Summary: A timely message, encouraging us to value the things that are on the heart of our Lord.
Jesus¡¦ New Year Reminder.
We all were made for relationships. First with God, and second with each other.
You will remember Jesus¡¦ own words in MT 22:37 -40, " `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
We cannot say we love God and one another if we spend no quality time together.
A man called Richard Halverson once said, "We’ve got far too many churches and so few fellowships¡¨. Biblical Fellowship at its heart, always includes strong and godly friendships.
Friendship aint just claspin¡¦ hands, and saying ¡§How de do,¡¨ Friendship grips a feller¡¦s heart, and warms him thro¡¦ and thru!
Today, many people have made their faith a private thing; with no interaction, sharing or participation. And churches that have made no time for quality relationships are on the decline. And by quality relationships I do not mean having a jumble sale together or the occasional get together. No, true discipleship lives its life both in the public place and also behind closed doors.
They say that Cancer is the biggest killer. I recon that Loneliness is one of the biggest too.
Did you know that after the death of Queen Victoria¡¦s husband, she was heard to say, ¡§There is no one left to call me Victoria.¡¨ Even though she was Queen, she knew what it was to be lonely. There should be no lonely people in church, for we are the family to comfort them.
Sometimes churches can feel like a family that has been split apart for years, having hardly built any depth of relationship. They may say Amen together at the right times, and even a good morning or goodnight; but they are not loving ¡§each other deeply from the heart¡¨ as God¡¦s word commands them to do. We must be willing to show true fellowship in the Holy Spirit with each other (1 Peter 1:22).
Will you be a great friend in the body of Christ this year, or will you stay away?
It¡¦s not only those churches who have forgotten the great commission or those who have become wordly that have stopped growing. It¡¦s those churches that can offer very little in the way of meaningful friendships, care and help ¡V a church that doesn¡¦t pray together wont stay together. And by that I do not mean only joint prayer meetings ¡V I mean those meetings behind closed doors where two or three have gathered in the Lord¡¦s name to seek His face! Just consider how many revivals have started when a small group of believers came together to seek God¡¦s face?
When God called us together in His Son Jesus Christ, he called us a body, being built together. He called us living stones. He called us together.
John Milton once said, ¡§Loneliness is the first thing that God called ¡¥not good¡¦.¡¨ (¡§It is not good for man to be alone¡K.¡¨)
It is because God is so concerned with the creating of the church as his community, that so much of the New Testament deals with relationships. Jesus spent about two and a half years seeking to build a small group of followers into a true community. It is estimated that 44% of the letters of the New Testament are about how we should get along with one another. This contrasts with about 4% on spiritual gifts.
I remember hearing once, ¡§You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them!¡¨
If we look at the number of times the words "one another" occur, particularly in Paul’s letters, the Greek word allelon occurs 59 times as a specific command. We are commanded to:
love one another (John 13:35 - this command comes 16 times)
be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
honour one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
be likeminded towards one another (Romans 15:5)
accept one another (Romans 15:7)
care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19)
consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)
look to the interests of one another (Philippians 2:4)
bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)