Summary: A look into relationships - what hinders them, why we must work at them while we have the opportunity
The item I want to encourage you to add to your bucket list this morning can be a real tough one for people. In fact, I’ll bet there are some here today who would rather include bungee jumping, sky diving, and swimming with sharks and alligators on their list ahead of this item. But it’s really important. It’s the kind of thing that people often refer to on their deathbed. I want to make sure I approach that time without regrets, but personally, I want this for my everyday living too! It’s “Get Right With Someone.” In other words, fix a damaged relationship while there’s still time.
In just 3 days, people all over will have spent billions of dollars in the name of relationships – for Valentine’s Day. Whether you make a big deal of it or fight it with everything you have, do you realize that Christianity is all about relationships?
• The whole Bible is really the story of the rending and mending of a relationship. God created man. Man separated himself from God. The story of human history is the story of God getting man back into relationship with Him.
• Once man sinned, it altered our relationship with one another. The relationship between husbands and wives was affected, and we all have a fallen quality about us that affects the way all of us relate to each other. We’re waiting for God to finish us so that we can be in an unhindered relationship with one another.
• Our family relationships, and the terms that we use to describe them, are how God describes His relationship to Jesus and to us, and it’s how He describes the relationship of Jesus to the Church.
• Your hope of heaven – your salvation – depends on your relationship with Jesus. You’re saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – not by works! Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father, except through ME.” You don’t have a right relationship with God unless you have a relationship with Jesus! If you’re saved today, it’s because you have a relationship with the One Who gave His life in your place because He loved you.
• Once you’re saved, your relationship with others shows the world that you belong to Jesus!
John says in I Jn 4:20 that you can’t claim to be in a right relationship with God and have a relationship of hate with your brother. Anyone who says, “I love God” – “I have a right relationship with God” – but who hates his brother, is a liar.
• When you invite someone “to church,” when you say to your neighbors, “Hey, I’d love for you to come to one of our worship hours on Sunday morning,” it’s on the basis of your relationship with them that you’re inviting them to a relationship – to be your brother or sister in Christ, and to be in a right relationship with God.
Christianity is all about relationships.
Audience participation – a test. I’ll read a list of names, you blurt out the answer if you have it. What do the following people have in common?: Adam LoDolce, Hayley Quinn, Emily Hartridge, Wendy Walsh, April Masini, Stephan Labossiere, Andrea Syrtash, Neil Clark Warren, Kimberly Moffit, Jane Greer…
A: These people are all labeled, either self-proclaimed or by others, as “relationship experts.”
They make their living by being experts at human relationships. And the only reason they can be in business is because there’s a market for it. People want real help when it comes to relationships.
Put that together with the fact that Christianity is all about relationships, and you’d think that the Church would be considered the center for “relationship experts.” But, too often, there’s no difference between people inside the church and the people who are looking in from the outside and wondering, “Why should I bother being a Christ follower if really you’re no different?”
Still, Paul says,
Romans 12:5 …so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Church, we Christians ought to be the “quintessential relationship experts” because everything we claim to have in Jesus is based on relationships – God’s love for us, and our ability to love God and to love others.
But too often, we get derailed in this. Too many of us are nursing a grudge, won’t apologize, are choosing not to forget. We look normal, and live like things are fine, and then, someone mentions a name. Blood pressure rises. Nostrils flare. Conversation gets awkward. Ever been there?
You need to get right with someone!
There are a lot of variables at play here. So, I want to take a look at 4 very common relationship destroyers along with some ways to turn them around. You’ll have to figure out which of these applies to your situation. Then, I want all of us to leave with a plan to get right with someone with whom we haven’t been right for a while.