Stratford Community Bible Church

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Love One Another
By: Pastor Bill Nesbitt
Thursday, December 07, 2017 - 08:26 AM

How do you respond when people leave your church?


 It is true that we are to love one another. Jesus said in John 13:35, “they will know you are My disciples by your love for one another.” Paul calls us to be diligent, to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We fail time after time to live this out. People come and go from our churches as they seek the “perfect” church, but as they say, there is no perfect church, preacher or congregation. Church hopping is a common occurrence in today’s society, but is that what God wants?


 Where is the loyalty? Where is the commitment? How do you develop a ministry and deep friendships when you are always getting mad and leaving a local body looking for the greener grass? There are times that leaving is appropriate. For example, when doctrinal error will not be addressed by the church board or pastor. But too often, it is not doctrinal but personal.  Sometimes there is an offense that makes it impossible to worship at that church and it is best for you and your family to move on. But too often, the reason people leave is over personality clashes or pride.


 Leslie Flynn, in his book Great Church Fights says, “Christians must be diligent to maintain unity and to continue serving the Lord in spite of personality clashes.”  In looking at Acts 15:36-41, where Paul and Barnabas split up over John Mark’s desertion, Flynn has three observations: 



  1. Spiritual maturity does not erase personality differences.

  2. Personality differences can lead to personality clashes that can cause us to sin.

  3. We should not let personality clashes cause us to quit serving the Lord.


 He says when you face a personality clash with another Christian, as you surely will, try to disengage your emotions and objectively think through the answers to these four questions: 



  1. What is the real nature of the difficulty?

  2. Is there an important Biblical principle at stake?

  3. What is God trying to teach you?

  4. Would the cause of Christ be hindered or furthered by separating?


 In the case of Paul and Barnabas, the cause of Christ was furthered because one evangelism team became two. God is sovereign and can use all things for His glory and our good, but that does not relieve us of our responsibility to work in harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ and thus demonstrate our love for one another. It is not always easy! I know that I am not always easy to love but if I want to be like my Lord, I will seek to grow in the one another passages.   Losing good people from your church is never easy but we cannot let it discourage us to the point of putting our spiritual gifts on the shelf. We need to pray for those Christians that leave our church and wish nothing but God’s best for them. Look at it like the situation with Paul and Barnabas…one servant team has now become two.


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