Summary: 5 ways to experience the joy of right relationships.
Intro: The purpose of my sermon this morning is to lay before you the joy of Christians being in right relationships with one another.
One of my favorite Christian leaders is Dr. Frank Page, President elect of the SBC Executive Committee. He said this week, “even though "pessimism, fear, defeat, negativism are pervasive" across the nation, there is hope for an attitude change because God ultimately is in control.” It’s easy to say, “God is in control” when things are going your way. It’s a bit tougher to live that way in the midst of great changes taking place in America and throughout the world. There is much anger, division, uncertainty in the land today. Is there any hope for resolution? Church leaders are asking, “Can God bring spiritual awakening to our families, cities, churches?” Families are asking, “How can I have more peace in the home? I’m at my wits end trying to get everybody happy!” There is a deep hunger in our souls for Christians to come together and live out the peace of God in the midst of a troubled world.
* This past Sunday night, 5 churches in our association came together under the theme
of God is doing a new thing. The house was packed at Bethany Baptist Church. Even though the service lasted 2.5 hours, no one complained, because God’s Spirit was helping us to focus on the most important thing – Christians coming together to glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Though we had different worship styles and we worship at different churches, there was joy because we had our focus right where it needed to be – on God and enjoying one another!
Let me share five principles from God’s Word on how to become the kind of person that constantly experiences the joy of right relationships.
I. You experience the joy of right relationships as you focus on what is right with others over what is wrong. 22:1-4, 6
My dad showed this special skill when he was the coach of our little league baseball team in Malvern, AR. Dad inherited the baseball team with little talent and low in morale. Losing game after game eventually takes its toll on you! My dad had a choice, focus on our weakness or try to work with our strengths. Because my dad believed in each child, some of the kids on our team improved dramatically over the season. Games we never would have won early in the year, we won in the end of the season because he emphasized our strengths.
*Principal Margaret Ackerman has this skill. I was impressed with her leadership watching her share with parents concerning Patrick’s mission and values. She and her staff are fully devoted to helping kids grow and learn on a higher level than they ever thought possible.
*Nondi calls her kids in Sunday School, “Excellent kids.” She has the gift of focusing on what is right with them over what is wrong.
Joshua knew the importance of giving credit to others when that credit was due. Before parting company with the 2.5 tribes of the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half tribe of Mannasseh, Joshua speaks of their faithfulness.
Max Anders states, “What a great tribute to these soldiers from the eastern tribes. For seven years they had sacrificed themselves to stand with their brothers and fight for land that they would not possess themselves. They had been away from their families and risked their own lives. They deserved to be commended for their work – and Joshua did just that.”
Are you a better person when you are griped at or when you feel appreciated? Are you motivated to be a better spouse through nagging or praise? Are you ready to do a better job at work when your boss constantly points out your weaknesses or motivates you through constructive criticism? *Nothing improves peoples hearing more than praise!
Recently, I read about a man who had nothing but complaints about life, the future, the church. He consistently voiced his disapproval to one of his co-workers and to all who would listen. The more he griped, the more she talked about the goodness of God. The more he bemoaned, the more she boasted on the powerful, mighty Risen Savior. Eventually, the man gave His life to Jesus Christ because his friend focused on what was right about Jesus over what was wrong with life, church, etc.
Joshua could have condemned this group because they were moving away from the original crew, instead he pointed out their faithfulness, loyalty to the Lord and others, he sends them away with the blessing of the Lord.
II. You experience the joy of right relationships when your walk with the Lord is growing stronger. 22:5
* Recently I came across this question, “Would you do for GOLD what you would do for