Page 3 - November 2021 - Truth & Tidings
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here will always be conflict in this  ignore the fact that there is authority in the
              world. Society’s way of dealing with  assembly that must be obeyed (Heb 13:17).
        Tit is to assert power. Press confer-  But the submission of Ephesians 5 should
        ences are held, boycotts are planned, pro-  characterize us in our interactions with one
        tests are staged, riots are organized, and,  another generally, elders included. We are
        when nations are involved, even war may  to adopt this “under rank” attitude. How
        be declared. The damage is often incalcu-  often do we concede or defer to someone
        lable, as property is destroyed, relations  else? How often do we try to see another’s
        are shattered, and even precious lives are  point of view? Or do we always insist that
        lost. Usually the conflict still lingers, and   it’s my way or the highway?
        maybe even deepens, only to be postponed   I want to emphasize three things about
        for a later and more costly confrontation.   Paul’s exhortation. First, we can submit to
          Sadly, the local church is not immune to   one another if we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
        conflict. Because we still have the flesh, the   Within this same lengthy sentence Paul
        same tendency to assert power (whether   wrote, “be filled with the Spirit” (v18).
        we possess it or not) to get our way is   When we let the Holy Spirit have His way
        in all of us. We manipulate, make veiled   in our lives, it will be possible for us to let
        threats, use condemning language, or even   others have their way also. If we act self-
        disseminate dishonest information to force   ishly, rudely or proudly, we are not being
        others to concede and let us have our way.   filled with the Spirit, as these actions are
        Friends suddenly become enemies and   not consistent with God’s character.
        personal relationships are ruined. How is
        this any different from the conduct of the   Second, we will submit to one another if we
        world? It isn’t. Sometimes we unfairly label   value one another properly. If we are “always
        others’ beliefs as “unbiblical” when there is   giving thanks to God the Father for each
        disagreement. This allows us to justify our   other” (v20 NET), as well as treating one
        actions. After all, we are simply “standing   another as more important than ourselves
        for the truth.” This type of behavior can   (Php 2:3), the value of others’ opinions will
        even arise among local assembly leader-  increase in my estimation and submitting
        ship. When it does, confidence in the over-  to them will be easier.
        sight will erode, and the assembly’s future   Third, we must submit to one another “out of
        is in grave danger.                  reverence for Christ.” We show reverence to
          Most, if not all, conflict in the assembly   Christ by exhibiting the same submissive
        could be resolved if we obeyed Ephesians   attitude He exemplified (Joh 13; Php 2). A
        5:21, even contention existing among el-  desire for conformity to Christ will result
        ders. Paul tells us we should be “submitting   in our putting others first as He did.
        to one another out of reverence for Christ”   When conflict emerges in the assembly,
        (NET). The word for “submit” literally  the world is watching. Let’s ensure that what
        means “to be under in rank.” This does not  they see isn’t like looking in a mirror.

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