DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Protect Relationships
 

We know the Ten Commandments. Why did God give those commandments: to burden us / to find faults in us / to trick us / to trap us / to make us fall / to make us feel guilty etc. We believe God gave those commands not to hurt us or to burden us, but to protect us. To protect different relationships. We can see them in Deuteronomy chapter 5.
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol. You shall not bow down to them or worship them;
3. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
4. Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy

The first 4 commandments were there to protect our relationship with God. If we obey them God will be pleased with us. The last 6 were to protect our relationships with one another. If we obey them we will have great relationships with others around us.
5. Honor your father and your mother
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

How to handle relationships in the church? God in the Bible gives specific instructions. We are all learning to build relationships and nobody is ever going to be perfect at it. Jesus was a master of relationships. He knew exactly what to say to whom at what time. We all have to grow in this area. We all need to learn to handle the delicate relationships. Many people come to church because of relationships and also leave the church because of relationship problems. We can learn from the Bible how to handle this righteously. The only way we can be a disciple is if we hold on to the teachings of Jesus.

John 8:31
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

1. Forgive Each Other

We all have had to face this problem sometime in our lives: child abuse, parents, boss, relatives, brothers & sisters, friends, ex-girl friend / boy friend. We have hurts from the past / we had attitudes / we had hatred / we had quiet reservations, we don't talk about. We have not dealt with it in a godly way! Now we will learn how to deal with it in a spiritual way! We all can learn how to be like Jesus in this area. Jesus on the cross said, Luke 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." How was he able to do it? If we claim to be a Christian and can't be like Jesus, we are not Christians. That is scary! Unforgiveness will take / lead us to hell!

Some people are not in touch with their feelings.
- They say I love my family but they are always shouting at them, that is not love there is some deep (-ve) feelings there.
- Husband & wife - too much (-ve) tone in conversations - there are some feelings there. We got to deal with it!
- How many of us have felt mistreated in the past by others!
- How many of us have felt mistreated in the past by others in the church!
- How many of us have mistreated others in the past?
- How many of us have mistreated others in the church?

Once upon a time we used to live in hatred?

Titus 3:3
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

Matthew 6:12-15
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.


What if someone slaps us and asks for forgiveness? Why does it become hard to forgive, when we feel like we are the victim! Victims always are looking for sympathy from others rather that forgiving! Jesus was a victim for our sins! But Jesus forgave our sins! Because he was willing to go through pain to forgive us!

Matthew 18:35
"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

Luke 17:3-4
3 So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.
4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."


Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

2. Do Not Slander One Another

Another thing that hurts relationships is slander and gossip! When we fail to forgive and deal with our relationships in a Jesus way to spiritual way we end up gossiping or slandering!

What does slander & gossip do - it makes others sins look more bad than our own sin! It is saying other person sin is so bad and not ours. Undermining our sin and exaggerating others sins so we can feel good about ourselves! We feel justified with our feelings rather than dealing with it in a godly way. When we amplify others sins we don't feel like we have to change! That is from the devil! Devil wants to make us feel we don't have to change. He takes on his role as a deceiver powerfully. Many of the Christians fall in this category.

Psalm 36:1-2
1 For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.
They say he is a hypocrite and he is like that and she is like that, there is a scipture regarding those attitudes!

Matthew 7:1-5
1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.


We have to always remind ourselves of this, before we challenge others. We have to take our plank out first! Gossip comes when we don't deal with our sin righteously & seriously and we look at other peoples sins more seriously and start talking about it.

What is gossip? What is slander?

Proverbs 16:28
A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 18:8
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.

Proverbs 20:19
A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.

Many people start gossiping by getting with someone and saying: "I want to be open with you about so and so……..". This is the beginning of gossip. If some one comes to us sharing about someone else then we must not entertain that, we must direct that brother / sister to the person they have a problem with.

1 Timothy 5:13
Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.

Proverbs 10:18
He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.

1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

Ephesians 4:29-32
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


James 5:9
Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

James 4:11
Brothers do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

1 Thessalonians 5:15
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

What are some things we gossip about? Others sins / others weaknesses / church matters / leaders / personal hurts / others hurts / relationships -he likes her and she likes him! He is only fellowshipping that person / look at his dress / look at her she is proud / sitting and discussing other persons. If we have a problem we need talk with the brother or sister concerned!

Jude 1:16
These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

3. How To Deal With Each Other?

Matthew 18:14-22
14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.


The above passage talks about that when we find some one in sin we must first talk to that person before we talk to others. This is what the Bible says to protect relationships. Most of us we talk to the whole world about others sins before we talk to the person itself. That is wrong according to the Bible. After we talk to the person who has hurt us or is in sin and if he does not agree or we can't seem to come to some kind of agreement then we bring in the third person. Then it still does not change then we let the church know [may be our family group]

Galatians 6:1
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
- If some one is caught in sin restore him gently not harshly.
- If some one is in sin we must talk to that person immediately about his / her sin to help that person to change and not to put that person down.