Today, Pastor Ed Allen began a new sermon series on "The Art of Neighboring." We began by reading the passages Luke 9:23-25 and Philemon 6.
If we're going to grow, there are 4 key relationships:
1) We must be healthily engaged to ourselves - but the emphasis on this relationship must decrease.
We spend an enormous amount of time on this one, but Jesus instructs us plainly: Our relationship with ourselves must decrease in importance. (Luke 9:23-25)
2) We must be healthily and dynamically engaged in a relationship with God.
Matthew 22:37. It's not easy, but vitally important. We gather because we need all the encouragement we can get. There also needs to be individual time for reading the Bible and prayer.
3) We must be healthily and dynamically engaged in a relationship with outhers who have a relationship with God.
This is vitally important, and is not a casual thing for us. The New Testament is full of the phrase "one another." You can't "love one another" when you're alone.
This won't fall into our laps - we need to work at it. Things in our culture work against community.
4) We must be healthily and dynamically engaged with those who do not have a relationship with God.
Matthew 22:37-40. Growing OUT toward the world in service and evangelism.
Jesus is saying, "Just tell them about me. If they know me, tell them more. If they don't know me, introduce them."
We don't separate those relationships from a sense of superiority or to exclude them.
Philemon 6 -- "And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ."
We can't fully know all we have in Christ without sharing.
Our Assignment: Begin praying for your neighbors!
Pastor Ed told the story of one of the men in our church who now leads a wide ministry - and his relationship with God began when Ed's wife prayed for him for years.
"I think religion is a private thing. I don't want to share mine."
"I don't know enough."
Neither of those objections is true. Be authentic and talk about your life.
But we'll begin by praying for our neighbors!
Look at mygateway.life for a devotional guide this week.