Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
Christ-Centered Relationships
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  • Christ-Centered Relationships

    What does a good relationship look like? Do you feel you have good relationships? Many Americans admit they feel their relationships are not as good as they could be.
    What’s missing? I believe we’ll uncover a couple of things this morning that might very well revolutionize your relationships. If we follow these principles, I believe we will see our relationships flourish.
    Paul closes the letter to the Philippians by rejoicing over the sacrificial gift the Philippians gave him (1:5-6; 25-30). The Philippian church was part of the Macedonian churches mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 that gave significantly and sacrificially. As we look at the relationship between Paul and the Philippian church, we see a principle emerge. We see Paul is an example to us of Christ-centered receiving and the Philippians are an example to us of Christ centered giving.
    Main idea –Christ centered relationships requires both giving and receiving. God intends to meet our needs through others in the body of Christ.

    Christ Centered Receiving (vs. 14-16)

    Philippians 4:14–16 NKJV
    14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
    Paul had financial needs and God answered his prayers and met his financial need through the sacrificial gift of the Philippian church. But this brings up a sore point for some of us. How many of you have been in need of something before? I’m not talking just money. It could have been anything. And someone comes along and offers to take care of it for you for without expecting anything in return. How do you respond? “Oh, you don’t have to do that.” “I can’t accept that.” “I won’t let you do it for nothing.”
    I’m not talking about someone you found on Craig’s list or anything like that. I’m talking about a friend, or someone you already have a relationship with.
    Why do we have a difficult time receiving help from others? I have just one word. PRIDE.
    And what about if you offer to pay for their help? Or feel you have to do something in return? This may come as a shock to you, but what have you done to that relationship? You’ve made it a transaction instead of a relationship.
    Good relationships work both ways. Wouldn’t it mean so much more if you did something for that person at some random time when they didn’t expect it? Send them a meaningful gift. Take care of a need of theirs just because.
    Ladies, which means more to you, getting flowers on Valentine’s Day, or some random day just because?
    The first thing we need to learn is...

    Allow God to meet your needs through others

    Christ centered relationships require that we allow God to meet our needs through other people. The church is called the body of Christ because it shows graphically the connection between the different parts of the body and how they work together.
    When the body has a need, the head sends a necessary message to the other parts of the body to meet that need. God has designed the body of Christ to meet your deepest spiritual and personal needs through others.
    If you don’t you allow God to meet your needs through others you have a recipe for stagnation in your spiritual life (1 Cor 12:21).
    1 Corinthians 12:21 NKJV
    21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
    Some of us have a hard time receiving from others and as a result your spiritual life is stagnant or at the least stunted. If you have a hard time receiving you need to humble yourselves and ask for help; share your struggles and needs with others.
    This is God’s challenge to you this morning.
    You may be putting on a good face, sharing trivialities, but not experiencing genuine community and genuine transformation. If you are resonating with what I am saying, you need to call someone you know here or find someone to open up to and share your need. Those of you who are on the periphery of our body, dipping your toes in the pool, just coming to church but that is not genuine community.

    Trust that God will meet your needs even when others disappoint you

    If the first principle in receiving is allowing God to meet your needs through others then the second principle is to trust that God will meet your needs even when others disappoint you (11-13). Paul is not relating to the Philippian church out of desperation because he believes that no matter what, God will take care of him. Sometimes God withholds others from meeting our needs for our good. Paul learned to be content whether others supplied his needs or not.
    Philippians 4:15 NKJV
    15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
    Sometimes we are disappointed because we place unspoken expectations on others. We place expectations on others but we never communicate what they are. Yet we become disappointed when they do not meet those expectations we never communicated.
    Other times we place unrealistic expectations on others. When we become disappointed, we tend to withdraw from relationships. But God commands us to forgive as often as needed (Mat 18:21-22) because we are organically related to each other and cannot get away with it.
    We need to learn to forgive each other. Disappointment is a part of every relationship. People will disappoint you. But God wants us to learn and grow from disappointment. Disappointment is God’s clue that there is hurt in your heart that needs healing and as you allow God to bring that healing God transforms our lives.
    That healing will only come in relationship. Paul is a great example of Christ Centered receiving. He made his needs known and God provided through the Philippian church. The Philippian church is a great example of what it looks like to give in a Christ centered way.
    That’s our first component in good relationships. A willingness to receive from others. The second component is...

    Christ Centered Giving (vs. 17-20)

    Philippians 4:17–20 NKJV
    17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
    In essence Paul is saying, ‘thanks for the cash but I am more excited about the reward you will be receiving.’
    He used this language to show that grace is abounding in their life with an ongoing, permanent gain for the Philippians in the spiritual realm. Because of their generous giving, God’s blessing accrues in their lives by which they continually grow in the graces of Christ until Christ returns.
    What is that telling us? We are to...

    Give with heart of faith as an act of worship

    Philippians 4:18 NKJV
    18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
    Paul calls their gift a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. He switches gears from the practical dimension of meeting his need to the spiritual reality of worship in meeting his need.
    These metaphors come from the Old Testament sacrificial system demonstrating that the sacrifice as a whole was acceptable to God because the sacrifice itself as well as the heart of the one doing the sacrificing was pleasing to God.
    The Philippians sacrificial gift was pleasing to God because it was given with a heart of faith (Heb. 11:6). As the Philippians gave to Paul, they were ultimately giving to God. This is what makes meeting the needs of others spiritual, worshipful.

    Give in ways that express your trust that God will take care of you.

    Philippians 4:19–20 NKJV
    19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
    The Philippian church gave even when, in the natural, it looked as though they could not afford it (2 Cor. 8:2-3). So as Paul closes his letter he encourages them by telling them ‘my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (19).’
    Their giving was so significant and sacrificial that it cut into their own ability to provide for themselves.
    Christ centered giving means that you give significantly and sacrificially because you know Christ will provide for you. Their financial gift represented their financial future. They were not giving out other their excess; they had no excess.
    God is telling us today to give significantly and sacrificially so that you feel it, so that it makes a dent in how you live even if it makes your financial future uncertain. The promise is that God will meet every need. Every need means that nothing is excluded.
    Do you believe that? If you do you will act upon it; if you don’t you won’t. God is challenging some of you to give sacrificially so that it makes a dent in how you live, maybe even money you have saved for something else that you need or want.
    Do you trust that he will make all grace abound to you? Pray and ask God to give in ways that challenges your faith, make you have to trust God in a deeper way. There is a difference between believing in God and believing God.
    If you want better relationships, make sure both of these principles are at work. Giving and receiving. Giving without expecting anything in return. And receiving graciously and humbly without pride.
      • Philippians 4:14–16NKJV

      • 1 Corinthians 12:21NKJV

      • Philippians 4:15NKJV

      • Philippians 4:17–20NKJV

      • Philippians 4:18NKJV

      • Philippians 4:19–20NKJV

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