OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew




A.             The early church encountered numerous relationship issues.

1.                There was strife among the apostles when James and John asked for positions of prominence in the kingdom of Christ (Matt. 20:20-28).

2.                A sharp contention developed between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark (Acts 15:36-41).

3.                Division existed in Corinth over ministers and spiritual gifts (I Cor. 1:10; 3:1-4; I Cor. 12:25).

4.                There was a problem between Euodias and Syntyche, members of the church at Philippi (Phil. 4:2-3).

5.                A conflict arose between John and Diotrephes, a man who loved to have the preeminence (III John 9-10).

6.                A rift existed in the early church between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians.


B.              In like manner, we find that the church of the 21st century has difficulties with Christian relationships.

1.                Personalities.

2.                Doctrinal issues.

3.                Cultural conflicts.

4.                Wrongs committed one against another.

5.                Power struggles.

6.                Pettiness and stubborn pride.


C.              This is another battle front wherein spiritual warfare is waged.

1.                If Satan wins, brethren are alienated from one another and the body of Christ is divided.

2.                Therefore, we need to learn how to deal with difficulties in Christian relationships.




A.             A foundation is “the basis upon which something is supported.”

1.                Foundations need to be made of the right material.

2.                Foundations need to be set deeply to weather the storms and trials that come with time.

3.                NOTE:  The church has a foundation, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:11).


For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.


B.              Our Christian relationships must be built upon solid foundations.  There are at least three key ingredients in this foundation.

1.                Love

a.         The church at Corinth was deeply divided.

b.         In I Corinthians 12:31, Paul set before them a more excellent way, the way of love.

c.         I Corinthians 13:1-3


Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove moun-tains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.


                                    d.         Paul described this love in I Corinthians 13:4-8.

                                                1)         Sixteen (16) qualities are set forth.

2)         Many times these actions are cast aside when problems develop in relationships.

                        2.         Unity (Eph. 4:3).


Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


                                    a.         Endeavoring (4704)

                                                1)         Strong:  to use speed, that is, to make effort.

                                                2)         Thayer:  to exert one’s self.

                                    b.         To keep (5083)

1)         Strong:  to guard, to keep the eye upon, to prevent from escaping, to put a military fortress around.

2)         Thayer:  to attend carefully, take care of.

3)         Example of a little boy who caught a mouse (shoebox, cage, aquarium, pen of double chicken wire).

                        3.         Truth (Prov. 23:23)


Buy the truth, and sell it not…


                                    a.         Definition: 

                                                1)         The state of being the case:  FACT.

                                                2)         The body of real things, events, facts:  ACTUALITY.

b.         Truth often gets pushed to the side when problems arise in relationships.  Feelings, needs, power, and other relationships come before allegiance to the truth.




A.             Pray for self and the opposition (Heb. 4:16).


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.





B.              Go to our brother or sister and work out the problems.

1.                Matthew 5:23-24


Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer they gift.


2.                Matthew 18:15


Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:  if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained by brother.


C.              Seek resolutions.

1.                Some will come and express themselves, but they leave with no truth resolutions to the problem.  The relationships continue to be strained and division still exists.

2.                The Jerusalem conference brought resolutions (Acts 15:28-31).


For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication:  from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.  Fare ye well.  So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch:  and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:  which when they read, they rejoiced for the consolation.


D.             Do what’s required of you.

1.                If you need to say:  “I am wrong,” do so.

2.                If you need to say:  “You are forgiven,” do so.

3.                If you need to say:  “I misunderstood,” do so.

4.                If you need to say:  “I understand,” do so.

5.                If you need to say:  “Let’s continue to study,” do so.




A.             Don’t go talking to everyone else about the issue between you and your brother (Prov. 11:13).


A talebearer revealeth secrets:  but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.


B.              Don’t let you anger turn into sin (Eph. 4:26a).


Be ye angry, and sin not…


C.              Don’t allow your pride keep you from healing the relationship (Prov. 13:10).


Only by pride cometh contention:  but with the well advised is wisdom.


D.             Don’t seek to assassinate another’s character.

E.              Don’t make the issue bigger than it really is.




A.             Psalm 133:1


Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!


B.              John 14:34


By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.