Summary: Do you invite people into your circle of friends? What does real genuine friendship look like to you?
“… enjoy the companionship of those who love the Lord…” 2 Tim. 2:22 (LB)
Intro: Sharon was like most lifelong members of First Church. At one time she knew every person by name. She and her husband had six children, eleven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her family and their in-laws made up a big part of the church. One Sunday morning she heard what sounded like a young child crying. Sure enough, as she turned the corner, there was a little girl standing in the hallway alone. Not recognizing the child, she comforted the child, took her by the hand and led her toward the Sanctuary in search of her mother. Along the way she was stopped by several people who asked if this was her granddaughter or perhaps even her great-grandchild. Each time she explained that the child wasn’t one of hers but she was searching for the lost child’s mother. The mother and pastor were standing at the front of the sanctuary and immediately the child was reunited with her parents. That evening Sharon and her husband talked about how things had changed at church over the years. They talked about how many new people were at church and how people thought the lost girl belonged to her and how that each time she explained that the child wasn’t one of hers. She talked about how that made her feel, after a long pause, she said to her husband that she had been had been wrong. The next Sunday she stood and told the congregation all that had happened. With tears in her eyes she said, “I have been a member of this church all my life. I have been a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to my own. Last Sunday I found a lost little girl in the hallway and returned her to her parents. In God’s eyes I realized that I am a mother to more than just my own children. Then it dawned on me that the little girl was part of my family, part of my church family, and that I have a responsibility for that little girl just like I have for each of my own children.” From that day forward Sharon and her husband made an effort to get to know a new family in the church every week. When it comes to friendship how are you doing?
Today we are going to talk about, significant friendship, important friendship “Relevant Friendship.” The bible uses the Greek word “koinonos” or Koinonia (coy NO nyah / coin IN ee ah) κοινωνία, Strong’s 2842 and 2844 which means communion, joint participation, fellowship, to share everything with one another. This means:
I. We are made for community. Both the New Living Translation and the Living Bible use the phrase, “enjoy the
companionship of those who love the Lord”
One of greatest things you will ever experience in life is the church at its best. I am talking about Worship and Praise that is joyful. People meet and experience Jesus in a relevant way. Discipleship, where people are working together and volunteer in service with gratitude. Not because no one else will do it, but because you have a passion and burden and enthusiasm about telling people “Jesus Loves Them.”
I know that for this to happen there has to Leadership where Coordinators and Individual Group Ministry leaders feel supported by the Pastor and Staff. The Vision and Strategic Plan has to be well communicated, so that there is this “buy in” by everyone taking ownership and being on the same page. When the vision is cast well by leaders it rallies the troops, and sounds the trumpet to march forward. The whole church is in a Partnership of Nurture and Outreach and Witness. People feel like they belong. Every member matters. Then Missions will drive the funding of the church.
It is great when the church is hitting on all cylinders. In a church when people are growing and practicing healthy spiritual habits the environment becomes contagious, and the whole congregation and community of faith begins to behave differently, positively, because you know you have God’s favor and blessings.
This is a great church. People are happy to see you come. Have you ever walked into a room and you just know that people want you there? This is the image that Timothy was drawing of the early church. A people who enjoy companionship with each other because of the love they have for the Lord. Timothy was a young person in the faith. His warning was to run away from anything that produced evil thoughts and sin. Knowing when to run away from something is sometimes very important. Wise people remove themselves from things that tempt them and can become a stumbling block in faith. Are there places in your life that trigger bad habits and cause temptation?