The world giggles at strife as it rises up in the Church. But brawling does not have to be our identity. Abram chose to see Lot as his brother and he wound up with blessings. (Genesis 13:5-8)

 

Put Away Strife and Be Brethren

 

Speaker(s): Pastor Renaldo Brown, Pastor Steven Scibelli
Sermon 11779
6:30 PM on 11/3/2019

 

#Family 

#Love

#Spiritual Life  

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P. Scibelli –

P. Joe Roche, would you come up here for a minute? Everyone know P. Joe? Missionary in Zambia,
Baltimore, and York. (He is doing imitations or impersonations). I asked him one time, do you
listen to the message or study us? He’s a great man of God. A simple thought before P. Renaldo
comes. We were preaching this morning about joy. I was thinking so much about it today, the
joy of God. Romans 5:2, you’re not going to have natural joy in Rome when in a city of 4 million it’s
all pagan worship, Caesar worship.

Natural joy isn’t going to make it when you lose everything about your life and have to live in the catacombs. You end up in the Colosseum where you are martyred. Natural joy isn’t going to make it. Rom. 5:2, we rejoice in hope, a confident expectation began in God. We began this morning talking about the importance of a joy being
full. Jesus said if you have my joy, your joy is full. If you have my joy, is a joy fulfilling you. You
are full and fulfilled by the joy of God. It’s my joy from the nature and character of God himself.
The finished work produces the incredible joy we have.

Don’t rejoice the devils are subject to you but rejoice your names are what? Written in heaven. Imagine that. You come back rejoicing and that’s great. You had a great victory over the devil and the demons are subject to you. Do
you have joy in life and in death, when healthy and sick, accepted and rejected, peace or war,
gain or loss, together with someone or alone, when strong and when weak, when light and
when dark, joy when helped or when no help.

Joy when young or – I didn’t say the word. You did! Joy when older. Joy when educated or illiterate. Joy if rich or poor, holy or sin. Of course we could have inward joy and not experience God. Do I have joy when walking by faith and when unbelief encroaches on our faith. Many times in our life we have joy and if not careful we
have a joy based on a situation and circumstance. No matter what is going on, I have the joy of
the Lord and Nehemiah. 8:10 that’s what?

Joy of the Lord is our strength. Philippians 3:1 and 4:1 rejoice in the Lord. My joy is in God. My joy is not in life’s circumstances or situations. The ups and downs in a person’s life. My joy is a joy based on the person of the H.S. whose fruit is joy, the person of Jesus Christ and the Father’s plan. Heb 12:1-2, there is this incredible joy. Someone who wrote in a book about the questions asked of the first century candidates for ordination and one
question was, do you enjoy the kisses of your wife as much as the scourges of your enemy?
That’s a crazy question.

Talking about joy. You’ll face so much opposition and persecution. If your joy is in peace and everything going well and not in the Lord, then when things don’t go well, I find myself looking around to make changes to affect my joy when all the time my joy is in Jesus and what he has done for me. That can take time to help that be something that is a foundation. The joy of the Lord. I’m sure many have passed through all kinds of things in this
room. For a moment, the joy is missing or robbed.

The devil comes to rob, steal the joy, kill off the ministry of the Holy Spirit and steal my rewards. He wants to rob me of my joy. If pastoring without joy, this becomes miserable. If go to work without joy, here comes Monday morning.
Certain team doesn’t win tonight, your joy is gone. The result of a sporting event can take your
joy. That’s incredible to believe. They are making millions of dollars and care less about you and
me. Some sports I do like once in a while.

My joy is not based on my favorite team winning. It’s not based on the weather. Sunny and warm. I hate winter. We were trying to fix my car…..we went through a lot of stuff and Daniel said to me, you don’t have any shoes on. I said I love walking barefoot in the snow. The bottom of your feet is where all nerves meet and is very
good for you. I want you out there, Mr. George as soon as the first snow comes. I’m standing
outside your house and don’t fire anything at me at night.

Oh, the birds. Not the Baltimore Orioles. Oh the beautiful country. I like concrete and the city. The joy taking that long drive up the Mohawk. I don’t derive my life joy from traveling, believe me! I took eight airplane flights
on this last trip. Up. Down. Up. Down. Take your belt off. How about my socks…you don’t look
over 70. Want to see my passport? She said, excuse me. Go. No matter what comes our way. I
was thinking of all the things that will come my way this week after preaching on joy. Temporal
joy, circumstantial, emotional joy. We got joy. Say it. I got joy. Joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart (song). Was that a bus ministry song? Wow.

P. Renaldo Brown –

Good evening. Let’s all stand and pray for me. Following him, God knows. Genesis 13, it’s great to be back in Baltimore where the weather is normal, not 105. Joy in sweat. A lot of sweat at 2 a.m. It’s 95 at 2 a.m. Genesis 13:5-8, Abram said for we be brethren. That’s not a word in our vocabulary in a natural sense unless you were saved in the 60s. It’s not a part of our conversation. We be brethren. Bible says we are. God has made it so. He has gathered himself to us in Ephesians. 1:13, 4:30 and gathered us with him into the one new man. We are one people.
God has gathered us for one purpose.

He hasn’t gathered us just for worship and praise. But he’s gathered us together for one main purpose, a relationship with him and with each other. Possibly the most practical word in Christianity is relationship. We have been gathered for relationship. We are the spiritual, solitary people gathered into a family for the purpose of
relationship. We were people in times past not a people but now we are the people of God
gathered for relationship. Genesis. 3:8

God is relational and made us relational in Amos 3:3. We are made to relate and be related to. Sometimes that relationship we have with people and God can be a strength for us. Sometimes our relationships with people can be a weakness in 1 Corinthians 15:33. Because of the corruption of the flesh and challenges of the world and the devil, our relationships are not always filled with joy. I’d like to say they are, but you’d call me a liar. There
are other challenges in our relationship, too. They suffer friction, division, strife. God doesn’t
protect relationship from strife.

He permits it, plans for it. Even our godly relationships are not isolated from conflict or strife. Christians come into church and are so shocked they have a problem with another Christian. God allows it. Mt. 18:7 offenses will come. Conflict will happen. Strife is part of our Christian experience in the Body of Christ. That’s a hard word to say. Why
does God allow strife in his family, in his church? So he would be made manifest in strife. In our
relationship in the conflict, Christ would be seen.

Christ cannot only be seen in my joy but also in my pain. What is the easier manifestation…God would be seen in my joy. I kind of expect that. Things are not good but is God here too. If I only allow the things in your life …whatever it is. Genesis 13 we have a relationship among God’s people. Abraham and Lot. In these 13 years
together, they walked through some situations together. Abram and Lot rather. During this
relationship, Abram has been blessed by God.

He’s added to him materialistically. And indirectly by association, Lot has been promoted by Abram but also by God. Blessing by association has happened to Lot by God blessing Abram. When prosperity comes into a relationship, we relax a little bit. You get carefree and sometimes careless. You get familiar and presumptuous. When
that happens, strife can occur. Prosperity came in. Prosperity is not having too much, just more
than you had before. It doesn’t take much.

Instead of one apple, I have two. Just a little more. This is probably not the first time the two men’s flocks occupied the same field. This is not a brand-new thing. These are not inexperienced herdsmen. They were contingencies in place. They know how to move animals. Vs. 5-6. So vs. 5 was not the first time that there was a
scarcity and the men’s animals dwelt together. In vs. 6, this wasn’t the first time they had to
figure out how to do pasture together. If you know anything about sheep herding or goat
herding, there is a rotation, a schedule, you share the land together.

The conditions were not abnormal or unusual. They were normal. The conditions didn’t change. Hearts changed.
Prosperity can do that. It can change hearts. What used to be acceptable is no longer
acceptable. The Hebrew points out Lot’s herdsmen were wrong. They seemed to instigate the
strife. Most likely they didn’t honor the schedules for sharing the food. They didn’t honor the
boundaries. They took too much among themselves. vs. 8 You have strife among God’s people.
The world loves to celebrate the strife in the church of God.

They build monuments to our strife. They glorify our strife. It doesn’t say here but I wonder if the other tribes are watching the strife and staring at God’s people. vs. 8. There was strife. Watch in vs. 8. Abram, let there be
no strife. It means let it cease to exist. The word for “strife” is a different word in vs. 7 than in
vs. 8. In vs. 7, it is hand to hand brawl. Like a passion word. This is what we are doing. We are
fighting. This is not a game. In vs. 8. It’s a different word. It speaks of a state of being, an
identity. This is who we are.

In this relationship, the problem between us has become our identity. In vs. 7, it is what we are doing and vs. 8 becomes who we are. What we do begins to define our relationships with people. You don’t talk to me and I don’t talk to you. You find ways to hate me and despise me and I find ways to hate you and despise you. The passion of being right or having a disagreement with a brother or sister. We forget the principle. James 2 and 3
connects the word “war” with strife. God hasn’t called me to go to war with my brother or
another Christian or my pastor or my church.

I’m not called to war with the Body of Christ. We be brethren. How do I remember we be brethren? We walk like Abram walked, in humility. In the midst of the strife, he didn’t come in and correct Lot. This is not our identity. We are
brethren. There is no beef, no problem. In humility, he valued the relationship in the situation
over the results of the situation. He didn’t need to win. He didn’t need to be right. He didn’t
need to get his way or plead his case.

I’m in an argument with my brother and sister, and I’m right. What have you won? Nothing. The vindication of pride. That’s all you have. In humility in strife, Abram found security in God. Proverbs 20:3, 26:20, Pride finds security in everything else but God. Humility is courageous enough to find security only in God. It always leads to a place of
security. Humility finds security beyond itself, outside itself. Abram found security in God
because he walked in humility. He didn’t need to compete with Lot or be right.

We have relationships. Vs. 14-15 God honored him. We are made to have relationship with people. They
only have one purpose to be a witness of our relationship with God and that’s it. We be
brethren. We be the children of God. I’ll close with this. I don’t know if you know this story. Charles Simeon, how many of you have heard of him? I know Pastor Cannon has. 18 th century
Anglican pastor. Never married. He attended and graduated from Cambridge. In college, he got
saved shortly after graduation.

At age 22, he was already ordained as an Anglican deacon. The
head of the Trinity church died so instead of leaving Cambridge, Charles was asked to stay and
serve as the new pastor in charge of Trinity church. The problem was, Mr. Hammon, the
assistant of the Trinity Church, after the head pastor died, he thought he should have been the
pastor and the church wanted him. As the new pastor in charge, they actively opposed Charles
Simeon. He offered to resign.

The Anglican leadership said no, so he stayed. They didn’t like his preaching. They didn’t like him personally. They threatened him. Door to door visitation nobody answered for 10 years. They forced Charles to preach the a.m. only in the afternoon service for five years. And somebody else preached the other service for the other seven. He tried to have an evening service and the church staff locked the doors with people waiting in the streets. He
got a lock smith to open the door and finally dropped the service.

They used to put locks on the pew holders so all the people that owned those pews put padlocks on the pews so no one could sit. He set up chairs in the aisles. He bought the chairs himself. The church warden took the
chairs and threw them in the street. At 25 years in ministry, his health failed. He lost his voice
and could only whisper. For the last 13 years of his life until the age of 60, he continued to
preach. He served that church as their pastor for 54 years.

Eventually, winning over the church, he greatly affected the mission of the church. Pastor Charles said his security in God gave him capacity to be hopeful in a hopeless situation. He said I love the valley of humility for there I am
in a safe place. Where there is strife and humility, find security with God.

Amen.

 

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