In this lesson we're going to talk about how to have great relationships. It is impossible to be happy in this life without great relationships. All day long we are involved in relationships - with our boss, our employees, people who serve us in shops, our friends, our families, people on the road, old acquaintances. If we learn who to be a real friend to others, it will make the life for us to encouraging and fulfilling. And as disciples, we'll become abundantly fruitful. We'll look at 6 keys tonight, mostly from the book of Acts.
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
How did the Christians in this city feel? [They were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit]
Joy and spirituality was overflowing from their lives. It was evident to all. We need to be this way. We need to have fun with people.
What are some good ways to have fun with people? [Playing UNO, playing cards, playing sports, playing indoor games, going to movies together, eating together, shopping together, playing outdoor games....]
Are you a fun person to be around? Do you think of fun things to do? Or are you boring, always waiting to join someon else's game.
2. Real Concern
36 When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.
37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.
38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
How can you tell that their relationships were great? [They prayed toether (v36). You can't pray together with your enemy. They cried (v37). They wanted to see each other (v38). They went to say goodbye to him at the ship]
Think about it. When people come into the room, do you hug them and greet them? Are you interested in them? Are you worried when others are missing? Would they miss you? Do you know their problems? Paul did.
Let's not just say, "I love you, bro" Let's show it by our deeds.
The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.
When the brothers heard Paul was coming, what did they do? [They traveled a long way to see him about 60-70 kilometers]
They took the initaitive. Initiative is when you do something first. Lik in the movies, when a boy likes girl, he does something to show her that he likes her.
What are some ways the boys got the girls attention in the films?
As disciples, we should initiate with each other. We should want to spend time together. We should do special things for each other.
4. Encouraging Righteousness
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
What did Paul declare to everyone? [That they must repent and have faith in Jesus]
12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
What does it say to do here? [To encourage one another daily, so that none of us may be hardened by sin]
Our relationships need to be spiritual. This means we should not tolerate sins in each other's lives. Like if you see a brother being too friendly with the sisters. Or if someone is unkind to others. Or someone is unreliable. Gently, respectfully, we should point out sins in other's lives, to make them more Christ like and to make things more pleasant for everyone else around them.
5. Never give up
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.
30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Saul had just become a Christian. But many were suspicious that he had not really repented. Yet Barnabas believed in Saul. He told the leaders, "Saul is a good guy. Trust him".
One defeat or problem should never break a relationship. We've got to stay loyal to each other, through the good times and the bad times.
Can you imagine if your parents had abandoned you the first time you messed up in your life? That would be horrible. In the same way, sometimes other disciples will hurt you. They'll neglect you. They won't meet your needs. Perhaps they don't listen. Or they are harsh. Or they are unreliable. The question is, how do you react to this? Jesus said we must forgive each other not just seven times, but seventy times seven.
6. Do God's work together
22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
In Antioch, many people had been converted. It is great to hear great news from other cities. Because the Antioch church had grown so much, they needed help. So the Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to them and he greatly encouraged them. He was good and honest and there were many baptisms. That is so exciting.
But then in v25, we see that Barnabas went to Tarsus.
Why do you think he went there? [He wanted to find Saul]
Why did he want to find Saul? [He needed a friend to do God's work together with him]
It is so fun to do God's work together. We can pray together, evangelize together, follow-up together, read the Bible together and visit the sick or poor together. It bonds you to serve others with the brothers and sisters.
We have seen several keys to being a great friend. We must have fun with people and have real concern about their lives and problems.
We must take the initiative with them and encourage righteousness in their lives. And we must never give up on people, but do God's work together with them. (First letter of the points spell FRIEND)