Controversy and the Christian

   INTRODUCTION: WHY CONTROVERSY IS INEVITABLE
   A. Christianity is bold, daring, challenging.
  B. Christianity calls for a change of life subject to evaluation (judgment).
  Romans 12:1-2
  12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present
  your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your
  reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye
  transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,
  and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  1 Peter 4:1-4
  4 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves
  likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased
  from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the
  lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice
  us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness,
  lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4
  Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of
  riot, speaking evil of you:
  Romans 14:12
    12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

     C.    Christianity calls for confrontation --

  1. Debate thy cause with thy neighbor.
  Proverbs 25:9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself;
  and discover not a secret to another: (fiduciary relationship).

  2. Have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but
  rather reprove them.
  Ephesians 5:11
  11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
  but rather reprove them.

  3. Galatians 6:1
  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual,
  restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering
  thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

  WHAT SHOULD BE THE CHRISTIAN’S ATTITUDE TOWARD THOSE
  I.
  WITH WHOM WE DIFFER?

     A. Jesus, beholding him, loved him.
  Mark 10:21
  21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou
  lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
  shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

     B. Take heed lest ye also fall….
  1 Corinthians 10:11-12
  11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are
  written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12
  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

      C. Give answer of your hope with meekness and fear.
  1 Peter 3:15
  15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an
  answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with
  meekness and fea
  1 Timothy 6:11-12
  11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness,
  godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay
  hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good
  profession before many witnesses.

  D. Some pity, others snatch from the fire.
  Jude 22-23
  22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save
  with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the
  flesh.

  E. He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is a folly and shame to him.
  Proverbs 18:13
  13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto
  him.

   F. Answer not a fool according to his folly.
  Proverbs 26:4
  4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

   G. Answer a fool according to his folly.
  Proverbs 26:5
  5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

    H. Exercise care in what we say. Even Michael, the archangel, did not bring a
  railing accusation against the devil.
  2 Peter 2:9-12
  9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve
  the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that
  walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.
  Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
  11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing
  accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts,
  made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand
  not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
  Jude 8-10
  8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and
  speak evil of dignities. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the
  devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing
  accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10 But these speak evil of those
  things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in
  those things they corrupt themselves.

  HOW MUCH WEIGHT SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THE MATTER UNDER
  II.
  CONSIDERATION?

     A. Apollos was taken aside and instructed in the way of the Lord more perfectly.
  Acts 18:24-26
  24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and
  mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the
  way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently
  the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to
  speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard,
  they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more
  perfectly.

  Galatians 2:11
  11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he
  was to be blamed.

  Titus 1:10-13
  10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of
  the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole
  houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. 12 One of
  themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil
  beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply,
  that they may be sound in the faith;

 
  EVALUATE THE CIRCUMSTANCES --
  III.
   A. How serious are the consequences?
  B. Who will be affected by the error?
  C. Is it an error of heart, or of mind?
  Timothy 1:12-13
  12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he
  counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a
  blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I
  did it ignorantly in belief.
  E. Is it a difference over law, or over judgment? (Read and study Romans 14)
  F. Is it a clear, or a disputed passage?

  CONSIDER ROMANS 14 AND I CORINTHIANS 8
  IV.

  CONTENTION IS SIN
  V.
  1 Corinthians 1:10
  10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all
  speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be
  perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

  1 Corinthians 3:3
  3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and
  divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

  Ephesians 4:29-32
  29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good
  to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the
  holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all
  bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from
  you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
  another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
 
 
  by Thomas C. Hickey
 

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