This Sunday, we stepped into a new series, #RelationshipGoals, where we aim to shift your perspective on friendship, family & romance as we learn from God about all things relationships. This week, we started with friendship and we’re here to catch you up!
You are created for relationship - you are a relational bring. To be known, loved and accepted for who you are is our greatest need. You were created to live in deep connection and community with both God and other people.
In Genesis, we see the purity of relationship between God and His beloved creation, and between people. God was walking in the cool of the day looking for Adam and Eve; looking for companionship, connection and closeness.
Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed, vulnerable, intimate and close. There was nothing between God and us, and nothing between people. There was only absolute trust and pure relationship.
When sin entered humanity, it’s death blow was to fracture relationships; it broke humanity’s relationship with God and our relationship with each other as God intended. There has been a war against the rhythm of relationship ever since. Sin had a counter plan to distort it, twist it, damage it and destroy it.
Thankfully, God wasn’t finished; He had a plan to win us back.
God sent his son, Jesus, on a mission to destroy the effects of sin and restore relationship of humanity back to God. We who were separated from God by sin, now have a pathway back into relationship through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus had a mission; an objective; a goal. His goal was to restore relationships - Jesus had #RelationshipGoals.
Relationship is God’s idea, plan and desire. Now more than ever we need to encourage each other back into the life-giving rhythm of Godly relationships.
“We cannot make friendships exactly as we please. Friendships are not made, but grow out of similar tastes, out of mutual respect, from the discovery of some unsuspected vein of sympathy. They depend also on our own power of inspiring friendship in others. The greatest element in friendship is faithfulness. Friends learn from one another; they form the characters of one another; they bear one another’s burdens; they make up for each other’s defects. Humans are dependent beings, and we cannot help seeing how much, when connected together, they may do for the elevation of one another’s character and for the improvement of mankind.” — excerpt from the Biblical Illustrator
The definition of friendship is “A favoured companion attached to one another by affection and esteem.” Urban Dictionary gives the example that “When you love somebody so much, that if you could save their life by never eating pizza again, you would do it, no questions asked.”
1. The Pitfall of No Friends
Isolation is the enemy of connection. The poet John Donne coined the phrase 'no man is an island' which expresses the idea that human beings do badly when isolated from others and need to be part of a community in order to thrive.
An unfriendly person isolates himself and seems to care only about his own issues. For his contempt of sound judgment makes him a recluse — Proverbs 18:1
Isolation leaves us vulnerable to depression, anxiety and loneliness. It is often the bi-product of insecurity and fear, which are two of the greatest dangers to mental health, therefore friendship is a great indication of our mental health.
When we are walking through a tough season, do we reach out? Do we lean on others for support? Do we have that support network there, or do we go it along? We were never designed to go it alone.
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. — Hebrews 10:24-25
We often read this through the lens of Sunday gatherings, that we should make sure that we come to church. Pastor Steve believes that this is a reduction of the full weight of this exhortation.
He believes that the writer is encouraging us, the family of God - the church - to prioritise relationship because he understands the importance of relationship. The next verse says, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” — Hebrews 10:26
...and have mercy on those who doubt, save others by snatching them out of the fire — Jude 1:22-23
Church is family - one where you belong, that will build you up, encourage you and walk with you. It is a family where you will find acceptance and support. Don’t isolate yourself - take the courageous step into relationship, to be known, to be seen, and to cultivate great friends. We believe that church is a great place to do that.
2. The pitfall of the wrong friends
You become like who you hang out with
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. — Proverbs 13:20
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. — Proverbs 22:24-25
“A man may properly seek for friends. He gets good, or he gets harm, out of the companionship of those with whom he lives. Such as they are, he will be in some degree.” — Biblical Illustrator
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” — 1 Corinthians 15:33
Passion is contagious - what someone is passionate about rubs off on their friends.
Ask yourself - what are my closest friends’ greatest passions? What are they constantly talking about more than anything else? What do they spend their time pursuing?
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works — Hebrews 10:24
3. The blessing of good friends
The blessing of love, acceptance & connection.
A dear friend will love you no matter what, and a family sticks together through all kinds of trouble. — Proverbs 17:17
Friendship is a form of love.
The blessing of growth & correction.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. — Proverbs 27:17
A good friend sharpens us and makes us more effective, propelling us towards our purpose. They help to remove our defects, wounds, hurts and damage.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. — Proverbs 27:5-6
We all have blind spots; a hitch in our stride. Those close to us - our friends - see them and can help us overcome them.
The best man at Pastor Steve and Bex’s wedding became their pastor. There was a season in church where Pastor Steve was out of line - he had a hitch in his stride. His friend had to meet with him and stand him down from ministry to help him get his heart right. This wasn’t easy, but that rebuke was vital and absolutely necessary to correct Steve’s heart. Better is open rebuke and faithful are the wounds of a friend - they are still good friends to this day.
The blessing of counsel, support & direction.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. — Proverbs 27:9
The day after Pastor Steve received the vision of call to Wellington, he met with a good friend and sought his counsel. His advice was to talk to the oversight of C3 Pacific. Steve was nervous to do that, but the friend felt so strongly that it was the right thing to do that he offered to make the call for Steve.
Who has a voice in your life? Who are the voices, encouragers, supporters, cheerleaders, challengers and sharpeners in your life?
The offer of friendship with God
[Jesus said] You are my friends if you do what I command you. 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. — John 15:14-15
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. — Psalm 25:14
Relationship is God’s idea, plan and desire. You have the opportunity to step into relationship with Jesus and build a friendship with God. There is no better friend.