Summary: Authentic relationships are enhanced when I yield my rights in order to prevent unnecessary fights

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For the past several years, we’ve spent some time around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to do some topical preaching on the family. And in a culture that is increasingly pressuring us to abandon what the Bible teaches about the family, that teaching is more needed than ever.

This year, I want to take a littler broader look at the whole spectrum of our relationships and develop four building blocks that are crucial in the process of developing authentic relationships. I am confident that we can take and apply what we learn to a wide range of relationships:

• Husband/wife

• Parents/children

• Grandparents/grandchildren

• Work relationships

• Relationships in the church

• Relationships in the community

Much of the time when we focus on what the Bible has to teach us about relationships, we tend to primarily use the New Testament. And that’s certainly appropriate since that is where we find much of the teaching that applies to all these relationships. But for the next four weeks, I’d like us to see how the Old Testament addresses the way we build authentic relationships as well. So during that time, we’re going to look at four different Old Testament accounts that illustrate the four building blocks we’ll be exploring. Obviously, there are far more than just four important building blocks for our relationships, but I am confident that if we’ll commit to apply what we’ll learn over the next four weeks, all of our relationships can become much more authentic and profitable.

So before we go any further this morning, I’m going to ask one of our elders – Don Gailey – to come and pray and ask God to help us apply what we will be learning.

[Don prays]

The first relationship that we’re going to look at might surprise you a bit. It is the relationship between Abram and his nephew Lot. If you’ll go ahead and turn to Genesis 13, you can follow along as I read that chapter. I’ll stop to give you some background and make a few comments as I read through the chapter and then we’ll see what principles that we can develop from the text.

[1] So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.

We’ll use the map on the screen to help you put this chapter into context. At the end of Genesis 11, we read that Terah, Abram’s father left his home in Ur and headed toward Canaan with his family, including Lot. They settled in the town of Haran, where Terah died. According to Genesis 12, God came to Abram while he was living there and called him to leave his father’s house and go to a land that God would show him. Abram immediately left Haran and took Lot and the rest of his family and his possessions with him.

When he entered Canaan, Abram stopped at the town of Shechem, where God appeared to him again. So Abram built an altar there. He then proceeded to Bethel, where he pitched his tent. He built another altar there and called upon the name of the Lord.

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