Our Values: Healthy Relationships
Well I'm glad that we're still having church today with you know so many ladies gone there I guess there's thirty six up there at the retreat and you know I have to admit the Sundays that I'm most curious about when they you know I don't know what I'm going to expect when I get to church in the morning our Memorial Day Labor Day And this Sunday when all those ladies are gone but I look around and I see that there's quite a few ladies retreat survivors So if you're one of them raise your hand and there's a couple of us are going to be a support group meeting afterwards and we'll talk about how difficult it was to raise our kids when our wives were gone.
Half half joking you know which was Christian being gone this week and she's one of the ladies that are up there I obviously get to appreciate all the things that she does around the house and especially on Saturdays Saturdays she does a lot of chores and so she said Now before I go I'm going to write down a list of everything that I would like you guys to do while I'm gone and it was it was a good list it was like doing dishes you know cleaning up rooms and stuff like that and also doing vacuuming this thing right here and she also had us to do laundry and that was the thing that kind of made me the most nervous it's like I remember every Saturday she spent like the whole day doing laundry and so I thought this is going to be tough and so I went over to our washing machine and it dawned on me it's been a long time since I've had to do laundry you know I did it all through college and I would survive and so I'm looking at the washing machine and we've got there's a new washing machine we got a couple years ago and I'm like oh great I don't know what the settings are should I just stay with the current settings What should I do and you know how much look detergent do I put into the load and I was a little bit nervous about this I knew I could figure it out but then my son Caleb came to the rescue he came in the laundry goes oh yeah mom taught me how to do this and so he put everything in there put it in there it was great so any of you guys need to rent out my son for laundry Zacky OK Talk Talk to me talk to me later well. Right now we're in a series talking about our mission as a church and hopefully you've heard me say this enough times that you almost have memorized by now but if you don't our mission here agrees about the Church of Phoenix is developing committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching in encouragement of God's word and so when we say that that's what we're trying to do develop committed followers you have to ask yourself the question what does a committed follower do if you're following Jesus what are the things that you're supposed to do and fortunately for us in the Bible tells us what we're supposed to do and the best way to describe what a committed follower does is that they will fulfill the greatest commands to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and strength into love your neighbor as yourself and what that looks like is obviously very varied many different ways to do it and as a church what we've done is we've said there are four values that we say help us develop committed followers and we've listed them as a bible center teaching and preaching discipleship faithful service and healthy relationships and right now we're going to be talking about what it means to fulfill the greatest commandments in terms of having healthy relationships and so last week we looked at the greatest commandment how what it means to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul in your mind and today we're going to talk about loving your neighbor as yourself and we're going to break that down into two different groups the people that are inside the church church family and those that are outside and you think what wait a second are we supposed to split people up like that well the Bible actually does make that distinction of loving our neighbor in kind of makes a distinction between those that are inside the church family those that are outside all read this verse for you you don't have to turn there but English and six verses nine and ten the possible writes to us and he says and let us not grow weary of doing good for in due season we will reap if. Do not give up so then as as we have opportunity let us do good to everyone and especially to those who are of the household of faith and so here we have the Apostle Paul is basically saying do the second greatest commandment Love your neighbor as yourself and then he says but paste special close attention to going above and beyond with those that are of the household of faith and so as a church I'm going to be borrowing a phrase that I learned from another password a different church I think I told you this last week Pastor Eddie Stanley he's out in Atlanta is Father is Charles Stanley and at their church they say how they fulfill the two greatest commandments they have this phrase and I know I can so I'm borrowing from them they say that they want people to grow in their intimacy with God community with insiders and influence with outsiders so that's how we fulfill the greatest commandment last week we talked about our intimacy with God Next week we're going to talk about our influence with those outside of the faith but today we're going to focus on each other how can we love each other and more specifically how can we build community as believers here and I'll admit you know last week I told you that the sermon that we did last week on loving the Lord your God with all your heart soul and strength that's a difficult one it's a difficult sermon to preach and some sometimes a difficult commandment to fulfill because we can't see God we can't put our arms around God we can't do specific things for him but this one weekend. When he says The love your neighbor as yourself I'm looking directly at my neighbor's you are the ones that I'm supposed to love and when you look around the room you say OK these are the people that I'm supposed to fulfill this and so. It's kind of frustrating in maybe this is just me being a guy but if you have no control over something it can be very frustrating and there's a lot of things about. Earch that can be very frustrating in other words we can't I can't make anyone.
I can't make anyone follow God's word I can't make anyone stop sinning I can't make anyone understand the truth I can't make anyone agreed to get along with other people but there's one thing that we can do is we can all decide to treat each other in such a way that our church will be a warm loving and empowering church that will build each other up and that's what this passage in the sermon is about this morning so what does it look like to love your neighbor as it relates to building community with insiders Well let's start off by reading from the book of turning the Bible so the Book of you fusions chapter four.
If you chapter four and we will begin reading in verse eleven
and the thing I appreciate about this chapter especially is if you ever want to know what the purpose of the local church is this is the passage you should go to you know why do we need how do we know we're doing what we're called to do if Chapter four really gives us the marching orders for the church really shows us what the purposes so if he's in chapter four beginning in verse eleven this is the purpose of the church.
It says and he gave meaning Jesus he gave the apostles the prophets the Evangelists the shepherds in the teachers for this reason. To equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the face and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ so that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried or about by every wind of doctrine by human cunning by craftiness and deceitful schemes and so here is specially in verses twelve and thirteen it says The point is that we all contribute here in a local church setting so that we are all built up and that we become mature and a mature person is going to be able to distinguish truth from all the lies you're going to see out of there in the world well to keep reading in verse fifteen. Says rather speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ from whom the whole body joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped when each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love so I like that last phrase especially when each part is working properly it makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love so that's why we do this so that we become mature so that we get built up well how do we build community and how do we help each other become mature well for this morning what I'm going to do is I want to give you three things that we can use to build each other up and create community with each other all right in the first thing first thing that we can use is our words. The Bible says that our words are very powerful and our words can either be you. Soused to build someone up or to tear someone down now can you think of someone in your life that you really like being around because soon as you're in their presence they usually kind of give you a compliment or say something nice to you and and you knew you go away and you're kind of a motivated little inspired and we like to be around those kinds of people right and how many of you can think of a person that you know when you're in their presence you have to say you're walking on eggshells you have to be careful what you say and what you do because if you step out of line they're going to come down on you right we probably all know at least one or two people like that well the power of our words is something that God is telling us about and we can use them to really build each other up let's keep reading and.
Go to fusions for verse twenty five.
If you choose for verse twenty five and Paul is telling us that we really need to watch the words that come out of our mouth and how we can build each other up with them so if he says for beginning in verse twenty five it says.
Therefore having put away falso to let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor for we are all members one of another so obviously this is speaking about us here in the church verse twenty six. Be angry and do not sin do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil let the thief no longer steal but rather let him labor doing honest work with his own hand so that he may have something to share with anyone in need of verse twenty nine is a key verse here let no corrupting top come out of your mouse but only such as is good for building up as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear and do not grieve the Holy Spirit by whom you were sealed for the day every… ssion let all bitterness and rason anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice be kind to one another tenderhearted forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you you know this is the kind of passage that we should probably all read every single day right just kind of get it into our hearts and our my. But verse twenty nine is kind of the key verse here and I read from the E.S.B. but I like how it says it in the end i the a little bit better so I going to read this again from the N.I.V. it says the interview for verse twenty nine says Do not let any and the wholesome talk come out of your mouse Wow That's that's a hard one isn't it but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen you know that word for and wholesome or in the E.S.B. it says corrupting the the Greek word actually means something that is rotten in putrefied.
So don't let any rotten words or putrified words come out of your mouth and when it's dealing with relationships it means something that is unfit for use it is it is worthless there are words that can come out of our mouths that are absolutely worthless and they do not benefit another person instead the words that come out of our mouths should be used to build people up and the Greek word for that is a quite a May and it means the act of one who promotes another person's growth in Christian wisdom piety happiness and holiness and the thing that I like about this verse so much it when there are so many things in our face that we cannot control this is one that we can we get to choose the words that come out of our mouth and we can choose to intentionally build other people up.
A good example of this I'm going to talk about Cross Fit totals that can actually be frozen in time across and they go to my of my same cross with Jim and so I think you'll appreciate this as well but the biggest difference between cross fit in a regular gym is well there's a few differences but the main one is when you go to Cross Fit everybody does the workout at the exact same time you see if you go to a gym then everyone kind of does their own thing but it cross fit you've got about like an hour long class and everybody does the same thing and so a couple things that that will do. Is it creates a lot of competition in a mean that in a good way because you'll see somebody else and say well they're about my size OK I have to really work hard so that I can beat them every now and then I'll be working I was back in just this last week Zak's like I'm going to beach in today's workout I'm like no you're not you say yes I so kind of like that kind of competition Another thing is it really builds camaraderie because you're suffering with other people and suffering produces that compassion and so you really start cheering each other on and say OK you can do this you finish make sure you get this done.
There's something that at our gym at our crossroad box that is really neat and I want to share that with you where we work out there was a room at the back of the area where parents can bring their kids and they can have the little kids in there so they're working out and there's this big window in the coach of our cross a box he puts every month if you if you set up P.R. which is a personal record you write up on that window what your records or it means like if you lifted a certain amount of weight that's the most weight you've ever done you put that out there or if you did a certain skill you put that out there and it's really encouraging because the beginning of the month it's completely clean there's nothing up there but at the end of the month it's filled with everybody who made improvements and so this last month month of September I had three P.R. is up there and that's not saying much because it's usually the first time I'm doing anything so the first time you do a left you just had a P.R. So you know it's not a big deal but I had three P.R.'s up there in a labor day I set a P.R. for a power cleaning power cleaners where you pick the weight up off the ground you bring it to your chest and then I said another P.R. for a squat and something else maybe I'm saying you had three three hours and this last Friday we had the work out of the day was to set basically do your best P.R. for powerfully and so I set my P.R. in Labor Day and then I beat it by ten pounds this last Friday and after. As I was really excited I mean it's motivating when you set up P.R. and so I went over to the board and I crossed out the old weight and I put the new way and I was kind of feeling good about that and then one of the guys that I was working out with he said and he was embellish ing but he said man Josh you're going to need a window for all of your own window for all your pee Harz And of course he was just teasing me and I only had three up there but it was at that moment when he said that it's like all of this adrenaline shot through my body it's like that's it I'm going to go do something else I'm going to listen or ways I want to set a new P.R. but look at this first again says Do not let any on wholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen you know in that moment those words even though he was just kind of joking around it built me up and it was perfect for that occasion he could have said a lot of other things he could have said all those great as you said a P.R. But you're not nearly as strong as these five other people I mean now is that those kind of going to your statement he could have said that or he also could have said that's fine if you set a P.R. for your power clean but you're really horrible at this event this event and this event he could have said that and that could have been very true but in that moment he chose the words that came out of his mouth were going to build me up and that's it was very motivating.
I was thinking to myself you know we should have something like that here church I don't know how what that would look like I don't think that we should write on the windows and and how do you how do you do P.R. is for a church you know the most Bible verses read or the most prayers in a day and I don't know what your the most the most amount of time that you went without getting angry or how beginning your thoughts I don't know what a P.R. will look like in a church we're not going to do that however I think one thing that we can do what our church that's something similar is.
You look at your bulletin and our Bolton is full of people who are here Vala. During their time and working to build this church.
And so every Sunday that we come here you see someone doing something whether it's being a praise prompt or appear leaning in a van someone out there working in the kitchen someone working in the nursery thank them for what they do that's something that we can do we can build each other up you know speaking of. Of cross with this kind of goes along with what I was just talking about one of the coaches there his name is Chris and he took an opportunity to remind everyone at Cross Fit that there one of the things that they're supposed to do is to really encourage each other and so on on the toss Cross Fit Facebook group he wrote this kind of as a reminder to encourage people to be encouraging and so he wrote these words to everybody he said and not as a kind of a critique but just kind of as a reminder he says today is a great opportunity to improve on something I've noticed we are somewhat slacking in a lot of times when we will have a work out there designed when everyone finishes at the same time but today is a rounds for time where many people will finish at different times we need to be sure that we are supporting every member until the final person finishes the work out this doesn't mean that you have to be some sort of exhausted cheerleader but rather to simply wait until everyone is done to put away your gear wait to go pack up your things and leave wait until everyone has done to start to cash out together it's very distracting in discouraging when these things are happening and you're among the last trying to complete the work out we've all been there we can do better and so he wrote that to a bunch of athletes across it saying let's stay around and let's encourage each other and all the people their comments afterwards are like all thanks for the reminder all do a better job next time and I was just thinking a gym or across a box or whatever you go to if we can recognize they are the power of encouragement in being supportive when the results are mainly physical and temporary how much more important is it for us to encourage each other here where the results are spiritual and eternal.
And the greatest thing is it's our choice we get to choose to do this and I think all of us would agree that this is the kind of church that we want to be a part of right and honest and I'm not preaching a sermon because I don't think we're doing a good job with this in fact I think we're doing a good job but it needs to be intentional because the opposite of this is a very obvious and very discouraging backing glaciations all read this this passage from five fourteen and fifteen it says but the whole law is fulfilled in one word you shall love your neighbor as yourself but if you buy in devour one another watch out that you are not consumed by one another and not so easy for us to be nit picking and complaining criticizing and again it's our choice we get to choose this can any of you think of a time when you left church or inspired and motivated and kind of excited about your face if so there were probably some encouraging words directed at you that Sunday and that's something all of us get to choose to do now before we all run out and say OK I'm going to give five compliments every Sunday at church which is a great great idea we have to realize loving your neighbor that it's more than just words sometimes more than words are needed and so the second thing that the Bible tells us that we can do to help love each other is this not only should we use our words but we also need to use actions we need to use our actions and there are several passages in the Bible there really teach us how to treat each other one of my favorites is in Romans Chapter twelve so let's go through Romans Chapter twelve. And there's a string of verses here there really tell us how we should be treating each other within the Body of Christ aromas Chapter twelve beginning in verse nine.
Romans Chapter twelve beginning in verse nine.
It says Let love be genuine a… what is evil hold fast to what is good love one another with brotherly affection outdo one another and showing honor Do not be slothful in zeal be fervent in spirit serve the Lord rejoice in hope be patient in tribulation be constant in prayer contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality bless those who persecute you bless and do not curse them rejoice with those who rejoice weep with those who weep live in harmony with one another do not be haughty but associate with the lowly never be wise in your own site you know there's a lot in there but what I want to do is I want to highlight just five of these phrases because they directly deal with us and how we treat each other so the first phrase is in verse ten or it says that we are to love one another with brotherly affection why are we supposed to do that from a practical standpoint I think the best way to realize why we're supposed to love each other with brotherly affection is the same blood that Christ shed on the cross to cover my sins and wash me from my sins is the exact same blood that Christ gave to you to wash you of your sins so the Bible says that we are brothers and sisters in Christ and we are of the same blood and we are forever members one with another and so that's why we can do this because we are all children of God The second phrase verse ten says that we are to outdo one another in showing honor and I like this this is good this is great we are to outdo each other we usually want credit for ourselves we want people to recognize us right well what happens if if all we're doing is trying to get everyone to recognize our accomplishments then no one's going to be recognizing anyone else's so could you imagine a church where everyone is trying to outdo each other in showing honor everyone giving genuine heartfelt compliments to each other you know the Greek word. For outdo it means to go before and shoulder way or to lead in doing this and when it says on our honor as if there is just some kind of a value in the thing and so this is telling us to go out of our way to lead in showing others how valuable they are this means that we all need to be ready and waiting to show someone how valuable they are that we are ready for this that we're anticipating these moments listen if you are looking to get on or to another person you're going to be too busy to buy in devour them just like that passage English and says Right next phrase in verse thirteen. It says contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality so when we are contributing to people it really makes us think think less of ourselves and and if we're thinking less about how to help other people than we're usually thinking about ourselves and sometimes we need a break from being consumed with our own problems and so contributing to the needs of the saints is a very healthy and mature thing to do for a phrase here in verse fifteen says Rejoice with those who read Joyce and weep with those who weep and I think that this is a true sign of maturity and immaturity person sees how everything in the world impacts them and them alone it's all about themselves but a mature person gives themselves permission to feel what another person is feeling like how many of you here enjoy it when you have good news and you share it with another person and they they turn it around to talk about themselves like for instance if you if they got a promotion or a raise at work you know you're excited about that right hey hey I got a raise at work how would you like it of the person you said that to said you got a raise I you know ever get a raise and I have more deserving of a raise in a promotion than you are you know you were not going to be very excited to share that information with someone or you want someone to say it's oh that's great. School celebrate let's go get lunch and you're buying because you got the reins.
That's how we should be responding rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who we furthest fifth phrase here we're sixteen live in harmony with one another it means that we all have a responsibility to do those things in our relationship that allows us to live in harmony and you look at all of these commands these five commands in this this batch here in Romans Chapter twelve and all of them are our choice we get to choose to do this and when we do these things we build each other up you know if there's a lot of other things in the bible let's say that we're supposed to do for one another in fact if you're bored one day you can go on Bible Gateway dot com and then type in the search field one another and you can come up with a great big list of things that we're supposed to do for one another all kind of highlight some of those we've looked at some of them say they are ready but we are also to welcome each other instruct one another greet each other care for one another comforting each other agree with each other serve one another bury chuggers burden speak the truth and love encouraging each other we've looked at that and the last thing that the Bible tells us to do to one another is was to kiss each other greet each other with a kiss we're going to let that be cultural OK we're not going to do that all right we don't have to do that airing handshakes or No No kissing here one last thing that we need to do we can do to build community is this First we can use our words we can use our actions but we also use our presence meaning we show up that's how we build each other up we can't have community with each other if we don't make being together a priority last verse I want you to look at isn't hubris ten years ago in your bible say hubris Chapter ten verse twenty four.
Years ten twenty four and actually verses twenty five as well.
He was ten twenty four and twenty five.
This passage says. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near the word for stir up some of your translations I might say provoke the Greek word is Parekh some US and it means to incite or to irritate. So we're actually told to irritate each other all right considering how to irritate each other towards for the good for love and good works you know you know who is really good at irritating each other siblings siblings know how to irritate each other and you know why they know how to irritate each other because they're around each other all the time. You and I won't know how to provoke each other and thus we spend time with each other and it kind of goes like this do you know the spiritual gifts and passions of your closest friends within the family of God. If you do then when you see an opportunity and you know that matches their spiritual gifts that's when we provoke them hey that's something you should do that's an opportunity for you to do because I know that you would be really good at it and so irritating each other you have permission if you irritating someone say Hey Pastor said I'm supposed to irritate you about this but you know what we can use our words to build each other up we can't use them if we're not around each other and we can't use our actions if we're not around each other and so we need to use our presence as well well you know I get excited about this topic because it's finally something that we can control again there are so many things in church that we can't control we cannot make people come to church we can't make people become say there are so many things that we can't do but we can all choose to value making. Church a place that we will all be built up and no matter what our budget looks like no matter what our attendance is like what our programs are like or no matter where our location is we get to choose to make this the most positive uplifting encouraging family of believers that we possibly can this is the second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself what I want to do as we close is I want to simply read the definition of love from the Bible first Corinthians chapter thirteen and as I read this definition I want you just spend time thinking how this relates to you and your relationships with other people and really commit yourself to exhibiting true love to your neighbor so let me close by reading from first printings thirteen.
It says Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy your boast it is not arrogant or rude it does not insist on its own way it is not irritable or resentful it does not rejoice at wrong doings but rejoices with the truth love there's all things believes all things hopes all things endures all things love never.
Disclose and prayer
journal I thank you so much for this passage and I thank you for the local church you created the local church as a place for us to be built up and to become mature and you've given us the responsibility this blasted responsibility of building each other up and so Lord my prayer for this morning is for Grace Bible Church of Phoenix those who call this their church home that we will all accept this responsibility this great on privilege to build each other up to outdo each other in showing honor to look for ways that we can provoke each other towards loving good deeds the Lord you want us to become mature and you give us what a wonderful way to to to be a part of that in our brothers and sisters in Christ in their lives so Lord help us to be this kind of church that will love our neighbors as ourselves and be a exam shining example to the world around us oh lord next week as we talk about how we can be. Showing our influence among those that are outside the church I pray that even now you'll certain length upon our hearts in our minds people who might not have a relationship with you but they do and and that we will consider how we can build our influence around them so that you might use it for your honor and glory but until then I pray that you're just dumb people safe and always have a wonderful productive we can bring us back safely next week so we can worship you then in Jesus' name we pray.