Thoughts on Contention, Contending, and Worldliness
ACTS 10 paraphrase: Cornelius was a God-fearing man who was fasting. God sent Peter to him to present the gospel [good news about Jesus]. 44 “While Peter was still speaking…, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word…and they were baptized.”
CONTENTION: Peter Defends God’s Grace
ACTS 11 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
The difference between Contentious and Contending.
“A HEALTHY CHURCH HAS SPARKS.”
A] Do you want to guard others or expose them?
B] Are you quick to find faults and are you looking for them?
C] Do you only see the negative?
It’s okay to question if you’re truly open to hear the answer.
One who constantly questions is often contentious.
Pray for Boldness or pray for Balance!
WORLDLINESS: How do we reach sinners if we always avoid them? Peter was “In the world, but not of it.”
Are you the light or is your light fading?
Do you persuade them, or do they persuade you? Who is the “influencer”?
Are you being conformed into the image of Christ or the world’s image?
Are you being selective, cautious, and using wisdom [godly counsel]?
Note on counsel: I have rarely seen a person go wrong by seeking it.
Others CAN see us better than we see ourselves [no ulterior motives].
Is everything you do bathed in prayer as you wait on God?
Many say, “Lord, here is what I’m going to do – please bless it.”
Is there conviction and a lack of peace about what you’re doing?
But it pays the bills.
Is there fruit? “I’m witnessing to them” is often the excuse we use.
SHIFT IT – Are you teachable? Were they…? Let’s find out . . .
CONTENDING: 11:4 But Peter explained the dream to them and said… 15…as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” 18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
Don’t rush to judgment – they heard both sides.
The fruit was unmistakable – the Holy Spirit came “upon” them.
REVISIT FRUIT: I love worship; I want more of God – I’m not in a hurry – the Bible comes alive – I’m more conscious of sin, and I desire more of God’s grace. I want to restore what I’ve broken, seek forgiveness, and repair any damage that I have caused.
WHY does the Holy Spirit get a bad reputation?
GAY MEANT HAPPY and A FUNDAMENTALIST WAS A GOOD THING.
“…you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Is there boldness? “Has he received his baptism of fire?”
“…God gave them the same gift as He gave us.”
Paul uses 3 chapters: 1 Corinthians 12 – 14: unity in diversity, love, use.
A] It was evident in many who were filled.
B] It was a gift – 1 Cor. 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
C] It had a purpose – 1 Cor. 14: Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
Reminder: what you’re filled with comes out.
“…earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.”
The CURE for contention – LOVE
The CURE for contending – LOVE
The CURE for worldliness – LOVE
It does not come naturally: It has to be fought for, defended, and constantly nurtured.