Summary: It takes a lot of humility, patience and forgiveness to tolerate each other’s idiosyncrasies and faults, but it is vital for the health and unity of the body of Christ.
A. Praise God for the great Friend Day we had last Sunday.
1. I was so encouraged by the number of friends that we had with us.
2. We need to keep in mind that friends are welcome among us every Sunday, so let’s keep inviting and bringing our friends and family with us.
B. Today we return to our Real Christian Community Sermon Series in which we are trying to become the church as it ought to be.
1. We’ve been studying the “one another commands” of the New Testament.
2. Today we are going to talk about “bearing with one another.”
3. Lord willing, in a later sermon we will talk about “bearing one another’s burdens.”
4. Even though those two commands sound similar, their meaning is really quite different.
5. To help someone bear their burden is to help them carry a burden, to help them manage their struggle – which certainly is an important thing for us to be doing.
6. Today, however, we want to talk about bearing with one another.
7. In this case, the word “bear” means to tolerate one another, to bear with them, to patiently endure their idiosyncrasies and weaknesses – which is not always easy to do – Am I right about it?
C. So I have some good news for us this morning, and I have some bad news.
1. The good news is that everyone who puts their faith in Jesus is going to heaven.
2. The bad news is that all of us have to travel there together!
3. I like the old saying that goes like this: “To live above, with saints we love, that will be glory. To live below, with the saints we know, that’s quite a different story!”
D. Sometimes we find it hard to get along with each other.
1. Like the story told of the little boy who was sitting on the front steps looking very upset when his father came home.
a. His father asked him what was wrong, and the boy said, “Well, just between us, Dad, I’m having trouble getting along with that wife of yours.”
2. I heard another story about a little girl who was being forced to eat alone at a small table in the kitchen as part of her discipline for disobedience.
a. As the rest of the family sat at the other table trying to ignore the young girl, they heard her pray, “I thank you, Lord, for preparing a table for me in the presence of my enemies.”
E. Satan doesn’t want us to get along with each other.
1. He wants us to become annoyed, upset and out of sync with each other.
2. Healthy relationships require hard work and a lot of grace.
3. Relationships are rather vulnerable and can rupture quite easily.
4. Our idiosyncrasies can easily become irritants and our unity can unravel.
5. This week I Googled “annoying people” and saw a website dedicated to listing the things that people do that are annoying.
6. Even though the website is called “101 Kinds of Annoying People,” the list now contains 129 things that people do that are annoying.
7. I’m sure the list could be longer than that.
F. How many of you have seen the movie called “The Fellowship of the Ring?”
1. Ben Farleman would be thrilled that I’m mentioning the movie.
2. On numerous occasions, he has encouraged me to do a sermon series about the movies.
3. The movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, is based on the first book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s three volume epic novel The Lord of the Rings.
4. The story takes place in the fictional universe called Middle-earth.
5. The story is about a young Hobbit named Frodo has been entrusted with an ancient ring that is an instrument of absolute power and corrupts whomever possesses it.
6. Frodo must embark on an Epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy the ring.
7. Frodo gathers together a fellowship of friends to help him with this quest.
8. The motley crew is made up of hobbits, humans, a wizard, and an elf.
9. The group must not only fight external enemies, but must also deal with internal dissension caused by the corruption of the ring.
10. Along the way the fellowship is fractured by selfishness and abrasiveness, and the mission’s success is compromised.
11. You’ll have to watch the movie for the rest of the story!
G. Doesn’t that sound a lot like the challenges that we face as the fellowship of God’s people attempts to carry out our quest to do the Will and Works of God in this world?
1. We are forced to deal with external enemies and evils as well as internal ones.