Summary: How Christ’s friendship with His followers exemplifies the traits necessary to navigate our relationships through tough times.
We begin a new series today on relationships. Every human being is created in God’s image and is therefore a relational being. Since we’re relational beings, if we have any hope of joy and peace and happiness in life we need to know how to “do” relationships.
The majority of good relationships don’t just happen by accident. There are attitudes we must own and actions we must take in order to insure good relationships.
I asked my wife Deb to help me teach this series since we’ve been in a marriage relationship for 32 years ane we’ve learned a lot together about relationships from God’s Word and from experience. She said something to me to the affect that, there are a lot of things about what is happening to the economy right now that can happen to relationships. I thought that was very insightful. Right now we’re going through a recession. Money is short of supply and the stock market is down and people are losing jobs and home sales are down.
Relationships can face recessions too. There can be times when the stress level increases and you feel depleted of the necessary resources for your relationships to survive. How do you survive and even thrive in your relationships – when they’re being put to the test?
We’re going to share some very valuable information with you from God’s Word about recession-proofing your relationships. We’re going to discover the keys to having great marriages, being good parents, having worthwhile friendships, getting along with your co-workers and neighbors, overcoming conflict and misunderstanding, experiencing great communication, and more.
We’re starting today with a foundational message. From the Bible and from the life and teachings of Jesus we learn that one of the most important ways to recession-proof our relationships is make sure that we’re AUTHENTIC so that our relationships can be authentic.
Today I want to talk to you about “being real in an artificial world.” If we’re going to overcome the occasional recessions in our relationships we must be authentic. We’re going to have to take off our masks, stop pretending, stop playing games, and be open, honest and real with one another.
But how do we do that?
Jesus points the way in what He said about relationships.
In John chapter 15 Jesus is talking about the friendship that He has with His followers. This is amazing! Jesus chooses to have a friendship relationship with those of us who follow Him! And in this same passage He lays the foundation for great relationships.
9 I loved you as the Father loved me. Now remain in my love. 10 I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and I remain in his love. In the same way, if you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. 11 I have told you these things so that you can have the same JOY I have and so that your JOY will be the fullest possible JOY. 12 "This is my command: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me; I chose you. And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. John 15:9-17
From this passage we’re going to concentrate on four concepts that Jesus emphasizes. These four ideals teach us how to have authentic relationships.
The first concept is love. Underline the word love or any form of the word love in this passage. You will find the word love occurs 9 times.
So this is our first key to authentic relationships – the kind of relationships I must have in order to survive the tough times that all relationships face.
AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS ARE BASED ON AUTHENTIC LOVE.
Not just love, “authentic” love.
What is authentic love? Authentic love is mature love. It’s the kind of love that is based on the value of the person who is loved. God loves us because He values us. God loves us because He values us. And so we are to love one another because of the inherent value each one of us possesses. Each one of us is created in the image of God and worthy of love. We are to love others not because they’re always lovable but because they’re always valuable.
Love that isn’t authentic is based on whim. It’s based on circumstances or emotions. Authentic love, on the other hand, is based on worth, on value. So we show love, we behaving lovingly, even when circumstances and emotions are stacked against us because people don’t lose their value just because times get tough.