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SF876 - How to Resolve Conflict - 7 OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO VICTORY (Nehemiah 5 1-13)

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Nehemiah 5:1-13

Introduction

Review about opposition and how Satan tries to stop a work: 

Whenever God’s people have a mind to work, Satan will have a mind to wreck!

In chapter 2 they attached with derision.  They tried to laugh them out of doing the work.  They made fun of them, ridiculed them, put them down.  Nehemiah's response was to ignore it.  When people ridicule you and put you down for what you are doing for the Lord, just ignore it. 

The second tactic they tried was discouragement.  They came and said, You are tired, you are never going to be able to finish, it is hopeless, there is too much trash.  They got them all discouraged.  Nehemiah's response to discouragement was simply to remember the Lord.  He put people by families -- strength in groups.  "Remember the Lord is with us and do not give in to discouragement." 

The next tactic that came along was danger.  They threatened their lives.  The opposition, Sanballat and Tobiah, said, "We're going to come and kill you when you are not looking."  They threatened them and tried to scare them into quitting.  Nehemiah's response to that was to resist it.  He said we are going to resist it: half will build the wall, half will carry swords.  Then they would alternate on shifts. 

They tried derision, discouragement, and danger.  Today we are going to look at how they tried to use division and discord.  They tried to create internal conflict.  When you get people fighting each other they become ineffective.

In chapter 4 was the opposition was from the outside.  In chapter 5 the opposition comes from the inside.  That is much worse, the sabotaging from the inside.  Satan tries to divide them.  He uses money.  Is that not typical?  More conflicts are caused by finances than anything else.  The majority of divorces are because of financial problems.  Satan is going to try to divide them over financial issues.

Does the devil still use division today?  Of course he does.  Internal problems destroy more churches than external problems.  Satan would rather cause division in churches than anything else. 

Mark 3:25 (NASB) 25“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

You ever see a football team defeat itself.  A bunch of people with massive egos and, rather than fight the opposing team, they fight each other.  Division can happen wherever you have two or more people.  We tend to want our own way.  Someone has said when you have two Baptists in a room you will have three opinions.

If you do not deal with conflict then it is going to stop the work of the Lord in your life.  If you are going to be a leader you have to learn how to resolve conflict.  This chapter teaches us conflict management, the skill of dealing with conflict.  Verses 1-5 sets forth the causes of conflict; and verses 6-13 lays out the cure for conflict.

1A.      THE CAUSE OF CONFLICT

The background of this chapter is the people have been spending all their time working on the wall.  They did not have any time to cultivate their gardens and raise food.  They had four complaints.

1B.      There was a food shortage  (5:1-2)

In the next verse, we find out there was a famine.  Resources and goods were in short supply.  There were more mouths to feed than they had food.  Inflation and high prices.  Food shortages. 

It is interesting: they are doing the work of God, yet God allowed a famine.  Why?  Were they not doing what He had told them?  Doing God's will does not exempt you from the common problems of life.  Just because you are doing the right thing does not mean your car is not going to break down or have some major health problem or otherwise.  So there was a food shortage in verse 2.

2B.      They were over mortgaged in their homes.  (5:3)

That is what you call financial bondage.  They were using their equity to feed their families.  They were taking their equity out of their homes and mortgaging them deeper and deeper just to put food on the table.

3B.      They were suffering under high taxes  (5:4)

They had to borrow money just to pay taxes.  They are deep in debt.

4B.      They were selling their children as slaves to pay their debts.  (5:5)

They had to have food so first they mortgaged their homes then they started selling off their family to raise money.  They were forced to place their kids into slave labor to pay debts.  Circle "mortgaging,” “borrowed”, and "slaves," I think those three words go together.  The Bible is relevant!  High taxes, high mortgage, high prices, forced to work overtime -- sounds like many of our homes today.

5B.      They were exploiting each other  (5:1)

But these hard times were not the root problem.  They are complaining about each other.  The rich Jews were exploiting the poor Jews in a time of crisis.  They were taking advantage and capitalizing on the misfortunes of the poor people.  Those who had money and had food were saying, "If you'll sell me your house I'll give you food.  I will lend you money but it will be at high interest rates.  And if you can't pay the loan I'll take your children as collateral."  They were exploiting each other.  Rather than helping and giving to the poor they're charging high interest and repossessing their homes, taking their children as slaves -- total disregard for the misfortunes of other people, only thinking of themselves.

This was clearly against God's law. 

Exodus 22:25 (NASB) 25“If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest.

God allowed the Jews to charge interest to other people, but they were not allowed to charge interest to each other.  They could loan to each other but they could not charge any interest on it.  The Bible also said that the Jew was not to enslave another Jew.  If someone was poor he could come and work for you but you were not to make him your slave.  They were clearly violating God's will.  The rich were blatantly violating these laws: profiteering, exploiting, and capitalizing on the famine.  We have a conflict between the haves and the have nots right in the middle of this building program. 

Biblical Principle: The root cause of internal conflict and discord is always selfishness. 

Whether you have conflict in your family, with your boyfriend, in church, in your office, at school -- the bottom line in conflict is always selfishness.  Always! 

James 4:1 (NASB) 1What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?

What causes conflict?  Selfishness.  When my wants conflict with your wants, we have a problem!  We are going to have conflict, division. 

The most fulfilling part of leadership is working with people.  But the most frustrating part of leadership is working with people.  People tend to be selfish, including me.  We want our own way.  We want to do our own thing.  As a result we do not always want what is best.  We think of ourselves and that causes conflict.  It is always selfishness.

2A.      THE CURE FOR CONFLICT 

How do we resolve conflict?  Nehemiah knew this whole thing could blow up in his face and the wall never be rebuilt.  They were exploiting each other.  They had Jews fighting against Jews, families fighting against families.  In verse 1, the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their own people.  This kind of conflict is much worse than fighting an enemy out there.  An external enemy will often cause the troops to rally, it builds unity.  When you are fighting each other, it is dividing you apart.

1B.      Step One – Reaction, get angry.  (5:6)

Nehemiah did not ignore the problem, he took it seriously.

When the harmony of your church or family is threatened, you had better get angry.  You must protect the harmony of your home, your group, your Sunday School class -- whatever.  It is important to remember that the building of the wall did not create these problems; it revealed them.  When we begin to move forward for the Lord problems will surface.

Sometimes anger is very appropriate.  Sometimes it is the right thing to do.  This verse says Nehemiah was very angry.  Anger is commanded by God.

Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV) 26“Be angry, and do not sin”

It is possible to be angry and not sin.  If it was not possible then God has sinned.  The Bible speaks of God’s anger.  We are told that Jesus got angry.  You can get angry and not sin.  One of the first things you need to do if there is disharmony caused by selfishness is to become angry.  You need to take it seriously!  There is the right kind of anger and the wrong kind of anger.  The key is knowing the difference. 

Nehemiah's anger was not a personal reaction.

Nobody was hurting him.  He was not getting angry and striking back because somebody bruised his ego.  That is the wrong kind of anger.  He was not striking back in revenge.  That is the wrong kind of anger.  But what he had was justifiable indignation.  He was angry at the selfishness of these rich people.  He was deeply disturbed by their exploitation of the poor.  They could stop the entire project just because of their own selfishness and greed.  Nehemiah must have thought, "What good is a wall if the people inside the wall are ripping each other off?  What good is a wall if we're exploiting each other?"

The point is we need to be angry at sin.

When you see something that is destroying the harmony in your family, your church, your nation, your business the first thing you should do is get upset.  Nothing should upset us more than division in our homes or our church.  If you want to be called on the carpet at PBC, just cause division or propagate false doctrine.  I am jealous for harmony in this church.  I am jealous for the unity in this church.  I am jealous for the purity of this church.  The last thing they needed was internal strife especially since there was plenty external strife anyway.

2B.      Step Two – Reflection, think before you speak.  (5:7a)

If you only do step one and do not do step two you are going to get into a lot of trouble.  These people were ripping everybody off.  The Hebrew word is literally "I consulted with myself". 

Nehemiah's first reaction was to get angry.  But before he did anything else he got alone with God, prayed about it, thought about it to get the perspective right.  He planned it out and said, "God, what do You want me to say?"  There are some times when you do not need to go talk to anyone else.  You need to set down and say, "What's really going on here?  I am ticked off.  I am irritated.  I am upset.  But what's really happening?"  Set aside some time for reflection, some time to think.  Because, when you get angry your first reaction is usually wrong.  You ought to get angry.  There are some things you ought to get upset about when you see selfishness preventing or harming the work of God.  But before you do anything about it you do step two you need to take time to think and pray. 

James 1:19-20 (NASB) 19This you know, my beloved brethren.  But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

This is the antidote.  It is not a contradiction.  It is clarifying what Ephesians said, "Be angry and sin not."  There is a difference between man's anger and God's anger.  Man's anger is when we act in revenge.  God's anger is when we act in righteousness.  There is no personal vendetta involved: I am going to get angry because you hurt me, you irritated me, you frustrated me, and you disappointed me.  That is the wrong kind of anger.  You are angry out of your own selfishness.  Somebody did not live up to your expectations.

What he is saying, " be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger."  If you do these first two the third is automatic.  If you are quick to listen and slow to speak you will be slow to anger.  And the anger you have will be godly anger after you have thought it through, consulted with yourself.  You have not just spouted off whatever first came to mind.  Impulsive anger always gets you in trouble.  I have seen a lot of leaders who were very effective for the Lord, in a moment of impulse blow it all.  They lost their credibility just because they were impulsive.

Step two is reflection.  It is a good antidote or qualifier of step one -- the reaction of getting angry.

3B.      Step Three – Rebuke, privately confront the offending party.  (5:7b)

Go directly to the source.  You do not deal with somebody else about it; you do not talk with five or six different people to get everybody on your side.  You do not say, "I've got a prayer request..." which is often sanctified gossip.  You go directly to the person, directly to the source.

If someone has offended you and you go to someone else you have already sinned.

An example: Nehemiah 5:7 " I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, “You are exacting usury, each from his brother!”  Usury is interest, exorbitant interest.  He goes to them directly.  Directly to the problem -- the people who were sinning.

Matthew 18:15-17 (NASB) 15“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  16“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.  17“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

How did Jesus tell us to treat pagans and tax collectors?  Love them.  He just did not treat them like brothers.  That is the difference between acceptance and approval.

Only involve the people to the limit you have to involve others.  First, go see the person.  Try to resolve it one on one.  If that does not work, take another person along.  If that does not work then you involve a larger group and bring the church in on it.  But he does not say, first go tell the whole church and then the person.  If you go to someone else first, you have sinned. 

Notice Nehemiah 5:7,circle "contended."  Nehemiah is not making a polite social visit here.  He is angry and he is not glossing over the fact that these guys were ripping off other people.  He is not watering it down.  He is confronting them. 

You must confront the offending party.

How many of you like to confront people?  If you like to confront people, you are weird!  People who like to confront have a problem!  How many of you like to be confronted? 

I hate confronting people!  It is not fun.  I want everyone to like me!  So, do you!  I do not want to be disliked and I do not want to cause hard feelings.  But I have learned it is necessary to confront individuals for the good of the church.  I have also learned that if I do not confront the problem in the church it only gets worse.  It does not get better.  I have also learned that the longer I wait the more courage it takes to confront.  I become more and more of a chicken the longer I wait. 

Have you ever seen the morale in an office deteriorate because of one jerk who is making everybody miserable and yet is a trouble maker and his poisonous attitudes are being spread throughout the entire office because the manager is a wimp and would not deal with it.  He kept putting it off.  Maybe that person who is causing everyone's problem happened to be the top producer.  So the manager was more interested in profits than he was in people.  He did not care that everybody else was sick of the person, because he was still bringing in all the sales. 

Have you ever seen a family fall apart because the parents were afraid to discipline their kids?  They were afraid that if they really disciplined them, they would loose them.  That is tough love.  Privately confront the offending party. 

Biblical Principle: Christians must have the courage to confront.

You must have the courage to confront.  Speak the truth in love.  Leadership requires courage.  Leadership is not a popularity contest.  If you try to please everybody you are trying to do something even God cannot do.  Even God cannot please everybody.  A leader has the courage to say, "I do not care what the fall out is, this has got to be done.  I am going to confront this issue head on.  Let the chips fall where they may!  For the greater good of the family, for the greater good of the business, for the greater good of the church -- I do not care if you do not like me, but the fact is this has to be dealt with."  That's what Nehemiah's doing here.  He said I am going to deal with the issue.

Titus 3:10-11 Pastors, elders, and other leaders are commanded to warn troublemakers.

Titus 3:10-11 (NASB) 10Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

One of the tasks of leadership is to warn troublemakers.  I have seen many pastors and leaders fail to confront a derisive person out of fear of loosing that person.  The long-term problems in the church were even greater. 

4B.      Step Four – Resolution, publicly deal with public divisions.  (5:7c)

Obviously in this situation, everybody knew about what was happening that the rich people were ripping off the poor people.  It had to be dealt with publicly.  You deal with things publicly to the degree that they are known.  If it is a personal sin, you confess it personally to God.  If it is a private sin between you and another person, confess it privately.  If it has involved the whole church, or a large portion of the church, then you have to deal with it publicly.

Nehemiah publicly repeats what he told them in private.  He says in Persia when I was the cupbearer I used to use my personal wealth to buy Jews out of slavery and I come home to the capital, to Jerusalem, and we're selling Jews into slavery to our own people.  This does not make sense.  It is inconsistent.  Why are you doing this sin?  Buying your own brothers and sisters in order to make a profit?  You obviously know what Leviticus says that it is illegal for you to do that so why are you doing this.  The response was silence. 

Do you imagine that Nehemiah was nervous here?  This takes guts.  He publicly took on the city leaders.  He is rebuking the wealthy owners of Jerusalem, the very people he must depend on to fund the rebuilding of the wall.  Now who would pay for the wall, all the poor people?  Who would pay for the doors, the people who did not even have enough money for food?  No.  He goes to the moneybags, the very people who are funding the rebuilding of the wall and finally supporting the rebuilding.  It is a real gamble.

The devil is probably saying, Nehemiah if you call this public meeting and you loose their support, who is going to pay for the wall?  You will never finish the project.

But Nehemiah was committed to doing the right thing regardless.  If it meant putting the wall on hold for a few days while they dealt with this sin, so be it!  That shows the integrity of Nehemiah. 

Nehemiah 5:9 (NASB) 9Again I said, “The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?”

He is appealing to their conscious.  He is saying what you are doing is a bad testimony.  All the unbelievers are laughing.  "Those people are supposed to be godly people and they're buying and selling each other into slavery and ripping each other off."

Discord is always a poor testimony.  When a church gets a reputation for being a fighting church, it looses its effectiveness.  The world laughs at churches that fight each other. 

Nehemiah 5:10-11 (NASB) 10“And likewise I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain.  Please, let us leave off this usury.  11“Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them.”

The interest was one-hundredth part and it was paid monthly.  One percent a month equals twelve percent.  We do not think that's very high interest today but back then it was enormously high interest.  Twelve percent a year was scalping people.  He is saying he is challenging them to make restitution.  Do it immediately.

The result was they repented.  (5:12)

Nehemiah must have breathed a sigh of relief at that point.  That was quite a gamble to challenge the people -- those wealthy owners.  Nehemiah did not take any chances.  He was not just going to take their word for it, “So I called the priests and took an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.He did not just let them get away with saying they would not do it any more.  He made them take an oath, a public contract. 

Then Nehemiah, with a dramatic flair, gives an object lesson, a dramatic presentation.  (5:13)  In those days, the men would wear a kind of apron around themselves.  He takes his apron, shakes it, and says this is a symbol of what God is going to do to you if you do not keep this oath that you have taken.  He is going to shake you up so bad you will loose everything you have.  He is making a visual object lesson here.  He publicly dealt with the division.

5B.      Step Five – Reinforcement, set an example of unselfishness.  (5:14-19)

We see this on down in verse 14.  We are going to cover it in more detail next week from a different angle.  But the foundation of all of Nehemiah's leadership is he led by example.  When he asked them to rebuild the wall, he was out on the wall rebuilding it.  When he asked them to pray he had already been praying.  When he asked them to stay up all night and work night and day to get it built, he stayed up night and day to get it built.  When he asked them to help the poor, he had already been doing it.  That is what these next verses say.

Rest of verse 13..."Such a man be shaken out and emptied.  At this time the whole assembly said `Amen' and `Praise the Lord!' and the people did as they promised.  Verse 14 is a little biographical statement about himself and what happened when he was twelve years as governor.  "When I was appointed governor in the land of Judah neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor.  But the earlier governors, those preceding me, placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver in addition to food and wine.  Their assistants also lorded it over the people.  However, out of reverence for God I did not act like that.  I devoted myself to the work on the wall.  All my men were assembled there for the work.  We did not acquire any land.  Furthermore, 150 Jews and officials ate at my table as those who came to us from surrounding nations.  Each day one ox, six sheep, and some poultry were prepared for me.  And ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds.  In spite of all this I never demanded the food allotment to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people." 

As the appointed governor there was a certain amount of food, he could receive from people and he never took it.  He realized the people were hard up.  He could have exploited the people.  His servants could have exploited the people like the servants of the governors in the past but he did not.  In fact, he set the example.  He was feeding the poor.  He was helping them.  He was doing all he could out of his own personal wealth.  He is setting the example.

Nehemiah says, as a leader I have modeled unselfishness.  Why does he say that right at the end of all this stuff about conflict?  Because the source of all conflict is selfishness.  Nehemiah said I have not exploited the people, taken advantage of their misfortune.  He is contrasting his approach to the people with the wealthy rulers and owners' approach, which was to exploit the people.  Nehemiah never asked anyone to do what he himself was not willing to do or was not already doing.  He could say with a clear conscious, "Follow my example.”  That is a mark of leadership.

Paul was this kind of a Christian. 

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB) 1Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

You say, "I'd never say that!"  Why not?  If not, you had better change whatever you need to change in your life.  People follow models.  Paul was not being arrogant.  He was saying, "At least I'm making the attempt.  At least I'm making the effort."  If you cannot say that to people then you are not ready yet for leadership.  You need to start working on the areas where you could say, Follow my example as I follow Christ.

Biblical Principle: We should only ask others to do what we are already doing.

That was the secret of Nehemiah's boldness.  I am in awe how this guy stood up to these people and challenged them and publicly confronted them.  He was a person of integrity.  He was already feeding the poor.  He had every right to stand up and say, "How come you are not helping the poor instead of hurting them?"  If you cannot challenge someone to follow your example, whatever you say to them is going to loose its impact.  In challenging our children, I cannot say "Do as I say, not as I do.”  That is ineffective.  If I cannot say, "Do as I do, " then the impact of me saying "Do as I say" is worthless.  Organizations have fewer conflicts when the leaders live unselfishly and model that.

Application

We are beginning a great adventure for God.  Whenever God wants to build, Satan wants to battle.  I can guarantee you that just as surely as the devil tried to stop the building on the wall, that the devil will try to stop the building of our church.  Count on it.  It is absolutely essential that we be united.  There will be enough circumstances, problems, and difficulties from the outside.  The last thing we need are people on the inside nit picking, causing problems, causing dissension. 

What is your responsibility?  If PBC is your family, Ephesians 4:3 is your job description given to you from your pastor for the next couple of years.  "Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace."  That is the job description I am asking you to take on for the next couple of years.  Circle "every effort.”  That means make it a number one priority to promote unity and harmony in our church.  The Bible says that unity is to be maintained at all costs. 

The fact is internal differences, wherever you have a group of people, are inevitable.  When two people agree on everything, one of them is not necessary.  There are going to be differences.  There is no such thing as a perfect church.  There is no perfect family.  There is no perfect business, office...  There will be conflict.  But God wants us to minimize them for His glory and especially in church.  The testimony of a church should not be the beautiful buildings, great sermons, lovely music, but how they love one another.  That is the mark of a Christian.  Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that you're My disciples, that you love one another."  In the first five chapters of the book of Acts, the words "one another" or "one accord" were used ten times.  Ten times, it talks about unity in the first five chapters of Acts.  And all kinds of miracles were taking place.  When you have the unity of the book of Acts, you will have the power of the book of Acts and the love of the book of Acts and the miracles.

Vance Havner said, "Snow flakes are frail but if enough of them stick together they can stop traffic."  Individually I cannot do a lot.  Individually you cannot do a lot.  But together we form this body called PBC.  And together we can be making an impact.  It is like you take 100 little pebbles and throw them in a pond, it is nothing.  But if you put them all together, make one big bolder, and toss it in, it makes waves.  Together, when we are unified, nothing can stop this church.  Nothing.


Nehemiah 5:1-13

Introduction

Review how Satan tries to stop God’s work: 

Whenever God’s people have a mind to work, Satan will have a mind to wreck!

In chapter 2 they started by derision.

The second tactic they tried was discouragement.

The next tactic that came along was danger.

Today we are going to look at how they tried to use division and discord.

Ø      Satan would rather cause division in churches than anything else. 

Mark 3:25 (NASB) 25“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

Ø      This chapter teaches us conflict management, the skill of dealing with conflict.  Verses 1-5 sets forth the causes of conflict; and verses 6-13 lays out the cure for conflict.


1A.      THE CAUSE OF CONFLICT

1B.      There was a food shortage  (5:1-2)

Ø      Doing God's will does not exempt you from common problems of life.

2B.      They were over mortgaged in their homes.  (5:3)

3B.      They were suffering under high taxes  (5:4)

4B.      They were selling their children as slaves to pay their debts.  (5:5)

Ø      Circle "mortgaging,” “borrowed”, and "slaves,"

5B.      They were exploiting each other  (5:1)

This was clearly against God's law. 

Exodus 22:25 (NASB) 25“If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest.

Biblical Principle: The root cause of internal conflict and discord is always selfishness. 

James 4:1 (NASB) 1What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?


2A.      THE CURE FOR CONFLICT 

1B.      Step One – Reaction, get angry.  (5:6)

Nehemiah did not ignore the problem, he took it seriously.

Ø      Sometimes anger is very appropriate.

Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV) 26“Be angry, and do not sin”

Nehemiah's anger was not a personal reaction.

The point is we need to be angry at sin.

2B.      Step Two – Reflection, think before you speak.  (5:7a)

James 1:19-20 (NASB) 19This you know, my beloved brethren.  But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Ø      There is a difference between man's anger and God's anger.  Man's anger is when we act in revenge.  God's anger is when we act in righteousness.

Ø      If you are quick to listen and slow to speak you will be slow to anger.


3B.      Step Three – Rebuke, privately confront the offending party.  (5:7b)

If someone has offended you and you go to someone else you have already sinned.

Matthew 18:15-17 (NASB) 15“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  16“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.  17“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

You must confront the offending party.

Biblical Principle: Christians must have the courage to confront.

Titus 3:10-11 (NASB) 10Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

4B.      Step Four – Resolution, publicly deal with public divisions.  (5:7c)

Ø      The circle of confession should only be as large as the circle of offense.

Nehemiah was committed to doing the right thing.  (5:9)

Nehemiah calls on them to make restitution.  (5:10-11)

The result was they repented.  (5:12-13)


5B.      Step Five – Reinforcement, set an example of unselfishness.  (5:14-19)

Nehemiah modeld unselfishness.

Paul was this kind of a Christian. 

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB) 1Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

Biblical Principle: We should only ask others to do what we are already doing.

Application

We are beginning a great adventure for God.

Whenever God wants to build, Satan wants to battle.

Ø      I can guarantee you that just as surely as the devil tried to stop the building on the wall, that the devil will try to stop the building of our church.

What is your responsibility?

Ephesians 4:3 (NASB) 3being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ø      That is the job description I am asking you to take on


HOW TO RESOLVE CONFLICT
Overcoming Obstacles to Victory – Part 7
Nehemiah 5:1-13

Introduction

In chapter 2 they started by_________________.

The second tactic they tried was _____________.

The next tactic that came along was __________.

Today we are going to look at how they tried to use ________________________________.

1A.      THE _______________________ OF CONFLICT

1B.      There was a ______________ shortage  (5:1-2)

2B.      They were over mortgaged in their ______________________.  (5:3)

3B.      They were suffering under _____________ taxes  (5:4)

4B.      They were _________________ their children as slaves to pay their debts.  (5:5)

5B.      They were _______________ each other  (5:1)

This was clearly against God's law.  (Exodus 22:25)

Biblical Principle: The root cause of internal conflict and discord is always ______________________.  (James 4:1)

2A.      THE _____________________ FOR CONFLICT 

1B.      Step One – _______________, get angry.  (5:6)

Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV) 26“Be angry, and do not sin”

2B.      Step Two – Reflection, ______________ before you speak.  (5:7a)

James 1:19-20 (NASB) 19This you know, my beloved brethren.  But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

3B.      Step Three – __________, privately confront the offending party.  (5:7b)

If someone has offended you and you go to someone else you have already ________________.  (Matthew 18:15-17)

You must _______________ the offending party.

Biblical Principle: Christians must have the courage to ____________________.  (Titus 3:10-11)

4B.      Step Four – _____________________, publicly deal with public divisions.  (5:7c)

Nehemiah was committed to doing the _____________ thing.  (5:9)

Nehemiah calls on them to make restitution.  (5:10-11)

The result was they _______________.  (5:12-13)

5B.      Step Five – Reinforcement, set an ________________ of unselfishness.  (5:14-19)

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB) 1Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

Biblical Principle: We should only ask others to do what we are already doing.

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