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Sometimes Christians just don’t get along.

Sometimes Christians just don’t get along.

AUGUST 8, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / Sometimes Christians just don’t get along.

Steve Brown:
Sometimes Christians just don’t get along. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God because of his radical grace free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering, that grace is what Key Life is all about.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts. And we’ve been doing that for a very, very long time. And we’re going to be doing it for a very, very long time. There’s no hurry. And I am the tour director pointing out the sites as we go along. And some of them are places where we need to pause and spend a good deal of time. And so, we’re doing that and I’m glad that you have decided to come along on the tour. If you have your Bible open it to Acts 15:36 through 43. And we’re going to be looking at a phenomenon we would rather not talk about. It’s the situation of when Christians simply can’t get along, don’t like each other, think of each other as being ugly and their mother dresses them funny. And they just can’t do ministry in the same room. What do you do? And you say, well, it doesn’t happen, that’s not the, of course it’s not the way it’s supposed to be, but it’s the way it is. And it’s the way it is more often than you would think. So, let’s pray and as usual on Monday, and then let’s turn to the text and see what we can find. Father, when we get home, we’re all gonna get along. When we get home, there’s not gonna be any more sin, no more tears, and no more division, but we’re not home yet. Remind us of that in so many areas in our lives, when it gets dark and we can’t see the way, when there are relational issues and family issues, when we can’t pay the mortgage, when we lost our job, when the doctor said stuff we didn’t want to hear, and it goes on and on and on, remind us that we’re simply not home yet. Get us home before the dark. And Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast. Remind us all that you’re sufficient for every need and there are no surprises to you and no perspiration on your forehead. Father, we praise you and we worship you. And always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins, they call him Reverend and he’s not, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. All right. The text is Acts 15:36 through 41.

And after some days Paul and Barnabas, or Paul said to Barnabas, “Come let us return and visit the brethren in every city where we proclaim the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” and Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp contention.

And the Greek there means a really, really, really big fight.

a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took mark with him and sailed to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches in those places.

You know, sometimes, sometimes the solution is saying, I can’t be your friend anymore. Sometimes the solution is saying, look, we can’t work together anymore. I, when I was a pastor, you know, most pastors and I include myself would sell their soul for a warm body in the pew, , especially if they were a tithing warm body in the pew, but I decided I’m not going to do that. And on occasion, I sat down with somebody who was hurting others in the church, was a source of division and criticism, a difficult person that would make the church less than it ought to be. And that was often me, but it was often somebody else in the church too. And so, we would have a come to Jesus talk, we would sit down and I would say, look, you don’t like me and I don’t like you, you don’t fit in this church and you and I both know it. You’re causing division and you are going to be a lot happier in a different church. If you would like for me to do it, I’ll help you find another church, but one of us has to leave and I can’t leave right now. So, it’s got to be you. So, let’s pray for each other, let’s do our best to love each other, but let’s do it in different places. Usually that brought forth shock because that’s not what pastors do, but we should. And you know why? Because of Acts 15:36 through 41, sometimes you have to say or pray, Father, as honestly as I know how, I’ve tried to love and understand my brother or my sister. And as honestly as I know how I’ve tried to be obedient to your will, but I just can’t cut it. Maybe it’s time by your grace that we will part. And by your grace at another time, we’ll learn to love each other and accept each other. But right now that’s not going to happen. And so, be with both of us as we walk different roads. Okay. Let’s check out the text and I want to show you some things, that come directly from the text, but also come directly from a very long life and ministry that I’ve had. I’ve been here. I’ve done that. And I’ve got the bloody t-shirt. And the first thing I want you to notice about these verses is the fact of separation. Now, I want you to notice, that Dr. Luke doesn’t say, the separation is good. He just records it. He doesn’t say, this is the way that God works out these kinds of situations. He just records it. He doesn’t say, I’m going to give you a 10 point program on how to resolve not getting along with your brother or sister in Christ. He just records it. Why does he record it? Because it happens. One of the great mistakes new Christians sometimes make is the false assumption that when they become Christians, that they go through an injection of niceness and purity. And from then on, no problem will be a problem. They will stand around the fire with other Christians holding hands, singing Kumbaya together. Well, listen, if you’re a new Christian and you thought that listen to the old guy, that’s not going to happen. And it doesn’t happen that way. In Romans 7, Paul says.

The good that I want to do.

And that could be the people I want to get along with.

The good that I want to do, I can’t do. The evil I don’t want to do separate, is what I do.

In I Timothy 1:16.

The saying is true and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

And I used to be the chief of sinners. He doesn’t say that. He says.

I am the chief of sinners.

If that’s true. And it is, you can bet your salary that it’s true, then you can understand Acts 15. Notice what happened in Acts 15. You have two mature, and they are, obedient and they are, sincere and they are, loving and they are, loyal and they are, dynamic leaders and they are. And what are they doing? They’re fighting. That’s what they’re doing. They’re fighting. And that ought not go on in the church, but it does. And when you recognize it and you do recognize it, then you’ve made a good step in the right direction of resolving it. Now, I’m running out of time. So, I don’t have a lot of time left. But tomorrow we’ll start looking at some resolution, but right now, remember what I taught you this time around. And that is that Christians sometimes fight. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown resuming our unhurried, guided tour of Acts. Today, setting the table for Acts 15:36 through 41. We will dig into this text more starting tomorrow. Hope you’ll join us then. I think we know this story in Acts 15. And from our own experience, that we can be right and still get things wrong. What I mean is, as Christians, we are often right on issues of salvation and theology, but we nonetheless miss the less articulated truths of humility and love and forgiveness. Steve will even admit he sometimes struggles with that. And this whole idea is actually the premise of Steve’s most recent book it’s called Talk the Walk: How to be Right Without being Insufferable. We created a special booklet that features an excerpt from that book. And we would be delighted to send you a copy for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

Key Life Network
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If you’re in Canada, mail

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Just ask for the booklet called Talk the Walk. Finally, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? You could charge a gift on your credit card. You can include a gift in your envelope. Or just pick up your phone, you know it’s right there. Pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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