Summary: We are to show our faith through our good works toward our neighbor.

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As I continue today to teach on living a skillful life, one filled with wisdom, together we will discover the importance of relationships. It has often been said that no man is an island although sometimes we try to live as if that were true.

In 1965 Simon and Garfunkle released a song titled “I am a rock.” Listen to these lyrics.

“A winter's day

in a deep and dark December.

I am alone,

gazing from my window

to the streets below

on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

I am a rock.

I am an island.

I've built walls,

a fortress steep and mighty

that none may penetrate.

I have no need of friendship.

Friendship causes pain.

It’s laughter and it's loving I disdain.

I am a rock.

I am an island.

Don't talk of love.

Well I've heard the word before.

It's sleeping in my memory.

I won't disturb the slumber

of feelings that have died

if I never loved, I never would have cried.

I am a rock.

I am an island.

I have my books

and my poetry to protect me.

I am shielded in my armor

hiding in my room

safe within my womb.

I touch no one, and no one touches me.

I am a rock.

I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain.

And an island never cries.”

One of the greatest causes of depression is the feeling of being isolated. God never intended man to be a rock. His intention was for us to fellowship and care for one another. His intention for us was to be fruitful and multiply his kingdom.

God never intended for us to an island. Churches can become islands made up of those select few rocks who bind themselves together. God wants us to be continents. He wants us to be a holy nation who cares for our neighbors and those in need.

Proverbs 24:6 reads “So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.” There is a tremendous spiritual warfare going on around us for the souls of those who are unsaved. The body of Christ needs each other for advice and support.

James 2:26 states “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” Our faith is shown in our relationship with others. If you do not have good deeds that reflect your faith then, according to God’s Word, your faith is dead and useless. Today we will discover four points of living in a proper relationship with our neighbors.

1) Our good works must be non-judgmental.

Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.”

A man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out. People began to gather around and discuss the man the pit and his predicament.

One subjective person yelled down to him, "I feel for you down there."

An objective person stated the obvious, "It’s logical that someone would fall down there.

A Scholar scoffed, "Only bad people fall into pits."

A mathematician calculated how deep the pit was.

A news reporter wanted the exclusive story on the pit.

An IRS agent was concerned as to whether taxes had been paid on the pit.

One man sobbed, "You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit."

A fire-and-brimstone preacher with a Bible in hand screamed, "You deserve your pit."

A Christian Scientist observed, "Do not worry. The pit is just in your mind."

A psychologist noted, "Your mother and father are to blame for your being in that pit."

A self-esteem therapist said, "Believe in yourself and you can get out of that pit."

An optimist said, "Things could be worse."

A pessimist claimed, "Things will get worse."

Then finally a man stepped from the crowd and walked to the pit. “I also have been in a pit” and offering his hand, he pulled him out.

Proverbs 3:27 is clear on one point. We are not to withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. We get to decide who deserves it.

In our story there were those who felt that the man did not deserve help due to his own choices. He chose to step into the pit. His life style condemned him to being in the pit. His background would only assure that he would once again fall into the pit.

We have all been in the pit. Maybe my pit was different than your pit. God’s Word say’s we have all fallen short. It says that “our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies.” His Word says “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”

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