Summary: Relationship not religion is a catchy slogan but what does it truly mean to have a vibrant relationship with God?
Phil.3:7-8 - “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ.”
What does it mean to have a genuinely real and intimate relationship with Jesus?
Relationship vs. Religion is a true statement.
Over-quoted to the point of meaninglessness.
Relationship has been God’s plan since the beginning of time.
Jesus provided us access.
Relationship with God is simple!
2 Cor.11:3 – “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.”
We’ve complicated it with too many events, methods, opinions, books and so many other things.
Paul called those things rubbish – trash!
Very simply, do you love Jesus and are you growing closer to him loving Him more, every day?
That’s what I desperately want.
Let’s spend a few minutes looking at the simple things involved in a true relationship with Jesus.
Abraham is one of the few people God specifically defines as His friend in scripture (James 2:23, 2 Chron.20:7, Is.41:8).
James 2:23 – “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.”
So why was Abraham called God’s friend?
Abraham loved God by Believing Him.
Gen.12:2-3 - Abraham was called to the impossible – yet still believed!
Believing Him is foundational to a relationship with Him.
Abraham loved God by Spending time with Him.
Gen.18:22-33 – One example of time spent w/ God.
Abraham loved God by Communicating with Him.
Gen. 12-25 - Abraham spoke with God and heard from Him.
Both of these are necessary for any relationship.
Speak with God through prayer.
1 Thes.5:17 – “Pray continually.”
Listen to God. He speaks to you primarily through His Word.
Heb.4:12 – “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Abraham loved God by Obeying Him.
Gen.22:1-18 – Abraham and Isaac.
Jn.15:14 – “You are my friends if you do what I command.”
Obedience involves personal sacrifice.
Not just a feel good deal.
Lk.9:23 – “Then He said to them all, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
1Jn.3:18 – “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
Gen.17 – Abraham was circumcised.
Obedience involves surrender of things we don’t want to lose.
Jer.4:4 – “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts…”
Abraham loved God by Loving others.
Gen.13:8-13 – Abraham puts Lot’s good above his own.
1Jn.4:20-21 – “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
Out of that relationship God accomplished the impossible in and through Abraham.
Our relationship is a response to His love.
Pr.18:24 – He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
1Jn.4:19 – We love Him because He first loved us.
Jer.31:3 – He has loved you with an everlasting love.
Jn.15:15 – “…I have called you friends.”
Jesus calls you His friend!
Starting a relationship with God.
He loves you and has a plan for your life, you’re sinful and separated from Him but Jesus died for your sins to give you a free gift of peace with God – you simply need to accept him.
Rev.3:20 – “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.”
Results of relationship with God.
Jn.3:16 – Believe in him, never perish, spend eternity with Him.
Jn.10:10 - Abundant life on this planet.
Accomplish your eternally significant purpose.
Heb.12:2 – Keep eyes on Jesus.
Jn.15:5 – Abide in Him bear much fruit.
Mark 12:30-31 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
Is that where you’re at?
That is far too rarely the reality of my life.
Too often Phil.2:21 defines me!
Phil.2:21 – “Everyone looks after his own interests not the interests of Jesus Christ.”
Is that where you’re at?
Are you believing Him?