OceanSide church of Christ
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CLIQUES IN THE CHURCH (2)
Victor M. Eskew
A. In a previous lesson, we began a two-part study of “Cliques in the church.”
1. We defined a clique as a small, exclusive group in the congregation.
2. We looked at how cliques develop.
3. We began a discussion of the dangers of cliques.
B. Tonight, we want to finish this study.
1. We will continue to look at the dangers of cliques.
2. We will also consider how to dissolve cliques in the church.
I. DANGERS OF CLIQUES
1. Cliques can war against one another.
a. Family vs family
b. Office staff vs the elders
c. Parents vs the teachers
d. The clique vs the rest of the church
2. James 3:14-16
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
B. Rebellious sub-group
1. We mentioned that cliques can get angry with others. Sometimes the others are the elders.
2. Because they are so well established, they can lead a rebellion against the elders.
3. Ex., Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num. 16:1-3)
Now Korah, the son of Ishar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan, and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: and they rose up before Moses with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: and they gathered themselves together against Moses, and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?
1. Loss of interest (works of the church)
2. Loss of members
3. Loss of souls
D. DISINTEGRATION OF CLIQUES
A. Develop “sameness” among members: same love, same care
1. Same mind (Rom. 12:16)
2. Same care (I Cor. 12:25)
3. Same love (Phil. 2:2)
4. Minster the same one to another (I Pet. 4:10)
B. Practice selflessness
1. Cliques are concerned for self and not for the general welfare of all.
2. Paul exhorted the Christians at Philippi to look not just upon his own things, but upon the things of others as well (Phil. 2:3-4).
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
3. Paul used Timothy as an example of selflessness (Phil. 2:20-21).
For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
C. Intentional inclusion of others
1. Rather than shutting others out, we all need to seek to include as many as possible.
2. Sometimes we harm ourselves and the work because we are not inclusive.
a. Some have wonderful ideas that can be used.
b. Some are very hard workers.
c. Some will become our good friends and not just acquaintances.
d. Some will substitute for us when we need to be away.
3. I Corinthians 12:22
Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble are necessary.
D. Rotate responsibilities in the church
1. When one, or two, or three are the only ones responsible for a work of the church, they feel as though they are the “owners” of that work.
2. The work of the church is never “owned” by anyone.
3. Two benefits of rotating responsibilities:
a. No one or two people take ownership of a work.
b. Rotating responsibilities gives everyone who has a talent an opportunity to use their talent in service to God.
4. To do this, people must be willing to do two things:
a. Become selfless
b. Be willing to play second-fiddle at times (Ex., John the Baptist, John 3:30).
He must increase, but I must decrease.
E. Leadership must keep a close eye on these groups as they develop, even among themselves.
1. Elders are the overseers of the congregation (Acts 20:28; I Pet. 5:2).
2. It is their responsibility to keep cliques from developing and to confront those that do.
3. NOTE: If the eldership is a clique, this will be difficult for them to do.
A. It is impossible to keep small groups from developing in the church.
B. Too, every faithful member of the church will probably become a member of a small group.
C. The work comes in not allowing the small group to develop into a clique.
1. It must not become exclusive.
2. It must never be allowed to become a danger to the church.
D. Cliques have harmed and divided many churches in the past. This is not the Lord’s will (I Cor. 1:10).