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Summary: If we are to live life to the full, we must have intentional relationships with other Christians

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Keys to Life August 22, 2004

Intentional Relationships

This summer, we have been preaching through a series called “Keys of Life” and we have hit on many different topics. Today I want to talk about the key of relationships – specifically intentional relationships between Christians

Relationships are key to our enjoyment of life, and to our fulfillment in life.

Rick Warren writes in “The Purpose Driven Life,” “I have been at the bedside of many people in their final moments, when they stand on the edge of eternity, and I have never heard anyone say, “Bring me my diplomas! I want to look at them one more time. Show me my awards, my medals, that gold watch I was given.” When life on earth is ending, people don’t surround themselves with objects. What we want around us is people – people we love and have relationships with.

I our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about. Wisdom is learning that truth sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until you’re on you’re deathbed to figure out that nothing matters more.” – p. 126

While you may be known as rich if you have a great deal of money and possessions, you will feel rich because of the number and the depth of your relationships.

Will all the close relationships in our lives are key, and whether we are a Christian our not, we need to treat them as precious.

For Christians, the type of relationship that you have with other Christians where you grow together in your faith is especially important.

THE UN-SOLITARY RELIGION

John Wesley viewed connection to other Christians in community as essential to maintaining faith, growing in spiritual maturity and reaching others with the life-changing good news of Jesus Christ.

Listen to Wesley’s own words on this matter:

“Holy solitaries” is a phrase no more consistent with the gospel than “holy adulterers.” The gospel of Christ knows no religion but social, no holiness but social holiness. Faith working by love is the length and breadth and depth and height of Christian perfection.

In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon is talking about the things in life that feel meaningless, or vain. He hits on working alone…

8 There was a man all alone;

he had neither son nor brother.

There was no end to his toil,

yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.

"For whom am I toiling," he asked,

"and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?"

This too is meaningless-

a miserable business!

9 Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down,

his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls

and has no one to help him up!

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

I want to talk about Ecclesiastes 4 9-12 related to spiritual growth

9 Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their work:

If the work of the Christian is to come closer to God, and to serve him through serving others, then that work is best done in the company of others.

“The practical integration of biblical principles and godly practice in most people’s lives is worked out in relationships.” – Ted Haggard

About 9 years ago I was sitting with my two friends Doug at Christmas time and we were all moaning about how out of shape we had become. We decided then and there that we would do a Triathlon that Summer. We started to meet to run together with on Saturday mornings. The Saturday runs were a great motivation to find time to work out during the rest of the week, and we usually talked about our successes and failures in getting workouts in as we ran. We had good weeks and bad weeks together, but that summer, all three of us signed up and swam, biked and ran the Guelph Lake Triathlon, and we all finished it! I never would have got there without Doug and Doug.

Christian relationships can work the same way were we can come together to encourage each other to keep up the habits and lifestyle that we might never be able to do on our own.

When I feel called by God to do something, I usually tell a friend about that call and my plans to accomplish it. I find that if I just keep it between God and myself, I rely a little too heavily on his mercy and forgiveness and nothing gets done. Just by knowing, and possibly asking how it is going, my friends keep me accountable to the calling of God in my life.

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