Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

How to live with one another (How to survive and thrive in the family of God)

Home > Sermons >
.

How to live with one another (How to survive and thrive in the family of God)

 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 139:23.24. – “Search me o God and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

 

This was David’s prayer – a man who loved God and for the most was “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14)

 

Why? He was all for the Lord. In 1 Samuel 16:7 Lord told the prophet Samuel sent to David’s family to select and anoint Israel’s future king. To Samuel who was impressed by David’s brother appearance God said this: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 

David’s heart was all for the Lord! But David had many hidden weaknesses. These would surface under temptation or pressure. David was not intentionally bad or hurtful to others.

 

Why did David write our starting text? Has he eventually realized how blind he was to the sinfulness of his own heart and to some of his deep seated character weaknesses?

 

In Psalm 19:12–14 David records another of his prayers: “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, o Lord my strength and my Redeemer.”

 

Would both David and us learn these lessons earlier, how much of the damage could be avoided and prevented!

 

How often do we open our hearts and life to the inspection of the Holy Spirit and measure our thinking and motives against the spiritual standards of God’s word?

 

We live in stressful times. Each of us struggles with many issues and challenges – some external, some internal.

 

As Adventist Christians we feel pretty good and confident with:

 

-        Understanding Bible prophecies and their importance for our times

-        Understanding relations between the law and gospel, justification / sanctification

-        Some doctrinal teachings

-        Healthful living

 

But friends, how do we fare in the relational aspects of Christian faith?

 

Love, mercy, kindness, forbearance, tactfulness, gentleness, longsuffering, forgiveness

Many people will be saved with flawed theology or incorrect understanding of Bible prophecy.

 

But friends no one will enter God’s kingdom who has not allowed the Lord to subdue their self-centered focus, pride, unforgiving spirit and un-Christlike character traits.

 

James 3:2 (KJV) says this: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man and able also to bridle the whole body.”

 

NKJ Version instead of using word “offend” calls it “stumble”, NCV says “make many mistakes”, NEB says “often go wrong”. Whatever word we use, we all and often act in un-Christlike and offensive ways. Do you believe that? Yes you too and me as well!

 

Our speech is the most obvious part. We must learn to select our words and tone of voice carefully and use our speech to “build up” rather than to “burn up”.

 

Proverbs 12:18 (NKJV): “There is one who speaks like the piercing of the sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.”

 

Contemporary English Version: “Sharp words cut like a sword, but words of wisdom heal.”

 

Colossians 4:6: “Let your speech always be seasoned with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

 

Lord has brought us together with our varied temperaments, ideas how things should be done, varied and complex personality traits and idiosyncrasies.

 

Some of us are quick, some are slow, some aggressive, some passive, some are straight shooters, very direct, others beat around the bush thinking others should get what they think and mean, some lack sensitivity, others are oversensitive even hypersensitive. Some extroverted, others introverted, some highly organized, even over-organized, others are casual and tend toward excessive flexibility. Some can easily apologize, for others it is a major struggle. Some forgive and forget easy, shake up and go on, others seem forever nursing their hurts and allow them to fester in their souls. We could go on and on…

 

Proverbs 27:17 (New Century Version) puts it this way: “As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other.”

 

Yet, we are very different from one another! So the Lord gives us counsel how to relate to one another in the community of faith and to “bear with one another in love”:

 

Ephesians 4:1–3: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

What are all important character traits to be learnt, developed and exercised among us?

 

-        Lowliness (humility) and gentleness

-        Longsuffering and bearing with one another IN LOVE!

-        keep the unity under the Spirit

-        live in peace among ourselves

 

Both the Lord and Satan well know what kind of human material they have to work with.

 

Jesus sends His Spirit and builds up in love, peace, truth and mutual forbearance.

 

Satan’s spirit tears down, lies, creating animosity, variance, resentments and divisions.

 

He knows that if he can trip us on our weak points, use our differences to set us up against one another, bring in criticism, evil surmising and unhappy feelings, and thus divide us he has conquered.

 

Divide and conquer is Satan’s strategy.

 

Paul said it well in 2 Corinthians 2:11: “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

 

Love one another and live in unity was Jesus’ prayer and Satan is defeated!

 

Jesus intends to use our differences so we can strengthen one another, where we can compensate for one another’s weaknesses and help one another.

 

Colossians 3:12–14: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so also you must do. But above all these things put on love which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your heart, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

 

Don’t be a mad-ventist, sad-ventist, fad-ventist, sulky-dventist, cry-dventist or solo-dventist. Be a thriving and a happy love-dventist!

 

Are you struggling or have an issue with someone or sense an estrangement?

 

Don’t bottle it inside! Go talk to the right person! Pray together for God to restore you! True friendships between us and God and others are more precious than pearls or gold!

 

God’s promise in James 5:16 (The Living New Testament): “Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”