In today’s study, Blackaby focused on something that rarely gets mentioned inside the walls of our churches and that is conflict and dissonance among the members. We tend to turn a blind eye towards infighting, I guess in the futile hope that it will just go away on it’s own.
Each member differs from others but needs the others if God is to work through the body.
God purposefully places members around you who are different from you.
When each member functions as Christ has assigned, God has a healthy body through which to redeem a lost world.
Broken relationships between church members have dramatically harmed entire churches.
The thing is that most of the time, Satan divides us very subtly. Perhaps it starts with a whisper about seeing someone in a place they shouldn’t be. Or, the teacher becomes jealous of the pastor. Perhaps a choir member felt snubbed for a solo.
And then it builds over time, eventually hardening the hearts of the members so much that the entire congregation is affected and they don’t even understand why or how it happened. There is nothing worse than a body of believers divided over personal issues.
Blackaby used two of Paul’s more memorable passages to illustrate his point. The obvious one is 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 in which he compares the Church to the human body, saying that no member is greater than another and all should be directed by the head, Christ.
He also uses Paul admonition of Peter in Antioch as recorded in Galatians 2:11-16. I think this is where we have troubles because we as a society are conditioned to avoid conflict where possible. It even affects our pastors; in situations that clearly need addressing, they are reluctant to do so because of membership or revenue loss.
The important thing to remember is that everyone in the Church and in local congregations is important and, if done in prayer, is placed in a particular congregation for a specific purpose. And when there is conflict, it must be immediately addressed so as not to hurt the body as a whole.
Galatians 2:11-14 But when Cephasï»¿ï»¿ came to Antioch,ï»¿ï»¿ I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong.ï»¿ Untilï»¿ï»¿ certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing thisï»¿ï»¿ and separated himselfï»¿ï»¿ because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision.ï»¿ And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with themï»¿ï»¿ by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephasï»¿ï»¿ in front of them all, “If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to forceï»¿ï»¿ the Gentiles to live like Jews?”