Friendly Fire

Date written: 11 July 2015


TITLE: Friendly Fire

PROPOSITION: We need to identify “friendly fire” practices and seek to prevent friendly fire altogether through loving one another.

OBJECTIVE: To understand how not to behave toward our brethren and how to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.


1. What is friendly fire?

1) General “Stonewall” Jackson was a confederate army general during the civil war.

2) In April of 1863, he was leading his men near Chancellorsville, VA.

3) General Jackson rode forward to organize pursuit.

4) It was nearing dark, and some of his own troops, mistaking him for the enemy, shot him.

5) He was struck in the left shoulder and right hand.

6) The left arm was amputated and the bullet removed from his right hand.

7) He was taken to a place to recover, but contracted pneumonia and died on May 10th.

8) He did not die from an enemy, but from a friend—friendly fire.

2. The bottom line is that friendly fire isn’t really all that friendly.

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.


I.   We engage in friendly fire as Christians when we . . .

1. Engage in backbiting.

1) Talk about our brother or sister behind their back.

2) This is done to denigrate and destroy another person.

3) Romans 1:30, 2 Corinthians 12:20.

2. Put a stumbling block before our brothers and sisters.

1) Romans 14:13 – “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

2) 1 Corinthians 8:9 – “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.”

3. Seek to use our brothers and sisters for personal gain.

1) 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.

2) They were taking one another to court.

3) Paul said it would be better to suffer loss.

4. When we use our freedom to fight with each other instead of love one another.

1) Galatians 5:13-15.

2) Either way, we must preach the truth in love and with a spirit of unity.

5. When we try to take control of our brothers and sisters.

1) “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (3 John 9-10).

2) The church belongs to Christ, not us.

6. When we covet something that belongs to our brother or sister.

1) Consider the story of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11.

2) David had Uriah murdered to cover up his adultery, but it started with his evil desires.

3) Friendly fire can be deadly.

II.   What should we do to avoid friendly fire?

1. First, we are supposed to love one another.

1) “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Galatians 5:13-14).

2) “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7).

2. Second, the strong need to bear with the weak, and not insist on our way.

1) “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me” (Romans 15:1-3).

2) “Support the weak” (1 Thess.5:14).

3. Third, the spiritual need to restore those in fault.

1) “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

2) James 5:19-20 – “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

4. Fifth, if a brother offends, we need to go and talk to them.

1) 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 thy brother.”

2) Proverbs 25:9-10 “Debate your case with your neighbor, And do not disclose the secret to another; Lest he who hears it expose your shame, And your reputation be ruined.”

5. Even if someone seeks to harm us, we do not need to reply in kind.

1) David would not touch the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 24:6).

2) “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).


1. Friendly fire isn’t very friendly and it shouldn’t be tolerated.

1) These friendly fire situations are not good!

a. Backbiting

b. Putting a stumbling block before our brother or sister.

c. Using others for personal gain.

d. Infighting

e. Controlling Others

f. Covetousness

2) Let us avoid friendly fire altogether.

a. Love one another.

b. Let the strong bear with the weak.

c. The spiritual need to restore the wayward.

d. Let brothers talk to one another.

e. Do not return evil for evil.

2. Invitation