Participants: Michael Kontes
Series Code: FC
Program Code: FC000409
00:01 Please stay with us as
00:08 3ABN presents
00:16 this closed captioned program
00:30 Hello, my name is Michael Kontes
00:32 and I want to welcome
00:33 you to Faith Chapel.
00:34 Today we're going to look at
00:35 how Jesus would want
00:36 us to deal with conflict.
00:39 Let us pray.
00:40 Father we come to Thee now and we thank Thee for the
00:43 opportunity of opening up the Bread of Life
00:45 and learning how You would want us to be here on Earth
00:49 and how to deal with conflict.
00:51 Be with us now in Jesus name, Amen.
00:55 Has anyone ever hurt you? Has someone offended you
00:59 or sinned against you?
01:00 Probably not, right?
01:02 I'll bet all of us have been offended
01:06 by someone and someone has sinned against us at some time.
01:10 Today I'd like to share with you the most overlooked commandment
01:15 in the Word of God.
01:17 Let us open up to Matthew 18:15-17
02:10 This is so very important for us as Christians to realize God is
02:16 giving us a mandate, He's giving us a commandment here.
02:18 The same as in Matthew 28 where Jesus gives the Great Commission
02:23 where He tells us to go into the world and to all nations
02:26 to make disciples and to baptize them.
02:29 Here Jesus is telling us to go to our brother if he has
02:33 offended us, go to our sister
02:35 if she has offended us. And Go Alone
02:39 not with our posse,
02:41 not with 7 or 8 people to make us feel good,
02:44 in attack mode,
02:45 but go alone.
02:49 Why does the Word of God say, 'alone? '
02:51 I'd like to share with you what I believe
02:53 what the Bible reveals to us, why we are to go alone.
02:56 First and foremost when we go alone
02:59 we do not expose our brother and sister
03:02 and make the circumstances harder.
03:03 We go in love and in care
03:07 to really heal the relationship if possible.
03:11 Now this does not guarantee that the relationship
03:15 will be healed automatically.
03:18 But, it ensures us that we are following the Word of God.
03:23 Now some of us might be saying,
03:26 "Well Pastor Mike, is email okay? "
03:32 "or can I get on my mobile phone and call the individual? "
03:36 Brothers and sisters, the Word of God does not say
03:39 that we can get on our AOL account,
03:41 our Juno account, Earthlink account, whatever account
03:45 and send an email to a brother or sister
03:47 who has offended us.
03:49 It does not say to get on the phone.
03:50 It says to physically go to our brother and sister and
03:54 to resolve this situation.
03:57 Now, if I was the pastor of your local church
04:01 and we're preparing for communion next week
04:04 and you came to the communion service
04:06 and I decided to use Wonder bread and Coca-Cola
04:10 for the symbols of communion
04:12 would that offend you?
04:13 I'm sure it would.
04:14 And I'm sure it would offend God.
04:17 I would be committing a grave sin.
04:20 Because the Bible mandates how we are
04:23 to have the communion service.
04:24 Yet, we as people so neglect
04:27 going to our brothers and our sisters
04:30 and to share with them alone because
04:32 we do not want to lower our walls and have God
04:37 transform our hearts.
04:40 Now, this is a tough situation
04:45 because as we lower our walls
04:48 and make ourselves vulnerable to our brother or to our sister
04:51 we might get hurt.
04:55 In fact there are times when a brother or sister
04:58 might not even accept what we're saying.
05:02 Should that stop us?
05:05 Should that stop us from following the biblical protocol?
05:09 You see I believe we do a great job
05:13 following the second part of this verse where it says,
05:18 "go with two or three. "
05:19 And even then we don't go about it with the right spirit.
05:22 We take two or three witnesses with us so we can show
05:26 our brothers or sisters who are coming with us,
05:29 "Look how this person is going to respond to me. "
05:31 "Look at this person, what they're going to say to me. "
05:34 "I told you so! "
05:37 Yet we neglect to realize how Jesus approached others.
05:45 You see many times when we go to our brother and sister
05:51 we want the situation to be fixed automatically.
05:53 But we have to realize that sometimes
05:58 and most of the time I should say
06:00 it's in God's timing.
06:02 As we read the Bible we are told over and over
06:06 that God bore with Lucifer long in Heaven
06:10 before Lucifer was expelled.
06:12 We also as we read the Scriptures find out that
06:15 Jesus bore with Judas for a long time.
06:18 Judas was a thief.
06:20 We're told in the book of John that Judas was a thief.
06:23 Judas was stealing from the bank account that the disciples had,
06:28 their 'Swiss bank account. '
06:30 Jesus knew about it.
06:31 But did Jesus expose Judas to the group?
06:36 No He didn't.
06:40 Jesus tried to win Judas over.
06:43 Now we must serve God from principle and not feelings.
06:51 Sometimes the person who has offended us
06:53 doesn't even know they've offended us, has no clue.
06:59 And I'd like to share with you a personal story
07:02 that has happened to me.
07:03 I had a very good friend of mine
07:04 say something a while back that really offended me.
07:09 I decided to go about fixing this situation through email.
07:19 I sent my email.
07:21 The friend of mine replied back.
07:24 Didn't like what was said.
07:28 I replied back to that email.
07:34 Next thing you know we have
07:36 seven correspondences going back and forth
07:38 about how we've hurt each other
07:40 and how the other person is at fault.
07:45 When we go to the individual who has hurt us
07:49 in an humble spirit, face to face
07:52 and we lay down the sword
07:55 and allow Jesus Christ to work a transformation process
08:01 in this conflict resolution
08:03 where we can sit down and look at someone eye to eye
08:07 we are allowing God to be God.
08:14 Many times, once again, we don't like to do that.
08:19 We would rather go to a brother and sister in the church
08:22 and share how we've been hurt.
08:24 "Did you know Brother So-and-So hurt me? "
08:27 "You know Sister So-and-So, you know what she said "
08:30 "to me last week? "
08:32 We get a scar touched upon
08:37 and we begin to put our own spiritual ointment on
08:42 the same way when we go to others in the church
08:45 and try to garner sides.
08:49 And we begin to divide the church in half
08:52 because we are not humble enough
08:54 to go to our brother and our sister
08:56 when we have offended them.
08:59 I can share with you another personal note.
09:04 If my wife and I did not practice this principle
09:09 in the Bible, we'd be at odds with one another all the time.
09:13 We'd carry things with us
09:16 we'd begin to build resentment towards one another.
09:19 It would ripen into malice.
09:20 And next thing you know I am at odds with my helpmate.
09:24 But Jesus said if your brother, if your sister
09:30 if your wife, if your co-worker
09:33 whoever offends you, you are to go to them
09:37 with a humble contrite heart.
09:39 And share with them what they have done in hopes
09:42 that the relationship will be strengthened.
09:46 You see ultimately we carry our character to Heaven.
09:54 I also believe we have an opportunity
09:57 to carry relationships to Heaven.
10:00 And what God is trying to have us learn here on earth
10:06 is not only how to be holy
10:09 but how to be holy to others.
10:17 Usually when we choose not to go to our brother or sister
10:25 when this has taken place
10:27 and we go to the church
10:32 and we spread what people have done to us
10:34 and the church begins to divide
10:38 I can share with you that Jesus is hurting.
10:44 When Saul was going around killing Christians
10:51 Jesus meet Saul on the road to Damascus and said,
10:54 "Saul, why do you persecute me? " in the book of Acts.
10:59 We're also told by the writer John
11:02 that if we hate our brother
11:05 without a cause we are committing murder.
11:08 Many times it is our pride
11:13 and our selfishness and our past baggage
11:17 that keep us from practicing this first principle.
11:20 I think as a church many times we can do
11:23 the second part of this commandment
11:25 "take two or three "
11:27 and "take it to the church "
11:28 We can go through the motions and go through the proper steps
11:31 and say we've done that.
11:33 But we neglect the first part
11:35 of this commandment
11:37 which is to go
11:38 and go alone.
11:40 Do we care enough for our
11:43 brothers and sisters to go alone
11:45 or do we care more about ourselves?
11:48 Another experience I'd like to share with you is
11:52 when I've done this commandment in the way God wants me to do it
11:59 I have seen relationships restored.
12:02 I don't know about you but when I read
12:04 the Bible from Genesis to Revelation
12:07 God is in the business of restoring relationships.
12:10 Isn't that right?
12:12 God is trying to restore us
12:15 with the relationship that we have broken away from Him.
12:19 And in turn God wants to restore harmed relationships
12:23 that we have with others and that others have with us.
12:28 There was an opportunity that I had
12:32 to go and to share with a brother
12:34 something that he had done to me
12:37 and I went to him and basically, friends
12:42 we had a heart to heart conversation
12:45 where tears were shed and there was opportunity of healing
12:49 and I'm closer today with this brother
12:53 than I was in the past.
12:55 Because every experience we have with someone
12:59 we're either growing closer to that individual
13:02 or we're slipping away.
13:06 So when we have a very delicate situation
13:08 that arises when a brother sins against us
13:11 or a sister sins against us,
13:12 really what it boils down to is: do we care enough
13:18 about the relationship that we have
13:21 with this brother or sister?
13:24 Many of us have multiple friends
13:26 and sometimes what we do is we say,
13:28 "Well you know what, they did it, I'm going to "
13:30 "love 'em at church, I'm gonna smile and give 'em a hug "
13:33 and then when we have the opportunity
13:39 to put a dagger in their back
13:40 spread seeds of discontent
13:43 that's the first thing that we do.
13:45 That's not what Jesus would have for us to do.
13:50 Jesus would want us to humble our hearts once again
13:56 let down our pride
13:57 and have restoration from conflict
14:01 come about in such a way
14:05 that ultimately the unseen and unfallen worlds
14:09 can look upon us and say,
14:11 "You know what, look, Mike's a son of God "
14:15 "because he's practicing that commandment. "
14:17 Now I will also share with you
14:20 that because this is also an imperative in the Greek language
14:22 and which makes it a commandment
14:25 I like to call this the '11th commandment. '
14:28 This commandment, I believe, shows us truly in a mirror
14:38 if we love God or if we love ourselves more.
14:42 This commandment shows us, do we love ourselves?
14:44 or our brothers and sisters more?
14:48 Now, you say, "Mike, you're being pretty strong today. "
14:52 "You seem like you have the answers for this. "
14:55 Yeah, unfortunately I have the answers because I've done it
14:58 so many times the wrong way
15:00 that God has impressed upon my heart how to do it the right way
15:11 There's a story in the book of Acts where Paul comes across
15:16 and he notices that Peter is being a little obstinate
15:22 towards the Gentiles.
15:24 And Paul pulls Peter aside
15:27 and begins to tell him what's going on.
15:32 Paul was offended at the actions of one of his fellow disciples.
15:42 Paul could have very easily turned his shoulder
15:45 and neglected Peter.
15:47 And Peter would have missed an opportunity to grow.
15:50 Ultimately friends, when we have these circumstances
15:55 come across our path, we're told among others, by a
15:58 19th century Christian writer once said, and I paraphrase,
16:04 that if we are to take every situation that comes
16:08 across our path as having the Hand of God allow this we could
16:15 look upon these situations through a different glass.
16:18 Instead of looking at it half empty
16:20 we could look at it half full.
16:22 So when a brother or sister sins against us
16:24 we don't have to look at it as,
16:25 "Oh my goodness I've been so hurt! "
16:27 And I go out and begin to pull out my spiritual 9mm's
16:33 and going after my brother and sister in church.
16:35 If I could humble myself for one minute
16:38 go in prayer
16:39 and ask God, "God what would You have for me to do? "
16:42 and I'll share something else friends
16:43 God would not have us to do anything
16:45 that goes against the Word of God.
16:50 So if the Word of God says, 'When our brother and sister '
16:52 'have offended us we are to go to our brother and sister, '
16:56 we are to go!
16:59 Once again, we could come up with excuses.
17:01 Now there are some situations
17:02 I have to admit are very difficult.
17:05 Someone could say, "Well, Pastor Mike "
17:07 "the person who offended me is now over in Europe or "
17:09 "over in South America and I don't know "
17:13 "if I'm going to be able to see this person face to face. "
17:16 These are tough situations and the only answer to that is,
17:18 you need to take that to prayer
17:21 and see what Jesus would have for you to do.
17:23 Maybe, if this person has offended you
17:25 you could take it into prayer
17:27 and the burden could be released then and there
17:30 and in due time God can begin to orchestrate
17:33 events to bring this person back into your life
17:36 where you're not so emotionally charged
17:40 or you'll start throwing daggers at your brother or sister.
17:43 Maybe in God's timing the emotions will have settled
17:48 you'll be able to explain to a brother or sister
17:52 in the proper manner.
17:55 Now this is one point I do want to bring out
17:57 also and that is, when we go to our brother
17:59 or sister alone, we need to go in a humble manner,
18:03 not with 'guns a blazing! '
18:06 "DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID TO ME! "
18:08 No, that's not the protocol Jesus would have us take.
18:13 We're to go to our brother and sister and say,
18:14 "You know, there's a situation that has arisen "
18:18 "that I need to bring to our attention "
18:21 and I'd like to talk to you about it if that's okay. "
18:24 "Could I have prayer before we talk about this? "
18:28 And we go into prayer.
18:30 Now if the person at that time
18:32 senses that this is going to be a heavy conversation
18:35 and the person says,
18:36 "Now's not the right time can we set a time for next week? "
18:40 We're not to get huffy and puffy
18:42 "Oh my goodness, Brother Jack offended me "
18:45 "because he didn't want to settle the conflict. "
18:47 Well Brother Jack may be busy.
18:49 He may already have things on his list
18:52 to do for that day
18:56 and we have to be patient.
18:58 I think that's a word we hear throughout the Bible
19:01 in fact if I'm not mistaken
19:02 Revelation 14:12 says, "Here is the patience of the saints "
19:06 "here are they that keep the commandments of God "
19:08 "and have the faith of Jesus. "
19:10 Here are they that keep the commandments of God!
19:15 The commandment being, 'Go to our brother and sister '
19:20 'Alone. '
19:22 And we are to go to them and we are to be patient.
19:25 Meaning, in God's timing
19:30 all things work together
19:31 for good.
19:34 As a pastor this is very
19:38 very difficult commandment to sometimes teach.
19:47 The reason being is that sometimes
19:51 we may not model it ourselves.
19:54 And this is where I believe
19:56 that the leaders of the church
19:58 should be the first to be practicing this commandment.
20:05 As a pastor when someone comes to us and wants to say,
20:08 "Pastor Mike, I want to let you know that last week "
20:12 "Susie offended me and this is what Susie said to me "
20:15 and members begin to start sharing what's going on.
20:20 What do I do? How do I respond?
20:24 Do I care about gathering information
20:27 and I sit back and allow this member
20:29 to begin share with me all the beefs,
20:31 so I have my little black book
20:33 of what has been taking place in my church?
20:35 Or do I stop the member right away
20:41 and say, "Sister So-and-so "
20:43 "I believe that God wants you to go "
20:46 "to Susie and talk to Susie. "
20:49 "You see we're told in Matthew 18, if someone offends you "
20:53 "you are to go to them alone. "
20:55 "And by coming to me there's an opportunity "
20:59 "where I could share it with someone else. "
21:01 "Do you want me to share it with someone else? "
21:03 "No Pastor. I don't want you to share it with someone else. "
21:07 "You need to go and speak to Susie yourself. "
21:12 Now let's take this to a higher level.
21:13 From a pastor perspective let's go to a Conference situation.
21:16 Let's say there's a member
21:17 who's upset at a pastor.
21:20 And they go knocking on the conference door
21:22 or wanting to speak to the Ministerial Director
21:23 or the Conference President.
21:25 "Elder So-and-so "
21:28 "I need to talk to you about Pastor Michael. "
21:30 How should the conference leader approach this situation?
21:36 I believe once again, the Bible tells us how.
21:39 I believe that the Conference President
21:42 or the Ministerial Director or anyone in the conference
21:45 should be able to say, "Brother So-and-so "
21:47 "Sister So-and-so "
21:48 "it sounds like a real delicate issue. "
21:51 "But being in the position that I'm at "
21:54 "and being that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior "
21:57 "I need to point you back to pastor Mike. "
22:00 "You need to go to Pastor Michael "
22:02 "and you need to settle that with Pastor Michael. "
22:04 "And you know, if Pastor Michael does not listen to you "
22:08 "you need to take two or three witnesses "
22:11 "and you guys need to go together "
22:14 "and you need to share what he's done to you. "
22:16 "Hopefully he'll get a chance to hear you. "
22:18 "And you know if you go with two or three witnesses "
22:21 "and Pastor Mike doesn't listen to them "
22:22 "you need to take it to the church body. "
22:25 Now, I also want to share about this commandment,
22:28 it's not just going to our brother once.
22:31 The reason why is many times we can go
22:34 with the wrong spirit as I've said.
22:35 We can go one time and we can be huffy and puffy
22:38 and if our brother doesn't listen to us
22:40 we can automatically think we're going to shift
22:43 into taking two or three witnesses.
22:45 I believe we can go multiple times to our brother and sister.
22:48 If Jesus can bear with Judas for three and a half years
22:52 we can sure try to emulate that example.
22:57 Also, if Jesus and the Father
23:00 could take thousands of years,
23:03 maybe five thousand years,
23:07 no, not that long
23:11 maybe a week, two weeks, three weeks, maybe a year
23:14 to allow Lucifer in Heaven to run his course.
23:22 They gave him time.
23:25 That's a principle that God shares with us.
23:29 When someone offends us we are to give people time
23:33 to maybe realize what they've done to us.
23:36 But we have had that scab so scratched
23:40 and so hurt
23:42 the experience that has
23:45 brought so much pain to us
23:47 and then all the other experiences
23:49 that if we have not gotten victory over from the past
23:53 to begin to build up and then
23:55 we want to go to our brother and sister
23:57 upon edict and have them fix the situation then and now
24:05 Yet the Bible says, "Here's the patience of the saints. "
24:09 We are to keep the commandments of God
24:11 and have the faith of the Son.
24:15 Now, as we're preparing to close
24:20 I just want to share with you
24:22 the only way this commandment can be kept
24:28 is through the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.
24:33 We have to allow the divine power of Jesus Christ
24:37 to help us look at the situation
24:42 through His eyes.
24:45 So many times we look at it through
24:48 our goggles and our perspectives
24:50 and that which causes anger and malice
24:53 because we have been so offended.
24:55 Yet, brothers and sisters
24:59 have you ever offended God?
25:01 I can share with you that I have.
25:03 And I know that God has been patient with me.
25:05 And God has allowed
25:10 He's allowed me to come around
25:12 to see that He is worthy
25:16 of my worship, worthy of my obedience
25:20 and worthy of all my devotion.
25:24 So when we begin to look at others
25:26 through His eyes and through Matthew 18
25:32 we begin to realize that our God is the God of reconciliation
25:38 as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5
25:41 God is in the business of reconciling the world
25:44 to Himself!
25:46 God is in the business
25:48 of reconciling you and I to Him.
25:54 The Father is in the business of reconciling families.
25:57 How many families have been destroyed
26:01 over Christmas dinners, Thanksgiving dinners
26:05 anniversaries, birthdays because someone said something
26:09 and lo and behold, the two brothers and sisters
26:12 did not talk to one another for ten years.
26:15 I am from Greek descent and was raised
26:19 to think when someone hurt you, you discarded them.
26:24 You didn't pay attention to them anymore.
26:26 even if it was a family member because,
26:28 'they crossed the line. '
26:32 'They hurt you. '
26:33 And so now you draw boundaries and stakes in the ground
26:37 and you don't allow these family members to come anywhere
26:42 over these boundaries.
26:46 What if God had done the same thing to Adam and Eve?
26:51 What if God had done the same thing to us?
26:57 I'm only going to allow you guys to get so close.
26:59 Because I know you are going to bring a lot of pain to my heart.
27:07 You see the Bible says in the Jeremiah 31
27:10 "I have loved you with an everlasting love "
27:13 God does not look at us as we are.
27:18 God looks at us as who we can be.
27:21 When Jesus came across through the Gospels
27:24 when He looked upon Nicodemus
27:27 He saw who Nicodemus could be.
27:29 When He saw Mary Magdalene He saw who Mary could be.
27:37 The lady at the well, He saw who she could be.
27:42 The question today to you, to us
27:49 when someone offends you do you see
27:53 who they can be?