Sunday, May 23
- Good morning welcome to service.. we are in our 80/20 Series..What we are talking about is the importance of power of focused life. ....and Looking at the Pareto principle that says...“For many events in life, 80 percent of the result come from 20 percent of the effort” Pareto principleOver the past few weekends we have talked about investing in the 20% ...Which is made up of Finding our life purpose… Developing our communication skills.This morning we are going to look at the importance of building Lasting Friendships..Have your ever wonder how many of your facebook friends would help if you were in trouble?Professor of evolutionary psychology Robin Dunbar put that question to the test. He wondered if the size of your social media network had any correlation to having more friends in real life.He discovered that the average number of Facebook friends possessed by people was around 150. But, out of those 150, only 28, on average, we recognized as low-level "friends."But when participants were asked how many of those friends would help out in a time of need, emotional distress, or other crisis, the average answer was 4. Around 14 would at least express sympathy.The study concluded that..We might have 150 or even 5,000 Facebook friends, but our true relationship with the majority of these people is essentially insignificant.The question is how do we establish meaningful friendships?First of all we have to acknowledge our own need for friendship…We are social creatures and we thrive in healthy relationships... We were created in the image of GodGod Himself is trinity — and there is fellowship and communion between the Father the Son and and the Holy Spirit.. perfect union and communion.We have been...created in the image of God…with this intrinsic need for fellowship.. After creating the world and mankind..When God came to the Garden and saw that Adam was all alone.. He said it was not good for man to be aloneEvery person has three basic emotional needs.1. Every one of us has a need for someone to love and someone to love us.2. We also all need somebody who understands us, who knows how we feel.3. And lastly we all desire somebody who wants us and needs us.These are intrinsic needs that are met in the context of healthy friendships!What is friendship?A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received ...The winning definition read: "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.These are not fare weather friends… that are present when things are going well … but these are lasting friends that stick together through the good and the bad… they are present when the world has gone out...T/S How to we build meaningful and fulfilling relationships? We have to...1. Start with My Own HeartOne of the challenging things about relationships is this idea of acceptance and rejection. Do remember When when your were younger friendship seemed so natural and easy… you get on the playground and you make a few friends in minutes. … in fact You can become best friends on the playground.... but as you get older your realize that relationships are not that simple… .When you hit middle School age things get a little more complicated.. it becomes more challenging … Friendship becomes competitive and you realize there are these clicks - groups of friends ...the cool friend groups to be a part of… there are “in” groups… .and so we wrestle with acceptance and rejection...When you get to college you get a “do over” with relationships.... often we to try reinvent ourselves…Then if you get married you either you have the challenge of blending friend groups or just trying to make new friends AS A COUPLE.... THIS CAN GET COMPLICATED.love and acceptance is central to relationshipsThis where God BEGINS with us.. In the book of Ephesians chapter 1 there is this wonderful hymn of praise ....Where the apostle PAUL... blesses and praises God for every spiritual blessing…IN CHRIST… HE Praises God because he chose us in Christ from the foundations of the world to WE HAVE BEEN adopted as sons AND DAUGHTERS… Pauls says6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.THE WORD ACCEPTED MEANS TO BE INDUED WITH SPECIAL GRACE… TO BE HIGHLY FAVORED.The bible tells us that when we come to Christ we have BEEN receive..been accepted into the beloved.God has fully love and accepted us in ChristWe are going to look at well know chapter... John 15.. .This section of scripture is known as the Last Super discourse… these were the teachings Jesus gave before His Crucifixion… Jesus is looking to this time of his absence.. how people to relate to each other in the coming church age...Jesus tells us in the parable of the vine and branches…and how it essential that the branches abide in the vine…As you look at the overview of the whole chapter how the concept of Abiding fits together..a. verse 1-11 deals with our relationship to Christ -- He is the vine our lives are in him...b. verses 12-17 is the relationship from branch to branch or believer to believer -b. verses 18 -27 is the relationship of the branches to the world…Those are the 3 essential relationships..In John 15:1-2 Jesus says “I am the vine” and the Father is the vinedresser.. and the believer are branches… The Father prunes away the non fruit bearing branches so that the tree will be healthy and produce more fruit…the goal of the vine is to be fruitful… When it comes to horticulture..the vine takes alone time to grow…it can several years before a vineyard can become profitable…We need to understand that both spiritual and life formation takes time it is not a quick process.The main thing is that we stay connected to the vine.. the greek word, “meno” is a verb written in the present continuios tense… it means to remain in the same place over a period of time…Jesus taught that abiding meant being apart of Gods family and knowing and experience His love .. we are no longer living for ourselves and our own agenda’s … but we living our lives on mission..His mission… that means we become conduits and connections of blessings…But it all starts with our own heart…9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.Jesus taught that relationships starts with Christ.This love is not a vague, sentimental feeling that comes and goes… The greek word love expresses the completness of God’s love for the son and.. for the sons love for us…This love can be experienced continuously through obedience of abiding..To “abide” is to maintain a vital (life-giving) contact with the vine, the source of life. Belief is the connection which unites the vine and branches. The lack of fruit indicates that one is not abiding (believing) in Christ. The absence of abiding indicates deficient beliefJesus tells us that it is through the obedience of abiding in His love.. that brings about fruitfulness… It is the love of God that is going to produce fruitfulness.It doesn’t matter how much you try in your own power.... you are not going to produce spiritual fruit with out this relationship… you can’t manufacture Spiritual fruit… Fruit is not mechanical it is organic in nature… and only God can produce the fruit of the Spirit..God’s goal is for us to bare much fruit and that the fruit remains.Jesus said that Abiding in Christ would bring the joy of a fulfilled life…When the english journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, first encountered Mother Teresa in Calcutta among her “destitute and dying,” he could not explain the “luminous quality” he saw in this little, plain woman. This turned out to be far more than a TV assignment for Malcolm Muggeridge, for eventually it was Mother Teresa's joy in serving others is what drew him to Christ....IN CHRIST WE FIND WHOLENESS.. AND JOY… THIS IS SOMETHING WE DISCOVER FOR OURSELVES…T/s How to we build meaningful and fulfilling relationships?1. Start with My Own Heart2. Step Out of Your Comfort ZoneHow do YOU Approach friendships?MOST OF US think in terms of chemistry… if . WE OFTEN LOOK FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SIMILAR TO US…Social scientists tell us that the phrase that birds of a feather flock together carries more truth than the statement opposite attract..When we choose friends we are looking for shared interests…… Do we share similar hobbies?… is there that natural connection?.. are we compatible?.... are our families in the same place?Another consideration is our time.?.. We live busy lives and we may feel that we don’t have time to build meaningful relationships.…Another factor maybe our our past experiences - friendships take an emotional investment and there could be that fear of making an investment that fails…Building relationships that last takes… moving out of our comfort zones..What do we mean by comfort Zones?Comfort zones are these places of safety where there is not much risk… where we can live on autopilot and not really be challenged… We don’t normally grow in comfort zones… we tend to settle....The theologian J.I. Packer Once said that…"It needs to be said loud and clear that in the kingdom of God there are no comfort zones and never will be."12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.Jesus tells what it means to be a friend of God.... means to to obey his command… means getting out of out comfort zones..Here is the things..We often think of love in terms of completion…We do this in marriage… there is the belief that the other person in marriage will complete us… some how we will find wholeness in the relationship...After you are married a while you realize that… Marriage is more than finding the right person but becoming the right person...When we look to others outside of Christ to fulfil a personal need.... we will always ways be disappointed and the reason is nobody can fill that space except the Lord… God is the only person who can Fully love and accept you…Jesus says friendship begins with obedience…it’s the great command ...love God and others...Jesus said in ...34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.What is the difference between the Old and New commandment..The old commandment was to love God with all our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves..This is the kind of love illustrated in The story of the good Samaritan was Christ’s great explanation of that kind of love, and it was a wonderful love. But the new commandment requires us to love as Jesus loved.Which means laying down our own lives... There is a sacrifice involved in loving like Jesus..The proof of our love is not in our feelings but in our action…it is a...b. Call to lay-down ones life for a friend..John Piper points out that this scripture causes brings up a question… When you look at the scriptures as a whole…you would think that the verse would say, “no greater love has no one than this than some one lay done his life for his ENEMIES.…Isn’t this what Paul tells us6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Piper realized that John was using a different measurement than Paul...John was not thinking on the continuum of greater to less…or better or worse..but rather the continuum something like that of giving a cut of water in his name......... lay down life..... a real friend is willing to go the distance…c. Friendship removes barriers..Jesus tells us that we are no longer servants and friends..15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.It is honor to be know as a friend of God.. It is a concept the Jewish people reserved for the great leaders of the past like Abraham and MosesThe image here is being a friend to the King… something that would have been understood in the first century …The kings and emperors in the ancient world… had this custom of having a select group of people who were called friends of the king...At all times, they had access to the king;they even had the right to come to his bedchamber at the beginning of the day.He talked to them before he talked to his generals, his rulers and his statesmen.The friends of the king were those who had the closest and the most intimate connection with him.Jesus called us to be his friends and the friends of God. That is a tremendous offer.It means that no longer do we need to gaze longingly at God from afar;we are not like slaves who have no right whatsoever to enter into the presence of the master;they are not like a crowd whose only glimpse of the king is in the passing on some state occasionJesus gave us this intimacy with God, so that he is no longer a distant stranger but our close friend… it is no longer a master servant relationship...And here is the thing… we have the privilege of knowing the very mind of God..Dr. Oswald Sanders once said to his staff at the Back to the Bible, “Each of us is as close to God as we choose to be.”We are His friends, and we ought to be near the throne, listening to His Word, enjoying His intimacy, and obeying His commandments. Closeness is a choice…T/s What approach should we take to build meaningful and fulfilling relationships?1. Start with My Own Heart2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone3. Sow seeds and Anticipate FruitJohn Sutherland Gave this amazing TEDx talk.. John is an officer in London's police department, explains a principle in forensic science called “Locard's exchange principle.”Developed by Dr. Edmond Locard, known as the Sherlock Holmes of France, this principle has a simple premise: every contact leaves a trace. In other words, every criminal leaves a trace behind him. One forensic expert put it this way:Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks … the paint he scratches, the blood … he deposits or collects … This is evidence that does not forget.Sutherland explains how this principle applies not just to forensic science but to all human relationships:Every time two people come into contact with one another an exchange takes place. Whether between lifelong friends or passing strangers, we encourage, we ignore, we hold out a hand, or we withdraw it. We walk towards or we walk away.Every single contact leaves a trace. The way that we treat and regard one another matters.We can sow seeds of friendship and anticipate a return…Part of being those who are called into this union with Christ is in order to bare fruit...You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.1. God has appointed you for FruitJesus said I have chosen you and appointed you to bear fruit...Jesus has chosen me.. Now notice that we did not choose him... Election is saying that God made the first move towards us....What we learn from Christ… Is that we are to be initiators...Sometimes with friendships we are waiting on the other person to make the move... We are waiting for the invitation... we are waiting to be included..So seeds of friendship and anticipate a harvest..The best way to make friends is to be friendly...Dale Carnegie“You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years of trying to get people interested in you.” ~ Dale CarnegieWe need to ask...What is holding me back from meaningful relationships... The first issue.. is maybe I haven't made the first move.. Jesus showed us the change in relationships from exclusion to inclusion.-- Friendship with Jesus... means choosing to love others...Jesus reminds them that he went against the common practice of of students choosing their teachers/Rabbis... He chose them to produce fruit.. He chose them to accomplish his mission.Jesus.. says I chose you and appointed you to bear fruit... What does it look like when it talks about bearing fruit? in context he is talking about friendship.. this connection between branches...ConclusionJohn is telling us the importance of relationships.... starting with our relationship with God... When we come to Christ he indwells the believer.. We are in Him and Christ is in us...We abide in that relationship... part of abiding is remaining in staying in that state... We choose how close we are to the King...John then says something amazing… when abide in him not only will you remain..but that also your prayers would be answered..John 15:bso that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.John says when you abide in Christ -- you experience Gods unconditional love.. you know what if feels like to be loved completely... you know what grace and mercy feels like... John says let that love spill out and impact your relationships... strengthen your relationship to the other branches...God's ultimate plan is for us to know him in eternity... in the mean time need to abide so that we can bear as much fruit as possible...The early Latin writer, Tertullian of Carthage, declared that the one thing that converted him to Christianity was not the arguments they gave him, because he could find a counterpoint for every argument they would present. “But they demonstrated something I didn’t have. The thing that converted me to Christianity was the way they loved each other.”This morning Challenge..REEVALUATE YOUR LIFE WITH CHRIST.. ARE YOU ABIDING IN HIS LOVE.Have you been overwhelmed and immersed into the love of God..ARE YOU EXPERIENCING HIS ACCEPTANCE... am I embracing His love… If not Jesus28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.ANOTHER AREA TO reevaluate IS your relationships. Who is it in your life that you are connecting too?What would happen when we accept God’s love fully and begin to love others with that same love?1. Start with My Own Heart2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone3. Sow seeds and Anticipate
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