Reaching Through Relationships sermon video. People were created to experience relationships. We are created to GIVE and RECEIVE the wonderful things relationships offer. Great and eternal things happen to us because of relationships. We experience hopelessness and despair when we do not have relationships. Relationships are vital for happiness. God created Adam and put him in a beautiful garden with every external need met, yet Adam was not happy and life was not good.
Reaching Through Relationships
by Delbert Young
Reaching Through Relationships
Scriptures: Genesis 2:18, Matthew 22:37-40, 2 Timothy 4:5, Ruth 1:16-17, Ruth 4:14-15
Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Adam was created entire, yet he needed relationships. God brings people into our lives and us into the lives of others to bring happiness and to help each other through life. So, I want to talk to us today about REACHING PEOPLE THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS. I want us to see the importance of outreach through relationships. I want to give you just a few minutes to think about it and then I want you to give me a show of hands if you’re coming into the kingdom of God was greatly influenced by a person – by a relationship. If you have your Bibles, please turn to 2 Timothy 4:5 and Ruth 1:16. Let’s pray.
Could I get you to raise your hand please if a relationship(s) was instrumental in your coming into the kingdom? Sure! Relationships with the lost are how we will reach this region. I had a relationship with a man named Billy Shirah. It was because of a relationship I, my family, many others, and some of you came into the kingdom of God. It’s because of this Life Gate Church exists. We never know what God will do through one relationship. REACHING PEOPLE THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS has to become a priority to us. If a relationship was important for your coming into the kingdom then relationships you have are important for others coming in also.
No matter if you are in a beautiful garden created just for you as was Adam – your dream house, or on an island in the south Pacific like the castaway in the clip, the need for relationships will never go away.
In the movie The Cast Away, Tom Hanks played the part of a FedEx executive (Chuck Noland) who experienced a plane crash in the South Pacific. He was assumed dead, but was actually stranded alone on an island for four years. The movie is about the castaway figuring out how to survive. He had to find food, find water, find shelter, and make fire. Interestingly, among his needs to survive, he needed to find a relationship. The movie is largely about this one need. Amazingly, the relationship was with a volleyball he found washed up on shore. He decorated it with a face and hair, and called the ball Wilson (the name of the manufacturer stamped on the ball). The relational emotions of the castaway grew toward Wilson. He carried on long conversations with Wilson, pouring his heart out to his round rubber buddy. Our base needs include the need for relationships just as they include food, water, and shelter.
Have you ever caught yourself talking to an inanimate object? I don’t mean what we men say to the lawnmower when it won’t crank. I mean when you are attempting to give and receive information. I do it all the time. The need to communicate is so strong we attempt to communicate even if we know the thing we are talking to cannot communicate back. Think about this. Many of the things (objects) we talk to are things with which we have developed a relationship. We all have “Wilson’s” in our lives.
Some people have deep relationships with a pet. They talk to their pet and experience a deep inward satisfaction because of relationship – a lick on the face, a purr, a rub of a furry cat expresses relationship. There is a need within all of us to be reached out to, loved, and allowed to communicate.
Through relationships a part of us is fulfilled nothing else can fulfill. Without relationships we become lonely and depressed.
As I watched the movie again from this perspective I saw a much deeper truth projected. Wilson eventually took on the qualities of a deity for the castaway. The volleyball was eventually decorated with a little crown and sat on his own little throne dispensing wisdom only the castaway could hear. My point is through relationships we find a deity. We find God through relationships just as many of you just verified. Not only is there a need within to experience relationship and communication outwardly, there is a need within to experience relationship and communication upwardly. And, every person you know has these very needs.
Have you heard the joke about the man who was stranded alone on a desert island, alone for 30 years? A ship finally arrived to save him and his rescuers were very impressed with the three buildings he had built. They asked him about them. “Well,” the survivor replied, “This is my house, and the building there is my church. It’s a wonderful church and I hated to leave it.” “And what about this third building over here?” a rescuer asked. “Oh…well it’s the church I used to go to.” My point is if we can’t find satisfaction for the outward and upward needs at one church, we will search until we find something close.
In the movie Cast Away, Wilson the volleyball was eventually lost at sea and the castaway, in his isolation, wept like a baby. He had no relationship to whom he could communicate and no deity from which he could receive wisdom. In his despair the castaway released his oars to the ocean – his last source of direction –and allowed the sea to take him where it wanted. He was hopeless. There was nothing left to help direct and motivate his life. Without relationships there was no reason to live.
We have all experienced this to a degree and what brought you out of it were relationships outward and upward. We have people in your lives like this. There are people who will come into your life like this. You need to understand what is happening and what God is doing. It’s about bringing them into the kingdom. It’s about your becoming their oars. Without you they are lost at sea. Without you they are carried around by the winds and tides of life. Without you, they become hopeless. Without you they are left to despair and depression. However, with you as a relationship they have oars. They have hope and direction. They experience joy and purpose as you begin to oar them toward the kingdom.
Here is my point. Life is not much more than relationships. As I have gotten older and perhaps/hopefully wiser, it’s become more apparent the quality of the life I live is directly related to the quality of my relationships with people and with God. Life at its finest and fullest is directly related to relationships outward and upward. If we truly care about people, we will reach out to people as well as reach up to God.
Jesus said all of life hangs on those two issues. Jesus was asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” In other words, what is the greatest and most important thing God has to say to us? Jesus, giving us God’s wisdom, said there was not only one most important thing. There are actually two.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Matthew 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Matthew 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Everything the law and prophets have to tell us about life at its finest and fullest hangs on reaching up to God and reaching out to people. Your abundant life is directly related to reaching out and reaching up. The quality of the lives of the people you love is directly related to your helping them reach out and reach up.
With whom do you have a meaningful relationship who is far from God? The Lord has brought them into your life and you into their lives just as he brought Eve to Adam. Your relationship with people far from God is not coincidental. The relationship has the potential to bring people into the kingdom, or to push people away from the kingdom. What do you eat with them? Some people far from God will not come to church because of relationships and experiences they have had with Christians. You will not bring people into the kingdom by talking negatively about church, or the pastor, or the people. You will bring people into the kingdom by talking about the goodness of God and how wonderful and fun church is for you. Tell people how awesome your pastor is (kidding). Tell them about the great sermons he preaches (maybe). Tell them about the wonderful people at church and how blessed you are to be here (very true). People are looking for someone with oars.
Jesus told the story called THE GOOD SAMARITAN. It’s about a man who was ambushed, beaten, and robbed. A lot of religious people came by, but no one helped the poor man. Finally, a Samaritan, a person the religious people despised, came by and went out of his way to minister to the man. He took him for care and spent money on the man. Jesus said this is the person you should help. This is your brother. Those are things we do when we really care about people. Have you gone out of your way, spent your time and your money to save someone?
Do you have relationships with people far from God? Are you “oaring” them? Different people will have different answers to the question. Some of us have many relationships with people who are far from God. You see them all the time where you are employed. Some of us, like myself, have very few. I truly have to work at having relationships with people far from God. I am just not around many people far from God and when I stop preaching or teaching about it, I “leak.” I forget to reach out for the lost. It is work for me.
2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
(NLT) 2 Timothy 4:5 …WORK AT BRINGING OTHERS TO CHRIST. Complete the ministry God has given you.
Bringing people to Christ is WORK, but then it’s supposed to be. I believe this ministry is at a place today we need to and are learning how to BRING OTHERS TO CHRIST.
We were meeting Wednesday night and making final decisions for the Friday night concert. Tickets were free but necessary for entrance because of the limited seating. One person had been trying for weeks to get someone they wanted in the kingdom to acquire some tickets and come, but the person kept putting it off. All the tickets were gone but the person finally wanted tickets. The person in the meeting, a little frustrated said, “I’ve been WORKING on her for a long time, now there are no tickets.”
We are all supposed to work at it. We forget this part. We say things like, “Well, the Lord adds…” Or, “If they don’t believe like we believe, we don’t need them.” Or, maybe you are like me and say, “I just don’t know many people far from God.” What we are doing is justifying our laziness to WORK at bringing others to Christ. It’s not a burden. We are allowing the sea of life to take them wherever it wants. Let’s be honest. How many of us believe we could do a little better at working at reaching the lost than we do?
One of the main things I want us all to see today is relationships are divine appointments. Every relationship makes an impact. Even relationships that didn’t work out well in my life taught me things about myself, about people, about God, and about life. It is through relationships we become who we are. We share our victories and successes. We share our weaknesses, our incompleteness, our imperfections, and our inadequacies, but we find God for ourselves and help others find him too.
There is a story in the Bible about a woman named Naomi. She moved from Bethlehem to Moab with her husband and two sons. In Moab, her two sons married what we would call heathens. Not only were these women of a different nationality, but also they served another god. One of Naomi’s sons married a woman named Ruth. Over the years Naomi and Ruth developed a very strong relationship. It was because of relationship Ruth came into the kingdom and good things happened. Through a series of events, Naomi decided to move back to Bethlehem. Here is what Ruth said.
Ruth 1:16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: THY PEOPLE SHALL BE MY PEOPLE, AND THY GOD MY GOD:
Ruth 1:17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
Through relationship Naomi’s God did become Ruth’s God. Naomi’s people (church) did become Ruth’s people (church). Isn’t this what we all want? We want those far from God to worship with us. We want those far from God to come and be with our people. I do.
Because of relationship, Ruth married a very godly and wealthy man name Boaz. Ruth experienced a great life and became the great-grandmother to King David and is in the ancestral lineage of Jesus Christ (Mat 1:5). Naomi’s relationship with Ruth played a tremendous part in the Christ’s coming to earth. It all happened because of a relationship.
Naomi was blessed too.
Ruth 4:14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!
Ruth 4:15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
Naomi’s husband and sons had died. She had no means of living, but through a relationship, she was wonderfully provided for the rest of her life.
It was a divine appointment. A godly woman from Bethlehem crossed the path of a woman far from God who lived in Moab. The godly woman directed the life of the woman far from God who was saved and used greatly in the kingdom.
Who is your “Ruth?” Who are you working on to bring into the kingdom? God will bless you wonderfully. He will assure your future.
I want to encourage you today to REACH PEOPLE THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS. Be a helper for them. A part of our being is fulfilled through relationships nothing else can fulfill. Become oars for people. The quality of their lives hangs on it. Pour oil and wine into their wounds. Spent time and some money on them. Work at bringing people to Christ. Realize relationships are divine appointments. If you will REACH UP and REACH OUT, God will bless you now and bless your future.
How many of us are going to try and do a little better at REACHING THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS? Amen! Give the Lord a shout!
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