April 24, 2016
Stetson Memorial UMC
“When in doubt…read the instructions”
Don’t Argue, Agree To Disagree
(What did Jesus instruct His disciples then and now…?)
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Mark 9:33-35; Matthew 18:18-20
Romans 12:15-17; Philippians 4:1-3;
2 Timothy 2:22-25; Titus 3:8-9
“Can We Just Get Along…”
Prayer for God’s Word to be heard through me or in spite of me…
1 Corinthians 1:10-16Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Divisions at Corinth
10 Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. 11 For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by members of Chloe’s household, that there is rivalry among you. 12 What I am saying is this: Each of you says, “I’m with Paul,” or “I’m with Apollos,” or “I’m with Cephas,” or “I’m with Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name? 14 I thank God[a][b] that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. 16 I did, in fact, baptize the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else.
It is interesting being a parent. I think many times Ray and I stand there and scratch our heads at the silliness of some of their arguments. When we try to help them with a perfect solution, it seems they don’t want to hear that. They are up for the fight and they are going to win no matter who “gets thrown under the bus” in the thick of the war. Example…arguing over who is going to make the Chrystal Light ®…
There are also times that we adults can act the same way. We think we are right and will argue until we are blue in the face even if it means hurting others in the wake of our “righteousness”.
We are all on a reading journey as we read the instructions that Jesus gave the first disciples and what He intended all to follow to do. We are gathering the knowledge that we need to be Christ Ambassador’s in a world in need of a Savior. Now Jesus wants us to “go and do likewise”…to take His example, His instructions and follow them. Some of the instructions may not be words but actions that Jesus showed His disciples. Now I hope you all brought your bibles this morning. If not there are some in the pews. I want us each to look up the instructions…for ourselves…instead of me reading them to you. Who knows, maybe after we are done it is something we will continue to do… just sayin.
So…where have we been so far? The first instruction was on Easter Sunday to a woman called Mary Magdalene…Go, tell. Just that simple…go tell others I am alive… Go and tell…ministry is an action. The next were stay…wait…witness (stay where they were and to wait for the Holy Spirit, then to witness to and for Him all over the world). Another is touch…heal. We may touch lives by our words or actions but either way we can bring healing to others…and to ourselves. Now the one that seems against each other…“Beware…don’t worry”. We are to beware but not worry as we are doing so…we are to “walk in the world” with our “eyes wide open” but go into it anyway…
Now here’s a real hard one and we as Christians…as Christ followers…as humanity can’t seem to get right. We live in a fallen, selfish, egotistical world…there’s no way around that fact…right now anyway… Here we go… “Don’t Argue, Agree to Disagree.” Don’t shoot the messenger it really is in God’s Word. This issue has been going on for a long time…humanity thinking that they have all the right answers and if anyone thinks differently they are wrong. Let alone if we actually have the nerve to come up against someone else’s thinking…someone else’s way of life…someone else’s “tradition”…look out!
In the letter that Paul wrote to the Christ followers in Corinth, which we read part of this morning, they were arguing over who was baptized by who…who had the best baptism…who was baptized “right”. I can just imagine what Paul must have been thinking… I left Rome for this? I became a Christ follower for this? Why are they arguing over something this trivial? They should be out making disciples in Jesus’ name not arguing over whose name is best to be baptized under. It is all in Christ’s Name…not the Methodist name…not in the Baptist name…not in the Pentecostal name…not in the (name) that we are baptized…
Even the disciples that Jesus walked with and talked with argued. In Mark 9:33-35…they argued about who was the greatest…Read…
33 Then they came to Capernaum. When He was in the house, He asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
No really who is the greatest…shouldn’t that be Jesus…the “Duh-Ciples” were showing how much they understood Jesus…again…
OK so what happens when we agree or disagree like we do so many times? Let me take you some places where we hear about just that subject in the bible…This is not all the places…it is up to you and me to look further into this difficult issue…
- Matthew 18:18-20Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
18 I assure you: Whatever you bind on earth is already bound[a] in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed[b] in heaven. 19 Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you[c] pray for, it will be done for you[d] by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.”
Speak from the Spirit…
- Romans 12:15-17Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.
Speak from the Spirit…
- 2 Timothy 2:22-25Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. 24 The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach,[a] and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.
- Titus 3:8-9Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
8 This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works. These are good and profitable for everyone. 9 But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
We are to work together not argue and disagree…
- Philippians 4:1-3Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
4 So then, my brothers, you are dearly loved and longed for—my joy and crown. In this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends. 2 I urge Euodia (yoo-OH-dih-uh) and I urge Syntyche (SIN-tih-kee) to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I also ask you, true partner,[a] to help these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers whose names are in the book of life.
Speak from the Spirit…
Maybe…just maybe…if we stopped needing to have our own way and agree to disagree…we could once again be the body of Christ working together in harmony. Perhaps if we decided to leave our lives in the hands of God and leave it there with Him, trusting in His goodness and love we just might have a bigger view of what Jesus came to do and say and give example of.
Go, tell…stay, wait, witness…touch, heal… be on guard, don’t worry…don’t argue, agree to disagree…these seem pretty simple things to do right? So what are we as the body of Christ…as the hands, feet, voice and image of Christ in the world…doing? Why do we feel that our traditions and our man made rules trump God and His Word? We need to understand the instructions and follow them to the point of us truly being that image of Christ. As I have said before…there are going to be times when we forget these instructions. One way of remembering is reading God’s Word each day…read devotionals that have God’s word embedded or you need to look up in the beginning, “Our Daily Bread” and “Upper Room” are just two that are wonderful for this and we even have copies for free in the back for people to take and read…if we spend time daily with the Author of the manual, Immanuel we will have more of a chance of following the instructions for life.
May be if we begin to hear others and respect what they have to say…to respect others… If we set aside ourselves and put on Christ…if we evict ego out of our lives…it is over-rated anyway…maybe…just maybe we can be the “Body of Christ”…working together like a well oiled machine bringing about the Kingdom. But it is a choice…yours and mine. I don’t know…what do you think? Can we truly be what our Risen Lord Jesus wanted us to and be? I say yes with the help of the Holy Spirit which guides us in all truth…the truth of our God and king. How will you spend your life? Having to have your own way…thinking that you have it al right and everyone else is wrong? Or in the freedom found in and through the blood of Jesus Christ to just say “ OK…I agree to disagree with you…maybe your right…maybe I’m right…but the most important thing is this…what if were both wrong?” OK…let this be our litmus test…our indicator…our guide as we approach others…Is Jesus your Lord and Savior…do you follow Jesus? Are you “for us or against us?” As we converse with one another…how about following the “Holy Conferencing Principles” of John Wesley…you have a copy in your bulletin and now as you read these…you will realize that this has to do with everyone not just Christ followers…read through them… Perhaps maybe if we …fill in the blank…