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Scripture Reading:  1 John 3:10-18

 

Challenges in the Local Church

 

Intro.

1.  Local church is a family.  All are children of God and brothers & sisters in Christ Jesus - 1 Tim. 3:14-15.

2.  Like any family, challenges / problems will arise.  When they do, we can do one of four things:

  a.  Ignore them (Stick head in sand).

  b.  Run away from them (Can’t address & overcome controversy).

  c.  Increase the problem with inflammatory words & actions (motives).

  d.  Discuss them with open minds, open Bibles & a prayerful, reverent attitude…Eph. 4:1-3.

3.  God expects His people to meet the challenges / problems before us & live & serve each other in love & unity – 1 Cor. 1:10; 12:25; 1 Jno. 4:20-21.

4.  To solve problems we must know the CAUSE of the problem (so we can treat the cause, not symptoms)!

5.  Identify potential problems & overcome them – Acts 6:1-7.  (So that challenges can become blessings!)

 

I.  THE CHALLENGE OF COMPATIBILITY Acts 6:1 (Eph. 2:13-22).

  A.  Great Challenge Before Us:  Many Different People Becoming One in Christ.

    1.  All different:  Our temper, moods, behav­ior, likes & dislikes vary tremendously!

    2.  Yet, are to be one! - Rom.12:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:25-26

      a.  Some say that is “impossible”!

      b.  Jesus said we could! – Jno. 17:20-23

    3.  Those who love Jesus will not remain incompatible for long – 1 Jno. 4:10-11.

  B.  How to Meet this Challenge (solve this problem).

    1.  Make others a higher priority than ourselves – Phil. 2:3-4; cf. Acts 6:1, 5.

      a.  “Others, then self.” not “self, then others!” (Jesus – Matt. 20:28)

      b.  Selfishness causes hurt feelings, blinded to the needs of others, causes indifference, hatred, jealousies, lack of trust, etc.

    2.  Forgive each other – Matt. 6:14-15.

    3.  Remember our common relation – Gal. 3:26-28.

 

II.  THE CHALLENGE OF COMMUNICATION Acts 6:1.  (Two related problems.)

  A.  The Failure to Communicate – 6:1.

    1.  Don’t have trouble communicating…when we choose to do so.

      a.  Complaining, grumbling – 6:1.

      b.  We talk about instead of with Matt. 18:15; 5:23-24.

      c.  “Too much talk and not enough talk!”  (Jas. 1:19-20)

    2.  Don’t be afraid to talk with each other!

  B.  Communicating the Wrong Information.

    1.  Christian should be interested in facts, not hearsay, gossip, backbiting – 1 Tim. 5:13.

      a.  Creates barriers – Prov. 16:28.

      b.  Disorderly conduct – 2 Ths. 3:11.

    2.  When right things were communicated the challenge was met & the problem solved! – Acts 6:2-5a

    3.  Speak truth – We are members of each other! – Eph. 4:25

 

III.  THE CHALLENGE OF CONVERTEDNESS Acts 6:3.

  A.  Satan is Still in Control Whenever there is Lack of Conversion – cf. Acts 5:1-5, 7-9.

    1.  “To turn, to turn about, turn towards” (Vine); A turning or change from one state to another.

    2.  Conversion is a change of heart, life & relationships – Acts 3:19; 26:20.  [Heart cleansed (Acts 15:9) Life changed (Rom. 6:4); New relationship (Gal. 3:27).]

  B.  Conversion Shows in:

    1.  What we serve – Rom. 6:16-18; 1 Ths. 1:9.

    2.  Who we serve – 1 Jno. 3:16-18.

    3.  What is our first concern – Matt. 6:33 (Phil. 3:17-19).

  C.  Take the Test (2 Cor.13:5):

    1.  We are not converted when we:  Allow materialism/carnal matters hinder our obedience to God (1 Jno. 2:15-17); Hold grudges; Fail to forgive; Fail to repent; Seldom pray; Remain at arm’s length from our brethren in Christ?

    2.  Solution:  Good dose of humility, repentance & conversion! – Rom. 12:1-2

 

Conclusion 

1.  This church can meet and overcome every challenge if we have love for truth, love for one another, a desire to learn from & a willingness to obey Jesus!

2.  Be an asset to this church by helping to meet our challenges with faith, love and mercy!