The Intimacy of Following
The Intimacy of Following
Matthew 6:24 - “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money
Luke 14:26-27 - “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
I Thessalonians 5:17 - pray continually
Sermon Theme: God wants to cultivate an intimate relationship with His followers.
I want to describe a quality of a relationship - without the perfect word
*Intimacy - a word we get squeamish about
-means familiarity, closeness, in a relationship
-sounds touchy feely
-often refers to sexual relationships
But intimacy not a dirty word - means closeness, know someone, ongoing relationship
It may not be the perfect word, but others won’t suffice either:
*Close - can be close without knowing real well, (neighbor, person sitting in pew)
*Friendly - polite, nice, but not a single-mindedness
It is the quality that teammates have - know each other’s moves
Is the quality that should be in marriage - knowing each others thoughts, likes
Micah 6:8 - What does the Lord require of you?
Do justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with your God
Walk with God - signifies ongoing nature, not just meet Him once
-not just an occasional appointment
*God want more than fondness,
He wants us to cultivate a continually growing relationship
Difference between fondness and intimacy, being close
Fond of old friends - once close, now fondness
-that’s ok with friends, we are human
-we do not have unlimited capacity
-in fact, I question people who say they have 100’s of close friends
-you have a lot of fond relationships, not deep closeness
Intimacy with spouse
How - commitment, live together,
Imagine marriage - we will think fond thoughts, but live in separate states - marriage?
Family who never sees each other - even though they like each other
*God wants an ongoing, committed walk with Him.
God will not settle for our fondness
-calls for our commitment
Questions: How many have cell phones, think they are good?
How many want their kids to have good jobs?
How many want to see their kids learn to read?
Picture - a 50th wedding anniversary celebration
Husband and wife to celebrate 50 years with dearly loved ones
-small gathering, just family
-sitting in a nice restaurant
The meal is about to arrive - time for a toast
-one son, one daughter on the cell phone
-another son, different cell phone - work related, opportunity to make money
-6 of 8 grandchildren - sitting quietly reading a book
-none can pay attention to the toast
-so it doesn’t happen
-all good, useful things, must be set aside for what is important
-if not, the good things drown out the best reason to celebrate
-good things got in the way of something better
*Good things can become a stumbling block to our walk with God
-we can hold on to so many good things, we miss what is best.
This is why Bible says cannot serve God and Money
This is why Jesus says that we must forsake family
-to pursue Him first and foremost
*What are some good things that interfere?
God and Money
God and Family
God and Sports
God and National Pride
-do not exist on same level of commitment
-hate? Wish destruction? Forsake.
*We are called to pray without ceasing
Seems a little overly pious?
Not practically possible
-down on knees, closed eyes, folded hands, head bowed
-how about eating, driving,
-prayer is the word for talking to God
-living in God’s presence
-knowing He is there, interact with Him in our lives
Not merely formal talk
-illustrate going to my dad’s office to ask for money
-formal and polite, but not extent of conversations
-comments, banter, opinions, enjoy company, instruction, etc.
*Prayer is the word used for being in the presence of God.
-seeking Him in thought, even in our action
-can do it in a moment - “What should I do”
-can pray for someone briefly - “Lord, help her”
Seems short - but is it better to ignore God’s presence?
DINNER TABLE CLOSE
God wants intimacy with His people
Remember the illustration of dinner table - cell phones and books
-disturbing, because table is a family place
-we have to eat
-eating together represents time spent together
-usually only eat with people we are close to - friendship develop around food
As we conclude our worship service
-Jesus invites us to His table
-to remember what He has done for us
Read the form
-getting rid of sin, cellphones, distractions - to focus on Him