Right Relationships with Others #1


Right Relationships with Others #1

 Jesus tells us: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34 NLT).  If everyone did their best to live by this command the world would be a much better place.  Everything rises and falls on relationships.  You know that when your relationships with others are well, life is good.  I am sure you have experienced the opposite, when a relationship goes bad it can be hell on earth.

 The Garden in Eden gives us a word picture of four key relationships.  Humanity’s relationship with God, Others, the Earth, and Self encompass the relationships of life. In this series of messages, we are going to focus on strengthening our relationships with others.  But first, let’s look at how a right relationship with God is established and maintained, it’s necessary to have a good relationship with God so that you can create good relationships with others, the earth, and yourself.

 Genesis reveals to us that God created humanity and that humanity was good, existing in a right relationship with God.  The foundation of this relationship was love.  For love to be real there must be a choice not to love.  So there was a fidelity test in the form of obedience to a single command.  The Adam, which means the man, and the Eve, which means the woman, represent all humanity.  The Adam messed up, he disobeyed God’s command. Instead of doing everything possible to build his relationship with his Creator, the Adam chooses to do the one thing that would tear it apart.  This created an estrangement, and as humanity’s representative, every human being enters this world with this curse, estrangement from God.  Estrangement refers to broken or disrupted family relationships (https://www.choosingtherapy.com/estrangement).  Because of that separation from God, we are left to figure out what is good and what is evil based on our feelings and experience.  We become the center of the universe.  We become the arbitrators of morality (Judges 17:6).  We do what we want, when we want, to whom we want, regardless of the consequences unless some force restrains us.  Like a spank, if we disobey our parents.  Like the fear of a ticket if we speed on down the highway. Like the fear of economic ruin if we refuse to pay taxes, like the fear of life in prison if we break the law.  Otherwise, we do pretty much what we want.  This has caused untold suffering since.  Not being rightly related to God we cannot relate rightly to others, to the earth, or our very selves (Romans 1:28). 

What is the biggest source of heartbreak, pain, and suffering in your life?  Is it not relationships that went or were bad?  [Psalm 41:9]  Another name for relating wrongly is sin. We are both victims and perpetrators of sin.  We are in desperate need of reconciliation.  Reconciliation is creating harmony where there was strife, division, and discord.  Reconciliation ends estrangement.  God’s love for humanity didn’t change (1 Timothy 2:4).  God creates a plan to bring reconciliation to humanity one person at a time.  That plan is called the gospel.

John 3:16 (MSG)

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

Estranged from God destruction awaits.  We manifest our destinies in this life with the bad or broken relationship being the red flag warning us that something is wrong.  Reflect on your relational history, and see that when relationships are bad it is because of sin, this estrangement from God.  Acknowledge it, own it, and know that you are stuck in this situation both as the victim and as the perpetrator.  Come to understand your need for reconciliation with God.

1 John 2:1-2 (MSG)

“…we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours but the whole world's.”

Jesus' death upon the cross creates the possibility for you to be acquitted of all thoughts, words, and deeds that are not righteous.  Jesus atoned for your sin so that upon His account you can be forgiven.  Jesus’ actions remove Adam’s curse and the sorry record of sins and ruined relationships.  Faith is belief in action, no proof, no guarantees, not a blind leap because you have examined the evidence and believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, the life (John 14:6).

 Romans 10:8-10 (MSG)

It's the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—"Jesus is my Master"—embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: "God has set everything right between him and me!"

 To say that “Jesus is my Master” means you have committed yourself to following Jesus (Matthew 16:24-26).  You dedicate yourself to being His disciple.  You devote yourself to learning how to do life in accordance to the teachings and example Jesus set.

 Acts 2:21 (MSG)

And whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved."

 Acknowledging, believing, and committing you ask God to reconcile your relationship, to bring you back into His fold where humanity belongs.  You will spiritually sense that God has answered your prayer.  You will know that you have been made right with God and empowered for continual transformation in becoming the person God always intended for you to be. In addition to having your relationship with God set right, you now have the power to create and maintain right relationships with others.  We are going to spend some time figuring out how to do exactly that in this series of teachings.

 Before you can have a right relationship with others you need to be right with God.  Make sure your relationship with Him is up to date, that it’s real and personal.  If you have never entered into a right relationship with God and would like to act upon the truth of the gospel let me know I want to encourage you in your faith.  You can ask God right now.  Why don’t you leave this place with the right relationship with God?

 Righteousness is about right relationships.  The scripture doesn’t directly tell us that everything rises and falls on relationships.  Rather it is an inference based on many texts in the Bible.  For our study of relationships, 1 John 2:29 will be our springboard verse.  

 1 John 2:29 (MSG)

Once you're convinced that he is right and righteous, you'll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God's true children.

 So here’s the leap we need to take.  Righteousness is all about creating and maintaining and deepening the intimacy of the right relationships.  Practicing creating, maintaining, and deepening the intimacy of relationships is what God’s true children do.  If you have acknowledged, believed, committed, and asked, if you have bent the knee, then this is what you are to do.

 A righteous relationship is a huge blessing.  We can describe it as a partnership of collaboration to become the person that God created you to be.  There is mutuality: “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 (MSG). 

  In a righteous relationship, you are there for one another, building each other up, supporting each other, and not settling for mediocrity.  You bring the best out of each other. 

Hebrews 10:24-25 (MSG)

“Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on…” 

 You mutually encourage one another to wear that heavenly wardrobe that the Apostle Paul outlined for us in his letter to the Colossians (Colossians 3:12-14).

 In this friendship, you help each other see one another’s blind spots and weaknesses.  

Proverbs 27:6 ESV

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend…”

“They may cut you with truth, but they’ll use that same Sword to destroy the enemy of your soul in prayer and support” (The Importance of "Right" Relationships (soulharvestwc.org)

 You reveal truth to one another, even if it is a hard truth to share, with a motivation of helping each other in becoming the best version of themselves they can be.  

 Within such a bond there is protection and stability. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (MSG)

It's better to have a partner than go it alone.  Share the work, share the wealth.  And if one falls, the other helps,  but if there's no one to help, tough! 

You watch each other’s backs.  You cheer one another on.  This is not a fair-weather relationship: “… a true friend sticks by you…” (Proverbs 18:24 (MSG).  You stand side by side facing the challenges of life. 

 1 John 4:7 ESV / 274 helpful votes

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

[True Friends] don’t just call us out, they call us UP! They call us to a life of honor, humility, consideration, empathy, and diligence. [ The Importance of "Right" Relationships (soulharvestwc.org) ] With a true friend you know that your heart is safe in their hands.

 Righteous relationships need certain qualities to flourish.  There are six major connections (Van Epp & De Gance, Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move To Save Faith and Family in America.  p. 130.)  Time, Know, Trust, Rely, Commit, and Touch are the key components for relating rightly with others.  We are going to consider each of these key components over the next 3 teachings.

 For now, there are two things you need to know.  First, you need to know those righteous relationships are intentional.  You have to want one. 

 Proverbs 13:20 (ERV)

Be friends with those who are wise, and you will become wise. Choose fools to be your friends, and you will have trouble.

You have to have the desire to create this kind of relationship with others.  So it is imperative that if you want these kinds of friends in your life, you need to be one.

In your notes, and later on the website, you’ll find a list of 30 behaviors that describe what true friends do. 

 Love one another (John 13:34 - This command occurs at least 16 times)

Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)

Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)

Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)

Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Be likeminded towards one another (Romans 15:5)

Accept one another (Romans 15:7)

Admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16) Greet one another (Romans 16:16)

Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)

Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)

Bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2)

Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Colossians 3:13)

Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)

Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25)

Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19)

Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:5)

Consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)

Look to the interests of one another (Philippians 2:4)

Bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)

Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)

Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13)

Stir up [provoke, stimulate] one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)

Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)

Employ the gifts that God has given us for the benefit of one another (1 Peter 4:10)

Clothe yourselves with humility towards one another (1 Peter 5:5)

Pray for one another (James 5:16)

Confess your faults to one another (James 5:16)

                                                                           (Source unknown)

 If you want true friends you have to be one.  Read over that list.  These are the things true friends do.  Work at being such a person.

 The second thing you need to know is that all righteous relationships require care and maintenance.  “There are no relationships that run themselves as if it were a perpetual motion machine, not even our relationship with God” (Van Epp & De Gance, Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move To Save Faith and Family in America, p124.).  Life happens. “Normal, healthy, functional, and good relationships regularly go out of balance”  (Endgame p. 123).  How to keep them in balance is the subject of the next 3 lessons.

 The Apostle Paul in his letter to all the believers in Galatia gives us this admonition:

Galatians 5:13-15 (MSG)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

 Righteous relationships are all about serving one another in love. 


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