Summary: The church needs to understand the dynamics of relationships in and out of church.
June 29, 2008
Text: Romans 12:9-21
Subject: Building Good Relationships
Title: You First
I’m going to share my heart a little this morning and I hope I don’t scare anyone when you find out that I do have a heart. I was so excited in the months leading up to our revival services last month. I couldn’t wait for Pastor Tim to come and minister to you. I knew it was going to be great and it was. Now here’s the sharing part. Since that time I have been wondering where we are headed from that point. Maybe it’s because I am a little insecure when it comes to my preaching ministry but I know that I could never duplicate the type of preaching that we had here at revival. As a matter of fact my style of preaching and Pastor Tim’s style are vastly different and I believe that the Lord wants it that way. His purpose for being here is different than my purpose so if you thought that the church was supposed to continue in that same type of spiritual excitement I guess that I am sorry to have to disappoint you. Not that we aren’t supposed to see the Holy Spirit move every time we come here but I think that if all we have is just spiritual fervor without any substance then we have missed out on what revival was supposed to do. Especially when you remember the interpretation of a message in tongues on Monday night when the Lord spoke to tell us that there was going to be a revival of the Word.
Last week I preached about building a solid foundation on the Word of God and we saw the Holy Spirit move. Last Sunday night there was a move of the Spirit as we prayed with you and you responded.
The one thing that I want to reiterate is that there is not going to be a revival of just hearing the word but in believing the word and responding to the word. That’s where our foundation is built.
Today I want to talk to you about relationships. I believe this is vitally important in building up those who are being baptized today and for the rest of the church. For those being baptized to help them understand the types of relationships the Lord would have you build in your walk of faith; for those of you who have been Christians for a longer period to encourage you and help you understand the steps that will help you in your walk and your ministry within the church.
As I share with you today I want you to open your hearts to receive what the Lord has for you.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church today.
I. THE NATURE OF A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP. Being a Christian is more than just a good feeling. The reason I say that is because no Christian was ever intended to try to walk this walk alone. In you walk you will be involved in a variety of relationships – inside and out side of the church. God has guidelines for those relationships. 1) First of all your relationships must be pure of heart. Vs. 9, 9Love must be sincere… This mention of love has a duel meaning. Your love for God must be sincere and your love for others must be as well. In reality, love that is not sincere isn’t really love. The Greek word for “Love” that is used here is agape love. The kind of love that God has for us. We should love Him and others with that same kind of love. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. If you truly love the Lord that is what your mindset will be. Now, how do you know what is evil and what is good? First, you have the Word of God that outlines the things that please God and the things that He hates. Secondly, you have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit as he ministers to your heart to correct and rebuke or confirm what is going on in your life. 2) Your relationship must stem from concern for others. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Do you hear that? “Be devoted to one another…” What does that mean? Stand up for one another. Be there for one another. Now Paul talks about another kind of love. As brothers and sisters in Christ support one another. Don’t get caught up in gossip about another Christian but put an end to it . Stand up for others. Now the next part of verse 10 is what I consider to be the foundation of all human relationships. If we could all get this in our hearts and minds there is no telling how far the church would go. Honor one another above yourselves. In other words, always place others first. How many of us when we feel like we have been wronged, the first thing we want to do is stand up for ourselves and make it right? The problem with that is that when we have that mentality what we are really saying is, “Why should I be treated like this?” But you see, if you love the Lord with a sincere heart, and if you put others first, we shouldn’t be concerned with self but with others and with our mission on earth. Desire for justice diverts our minds from the mission of Christ on earth. Jeremiah 1:8, …I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. If everyone would put others first there wouldn’t be any hurt feelings – just loving support for one another. 3) Your relationships must involve a hunger and zeal for God. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Within the church setting, any relationship that is not built around zeal for God is no different than the kind of relationships the world has. But when the Lord is the center of your life and your relationships, then those relationships are developed in a totally different way than any other relationship you might have had before. Fervor means, “boiling”. So you should be boiling in the spirit. 4) Right relationships will be seen in your attitude. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. That’s the sign of a maturing Christian. 5) Right relationships will be seen in your actions. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. The ancient Greek word for hospitality is literally translated “love for strangers.” The idea is to “pursue” people you don’t know with hospitality. This is love in action, not just feelings. Do you see how the church has to be understand, not as a group of individuals each seeking the Lord for his own benefit, but as a group loving one another the way Jesus loves us. In Jeremiah, the Lord said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love…: Can you have that kind of love in you? You not only can, but you should.