Summary: 1 of 3 sermons dealing with peoples need to belong to a loving family

A place to Belong: A place for Friendship

Mother’s Day / May 8th 2005

Intro: Why do we have so few close friends, people we can really talk to, people we can trust, people we can count on for help and support when we need it?

Few have relationship with whom they can be unguarded and un-self-conscious, confident that they will be accepted, warts and all.

A few years ago, a newspaper columnist named Marla Paul published a column in which she revealed her frustration over her lack of friendships.

"The loneliness saddens me," she wrote. "How did it happen that I could be forty-two years old and not have enough friends?" She goes on, "I think there are women out there who don’t know how lonely they are. It’s easy enough to fill up the day with work and family. But no matter how much I enjoy my job and love my husband and child, they are not enough."

When this column appeared, letters poured in from housewives, executives, and university professors saying, "I’ve had the exact same experience." One person said, "I’ve often felt that I’m standing outside looking through the window of a party to which I was not invited."

As Marla later wrote, "They wanted to share their frustration and estrangement. All were tremendously relieved to discover they weren’t the only ones."

And it’s not only women who have this problem. If anything, men have more difficulty forming and maintaining friendships. Why? Because it’s hard!

These people found some comfort in understanding that they were not alone. But, really there is more than sharing common pain. I will show you from Scripture today that God has more than this in store for you. I will admit that if you find yourself in a place of isolation and despair this morning, it may be difficult to believe the hope that I will share with you this morning. Therefore, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through my words this morning. He is the True Councilor here this morning.

Text: Colossians 2:16-23

I. God knows what we need

a. More than religion

What do you see as the reason for church?

i. Piety? “Getting it right.” / Read verses 16-17

1. Some people think that if they can just “behave the right way” they will feel better.

2. All energy is spent on “controlling” behavior.

ii. Teaching? “Knowing what is right” / Read verses 20-23

1. “If I can just learn enough information.”

2. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for thinking that knowledge was “the end all and be all.”

3. This doesn’t mean that knowledge is useless; In fact proper understanding is vital! It simply means that knowledge is only a part of the equation.

iii. Religious experience? “If I can just ‘feel’ the right feelings.” / Vs 18

1. These are people who come across as “super-spiritual”

2. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 tells that all the “spiritual experiences” combined don’t amount to a hill of beans with out LOVE.

Illustration: A true story: Several pastors gathered for a “Pastor’s Retreat” The first night they talked about where they were in their lives and ministries. The first went through an ugly church split. The second one was having significant marriage problems. The third was dealing with betrayal of a life-long ministry partner. The fourth was doing very well but was struggling with handling the success. The fifth was burned out and the sixth said something unforgettable. He was the youngest of the bunch. The others members of the group were older and further along the path, some with very sizable ministries. In his mind, they were the models of what he was supposed to be like. When it was his turn, he was asked to share. “Well,” he said, “I just have to say I feel a lot better already. You guys are as screwed up as I am.” The whole group burst into laughter.

iv. If attending church was enough, pastors would be perfect.

v. We do need right actions, knowledge and experiences, however by themselves they are not enough, we need more than

b. More than comfort

i. Comfort is very important but Healing and Growth are the real goals.

You may even say that non-Christians have a form of “Comfort” They comfort themselves with all sorts of things: Like “Southern Comfort”, Alcohol and drugs, adrenaline, lust and a whole list of other sinful behaviors that distract the soul from finding the real answers to the problems.

ii. Christ centered Comfort helps a lot; in fact comfort is a huge part of healing.

iii. Many Christians don’t go past what I will call, “Surface Church”

1. Surface Churchers are real Christians

2. These people have been born again and may even be baptized in the Holy Spirit. They are committed to attending, learning and even life changes in their walk with God.

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