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The Gospel and Relationships

The Gospel and the Teenage Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction: When I was in college I remember taking this one course where at the end of the semester our teacher looked at us and said something like this, “Guys, I want you to remember as you leave this class that it doesn’t matter how much you learn in college if you do not use that knowledge to touch the lives of others. Hopefully, you are learning a lot here, but always remember that the most important aspect of life is the relationships you form. If you boil it all down, everything you are, everything you know, and all the skills you have are meant to serve your relationships.”
In opening her discussion on relationships Jaquelle write this:
Relationship is an unbreakable and unstoppable thread that weaves its way through the whole narrative of God’s story. Inside each and every one of us there is a fundamental desire for community and a similarly basic fear of loneliness. In his mercy, God has given us people to satisfy that desire. He’s given us families. He’s given us friends. He’s given us classmates and coworkers. He’s given us churches.
In fact we all know that there is something weird and wrong with isolation.
Proverbs 18:1 NKJV
A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.
Crowe, Jaquelle. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (p. 131). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
God’s kingdom is not built around those who isolate themselves. We have actually already touched on this. We know that God does not build His kingdom around loners because since the beginning of the New Covenant He has established His church as a community for believers to connect and form healthy, God-honoring relationships.
So, let’s take a look at relationships as they are presented to us in the Bible. We will start by taking a look at the pitfalls and the purpose of relationships

The Pitfalls of Relationships

Although our relationships are good gifts from God, we live in a fallen world, and, just like everything else, our relationships suffer the damaging consequences of sin. When Adam and Eve disobeyed in the garden, like the opening of Pandora’s box, all kinds of evil were unleashed on the world wreaking havoc on relationships. As a result, today our relationships are discolored with covetousness, envy, petty jealousy, shame conflict, hatred, bitterness, murder, etc . . .
Tonight we are going to take a look at all of these things. Just kidding! However, we will take a look at the two aspects of relationships from which these other evils come.

Idolatry

In all of us, there is the temptation to put people on pedestals and sometimes it goes so far as allowing people to occupy a place in our hearts that was really only meant for God. We sometimes look to people for satisfaction and they are never able to deliver because they are not God.
How do we know if we have set people up as idols in our hearts? Do we love them like the world loves them.
1 John 2:15–17 NKJV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
If we love like the world loves, then we do not have the love of God.
Three identifying questions:
Does the thought of losing a relationship cause you to feel debilitating anxiety?
Does your delight in a relationship diminish your delight for the Word of God, the people of God, and serving God?
Is that relationship regulated by the Word of God?

Selfishness

The second pitfall of relationships is really also idolatry, but, instead of looking to others for satisfaction, we begin to look to ourselves, and when we do that it effects the way that we relate to others. Rather than looking for opportunities to serve others we begin to only look for ways that others can benefit us.
Philippians 2:4 NKJV
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
When we only look to our own interests we begin to be demanding of others so that they might make us look good, we begin to be jealous of other’s successes, and we begin to look to ourselves as the good in all of our relationships. Selfishness is always concerned with taking without giving.

The Purpose of Relationships

Because the gospel fundamentally changes who we are, we must put aside idolatry and selfishness and allow the Holy Spirit to change the way we view relationships. People are not meant to fill us neither are they meant to serve us. Instead, the way we ought to view relationships is with this single focus: human relationships exist in order to enable us to become more like Christ. In life there is one very clear application of these kinds of relationships-love.
Romans 13:8 NKJV
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
What is love?

Love is sacrificial

1 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

Love is joyful

1 Corinthians 13:6 NKJV
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

Love is patient

1 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

Applying Love to My Relationships

Parents

Parents are teachers

Proverbs 1:8–9 NKJV
My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.
In life, your parents are your primary teachers who teach you about everything from cooking to language to politics to worldview.

Parents are authorities

Proverbs 13:1 NKJV
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Honoring your parents means that you recognize the legitimacy of their authority in your life as coming from God and submit yourself to it.
Ephesians 6:1 NKJV
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Parents are disciplinarians

While discipline is painful, your parents are called by God to discipline you out of love for your well-being.
Proverbs 13:24 NKJV
He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

Parents are people

Seek to know your parents and love them for who God has made them.
Example: Those who have had the greatest impact on me have always been those individuals who have asked, “What are your dreams?”

Siblings and Friends

Honestly, siblings are weird. I can honestly say that my siblings are some of my best friends. I can also say that growing up they also annoyed me more than anyone in the world. We did things to each other that, honestly, I am shocked we are all still alive. When it comes to our siblings, just like our relationships with others, we must look out for their best interests.
,
Philippians 2:3 NKJV
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:5 NKJV
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 2:3 NKJV
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:3 NKJV
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:3 NKJV
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:3 NKJV
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:5–8 NKJV
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:5 NKJV
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 2:5–10 NKJV
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
Philippians 2:5–9 NKJV
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
When it comes to serving others, which includes our siblings, we must die to ourselves and look to how we can serve rather than being served.

The Opposite Gender

We have talked about relationships between guys and girls before in here so my goal is not to get into the nitty gritty of navigating relationships with the opposite gender. However, I do want to place before you and apply one Biblical principle: purity. How you can become more like Jesus and love others in your relationships with the opposite gender is to make purity the priority.
Purity starts in the mind.
Philippians 4:8 NKJV
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Only when you make the commitment to think right can you then make the commitment to act right.
Once we make the commitment to think right, we are then charged to promote Christlikeness in our relationships by openly promoting purity. Purity then shapes what we talk about and how we seek to get attention from friends of the opposite gender. Purity shapes where you spend time together and to whom you are accountable for your actions because, like every other relationship, the purpose of these relationships is to promote Christlikeness in others as well as in ourselves.
Conclusion: So, as we head out tonight let’s seek to promote Christlikeness in all of our relationships whether it means obeying and honoring our parents, looking for ways to serve our siblings and friends, or seeking to promote purity in friends of the opposite gender. Because Jesus has changed your life how will you seek to encourage others to become more like Him?
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