Summary: "How To Make Friends And Influence People" has been in print for over 70 yrs. It's popular because it addresses how to make friends. But Colossians tells us God's fool-proof way to make friends
OPEN: I read the true story of a woman who’d just given birth and had brought her newborn to the office to the child off to her fellow office workers. Everyone gathered around, ohhhing and ahhhing and totally enthralled with the baby. In the meantime, her 7-yr. old son had gotten bored and he quietly came up beside his mother and pulled on her sleeve. “Mommy, can I have some money to buy a soda?” The mother looked at her son and asked: “What do you say?” He replied “You’re thin and beautiful”... and she reached into her purse and gave him the money. (Mercury Nicks, Reader’s Digest 9/08, p. 87)
Now - why did that boy tell his mother she that she was thin and beautiful? Because he wanted that soda and he knew that was what she wanted to hear… Keep that in your mind as I introduce this sermon.
For the next 3 weeks we’re going to be talking about relationship goals… and this week we’re talking about how to make friends and how to get along with people. Most experts tell us that - Best friends (and close family members) are extremely important for your health and happiness.
Years ago there was a famous book entitled “How To Make Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. (we showed a picture of the book) It was very popular and was a best-seller. As you can tell by this picture, this book has been in print for 70 years. Seventy Years! For a book to be around that long implies that this topic resonates with folks. People wanted to know how can I make friends? How can I make people like me?
Well God actually beat that author to the punch with what we read here in Colossians 3. If you follow the plan God gives us here, you WILL have friends and you WILL have people who will want to be around you.
Now, before I get into the specifics about God’s advice on this, I need to point out that not everybody is going to be a good friend. There are people out there will not treat you right no matter what you do. Benjamin Franklin said that “A false friend and a shadow stay around only while the sun shines.” There’s going to be people out there that you will NOT want as a friend.
That said, there are 3 kinds of friendship that we Christians should seek to have.
The first kind of friendship I want to point out is the kind we can have at Church. Jesus saved us and made us part of His church. He gathered us into ONE family so that we could become friends. Church is where we gather with fellow Christians who have the same values, priorities and passion (our passion for Jesus).
It’s a place where we should gather for fellowship. Someone once said that fellowship is having two FELLOWS in one SHIP and if they do it right… they’re going to be BOTH ROWING in the same direction. That’s what Jesus created the church to be.
Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that in order for us to have that kind of fellowship with each other, we should “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Notice, Hebrews says we should be careful NOT to neglect meeting together. Why? Why shouldn’t we neglect meeting together (I gave audience a chance to respond). That’s right we need to gather together so that we can encourage each other and stir one another up to love and good works. It’s a time when we minister to each other as friends.
Church is all about us being there for each other - praying for each other, listening to each other’s dreams, and hopes, and fears, and stirring each other up for good stuff… stuff like love, good works and encouragement of one another.
Now granted we can worship God off by ourselves. This past week, there were a number of news articles about astronaut Buzz Aldrin and what he took with him to the moon. Do you know what he took with him? That’ right – he took communion with him and took of the Lord’s Supper there. He worshipped God on the moon. That WAS worship… but it wasn’t church. You know why it wasn’t “church?” Because WE are the church. Whenever Christians gather to worship God… that is church. You worship without being with the church, but you cannot do church off by yourself. And church is so important to Jesus that Ephesians 5:25 says He “loved the church and gave himself up for her.”