Why We Need Each Other
Why We Need Each Other
We Americans love our independence.
Our nation was founded on the Declaration of Independence.
We celebrate Independence Day.
We love our independence!
“I’ve got to be me!”
“I did it my way!”
“I don’t need anybody to tell me what to do!”
We’ve been taught that happiness is the result of independence.
We’ve been taught to work towards financially independence – THEN we will be happy!
We’ve been taught to be relationally independent.
We’ve been taught to be independent in every way – THEN we will be the happiest!
And yet, we have never had more unhappy people in the world than we do today.
And the suicide rate continues to sky rocket.
Independence is not the answer!
Happiness doesn’t come from being independent, isolated, with all the barriers up and all the masks on, keeping people at a distance. That’s not the way to be happy.
Happiness doesn’t come from independence.
Happiness comes from interdependence.
Happiness comes from community.
Notice what the Bible says in Romans chapter 12:5...
You have the verse there on your outline.
Let’s read it aloud together:
[Read verse on outline]
Turn to the person next to you and say, “You need me.” Go ahead. “You need me.” All right.
Now, I want you to say, “I need you.” Go ahead. “I need you.” Now, that wasn’t SO hard, was it?
We need each other. We just don’t realize how much we need each other because we are taught to be independent. God wired all of us in such a way that we can only fulfill His purposes for our lives in community, in His family, in relationship to each other.
We need each other!
That’s the big idea we’re going to look at for the next 40 days.
This morning we’re going to look at: Why we need each other.
We will identify 5 reasons why we need each other.
We will examine why you need a church family...
...why you need to be involved in a community with other believers.
...why you need to be involved in a small group with other believers who get to know you on a deeper level.
1. WE NEED OTHERS TO WALK WITH US
You need other believers to help you grow spiritually.
Read Colossians 2:6-7 with me, it’s there in your outline...
“Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him...”
Now the Bible often refers to your spiritual life as your “walk.” We are told to walk in the light, to walk in love, to walk in obedience, to walk in the Holy Spirit, to walk as Jesus walked, to walk in wisdom. Why?
Why does the Bible talk about our spiritual life as a “walk”?
Because life is not just a sit-down thing. It’s a journey.
You’re always growing. You’re always moving.
Your life is a journey. There is a destination to get to.
But here’s the thing we must grab hold of this morning:
God never intended for you to walk through life alone. Never! [Repeat]
This has nothing to do with whether you’re single or married.
Now some of you say, “Well what’s wrong with walking alone? I like to walk alone. I prefer to walk alone. I get my own way when I walk alone.”
The problem with hibernating and just being by yourself all the time is that you never learn to cooperate.
You never learn what it means to be in relationship.
You never truly learn to love or be loved.
You never learn to be more like Christ because you are never challenged or provided with opportunities to live out your faith.
Practically speaking, why is it better to walk with others in life?
3 Reasons: (you might want to just jot these down in the margin)
1) It’s safer.
It’s safer when you walk with others through life. There’s safety in numbers. Whether it’s walking in a dark alley in the inner-city or out in the countryside, it’s still safer to have someone walking with you. It’s a whole lot less risky.
Now, some might disagree here. Maybe the words to a Simon and Garfunkel song (a real oldie!) express your thoughts:
A winters day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
Its laughter and its loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
Sure, you feel no pain. Sure, you never cry. But have you lived?
Have you fulfilled God’s purpose for your existence? No!
God desires that we be involved in relationship with others.
We need each other to walk with us.
It’s not only safer, it’s also...
2) It’s supportive
It keeps you from giving up.
When other people are walking with you, they keep you going.
Listen to this old Zambian proverb:
“When you run alone, you run fast. But when you run together, you run far.”
The life that we are called to live is not a 50-yard dash!
It’s a marathon! And we had better be prepared to run far.
And to do that we need each other.
The geese are going to start flying south for the winter now.
Why do they fly in V-formation?
It’s because they can fly farther in that formation because it creates an updraft and they don’t get as tired when they fly together like that.
When we fly, when we walk, when we run through life together, we’re a whole lot less tired when we walk with others.
It’s safer. It’s supportive. It’s also just plain...
3) It’s smarter
You’ll learn a whole lot more when you go through life with other people close to you. You will learn from them. You will learn from their mistakes. It’s just plain smarter to walk together through this life with others.
Now, I want you to look at Genesis 2:18. Read it with me:
“It is not good for man to be alone.”
Who’s talking here? God
When did He say it? Right after creating Adam.
Here everything was perfect, right?
I mean, here Adam is in the Garden of Eden!
And yet, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
And so, God created two groups:
He gave you a physical family and a spiritual family.
And actually, your spiritual family is going to last a whole lot longer than your physical one because it’s going to go on for ever and ever and eternity.
God gave you a safety net, it’s His family.
Look at Hebrews 10:25...
Notice it says “Let us not give up the habit...”
That means you do it all the time. It’s a habit for you.
What is the habit? “The habit of meeting together...”
We are told, (commanded, actually) to not give up on the habit of meeting together. And we are to do what instead?
“...instead let us encourage one another.”
How can we encourage one another if we are not involved in each other’s lives? How can we encourage one another if we don’t develop a habit of meeting together with others?
You see, we cannot fulfill this command of Scripture if we are not involved with others on a regular basis. You can’t fulfill this command by yourself. It’s impossible!
We need each other!
• Community is God’s answer to: LONELINESS
You cannot really learn what it means to love if you live your life in isolation. We all need a place where we can practice relationships and really learn to love. And where is that place?
Look at Ephesians 4:16...
“As each part does its work” (that’s all of us in the body of Christ) “It helps the other parts grow. So Christ’s whole body...”
(the church) “is healthy and growing and...” read it with me:
“full of love.”
That’s what God wants. He wants us all to be healthy, to grow, and He wants us all to be full of love.
And how do we do it? As each one of us does our part.
We’re in this together. We need each other. We can’t do it alone!
God did not design us to do it alone!
This is what 40 Days of Community is all about.
It’s about getting involved with one another, sharing with one another, working with one another, learning to truly love one another....
That’s why we have these small groups.
So, we’ve seen that the first reason why we need each other is because we need other people to walk through life with us.
2. WE NEED OTHERS TO WORK WITH US
Do you know that the Bible says God put you on earth to do certain things? Look at Ephesians 2:10...
“God made us to do good works, which He planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.”
Before you were even born...
God decided what talents you were going to get...
what natural abilities, what gifts, what background.
He decided what country you would be born in.
He decided all of these things because He wants you to do certain things with your life. They’re called here “good work.”
This is your ministry here on earth.
Anytime you use the talents God has given you to help other people, that’s your ministry.
And it’s always related to and with other people.
Now God tells us why we need others to work with us...
Look at Ecclesiastes 4:9...
“Two people are better than one because they get more done by working together.”
Let me give you an example of how this is working right here with us... Do you think we could do an AWANA program if the only person doing the work was Scott Higer?
No way! I mean, Scott’s a great leader, but he can’t do it alone!
Right? We need each other! We need others to work with us.
• Community is God’s answer to: FATIGUE
The Amish community has been in the news lately with the horrible killing of school children. Wasn’t that horrible?
One of the things Amish are known for us how they come together for an old-fashioned “barn raising.”
The whole community turns out! And a barn gets raised in a day.
How can they put together a barn in a day? How do they do it? They all work together...in community. No one can do it alone!
Look at Galatians 6:10...
“Every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith” (that’s the church).
We need others to work with us. It’s God’s answer to fatigue.
3. WE NEED OTHERS TO WATCH OUT FOR US
We need others who will defend us.
We need others who will protect us.
We need others who will stand up for us.
We need others who will keep us on track.
We need others who will warn us.
We need others who will watch out for us.
Philippians 2:4 says this...
“Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.”
Have you noticed the “Neighborhood Watch” sign as you come into church? We helped provide the funding for those signs in this community, did you know that?
What do those signs mean?
They are a sign of community.
They say that people watch out for each other here.
They don’t just mind their own business.
They watch out for each other.
When you go on vacation, who watches out for you?
Who watches your stuff? Who gets the mail, paper, takes out the garbage, etc. We need others to watch out for us!
Well, let me ask you,
“Do you have anybody looking out for your soul?
Wouldn’t you agree that your soul is more important you’re your stuff? If so, who’s helping you out in your spiritual journey? Who’s watching out for you?
Who’s asking you the hard questions of life?
Who cares enough to make sure you are still growing in your spiritual walk?
Who’s watching out for you when you get discouraged, depressed, and feel like giving up?
You see, the fact is we all have blind spots, don’t we?
There are things in our lives that we can’t see, that only other people can see.
If you have a taillight that goes out, you’re never going to know it. Somebody’s got to tell you, “You’ve got a tail light out.”
We need others to watch out for us!
Look at Hebrews 13:1... “Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord’s followers should.”
Circle the word: “Keep”
That means be to be vigilant.
You don’t just do it once. You keep on doing it.
We’re in a spiritual battle, you know that, don’t you?
And how does the devil work in your life?
Habits, you can’t break.
Hurts, you can’t forgive and let go of.
Hang-ups you can’t change.
And most of the time, we’re defeated. Why?
Because we try to fight it on our own – by ourselves.
But you’re never going to beat the devil on your own. Never! You need other people in your life who are watching out for you!
The Bible says this in Ecclesiastes 4:12...
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer, and three are even better for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Question: Who’s watching your back right now, spiritually? Who’s watching your back?
Is there anybody in your life who is so close that they are helping you and making sure you don’t fall into the typical traps that mess us up? Anybody like that in your life?
If you don’t have a person like that in your life...get one!!!
If you don’t, I pity you because you’ve got a big bull’s eye on your back and the devil is taking aim. Watch out!
Here’s another question: Who’s back are you watching out for?
Who is there in your life that you care enough to confront when they stray?
Who is there in your life that you can say to them:
“You know what? I’m going to be with you through thick or thin?”
We need to watch out for each other!
• Community is God’s answer to: DEFEAT
Listen to Ecclesiastes 4:10:
“If one person falls, another can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.”
We need other people to walk through life with us.
We need other people to work with us.
We need other people to watch out for us.
We need other people to...
4. WE NEED OTHERS TO WAIT AND WEEP WITH US
What am I talking about here?
We need others who are going to be with us in the crises of life. We need others with us when we are waiting for the bad news...
We need others with us when we are weeping...
There are many situations in life that nobody should ever have to go through alone.
Nobody should ever have to sit alone in a hospital, waiting during a life or death surgery.
No woman should have to wait alone while she’s waiting to hear back from a lab test from a problem pregnancy.
No one should ever have to sit alone at home, waiting for the coroner to identify the body of a loved one who just had a heart attack in your home.
No one should have to wait alone in that situation.
No one should ever have to stand at an open grave alone.
No man or woman should ever have to spend the first night alone when his wife dies or her husband dies.
I could go on and on and on.
We were not meant to face the crises of life alone.
Now the fact is some of these things are going to happen, and have happened in your life.
And only a fool would go through life unprepared for what they know is inevitably going to happen.
You need the support network in your life now because you don’t know when the crisis is going to come.
The time to prepare is now!
And God has provided a safety net for you.
What is that safety net?
It’s a group of believers committed to you.
Look at 1 Corinthians 12:26...
“If one member suffers, all suffer together.”
1 Peter 3:8 talks about us being “...full of sympathy toward each other.”
You know, I just read recently about a guy who died at home in bed and nobody discovered him for two years!
Can you imagine?! How tragic that this man had no relationships in his life that they missed him! Imagine! Imagine the despair!
• Community is God’s answer to: DESPAIR
Romans 12:15 says, “Be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep.”
And 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says this...
“Encourage each other and strengthen one another.”
By the way, when you are with someone going through a crisis, don’t offer shallow advice. When people are going through a crisis, they don’t want advice.
They just want somebody to be there.
They want to know that you care.
Just sit there and be quiet with them.
You don’t have to say anything profound. Don’t even try!
Usually that will hurt more than it will help.
People don’t need a lot of advice from you.
They just need you to be there with them.
[Personalize to what you’ve experienced following Dad’s death]
There’s a 5th reason we need each other:
5. WE NEED OTHERS TO WITNESS WITH US
What does that mean?
Well, God has a plan for your life.
He has a purpose for your life.
He has a mission for your life.
And you have a life message that God wants you to share with the world. And it’s a message only you can share because there is only one you.
Now that’s kind of scary to think about, isn’t it?
Sharing your life message with the world!
That’s why you need other people in your life.
You need other people in your life to help you fulfill the mission that God put you here on earth to fulfill.
But, how do we do it?
How do we witness to others?
What’s the best way to witness to people who don’t yet know about the love of Jesus Christ?
Well, it’s going to surprise you...
Do you know what it is?
It’s by loving other believers!
That’s what Jesus said. Look at John 13:35... “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Your love for other people in the family of God is proof that you are in the family of God. If you don’t love other believers, then you have every reason to doubt and ask the question:
“Am I really in the family?”
Because, Jesus said, that’s the proof.
You see, the thing that proves to the world that we’re Christ’s followers is not our buildings
...it’s not our location.
...it’s not our sermons.
...it’s not our programs.
...it’s not our history or tradition.
The thing that proves to the world that we are Christ’s followers
...is our love for each other!
2 Timothy 1:7 says this,
“The Holy Spirit doesn’t want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong and to love them and enjoy being with them.”
Are you afraid of people? I think we all are to some degree or another.
• God’s answer to fear is COMMUNITY
Philippians 1:27... “You are working together and struggling side by side to get others to believe the good news.”
That verse really captures the two goals of 40 Days of Community: 1. “Working together and struggling side by side”
= we want to deepen the community in our church.
2. “...to get others to believe the good news.”
= to reach out to the community around our church.
We all need each other. We all really need each other.
We need other believers to walk with us.
We need other believers to work with us.
We need other believers to watch out for us.
We need other believers to wait with us and weep with us. And...
We need other believers to witness with us.
I want you to say this with me:
I really, really, really need others in my life.
Go ahead. It wasn’t that hard, was it? J
That is your declaration of interdependence.
We really do need each other.