaw - “to show him his fault”

3. Why?

a. Because your understanding of the situation may be incorrect

b. Because the other person may not realize he sinned against you

c. Because you may have sinned during the interchange as well and you will also have to address that part of the problem

4. One other caveat

1 Peter 4:8 - Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

5. A word to those on the other side of the equation

Proverbs 12:15 - The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

Proverbs 17:10 - A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

B. Step Two – If he repents, forgive him

1. What is forgiveness?

A three-fold promise:

a. I will not bring it up behind your back

b. I will not bring it up to your face

c. I will not dwell on it

Psalm 103:12 - As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

2. Does this mean that forgiveness is conditional?

3. Is it OK if I forgive the person but then refuse to have anything to do with them again?

4. Is it OK to make the person wait a while before I forgive them?

Mark 11:25 - Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.

5. What should a person do in the meantime if a person they’ve rebuked will not repent?

a. Cultivate a “forgiving spirit”

Luke 23:34 - But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

b. Get others involved if necessary and appropriate

cf. Matthew 18:15-18

6. What if I have taken all these steps but the other person is no longer interested in the relationship?

Romans 12:18 - If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

C. Be prepared to do this as many times as necessary

Luke 17:4 - “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

III. Problems Between People Must be Solved

A. The apostles’ question about faith

B. The Lord’s answer about obedience

Romans 10:9-10 - that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

1 John 2:3 - By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.

Proverbs 10:8 - The wise of heart will receive commands, but a babbling fool will be ruined.

Building Core Strength

Psalm 138:3 - On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.

1. Shoring up foundational areas in our walk with Christ and our church ministries that comprise the basis of godliness and effective community service.

2. Planning and praying for the construction of Faith West and the successful launch of a cluster of new ministries in West Lafayette.

3. Preparing for the next round of ministry dreaming as we embark on a new strategic planning process in 2013.

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and five grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video