Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This week's sermon: Stepping out in Faith in our Relationships

Mark 12:28-31. Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
Our relationships with other people are important. That is true whether they are our friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, even our enemies. Jesus says in Mark 12:28-31 that everything that God requires of us can be summed up in two commands: Love God, Love each other. And this is nothing new! If we take a look at the 10 commandments, they divide nicely between the fourth and fifth command on that line. The first four deal with our relationship with God, the last six cover our relationships with other people.

1John 1:7; 2:7-11. Matthew 5:44-48.

John tells us in 1John 1:7 that fellowship is a direct result of walking with God. Conversely in the next chapter, he says when we live in hatred, bitterness, and discord with our brothers we are walking in darkness, spiritually blind and separated from God. Jesus tells us that our relationship with God is not shown genuine unless we learn to love, not only our brother, but our enemy as well.

1Peter 3:1-2, 7.

Our relationship with God directly affects our relationships with other people. The love of God working in us can so affect our relationships with others that they can come to know Christ without our having to say a word. In 1Peter 3:1-2, Peter tells us that there have been some men won over to Christ simply because of the change they witnessed in the lives of their wives. And our relationships with other people directly affect our relationship with God. When we are in disharmony with others, it causes a break in our fellowship with God. In 1Peter 3:7, Peter warns husbands that they ought to live with their wives with understanding and respect so that nothing interferes with their prayers. The way we interact with others is important.

1Peter 2:23.

The means of staying in harmony with others and learning to love even our enemies is putting our trust in God. 1Peter 2:23 says that when Jesus was facing betrayal, false accusations, and torture, he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. That is how he was able to bear the suffering. That is how he was able to say on the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." When we are faced with injustice, we want to defend ourselves, justify ourselves, stand up for our "rights." God calls us instead to put our trust in him to work out the situation for our good. When we step out in faith and obedience in our relationships with others, we can trust that the God who judges justly can handle the consequences of our obedience.

No comments: