Part 1: Why We All Need Friends
To the Lord in building his kingdom. So I'm going to pray for this morning's offering. Thank you. Jesus. Just For The Joy it is to worship you.
How many times if this is our first time we just lift our hearts and praise and worship. We just commit this morning's offering to you. We say we love you as we give you this morning to offering in Jesus name. Amen.
Thanks. That is thank you to the worship team for leading and good to see you this morning.
Good morning, couple of that the rest of you. I'm going to get to see you too, and I'm glad you're here today. And of course, we're glad to be back in and I had done a little too or the Midwest. We went up to see my brothers who all live in the Minneapolis area, and then down to my mom's house as group celebrate Christmas last in Iowa, and we finally on and got all kinds of on the vehicle, and I got to see if it's called pretty much everywhere. So just so you know, it's not much different here, but hey, I'm glad you're here today and for the next 3 weeks, we're going to be in a series and I would really encourage you as Pastor Dave mentioned to get signed up for to consider a life group. If you're not been one already. It's pretty easy. Even if you need to know if you sign up for one or try one, you're not signing up for life just to do life with somebody for a while and I really just for a semester so Others all different groups out there if a group that you're interested in his full name on there and we can check and see if the other one was find me a group and that we will do exactly that over the next couple weeks and help you get plugged in. But it begs the question I want. How many friends do you have?
Think about it for a second how many friends? If you have not acquaintances. friends
Who is used to a friend? Do you have one? You might you might not. I wonder do you do you ever feel lonely?
If something tragic happens in your life, who's the first person you call?
It's something in your life. Who's the first person you call?
Probably thought about it more than you care to admit. And often times we think about it the most when we realize we need a friend.
According to Mayo Clinic, there's emotional benefits to friendship that that show the benefit of having a friend makes a good sitcom theme to be doesn't it? I mean there's a song for cheers you want to go where everybody went knows your name for how about I even the TV show Friends right? I'll be what? There for you a couple of you know that where the Golden Girls.
What is it?
Thank you for being a friend. Friendship is all over the place. You know, I wonder have you ever thought about it though, even scientifically the Mayo Clinic discovered this increased a person sense of belonging and purpose when they had at least four good friends boosted happiness reduce stress and prove their self-confidence and self-worth help them cope with trauma. encourage them to make healthy choices in their life
on the flip side research also shows that I lack friends or lack of some type of social network. We're not talking on online right now. We're talking like a real life interactions a lack of that can increase your risk for substance abuse health problems even mortality after I read this week argued that smack we're smack bang in the middle of the greatest loneliness second epidemic in history. Does more more people are connected online, but they're not really connected to other people. You need a friend. You need friends plural of study show us the loneliness can contribute to dementia.
Didn't hit her friend heart attacks. It contributes to Strokes diabetes a whole host of at 1 at one point the london-based london-based journalist that claimed this that loneliness is more dangerous smoking 15 cigarettes a day and deadlier.
When I want to argue today, is that that's by God's design. That he's made you needing friendship. needing relationship That's what we're going to do. Next 3 weeks. Today. We're going to talk about why that is why and how God has designed and then we can even over the next two weeks. We're going to talk a little bit about the how how do you be a good friend? What does it look like? To be truly in a relationship and in friendship with someone so with that let me pray and I'm going to dive into a handful of things this morning looking at how God designed us need friends. We all need friends on The Fray father. Thanks for Jesus. Thank you that those of us diesel to trusted you you say that you call us your friend. That that we can have a relationship and friendship with you the creator of the universe that's incredible and you designed us for friendship. And so I prayed today as I teach and preach you would speak through me by your spirit and word that you would show us the way you've created us needing and lacking in in relationship can only be filled three other people in Jesus through you. But pregnancy enemy service that works in the fact he would cause us to be lonely and isolated ourselves all the time, but Jesus you call us the friendship and so would you teach us that this morning? I pray and we pray all this in Jesus name and everybody said him and hate it. So before we get going today, I want to no doubt a little bit theologically with you. Is that okay? All in favor? Say yeah the rest of you it's too late we're going so here's the deal.
Understand is a big word cuz you never going to fully understand this but you have to have a concept of this that God is Trinity. God is Triune. What do we mean by that? We were heard that before God is Trinity not now. Maybe you're new and you're like how cap I've been to church if I don't what time I've heard that have heard of churches called Trinity, but I don't really understand what Trinity means or what the Trinity is. So what does it mean to say that God is Trinidad Co here on I'll give you the theological definition of them will try to get in all of this kind of stuff. So bear with me here. Okay, here's what it means that that God is Eddie. It means this the god in three persons father Son and Holy Spirit and each person is fully God and there is one God At face value you might hear that your father son Holy Spirit and on the surface that I would agree. It sounds like that but that's not what it is. When the Bible teaches about who God. Is it over and over and over reference is it doesn't use the term Trinity but it does represent or does reference him in plural terms that there is the father and the son and the spirit and all of them are equally God. Jesus is equally God like the holy spirit is equally God like the father is he fully God and together they are one. But there are three persons.
It hurts mine a little bit, but the Bible teaches that to be very much true and that this is the Trinity one God three persons three in one of the basic tenets. If you're keeping the remedy you can send them up as follows if each person is fully God. And there is one God they are one. Now this is hard to explain and many give you a few and allergies that that can be helpful. But only to a point the first one that often comes to mind when some is trying to describe the Trinity is the idea of an egg. Hey, babe. Thanks for breakfast. I didn't either I'd sounds good right now though Parts, but how many eggs one egg on thinking about this but they fall apart a little bit because it's not a Perfect Analogy because the shell is not the same as the White and the white is not the same as the yolk. They have different attributes about them. Whereas in the Trinity the father Son and Holy Spirit are all fully and equally. Blow your mind a little bit, right? Another one water is another example H2O water.
Steam or water vapor when it's solid. What is it? So you have a liquid to a vapor to a solid but at the same time? Modalism is a you want to get in terms of theology modalism with that God like you put on this mask and he switches from being out in the sun but our new master. I'm the father puts on a new master on the spirit 3 Eternal existing at the same time. So that's where the water at the park.
Maybe one of the better ones would be the roles of a purse. I'm getting this isn't complete because it's just speaking roles, but it it's may be more helpful. So let's use me. For example, I was home visiting my family this week. I saw my mom. And I talked to my mom. I'm a son. And at the same time in the room was Charlie. Is my son and so at the same time while I'm a son. I'm also a father. fully both at the same time and then also Hannah was there and I'm her husband. So I was a father and a husband and a son all existing in the same. Same place same time. Maybe that's another helpful way to think about it. But the reality is you're never going to totally get your mind around it. And for me personally, I worship God for that because I don't know that I can totally fully come get my mind around me above him. And what kind of God is. More knowledgeable then. What is Trinity in the Bible exit click and it's a very big reality that you've got a knowledge. Even if you can't totally fully get your mind around it. But some people think that the Trinity is something scuse me that's only revealed in the New Testament that are Trinity didn't exist before that. But one of them is another word for religious when Jesus comes on the scene right visibly and he's born to Mary God is eternal Jesus existed before he was born to Marion put on flash. And so eternally even in the Old Testament we see the trinity The 8U shows up even in the first chapter 2 got your Bible. I'll give you an easy verse to find the very first one look in the very beginning of your Bible. It says this in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form and void and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was scuse me hovering over the face of the waters. We see both God the Father God the spirit involved in creation, but it gets even more interesting when you look at how some of the ancient Jewish rabbis understood this passage when they interpreted the Hebrew Bible into the common language of the people at the Aramaic in the end. They did a word study of Hebrew word in the beginning which mean it says, this is Hebrew word Lombardi with it for too long here but receipt is the Hebrew word for begin and they found that it's the same way as the word first born. Four times in the New Testament and they concluded that the that the return beginning and first born this one term in receipt that mean the same thing and so there's actually translation of Jewish rabbis from thousands of years ago who would say in the beginning by the firstborn God created the heavens and the earth and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the deep. So in other words the Jewish rabbi reference all three without understanding that of the Trinity when they interpreted this past, We got shows up in the beginning and yet you see it many other times too. We're going to sit here in just a minute work and got birth to himself as I do that. Is it really that pompous?
I believe those are all references to the trinity in it happens later in this chapter in Genesis chapter one. We going to see her in a moment and it happens all throughout the Old Testament that God is referencing himself as a plurality as as Trinity, but he also clearly declares that he is one God.
Now with that in mind I want you to take away today. We all need friends. We all need friends and the fact that we all need friends. I believe is rooted very much in the trinitarian picture of who God is because in the Trinity Doctrine statement will say that God exists in Eternal loving relationship between the father Son and Holy Spirit by being 3% He's constantly in relationship with himself, which is hard for us to Grass because we're not trinitarian in RR makeup. We're one person each of us individually, right? But God is three persons. And so there's this constant loving relationship happening among himself.
Now it if you're not there yet just fast forward a little further in Genesis 1:2 verse 26 did because God creates everything in verse 26 he gets around to making us but it was 26 then God said let us make man. Let's make Humanity in our image after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea in over the birds of the heavens of the livestock over the Earth over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image and image of God. He created him male and female he created them. Didn't notice right there and so got to invest 26. Let make man let us make Humanity in our image in our image in our likeness. As a person who's been created you and I are image bearers wear unique among everything else got we actually are made in his likeness. We bare His image.
Now part of his image. Is that he's relational? You know, there's in bearing God's image. That means can likely reflect him to the rest of the world. So it's of what God is like right he is loving so when were loving we reflect God he's creative creative. Imaging God. Dominion over the dominion over the backyard you're doing God creation stuff like your Imaging God, you're like him. Nothing else in all creation is like us and that we bear His Image, but there's one aspect of His Image. You cannot reflect by yourself.
is Triune Father son and spirit is relational. You cannot read that relational part of its. by yourself We all need friends. We need friends. Needing friends with the part of the Bear in God's image not going to have this on the screen. But if you got your Bible open, you can keep reading with me. It says after this after God created them verse 28 God bless them and got sent to them that may be fruitful multiply fill the Earth. So do it. These are all the ways they're going to impeach him have dominion over the fish of the sea because it's missing its Imaging God every living thing that moves on the earth. God said behold. I knew every plant yielding seed that's on the face of the Earth every tree with seed and its fruit. You still have them for food. Does the Earth revert of the heavens into everything that creeps on the earth everything that has the breath of life? I've given every green plant for food. And it was so immersed God saw everything that he had made and behold. It was very good and there was evening and the 6th day was very good.
But if you move into Genesis chapter 2 What you want to do with a second that there is in fact that God left that he said was not good. He defied everything to me but there's one thing that he said was not good. My mic keeps cutting out some of this. You got me about there we go.
Yeah, I just I sound more dignified now, don't I kind of deeper? You'll pay more attention for sure.
There we go. That's what I get for mouthing off turn off the mic but got said there was one thing that was not good about all they created now Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 ghost cannot repeat some things that happened in Genesis 1 if you read it some people get hung up on this and they said they're not and the reason I can tell you they're not is the as you look at it in terms of how it's written in Hebrew, which is how it was originally written chapter one gives an overview and Genesis 2 just circles back to give more details one is just a poetry and Hebrew. It's a Poetics summary and then to kind of things happened. So in Chapter 2 we read that there was something that got it created. That was not good. And it comes about in Genesis chapter 2 at starting in verse 18. Universe 18 with me then the Lord God said It is not good. The man should be alone.
The one thing that God said was not good of all the things that you created.
Was for the man to be left alone. Why because he's created in God's image.
In order to image perfectly doesn't he enters the world?
a friend that way who is suitable for him enough and a beaver and no. Thanks.
But there was not a helper found that was suitable for him.
So what does God do? Adam into a deep sleep. He does surgery on and creates a woman. I just called woman because she's taken from man and they're both fully human. I mean we read in the Poetics summary back in Genesis 1 that God created both of them male and female in His image. Created laughing and needing relationship.
And so Adam wakes up from this sleep and God says Adam I got something for you and he brings out Eve and Adam goes. Whoa. Oh, man. And that's how she was called woman man, and so were equal before the cross.
And everything that he created to be good except for that one thing that Adam would be alone. And so you could rightly say that God actually created us lacking. We needed something. We needed relationship. We needed a friend and let me just say one thing not to God did create it was personality and with different unique maybe like me a little more introverted. Are you need some alone time to recharge? Some of you are very much extroverted and the thing that recharges your battery is like I just need to see more people and I got to talk to more people like now right now, that's you. And so when I say it's not good to be alone. I'm not talking about your personality. I'm talking about relationship and I believe that's what God is saying here as well that it wasn't good for Adam to be alone to not be in relationship somewhere.
The part of growing God's image is being in community in Friendship you we all need friends and it's not good for us to be alone. But here's the deal you were created meeting friends.
but In your sin. the isolate yourself in my sin I isolate myself. I think with me for a second of what that must have been like for Adam and Eve at the very beginning when they were created. They perfectly image God the text tells us that they were naked and unashamed like they were just in other words like everything of who they are. Is there to be known?
There were there was nothing to hide. There was no idea of Shame hadn't even come about yet. No one had felt shame yet and I forgot create them. He gives one rule. He puts them in the garden and he says in the garden you can't have any tree in the middle because if you eat of it, then you'll die. Beginning of any other tree in the garden if you look at Genesis and you look at the boundaries that are laid out for the garden. It's not like the Garden in your mom's backyard. It's like Yellowstone National Park size Garden. And you have Rule and Reign Adam and Eve over the whole thing. Be fruitful multiply fill the Earth do whatever you want. Just don't eat from that tree. That's it. Well, then we get to Genesis chapter 3. I don't we don't know how long they live in that. Perfect Paradise. No shame nothing to hide perfect relationship. How many of you would say I've got some good friends, but I don't think any of those relationships are perfect.
what that would be like
Look at chapter 3, we're just going to read a whole bunch of this. So we get a grasp of what happens. Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord got it made. He said to the woman did God actually say you shall not eat of any tree in the garden.
And the woman said to the serpent what week we can eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said I used to not eat of the fruit of the tree that's in the midst of the garden either so you touch it last you die. but the serpent said to the woman you really you won't die. You won't die Satan here who is an angel who is created by God to serve him but in his pride, so at some point here when I told when that happens, but at some point before Genesis 3 in his pride Falls along with a third of the other angels and now he's here tempting Eve and his goal is to undo everything that God has set up and to unravel it. You're made in my image. Go live like it. Look at look at what Satan does he eat? He lies. He tells the opposite of what God says who God says if you need of it you'll die cuz you won't die. Come on when you eat of it. Your eyes will be opened and you'll be like God you'll know good and evil. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes. So it looks better verse five. It says then, you know, if you eat of it, then you will be like God God actually already created Adam and Eve like him. He gave him an identity then gave him an activity sentences know if you do this, then you can earn God's favor and be like him. but every other religion teaches stop the gospel. He's lying to her. So the woman saw the tree was good for food that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise so she took the fruit and ate and then she gave some to her husband to others weather. You can't blame me for this atom was standing right there. Doesn't say she went and found him and gave him some food cuz like he was right there with her. And you failed the step in as well.
And he ate and then the eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked.
in an instant for the first time that I felt shame.
Feel like I don't know if I can think of a day in my life where I haven't felt shame of some sort.
Imagine what that's like going from no shame to complete shame in an instant and suddenly they knew they were naked suddenly. They knew. But they did send they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. See, what would Adam and Eve do it? See they were created. They needed friends. They needed one another but then as soon as Sim comes along and they reject what God has designed they begin to isolate themselves.
Sin isolates you from community. And they they sew fig leaves together. And then what do they do? If you keep reading they heard the sound of the Lord God Walking In The Garden in the cool of the day and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the Trees of the garden.
After recognizing that they had sand and that descended had put a wedge between them and God in this relationship and ultimately we're going to see between them and each other they hide. Since your created needing friendship and needing relationship, but the reality is we are all jacked up. We are all sinners in need of God's grace. And by his grace even after you trust him in your maid new there's there still sin dwelling in you that one day. Jesus is going to come and totally wipe out but in your sin the tendency now is to isolate yourself. What's a lot of work to really get involved in community? It's a lot of work to be a friend and
becomes kind of our default anybody ever experienced that and then it is sin causes us to isolate ourselves. It tears Community apart Adam and Eve a hide when they sent it isolation is so dangerous because it takes you away from God's true design for who you are. When you isolate yourself, I'm not together not talking introvert vs. Extrovert butt isolation. No friends not allowing myself to be known. This is what sin does it tears apart what God has joined together.
It happens in marriage is it happens in friendships? Do you know that sin? You could even argue send tore apart the relationship of the trinity. When Jesus dies on the cross and he says my God my God, why have you forsaken me?
sin isolates us To you or made we all need friends, but insanely isolate ourselves. So what does God do well in Jesus then he offers us family. The office of family that when you become a Christian you trust Jesus one of the things that he does is he reconciles us and he makes true Community possible again, true friendship truly band know he makes that possible again being in relationship with him and with each other. And I would argue that if you trusted Christ, you've been saved not just to go through life on your own. But tonight he's put that mirror back together of how you reflect God in your to do that hand in hand arm-in-arm with other people you need friends plural.
You do. But I know it's incredibly hard especially in the day when everybody's talking about being connected and there's so much Social connection, but more and more and more people are isolated. And more and more and more sin drives us from one another and from other people and from God.
But I would argue that only those who really trust it. Jesus can begin to rightly image him like you're supposed to with your identity completely transformed in him. And Jesus is the one friend. Who does this look with me at a fusions chapter 2?
Peter Bible just turned over to Ephesians chapter 2 it's way over to the right side. And if you don't have your Bible with you, you can't find an OB on the screen. I read a few verses here ahead of this but in a season's to a Paul talks about this. He says to the church that he says you were dead in your sin that you once walked you were dead. We talked about some of the consequences of sin. Otherwise you were isolated you were on your own you were separated from God you were separated from relationship with other people and he goes on and on he says remember at one time.
Remember that you were separated from Christ alienated? From the Commonwealth of Israel strangers to the covenants of promise you had no and you are without God in the world, but now verse 13 in Christ you who were once far off of been brought near by the blood of Christ for he himself is our peace whose made us. Both one is broken down in his Flash the dividing wall of hostility. Go 9 verse 15 the shipping on the screen now that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two making peace and he might reconcile us both to God and one body through the cross killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you or far off and peace to those who are near. Been through him we both have access in one Spirit to the father. So then you're no longer strangers and Aliens. There was no longer isolated be your fellow citizens with the Saints members of the household of God built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets Christ. Jesus himself being the Cornerstone and whom the whole structure being joined together grows into a holy Temple in the Lord in him. You also are being built together into a bowling place for God by the spirit.
From the idea here is that Jesus is the one who makes true friendship and Community possible. Again. He reconciles you to God and he reconciles you with each other.
And apart from that. You may pursue friendship and that's better than being alone completely alone. But but true friendship is when there's that common Unity. That's what community mean in a reconciled relationship with Jesus Christ.
And trusting Jesus becoming a Christian see going to church doesn't make you a Christian. Trusting Jesus makes you a Christian. And if you are Christian, you've been created not to go through life on your own but you need friends. We all need friends and you're saying you might isolate yourself, but God has given you a family and he wants you to get connected. We're going to talk more about this over the coming weeks. But today was really just laying out the why the why is you've been created in God's image of bear His Image in the only way you're fully going to live at what he designed you and who he designed you to be is when you're in relationship with other people you need friends. And you might be sitting there going I know and I don't have any. Thanks for rubbing it in.
Well, let me give you a couple things to take away it today.
Over the next couple weeks. We're going to talk more about the what and how a friendship Is God designed it and relationship. But in the meantime, let me give you a few thoughts of how maybe you can start to take some steps this year toward true friendship with someone with other people first. I would encourage you to get involved be here show up. the easiest thing to do in arson It's just a not come to feel like I mean the enemy will lie to you and say nobody's going to notice. If you're not there. Nobody's going to care that you're not there. It's a lot of work. Do you really want to see that person once you just stay home? Don't mean to make it here gather with us attend the events that are laid out that you can go to. It wasn't it might be incredibly hard. I'm not negating that. But you got to be here. We miss you, and you're not here.
So it's so at the end here be present and another way a volunteer. Community Church The church is often used this term for Community or friendship Fellowship Fellowship Fellowship baby. You do. I know it's kind of a dying word. But here's a understand Fellowship True Fellowship. a bunch of fellows in the same ship if you're on a ship where you going the same direction everybody else on the ship is going in the same direction. So you have conserve
when somebody else if you really want to know True Fellowship get on the ship and serve and get going in the same direction with us. That's one way maybe you could find some friends another one really simple and accept invitations.
Speaking to the introverts Among Us. Somebody invites you to do something. Reject the next three or four, but then the fifth one.
except some invitations at take a step. Maybe you would that's not your style. You're the extra you want to create the invitation yourself. There's a lot of people who are longing to be invited into friendship.
And finally one really obvious one today. When you walk out the doors. Chico right behind where the sound booth says there's a whole bunch of these kiosks set up. Where at? I don't know if you've noticed that you've been around here and we don't have a whole lot of programming going on during the week in terms of the church as a whole. You know, why? Because we believe so much in this idea that we all need friends. We've made it a core value of our church and we scheduled our ministry around it. We want you to get involved in a small group. In a life group, and there's a great opportunity for you to sign up maybe about a bad experience in the past. So Kate try new group. Where you can sign up and get your not signing up for life. So if it doesn't go, well, you can take a break if things get busy or you can take a break if you just need to find a different group and there's nothing to worry about it be ashamed of but but start taking those steps on your own to be known. And to get into relationship Hannah and I took a big step this last year. We started a group for young marrieds and I live with 14 people in our group and the most of them. I don't think anybody is everybody's been there regularly here and there for that but man it's been so much fun getting to know new people and getting connected and I think if you would talk to people in our group, they would say the same things that maybe there was some hesitation going into it. Like I don't know. Thai rescue the man I'm so excited for another semester of that group. To get to know them more to be known more. Listen, you need friends. Don't isolate yourself God's giving you a family. Let me pray by the things for Jesus. Thanks for your grace to us. Thanks for saving us and offering us relationship in family relationship with you and really sleep with one another Lord. I pray for each one in our church or the reality is that most of us. Struggle to some degree in Sumter really heavy degrees with loneliness and isolation and the enemy would want nothing more than for us to stay there. I pray for each one word, you know their circumstances, you know who they are, you know, and you care. Would you give them the courage to take a step of Faith to to start to get plugged into relationship bring friends around them? Maybe you would cause someone to invite them. Maybe you give them the courage? To sign up in to respond to invitation. Lord I pray that our church will be one where deep friendships abound because you've created us for that. Spartan for all of this in Jesus name
would you stand and join us?
I would encourage you on your way out the door, so.
And as you see Kim, I'll give that to you, but you've got to take some.
Don't Be Afraid we would love for you to get connect