This sermon was based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11.
The Coming of the Lord
13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The Day of the Lord
1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
- Conflict is very common, both in the wider world and in our own lives.
- Unresolved conflict can really get you down.
- In Matthew 5:8, Jesus calls us to be peacemakers.
- There is a five step process to resolving conflict.
1. MAKE THE FIRST MOVE
- Often after a conflict we wait for the other person to make the first move.
- Being a peacemaker means that whether you are the offender or the offended, you should make the first move towards reconciliation.
- The Bible actually tells us that this is so important that we should even prioritise it over coming to church (see Matthew 5:23-24).
2. BEGIN WITH WHAT’S MY FAULT
- It’s often easier to see the faults of somebody else than your own faults. In Matthew 7 Jesus described this as picking the speck out of their eye when you have a log in your own eye.
- Often the main source of conflict isn’t other people but what’s going on in our own hearts.
- One of the best phrases when resolving conflict is, “I’m sorry, I was only thinking of myself.”
3. LISTEN TO THEIR PERSPECTIVE
- James tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. The first two of these things are the key to the third.
- We should seek to understand before being understood.
- We can often be so eager to get our point across that we don’t take time to listen to the other person’s.
4. SPEAK THE TRUTH TACTFULLY
- Often people say they ‘tell it like it is’. This is called being rude.
- Truth should be wrapped up in love or it won’t be received.
- Forgiveness is a choice to release someone from the debt created by a wrong.
- It doesn’t mean denying the wrong, its hurt or forgetting it happened.
- It shouldn’t be dependant on an apology.
- Forgiveness is not trust.
- Forgiveness is not ceasing to feel the pain.
- Forgiveness is not reconciliation.