Summary: Encouraging and empowering believers to use the relationship they have with God to mirror every relationship.
NIV 2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Meaninful Christian Relationships: AS easy as 1,2,3!
1)The gracve of our Lord Jesus
2) The Love of God
3) The fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Introduction: Grace, mercy and peace belong to us as God’s adopted children. Fellow members of God’s family by the life of Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the faith created by the Holy Spirit.
How many relationships do you have in your life? Count them up: father, husband, son, grandson, friend, neighbor, citizen, Christian, co-worker? That is just 9, and the list can keep growing for many of you. Our relationships take time, care and concern for them to produce love and peace in our life. Relationships are hard work. Imagine in your mind a husband and wife crawling into bed on separate sides of the room. They quickly turn their faces toward the walls away from each other. They are on the farthest possible edge of the bed they can sleep on without falling off. They lie motionless so as not to accidentally touch. The wife quickly says, “Why didn’t you fix the vacuum again?” The husband shoots back, “Well, why did you shrink all my shirts?” “If you wouldn’t just sit on the couch every night, the shirts would still fit.” The husband is burning up inside with resentment, ”That’s it! I work all day and come home to this?” He storms out of the room with his pillow. As the wife sees him leave the room she whispers under her breath, “We’ve grown apart. We don’t know each other anymore.”
When a relationship is neglected, love and peace are just memories. Relationships take hard work to bring love and peace into the everyday lives of sinful people. In our text for today the apostle Paul along with our God, have the solution to restoring fulfilling Christian Relationship. It is hard work, but I think you will see it is as easy as 1 –2 – 3! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ 2) The love of God and 3) The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit!
You may be thinking to yourself, “What does a first century Corinthian Congregation know about relationships?” The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church in his second letter for the exact purpose of restoring broken relationships, or at least dysfunctional ones. Paul had already addressed some of their problems in a previous letter; but he had received a report of more relationship problems that stemmed from their lack of follow-through: 1) Unforgiving to a repentant sinner 2) second guessing Paul, because he wasn’t that impressive, 3) Cowardly going along with the unbelievers in their pagan practices, and 4) they had not eagerly collected the mission offering for the struggling churches in Jerusalem like they said they would do. You see all the problems or sins that Paul addresses in this letter have to do with Christian relationships: relationships with repentant sinners, relationships with their pastor, relationships with unbelievers and relationship with other Christians outside their community. Their sins had sucked the blessings out of their relationships. Their relationships didn’t produce the love and peace, God had intended them to bring. Their relationships were unfulfilling.
We know how difficult relationship can be. Oh well anyone can have a relationship with someone but I guess she difficult part is to have a fulfilling relationship where both parties have their needs and wants fulfilled. I want you to look at your relationships: your relationship with your family members, your relationship with me your pastor, your relationship with people outside our faith and your relationship with other Christians like the members of Our Savior or Cross of Christ. Are those relationships producing love and peace as God intended? Or on the contrary are those relationships producing anger, resentment and strife?
Paul has a solution for us. His solution is rather unique. He told the Corinthian Church that to have fulfilling relationships they must aim for perfection. NIV 2 Corinthians 13:9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.
The solution to their relationship problems Paul formulated into a prayer. For those Christians in Corinth to realize the great blessings God had packed into each of their relationships they needed to be restored to perfection, they needed to respect him and they needed to be untied in mind. You and I both know that to get two people to agree on anything is usually impossible. And we know that know one is perfect. And no one really deserves our respect because all people are sinful. Paul’s solution to the Corinthian relationship problems is a as easy as 1-2-3. His solution we call the apostolic blessing, but it really is a prayer that Paul uses to restore the broken and dysfunctional relationships he found in the Corinthian Church.