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Summary: Having the right relationships with the right people is critical to our spiritual growth. Barnabas stood by Saul when no one else did, Peter put out those who did not have faith.

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Right People, Right Relationships December 14, 2008

How having the right relationships with the right people is critical in our spiritual growth.

What do you want for Christmas?

More than anything, we should want more of God in our lives. More faith, more Jesus, More Holy Spirit, more love and devotion. Christmas is a time of miracles: God still wants to do miracles in your life.

Review: Acts 1-9

Beyond Pentecost: The church did not stay in the upper room. If we do not get out of the church, God will see to it that we have to get out.

Background Explanation: 9:26-27

• Everyone is not happy: Saul’s old friends are trying to kill him.

• Saul’s new friends don’t like him too much either.

• Have you ever felt like no one likes you?

Spiritual Partnership: Everyone needs a Barnabas: “Son of Encouragement:” If we are ever going to grow spiritually, it will only happen in partnership with other believers.

Everyone needs a spiritual partner: Starting at home

We cannot preach a powerful Gospel to a dying world when we are not living out that Gospel ourselves – and we are not going to live it alone. It’s not working!

Everyone needs to be part of a small group, class: What makes the church work is what made it work in the NT – relationships – not programs or marketing.

John Wesley: Desired personal holiness, but felt like a failure

A serious man speaking to John Wesley, “Sir, you wish to serve God and to heaven? Remember that you cannot serve him alone. You must therefore find companions or make them; the Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.”

Wesley’s "Holy Club" was mocked by calling them “Methodists”

Preaching the Gospel and class meetings were the key to the Methodist revival.

There is no such thing a secret Christianity (keeping secrets) - it must be obvious. The heart of the church is community in Christ – if we do not have community, we do not have a church.

The church as become so enamored with a lust for crowds that we forgot the discipleship is a personal, intimate experience of a few.

Howard Snyder, former pastor and missionary, seminary professor

“Church growth enthusiast sometimes neglect to ask what the church really is….In two thousands years the church has not noticeably improved on the gospel or the biblical picture of Christian community and discipleship.” ("The Radical Wesley")

Why does the church exist? To build up believers and to reach the lost. The church does not exist to simply draw a crowd.

If you are not in some kind of small group ministry – Sunday School, Bible study, that keeps you on track, you are not growing spiritually.

What does a Barnabas Saul relationship look like?

TIME: I will stand by even when no one else does.

Prov. 18:24 You may have many friends, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

In Your Face: Wherever we area at spiritually will never change until someone or something provokes us to change. We can all be excited Sunday morning, but unless someone is holding our feet to the fire on Tuesday, we are playing games.

God has a Barnabas for you. But you have to be open to that relationship, make time for it.

Someone needs you to be a Barnabas: Who are you standing with when everything is against them?

• Everyone wants to grow, but who wants to do the work?

• Is the spiritual growth of people around us important to us?

• Encouragement goes further than criticism

• You may not be a Peter or Paul, but you can be a Barnabas

Peter heals Aeneas: 9:34

9:36 –37 A godly woman dies: Dorcas – Tabitha “Gazelle” (Beautiful)

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Be careful criticizing what you do not understand.

Perhaps God wants to do a miracle in your crisis.

9:39 –40 Peter Puts Them Out:

Matthew Henry: “that he might with the more freedom pour out his soul before God in prayer upon this occasion, and not be disturbed with their noisy and clamorous lamentations.”

There are some people you may have to “put out” if you are going to do great things for God. Everyone will not agree with you, or like you.

We don’t need a crowd: Just faith in God (2 or 3 together in my name)

You don’t have to win a popularity contest to have a miracle.

We need to get over our obsession with approval.

Have you ever put someone out? Do you have any relationships that are weakening your love, commitment, and faith? Perhaps it is time to shut that door.

Shut the Door: As important as it is that we have the right people in our lives, it is also important that we not have the wrong people in our lives.

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