Summary: You build friendships by meeting the needs of others.
Text: Romans 1:8-13
Truth: You build friendships by meeting the needs of others.
Aim: I’m promoting Dinner for 8 and encouraging them to initiate friendships.
Life ?: To build our friendships, what basic needs are to be met?
Stu Weber, in his book Tender Warrior, includes an article written by a woman. She writes:
One day the doorbell rang and there stood my beloved brother. It was a delightful surprise. His work as an executive of an international petroleum company keeps him out of the country most of the time, so his visits are rare, unexpected and usually really brief.
It seemed as if he’d just arrived when after an hour, he got up to say good-bye. I felt tears sliding down my cheeks. He asked why I was crying. Hesitating, I said, “Because I simply don’t want you to go.” He gave me a surprised look. He went to the phone and left a message for the pilot of his company’s plane.
We had a wonderful forty-eight hours together. But I suffered a nagging feeling that my selfishness had caused him great inconvenience. Because I had told him I needed him.
Some time later my brother received an important award for his contributions to the oil industry. A reporter asked him at the time, “Is this the greatest honor that you’ve received?”
“No,” he said, “my sister gave me my greatest honor the day she cried because she didn’t want me to leave. That’s the only time in my life anyone ever cried because they didn’t want me to leave. It was then that I discovered the most precious gift one human being can ever bestow on another is to let him know he is really needed.”
Many years ago I attended Kiwanis and I heard Brad Miller. Mr. Miller was the Assistant District Attorney for Bob Macy in OKC. He spoke about gangs. He believed the cause for gangs was not an absent father or wanting money in drugs. He believed the cause for gangs was the need for young men to be respected, valued, and important.
God made us needy. You need sleep. You need food. You need a friend. Seventy percent of Americans say they are lonely. Genesis 2 says that is not good.
Today, I want to talk to you about friends. If it is true that 70% of Americans are lonely, then it means that you could find six strong men to carry you to your grave but you might not have one that you could call at 3 a.m. to pour out a broken heart because your kid just got hauled off to jail.
Dinner for 8 might change that for someone, or it might get you started in finding such a friend. I do hope you will find out by signing up to be in one of the Dinner for 8 groups. You need a friend. You build friendships by meeting the needs of others. No disciple of Jesus did that better than the apostle Paul.
Paul had never been to Rome. His long-term goal was to go to Rome and then take the gospel to Spain. Often he had wanted to go to Rome but ministry needs changed his travel plans. The letter of Romans is his introduction of himself to the Christians in Rome. He clearly explains to them the gospel he preaches and he seeks their assistance in taking this gospel to new areas. But Paul wants them to be more than a financial and spiritual base for his mission effort. He wants the Roman Christians to be his friends. He facilitates this by meeting some basic needs of friendship.
To build friendships we need to meet the basic need of appreciation.
I. APPRECIATION (ROMANS 1:8)
In a brief 25 years, without the help of an apostle like Paul or Peter or John, the Christians in Rome had built a vibrant, Christ-honoring church in the ruling city of the Roman Empire. Rome was a horribly wicked and cruel city, but the testimony of the holiness and power of these Christians had spread all the way to Jerusalem in the Middle East, Ephesus in Asia Minor and Corinth in Europe.
You’ve had that experience. You can’t travel anywhere in the U.S. without people talking about pastor Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church. He followed his father as pastor of the church in October 1999 and the church doubled its first year and now has over 40,000 people every Sunday in the renovated Compaq Center, which was the home of the Houston Rockets basketball team. The church at Rome is being talked about in the same way.
Paul expresses genuine appreciation to God for their witness to Jesus Christ. He thanks God because the powerful witness they have for Christ is a sign of the work of God in their life. This was not a matter of human commitment or a brilliant promotional campaign. Paul is appreciative of the work of God in their fellowship.