Pastor Daniel's Letter (Christian Friendships)
I am so thankful for the unexpected opportunity to be thinking about the very important topic of Christian friendships the last few weeks in our make-shift two-part sermon series. When I initially saw the implications and friendship connections in Galatians 4:12-20, I didn’t realize we would end up taking two weeks on the topic. However, I’m thankful for the providential way the Lord led us through sermon discovery to see exactly what God intended us to see from His Word about the importance of significant Christian friendships at this time of our church life.
We not only saw together from Galatians the stark contrast between the Apostle Paul who was a faithful leader and truth telling friend, and the false teaching Judaizers who were manipulative flatterers. We were also challenged to be truth telling friends to others and to be aware of the different kinds of true and deceptive friends and family members that we may come across. And in a day and age when more and more pastors are becoming exposed as being deceptive flatters or overbearing bullies, we were also encouraged to look to pastors and leaders who are truth tellers themselves and who have genuine love and care for their people and not their own personal selfish motives.
This led us to a topical sermon titled “Christian Friendship: Who, What, Why?” the following week to further delve into the topic of Christian friendship in general and the importance for all of us to cultivate the in our lives and church community. We first looked at who a Christian is to see the difference between mere professions of faith without transformation, and actual saving faith of believers who have been miraculously converted by God and living a new life of sanctification after their initial justification when they first believed. We then moved on to see what Christian relationships were in pointing out the reality that two genuinely saved people coming together in friendship and shared fellowship in the Gospel is the defining mark of Christian friendship. We also saw reiterated that not all people who say they are Christians are in fact genuine Christians in the illustrations from Martyn Lloyd Jones’ biography by Iain Murray in the conversions of the Church administrator E.T. Reese and Martyn’s own wife Bethan Lloyd Jones! Then we tied the who and what together by considering 9 quick tips of Christian Friendships and what they should be doing together and why it all matters for our lives.
This has had me thinking of how thankful I am for genuine Christian friendships that I have not only with many friends before coming to FBC, but the many friendships that have been formed in a relatively short time the last two years since I have been in Gallatin. I look forward to these friendships growing and to all of you further diving into blessed significant Christian friendships in the coming months and years. I encourage you all to prioritize this in your lives and seek to put in the time, emotional investment, and continual intentional care that is required for these friendships to grow. I’m praying that we would all be seeking genuine truth telling friends as well as seeking to be that kind of friend to people God brings into our lives.
And as we saw in our series, coming to the gatherings of our church is a great place to start when it comes to cultivating Christian friendships and I am so excited for some wonderful gatherings this month including our Easter service where we will again get to hear the Word and also get the privilege of enjoying the very edifying Cantata walking us through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection! Don’t miss gathering with the saints to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection with us not only one Easter, but every Lord’s Day we gather at FBC Gallatin!
Pastor Daniel Pelichowski