What Causes Problems With Our Brethren?
This is a lesson about the things that cause discord among our brethren.
Things that ought not to be.

We fight a great war against Satan with the special arms that the Holy Spirit provides for us, and we do very well against the enemies on the outside.
However, our most destructive enemies are within our own fellowship.
The Word of God speaks with a clear voice against sowing seeds of discord among brethren.
God, through His inspired Word, urges us against the wrong seeds which bring discord among us.
He wants His children to get along and live in harmony with one another.
It pleases Him!
It concerns Him so much that Jesus prayed for this unity (John 7:20-21).
I must stress that sowing strife is not the same as standing up for the Truth.
Sometimes if we stand up for what is right, there will be strife.
In these cases, the problem is on the back of the one who has chosen to oppose what is right.
The apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, made an appeal to them about living in harmony with one another (1Corinthians 1:10).
He also exhorted the brethren at Ephesus (Ephesians 4:3).
And to the brethren at Philippi (Philippians 2:3-4)
Unfortunately, many disrupt that peace because of their evil intentions.
Sowing seeds of discord among us is on God’s top list of things He hates the most (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Because it divides us.
It robs us of our faith and hope.
We must stay away from those who sow discord, for they cause severe damage to the body of Christ
Romans 16:17-18: “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrar6y to the teaching which you learned and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting”.
We need to strive to not cause dissension, but to build each other up.
We need to build good relationships.
Let us not grow angry, but speak to them with love (Ephesians 4:15).
Ephesians 4:25-29: “therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear”.

That means: we should be discrete and say what is necessary and needed for the edification of one another.
That means: we will be doing our best to keep peace among our brethren.
That means: We will only speak words that will help our brethren be better and stronger Christians.
That means: We should be kind and loving to our brethren.
That means: We should be willing to forgive our brethren because God has forgiven us.
Let us encourage others with our words.
Let us inspire others with our well-seasoned words.
You might be surprised how your words of encouragement toward someone else can turn and change their lives for good.
Remember, you could be the only person someone else might hear an encouraging word from.
Thus we must purpose in our hearts to always give one another our best service.
Let us take a moment and see what causes this discord, and learn how to avoid these things.
As we go through this list, you may know that we could preach an entire sermon on each of these categories.

Seeds of discord are things that will damage good relationships; they are:
Earthly pleasures and worldliness
James 4:1-3: “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
We quarrel and fight because of pride, malice, covetousness, ambition, and revenge.
When we set our hearts on earthly pleasures, it renders us weak, leading us to divisions.
When we are led by the evil desires of the flesh, it will be impossible to walk in the Spirit.
You can be sure that it will bring us conflict and quarrels that cause war among us.
This can all be attributed to a thing called selfishness.

Lack Of Love
Love is the foundation of every command of God. His entire law is based on the principle of love.
Proverbs 10:12: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love convers all transgressions”.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Not forgiving others (Unforgiveness).
Mark 11:25: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions”.
Colossians 3:13: “bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Forgiveness is doing exactly what God does when He forgives us.
Let us not slip up and lose our souls eternally with a heart that is filled with hate, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.
The sin of unforgiveness will eventually cost our souls, sending us to hell.
Not only will it destroy our soul for eternity, but it could also destroy all relationships within the body of Christ, leaving us bitter and condemned.

Gossip is where we try to impugn someone or discredit their name. Its purpose is to destroy relationships, and cause others to avoid them.
Paul wrote to Titus and explained godly living Titus 3:1-2: “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men”.

Slander is nothing more than telling lies about someone with the purpose of getting others to dislike them.
Slander and gossip fall in the same category.
Judging people unfairly without righteous judgment.
Jesus taught the measure of our judgment back in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:1-5).
Our duty is to learn to judge righteously.
That means that we should give the benefit of the doubt and not make assumptions.

James 4:11: “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it”.
Imagine what a blessing it would be if all of us were to pray for one another rather than putting each other down and speaking evil about each other!
Being a busybody
2 Thessalonians 3:11: “For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies”.
This is where we are monitoring others and not seeing to our own business and duty.
This is where we are more concerned about what brother or sister so and so are doing/or not doing while we are really doing nothing at all to promote the church or work towards building unity among the brethren.

Proverbs 14:30: “A tranquil heart is life to the body, but passion is rottenness to the bones”.
Two main causes: Lack of contentment and lack of love.
Envy is what happens when we are not content with our life, and seek the life that others are living.
Envy leads to adultery, stealing, slander, hatred and murder.
Envy is caused by immaturity, ego, insecurity, greed, and frustration.

Proverbs 15:18: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger pacifies contention”.
Uncontrolled anger leads to uncontrolled words and fits of rage that lead to divisions that sadly last a lot longer than the wrath itself.
Anger can only produce the seeds of discord and fury.
Proverbs 30:33: “For the churning of milk produces butter, and pressing the nose brings forth blood; so the churning of anger produces strife”.

And probably the worst one of all: Pride
We see that there is a lack of humility here.
Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not mere look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others”.
Pride happens as we try to impress others so that they will exalt and praise us.
Pride prevents us from truly examining ourselves for the purpose of improving because we already consider ourselves the best ever.

May we always make an effort to build one another up.
May the Lord help us to walk together as the family of Christ so that we might reach heaven as our home.
You may know that all of these come from the Bible and we are warned against such things.
Our duty is to help others get to heaven, and if we have any one of these we just mentioned, that may not happen (especially for us).

By Carey Scott based on an article by Luci Partain

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