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Dealing with Disunity

Rob Iverson
Lay Elder and Elder Board Chairman


I. What does God expect from us?

II. How leaders contribute to disunity.
III. When to correct and when to confront.
IV. Different strategies for different people.
V. Practical Principles.


A. Principles from Proverbs

1. Proverbs 6:16-19—Six things that God “hates”…one who spreads strife among
2. Characteristics of those who spread strife:
Proverbs 6:12-15—lie, wink, points, devises evil, spreads strife
Proverbs 17:27-28—digs up evil, separates friends

B. Unity is a command from God

1. Philippians 2:2—“Make my joy complete by being of the same mind,
maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”
2. 1 Corinthians 1:10—“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made
complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
3. Romans 15:5-7—“…be of the same mind with one another…accept one

C. What can we conclude?

1. Unity is not an option.
2. Unity is a constant problem/concern.
3. God hates disunity.
4. Leaders are demanded to fulfill this command.
5. We must remain constantly on the alert. Jude 3-4—“Certain persons have crept
in unnoticed…”


A. Typical ways that we contribute:

1. Hope it will all just go away
2. Poor communication
3. Projecting and attitude of being unapproachable or unteachable
4. Dying on every hill
5. Taking criticism personally
6. Leadership models disunity

B. There are rewards for our actions.

Proverbs 28:23—“He who rebukes a man will afterwards find favor than he who flatters
with his tongue.”


A. Some commands from Scripture:

1. 2 Thessalonians 3:14—“And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter,
take special note of that man and do not associate with him, so that he many be put to
2. 1 Timothy 5:1—“Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a
father, to the younger men as brothers.”
3. 1 Timothy 5:20—“Those (leaders) who continue in sin, rebuke them in the presence
of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning.”
4. 2 Timothy 2:23-26—“But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they
produce quarrels. And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind
to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those in
opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to knowledge of the
truth and they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil…”
5. 2 Timothy 3:1-5—“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
For men will be self-centered, disobedient, etc…holding to a form of godliness,
although they have denied its power and avoid such men as these.”
6. 2 Timothy 4:1-3—“…preach the word, reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience
and instruction.”
7. 2 Titus 1:10-13—“For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and
deceivers…who must be silenced because families are upset…reprove them severely
that they may be sound in the faith.”
8. Titus 3:9-11—“…reject a factious man after a first and second warning…”
9. Galatians 5:22—“fruit of the spirit is patience, kindness, gentleness…”
10. Galatians 6:1-3—“…restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness…bear one another’s
11. Romans 16:17—“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause
dissension and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned and turn away
from them.”

B. What can we conclude?

1. It is easy to under/over react.
2. No simple solution.
3. It is easy to make a mistake.
4. Each case is unique.
5. People don’t respond the way we would like.

C. What is the difference between reprove and rebuke?

1. Reprove: Bring conviction through correction.
2. Rebuke: Conviction of sin that would cause repentance.
3. Exhort: Come alongside to help/strengthen.


A. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 shows us three types:

1. Warn the “unruly.”
2. Comfort the “fainthearted.”
3. Uphold the “weak.” Those without spiritual/moral strength.

B. The types of people discussed in Proverbs.

1. The naïve
2. The fool
a. The stubborn fool
- He hates being told what to do in Proverbs 1:22.
- He is complacent in Proverbs 1:32.
- He rejects wisdom in Proverbs 8:5.
b. The arrogant fool
- He won’t listen in Proverbs 12:15.
- He is right in his own eyes in Proverbs 12:15.
- He mocks at the consequences of his sin in Proverbs 14:9.
c. The prideful fool
- He talks for the sake of talking in Proverbs 17:7.
- Wickedness is sport to a fool in Proverbs 10:23.

C. What can we summarize from these three fools?

1. Their behavior is progressive.
2. They rationalize their behavior at each step.
3. Our response and actions are progressive as well.


A. Believe the best in people, but prepare for the worst.

B. Action is preferred to inaction.
C. The counsel of many is preferred to that of a few.
D. Honestly evaluate your contribution to the problem.
E. Consider the cost. Know your adversary well. Men be men, blood is thick, mama bear.
F. Stick to the game plan.
G. Attempt to make the disgruntled part of the solution, not the problem.
H. The disgruntled often want to play the “I-know-that-but” game.
- As a leader in this church, will you submit to my authority in this matter?
- If I could show you what the Bible has to say concerning this, would you
accept it?
- Are you willing to be obedient to what the Bible says and actually do it?
I. The wheat field always has tares in it. Titus 1:16.
J. Our timing may not be the same as God’s timing. Proverbs 29:1.
K. Never forget that we were once like this ourselves. Titus 3:3.
L. Never forget that Satan is behind all of this.
M. Watch out for those who want to bind people too closely.
N. Rotate leadership roles.
O. Learn from the past, but don’t live there.
P. Single out good behavior and reward it.
Q. Sowing seeds verses pulling weeds.