“Be careful how you build”, Class 2 – “Relationships in the church”
November 16, 2018

“Be careful how you build”, Class 2 – “Relationships in the church”

Passage: Ephesians 2.22
Service Type:
Theme scripture for 2019: “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22 NIV11)
Last week we focussed on building well in our relationship with God. Without that foundation we will not see God bless our efforts. When we take this seriously it enriches us personally and as a fellowship in every way. This week we will look at how we build the church carefully by building our relationship with thoughtfulness.
Bear in mind the church is God’s idea, not ours. We are talking, therefore, when speaking of building the church, about something in line with God’s heart.
Key idea tonight: Being purposeful in our relationships.
  • Applies to everyone, not just the naturally ‘friendly’ types!
  • What opportunities do we have to build healthy relationships?
  • Church meetings are one opportunity.
  • Others opportunities include a coffee together, a prayer time with someone etc.
The early church was not perfect (just have a look at the Epistles to the Corinthians!). No church is the finished article.
  • Never a good idea to engage in conflict of ‘disputable matters’: “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters.” (Romans 14:1 NIV11). We need to get used to the idea that we have different opinions and to be comfortable with that if we are going to build close relationships. i.e. issues that are not directly about salvation. The church is not the place to have a rant about our favourite opinion areas. Preferences and different perspectives are valid, but they need to be kept in proportion.
  1. Do not judge on another
““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “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? 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? 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.” (Matthew 7:1–5 NIV11)
    • Self-righteousness is the problem in view.
    • Making a judgment is not a problem in itself, but looking down on people is a barrier to close relationships.
    • Rules are not the solution to purity, but the right heart
    • The Pharisees were experts at making rules: “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:24 NIV11)
  1. Do love one another
    • Timothy is a helpful model for us in love: “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.” (Philippians 2:20 NIV11)
    • “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.  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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:25–31 NIV11)
    • Don’t let the devil get a foothold in the church
    • “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12–14 NIV11)
    • Put aside the things that cause division
    • What is the church meant to be like?
    • “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV11)
    • As we mature as Christians we never lose the need for one another. Still need spurring on and to take opportunities to spur others on.
All of this means that we do well to make building close relationships a priority. Being purposeful in building our relationship directs the church in a healthy direction.

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