A New Beginning - pt1

December 31, 2005

Introduction:
-  I’ve always like the beginning of a new year – gives you a fresh start to ministry life
- But for now, I want to focus on the importance of ‘building godly relationships’
- you know a question that I’m going to ask you:
1.   If you want to know about relationships, where does it all start?
- the correct answer would be: Understanding relationships start with God Himself – the PERFECT example of a relationship
 God the Father – God the Son – God the Holy Spirit = a PERFECT relationship
- I have to admit, there is an element of this that we cannot fully understand, but the Scriptures clearly teach, 3 distinct persons, 1 divine essence or 3 in 1!!
- each member of the Trinity functioning in His proper role, yet each being fully God as the same time!
Point: The Trinity is THE example we need to look to when it comes to building relationships with others
2.  My next question would be this:  What passage should we turn to 1st to establish a foundation for relationship building?
A: Genesis 1:26
 Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . .
-  In fact, our ability to establish relationships with other people STARTS with our relationship with God
- we are made in God’s image and likeness – i.e. with the capacity to BUILD a relationship – we are relational beings
- our 1st and highest priority in building a relationship with God Himself
3.  Can you think of a verse or two that might communicate that message?
 Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
 Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
- in fact, Jesus even made the distinction within the family:
 Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
-  Invite you to open your bible to Hebrews 10:19-25 – focus on v. 23-25
 Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
* Let’s focus our attention on “Building Relationships (in our ABFs)  to the Glory of God


#1:  Building Relationships Means Helping Each Other Grow in Love and Good Works


- the writer is not referring to good works as an attempt to bring about salvation – that would contradict Paul’s works in Eph. 2:8-9 (quote)
 Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- the writer is referring to good works that are the RESULT of salvation – cf. Eph. 2:10
• Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
* Our ABF (our church) ought to be a place where the focus is on two major areas:
A.  Loving others – this is agapa love!
Agape  = the form of love that most reflects personal choice, referring not simply to pleasant emotions or good feelings but to willing, self-giving service. 
Examples: 
 Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
 John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
- The apostle John expresses those two truths together in his first letter:
 1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Quote:  “But love is tested long before it is called on to offer that supreme sacrifice.” (MacArthur)
 1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
Quote:  “A person who thinks his love is great enough to sacrifice his life for fellow believers but who fails to help them when they have less extreme needs is simply fooling himself.” (MacArthur)
Input:  Why is loving others so important?
1.  It’s the 2nd greatest commandment: ‘love your neighbor as yourself’
 Matthew 22:39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'
2.  Jesus referred to this love as the ‘badge of discipleship’
 John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
3.  True agapē love is a sure mark of salvation.
 1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
4.  Having a habitually unloving spirit toward fellow Christians is reason for a person to question his salvation
 1 John 2:9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
 1 John 2:11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Important Point:  We can’t love others without a love for God – He is the source of our love!
 1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
> Love is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22)
Practical Applications of this truth:
- Here’s a good statement to think about:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!”
1.  Think about the one(s) who influenced you the most (i.e. reached out to you either evangelistically, or in discipleship).  What did that person DO to reach out to you?  What bridges did he/she build that helped you to take your next spiritual step?

Example: John Sheffield – taking me frog giggin’ – going through abandoned house and scared each other to death!
Point: We had fun – he got my attention by being normal (if you can define him as ‘normal’)
2.  What were the characteristics of the person(s) who influenced you? 
Example: Ken Collier – servant, honest, yet gracious/kind

3.  What are some additional characteristics of a person who “builds relationships” with others?  If possible, use a biblical passage to support your answer.
Example: Thoughtful // Consistent (Faithful – Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.)

4.  What are some specific ways (steps you can take) to show love to someone else in our ABF/church – to show them that you care?
- let think about the other ½ of this phrase:
B.  Serving together
Input: Why is serving such an important part of the Christian life?
> Jesus was referred to as “. . . My Servant” (Isaiah 42:1)
> Matthew 20:25-28 – He came not to be served, but to serve . . .
Q:  Where does instruction from the Word fit into all this? 
>  The instruction and Bible study has to point us in the direction of knowing more about God and who is He, what He has done, and what He wants us to do
>  The truth offers motivation / instruction for us to DO what we should be DOING:
Note: Our church’s mission statement:  To bring glory to God by winning people to Jesus Christ and equipping them to be more faithful disciples!


II.  Building Relationships Means Being Faithful in the Process  – v. 25


- This has implication to corporate worship as well as private and small groups
- I want to encourage each of you to be FAITHFUL to our ABF ministry – to see the value and be a part of the process
* It will take a biblical attitude for that to be accomplished:
1) thinking of others
2) reaching out to others
3) being willing to sacrifice for others
- the author here is talking about a habitual, regular, act of the will!
Input: How does being a part of the body of Christ help a person to grow more than a person who is NOT part of the body life of the church?
> Examples of others, hearing instruction, encouragement, prayer, etc.
> Two are better than one (Ecc. 4:9) -- accountability
encourage = parakale,w  (same word used to refer to the Holy Spirit – [para = alongside ; kaleo = called]  one called alongside)
- it means to beg, urge; encourage, speak words of  encouragement; request, ask, appeal to; console, comfort, cheer up; invite, summon  
 


A New Beginning: 2006
Building Relationships to the Glory of God

Introduction:
1.  If you want to know about relationships, where does it all start?

2.  What passage should we turn to 1st to establish a foundation for relationship building?

3.  Can you think of a verse or two that might communicate that message?


#1:  Building Relationships Means Helping Each Other Grow in Love and Good Works
* Our ABF (our church) ought to be a place where the focus is on two major areas:
A.  Loving others
Agape  = the form of love that most reflects personal choice, referring not simply to pleasant emotions or good feelings but to willing, self-giving service. 
Input:  Why is loving others so important?
1.  It’s the __________________________: ‘love your neighbor as yourself’

2.  Jesus referred to this love as the “_______________________ “

3.  True agapē love is a sure mark of __________________.

4.  Having a habitually unloving spirit toward fellow Christians is reason for a person to ____________________ his salvation

Practical Applications of this truth:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!”
1.  Think about the one(s) who influenced you the most (i.e. reached out to you either evangelistically, or in discipleship).  What did that person DO to reach out to you?  What bridges did he/she build that helped you to take your next spiritual step?

2.  What were the characteristics of the person(s) who influenced you? 


3.  What are some additional characteristics of a person who “builds relationships” with others?  If possible, use a biblical passage to support your answer.


4.  What are some specific ways (steps you can take) to show love to someone else in our ABF/church – to show them that you care?


B.  Serving together
Input: Why is serving such an important part of the Christian life?

Q:  Where does instruction from the Word fit into all this? 


#2:  Building Relationships Means Being Faithful in the Process  – v. 25
Input: How does being a part of the body of Christ help a person to grow more than a person who is NOT part of the body life of the church?


encourage = to beg, urge; encourage, speak words of  encouragement; request, ask, appeal to; console, comfort, cheer up; invite, summon  




A New Beginning: 2006
Building Relationships to the Glory of God
Introduction:
II.  An Incredible Message – 2:10-14
A.  Don’t be afraid – v. 10a
Input: What are some reasons we don’t have to fear in situations where we don’t have all the answers?
1)  God is on our side – Ps. 118:6
2)  He never leaves us nor forsakes us
– Heb. 13:5
3)  His grace is sufficient for us
– 2 Cor. 12:9
4)  He will never give us more than we can handle – 1 Cor. 10:13
B.  The good news of great joy was for everybody – 2:10b
 John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
 Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .”
C.  God has given us a Savior! – v. 11
Input:  What words would you use to describe your life prior to your hearing the message about the Savior?
D.  Praise to God – v. 13-14 [read]
III.  An Incredible Response
A.  Belief – v. 15
B.  Obedience – v. 16
 James 1:22-25
C.  Service – v.

1.  If you want to know about relationships, where does it all start?
2.  What passage should we turn to 1st to establish a foundation for relationship building?
 Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . .
3.  Can you think of a verse or two that might communicate that message?
 Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
 Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
 Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
 Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
#1:  Building Relationships Means Helping Each Other Grow in Love and Good Works
* Our ABF (our church) ought to be a place where the focus is on two major areas:
A.  Loving others
Agape  = the form of love that most reflects personal choice, referring not simply to pleasant emotions or good feelings but to willing, self-giving service.
Input:  Why is loving others so important?
1.  It’s the 2nd greatest commandment: ‘love your neighbor as yourself’
2.  Jesus referred to this love as the ‘badge of discipleship’
3.  True agapē love is a sure mark of salvation.
4.  Having a habitually unloving spirit toward fellow Christians is reason for a person to question his salvation
Practical Applications of this truth:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!”
1.  Think about the one(s) who influenced you the most (i.e. reached out to you either evangelistically, or in discipleship).  What did that person DO to reach out to you?  What bridges did he/she build that helped you to take your next spiritual step?

2.  What were the characteristics of the person(s) who influenced you? 

3.  What are some additional characteristics of a person who “builds relationships” with others?  If possible, use a biblical passage to support your answer.
4.  What are some specific ways (steps you can take) to show love to someone else in our ABF/church – to show them that you care?
B.  Serving together
Input: Why is serving such an important part of the Christian life?
Q:  Where does instruction from the Word fit into all this? 

#2:  Building Relationships Means Being Faithful in the Process  – v. 25
Input: How does being a part of the body of Christ help a person to grow more than a person who is NOT part of the body life of the church?

encourage = to beg, urge; encourage, speak words of  encouragement; request, ask, appeal to; console, comfort, cheer up; invite, summon