Summary: This message is about inter-church relationships and that if we can't get our relationships right with the people that we worship with then how can we hope to build relationships with the people in our communities that need a relationship with God? God gi
Things That Make Christians Different: Relationships III
In my last message in this series, we talked about how we are as Christians, supposed to be building relationships with people in the world that may be different from us in many ways. They may be in a different economic situation than we are, they may be in a different place in their lives than we are, they may do things that we know that are biblically wrong but we have to build relationships with all kinds of people because that is what God has called us to do in the Great Commission.
We probably won’t agree with them on some things or many things but just remember that when we were still lost some Christians probably thought the same things about you and me. The bottom line is that we are called to love them, not necessarily what they do, but we need to love them as people, just like God loved us when we were lost. We need to see where we can find common ground with people of all sorts.
In Romans chapter 5 verse 8 we read this: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
We need to use God’s relationship template that we find in Scripture. He loves us unconditionally and that is in spite of being able to see what is in our hearts and minds, the good, the bad, and the ugly. God loves us so much that He sent His Holy Spirit to convict our hearts and gently lead us into a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. God knows that He will clean up our sin mess if we will just accept the free gift of salvation that He offers to everyone regardless of their current situation.
Well, we have talked about our relationship with God, about our relationships with people in the world, and now we are going to talk about our relationships with each other in Church. I know that I have preached on this in the past but our relationships with each other when they are healthy can really make a huge difference with our other relationships.
The relationships that we have within the body of Christ (The Church) are special. I believe that the local church is like a relationship laboratory. If we can’t get our relationships with each other right here then how can we believe that we can form and build relationships with people outside the church that most likely don’t believe what we believe or act the way that we act or love people the way that we love people?
Those of us in the church are filled with the Holy Spirit who is the One who is supposed to be leading us, guiding us, and teaching us on how to love others and build relationships with each other. It is vitally important that we as Christians get these relationships right.
But one important thing here before we move on. Relationships cannot be built properly unless the one who wants to initiate the relationship is comfortable with themselves first. Christians have to be comfortable with who they are in Christ before they can go out and build relationships with anyone else. You can’t love others unless you first love yourself and you can’t love yourself properly outside of a relationship with God, who is the only true source of love in our world.
So how did the early Christians treat each other as far as relationships go? It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us that there were good things about the relationships with early Christians and also some not so good things just like it is today!
After Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead, the Apostles were asking Peter what should they do next and this is what Peter told them in Acts chapter 2 verses 37-47:
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.