Faithlife Sermons

Disputes Among Brothers (2)

Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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ILL: Construction on the house and Kurt
Sometimes we don’t have the right person to get advice from.
ILL: Jami and programming.
There are better and worse ways of dealing with problems. Today we’re going to look at disputes and explore some better and worse options for how to deal with them.
The first option is this:

Should we let the world settle disputes?

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? (, ESV)
(, ESV)
(v. 1) The Christians in Corinth were going to secular authorities to try cases against each other.
But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! (, ESV)
(, ESV)
(v. 8) The Corinthians were defrauding each other.
Issue: The world’s way of solving disputes is to weigh the evidence and cast judgment.
ILL: Peter Coleman, director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University, says this:
Kids fight over many of the same things adults do…They fight over ownership of stuff, over envy and jealousy, over status and pecking order…over disappointed expectations in their relationship, over perceived incidents of unfairness or injustice, and because they are tired or bored and just feel like fighting. (Peter Coleman, Columbia University)
It’s easy to see how little kids fight this way, but honestly, most disputes that bigger kids, teens, and adults have fall into these same categories.
We fight over stuff, because it’s mine, or because we want it or we like it.
We may fight for something we don’t even care about because of jealousy or because we feel empowered by winning.
Sometimes we fight because, well, it’s just not fair.
And sometimes, we have disputes because deep down inside we’re just cranky 2-year olds who are bored and tired.
These issues are issues of the heart.
PARENTING ADVICE: Looking to our kids’ hearts.
The reality is that the world around us can’t do much better than judge behaviors, but that just isn’t good enough.
ILL: LANDLORD—What does that do to your heart? And what does that do for your landlord’s heart?
ILL: BROKEN PHONE CHARGER—What does that do to your heart? What does that do to your siblings heart?
We need something more…
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (, ESV)
(vv. 2-3) The saints judge angels and the world.
It’s backwards to judge in the church using the ways of the world.
Note to children’s staff: We are forming hearts to follow Christ, not correcting behaviors.
The world wants to form behaviors, but God wants to form hearts. That’s going to take something more than judgment.
If the church can judge better, then it seems like Paul is saying we should…

Seek wise counsel to settle disputes?

So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? (, ESV)
(, ESV)
(vv. 4-6) Issue of mission. We defame the church when we drag our disputes in public.
We demonstrate we are no different than the rest of the world.
Why is that a problem?
ILL: Baking Cookies for Julie
WHAT: Cookies for Julie
HOW: Baking them
WHY: I want to eat some too!
If we aren’t used to considering the why and we just focus on the what and the how, we are doomed to make decisions, important life choices, and judgments that reflect the weakness of our broken and unfaithful hearts.
Without knowing the WHY we will always live for the passions of our flesh.
Seeking out the counsel of God in the church gets to the WHY of the heart…at least it should.
If we have a dispute, Who should we go to in the church?
I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, (, ESV)
Any Christian? (vv. 5)
A Peer? (ILL: It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine!)
A person with demonstrated wisdom?
If we judge our disputes in the church, maybe it doesn’t affect the mission of the church, but Does it really form the hearts of the people to have hearts like Jesus? Aren’t we still doing the same thing as the world? Someone still wins the dispute and is prideful because of it. And someone else loses and becomes bitter and angry.
Even in the church, judgments fail to form the heart.

Forgive and overlook the offense.

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! (, ESV)
(vv. 7-8) The best way is not to dispute, but to overlook the offence.
SOLOMON: Introduce
A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
(, ESV)
Fighting enslaves.
…distances us from the presence of Jesus.
…dampens our joy.
…dulls our senses so we don’t hear God through scripture and prayer.
§ …dulls our senses so we don’t hear God through scripture and prayer.
WHY Become enslaved? Why not rather overlook the offence and stay free.
Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
(, ESV)
Dispute=glory of self. (I say, Look what I deserve, have done, can get.)
Overlook=God glories in us. (God says, Look what I have done through my servant. Look what trials have been overcome. Look what love. Look what mercy.)
We fight to glorify ourselves and it results in destruction, but when we overlook offences, God glories in us.
It’s hard.
It’s our nature to get offended.
Paul says we need to grow a thicker skin. I want to give you a category of things that we shouldn’t get offended by.
Our preferences. When someone does something you don’t like, that is not a point of offence.
ILL: Tea not Coffee
We get so offended by utterly ridiculous…
Unclear biblical beliefs.
(If you don’t know what I’m talking about…)
o (If you don’t know what I’m talking about…)
Short list
o Short list
When Jesus will return. (day or the hour…)
§ When Jesus will return.
§ If the millennium comes before Jesus returns or after—or if it even happens at all.
If the millennium comes before Jesus returns or after—or if it even happens at all.
§ Whether a person was baptized as a baby or when they professed Jesus as Lord.
Whether a person was baptized as a baby or when they professed Jesus as Lord.
Whether or not, or to what degree, man’s choice plays a role in the salvation of an individual.
§ Whether or not man’s choice plays a role in the salvation of an individual.
The presence of spiritual gifts in the church.
§ The presence of spiritual gifts in the church.
I’m not saying there is no biblical truth, but we’re not going to argue about those things and become enslaved by them.
Values of others. When someone values something you don’t.
EX: Honesty with Precision
o EX: Honesty with Precision
Masters of communication
§ Masters of communication
ILL: Playing Video Games
§ ILL: Playing Video Games
Solomon says we should overlook offences. And Paul agrees. It’s better to be offended. It’s better to take the side of mercy. It’s better to forgive others than to fight.
I’ll close with this.
Jesus told a story. I’ll use contemporary figures to make it real for us today.
A man owed a billion dollars to his king. I assume they were penalties for broken laws. Well, the King decided that it was time to collect on his debt so the man was summoned to the King’s throne room. When asked for the money to be returned, the man had to confess that he no longer had any money and he could not pay it. Truly, he could never pay it!
The King was a just king, but also a reasonable and merciful king, so he said to the man, your debt is forgiven. Knowing that the man would never be able to come up with a billion dollars, he gave the man a pardon and let him go.
On his way home from the king’s palace the man stopped in on a friend who he had lent $20 to the week before. The man told him that he didn’t have the money and he would need more time to repay the debt. But, the man became angry and began to choke his friend with his bare hands, demanding that he return his money.
I’m confounded by this story, because, although it’s not a true story, it speaks so much truth.
Who is this King who is so rich he can forgive a billion-dollar debt? Who is this King who could forgive a billion-dollar debt for every one of his citizens and still remain the richest and most powerful king?
And who is this man who is so far in debt? How did he get to the point that he owed a billion dollars to his king?
You see, the man is you and I.
And the King is the Lord, Jesus.
It’s not until you realize how great and powerful this God is that you recognize how much you owe for violating the standards of His Kingdom. Truly, you could never pay back the debt you’ve incurred.
And it’s not until you realize what a great debt you have that you realize how great the mercy of the Lord really is. God has forgiven us so much we cannot even fathom.
So, why should we forgive the offenses others?
Because Jesus has forgiven us immeasurably more.
It’s not fair! They don’t deserve it! You don’t know what she said! You don’t know what he did! I’ve never been so offended in my life!
Your offence pales in comparison to the offences you’ve committed against God and yet, God has given you mercy upon mercy. If you believe that, then it is to your glory to overlook the offences of others…for the humility it brings to your heart and the grace it brings to theirs.
Let’s pray.
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