Relationship vs Fellowship 1
What is relationship?
The oxford dictionary defines relationship in these terms:
• the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected: the study will assess the relationship between unemployment and political attitudes
• the state of being connected by blood or marriage: they can trace their relationship to a common ancestor
• the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other: the landlord-tenant relationship she was proud of her good relationship with the staff
• an emotional and sexual association between two people: she has a daughter from a previous relationship http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/relationship
Relationship is therefore having a common tie with another person or persons. These ties have different degrees of bond or continuity. For instance, through birth we have a relationship with our parents that lasts until we die; no matter where we go or what we do, we still belong to that family. This family relationship can also be by adoption. Even if they disown us, the fact remains that they are our parents or guardians.
There are however other relationships which do not have that lasting bond or continuity. For instance, the relationship with members of our school, club, co-tenants; race, nationality, church membership (if you’re just religious) are not that enduring. These are usually tenuous and may be broken any time. And yet there are other relationships that are even more tenuous or very casual and are better known as acquaintances – people you meet in the bus or on the road. This casual relationship is evidenced in the fact that you may not even know their surnames or where they come from or their likes and dislikes or where they live.
Apart from family relationship, other binding relationship include marriage, although this has been cheapened by society and people rarely show commitment to each other and hop in and hop out of marriage for the purposes of convenience, according to the wind of adversity or prosperity that blows. Instead of ‘for better or worse’, it is ‘for better for us in trials or sickness we part.’
It follows that there are permanent relationships (family, Nationality, race) and tenuous relationship, which are more of acquaintances (club, school, work). But we need to distinguish between true relationships from casual relationships.
Relationship with God
We are all God’s creation. He created us in His own image. He endowed us before we were sent to planet earth. He knows our end from our beginning. Yet we are born ‘blind’, born dead in sin, born separated from Him, born with only Creator /creature relationship with Him. (Rom3:10, 23, Rom6:23, John3:3, 5, 8)
True relationship with God begins with Jesus. He is the way the Truth and the Life, the Alpha and Omega. No one comes to the Father except through Him. He is the door of the sheep. He is the Mediator between God and man. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Before then we may have religion, morality, ethics but it is not a relationship with God per se. (John14:6 1 John5:1)
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: John1:12
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 1Tim2:5-6
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
1 John 5:
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves
2 Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.
It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16 RSV).
So through God you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son then an heir (Gal. 4:7 RSV).
Nicodemus was a religious leader. He knew about God but he did not know God personally and Jesus did not mince words with him.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John3:3
Cornelius was a religious man, devout, prayerful, and generous but he was still far from God. Although his prayer went before God, God had to speak to him through an angel and told him what to do. Acts10:1-8
God also spoke to Peter in a vision and told him where to go as to lead Cornelius into the true relationship with Him. Peter obeyed God and went and as he preached the word of God and told Cornelius and his household the way to a relationship with God, the Holy Spirit fell on them as they were open to the truth and accepted the truth. They were then baptised. Acts 10:9-48
Similarly, Saul of Tarsus was steeped in religion and obtained warrants to persecute even execute Christians, until God met with him on the road to Damascus, as he was on a mission to arrest Christians. A light from heaven struck him down. And the Lord spoke to him, ‘Saul, Saul why are you persecuting Me.’ He then asked: ‘Lord, what would you have me to do?’ Jesus told him where to go and be prayed for to receive his sight. And that was the beginning of his relationship with God. Hitherto he had religion but no relationship. Acts8:1-3,9:1-9
Many people are born into religion- Baptist, Pentecostal, Anglican, Church of England, Catholic, Muslim even atheism, Hindu, Jehovah witness or ‘I, myself and I- I am-my-own-god people,’ etc, etc, but that is not a relationship with God.
To have a relationship with God you must:
Acknowledge that you are lost; (Acts 9:6, 16:30)
You cannot save yourself;
You are a sinner, you were born blind, you were dead in your sins regardless of the good things you have done or how moral you are. All our righteousness is like filthy rags before God. There is none righteous, not even one. John9
6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
Isa66:4, 10 As it is written: ” There is none righteous, no, not one;Rom3:10
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Rom3:23
God initiated our reconciliation by sending Jesus to die in our behalf. Jesus paid the price. Rom5:1,5, John3:16
All we need to do is to accept what Jesus did for us, confess our sins and invite Jesus to take His rightful place- on the throne of our hearts. John1:12, John3:3,5,8, Rom10:9-10,13, 2Cor5:17
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John3:3
Jesus has to be Lord of ALL to be Lord At ALL. Phil2:10-11
When we have come to God through Jesus Christ, our relationship with Him begins. John14:6.
Life begins from the cross – not from the Church or from religion or tradition.
He writes our names down in His book of life. There is joy in heaven as a result of our repentance. We are born again of the Spirit of God. Heaven becomes our home.
10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke15:10
Luke15:10 Rev22:19, Phil3:20, John3:3,5,8, Mark16:15, Act2:37-38, -16:30-31
This relationship supersedes all other relationships we may have in life. It governs them. Our allegiance to this should dwarf our allegiance to our family or marital relationship or Church affiliations which have or should have enduring qualities. In other words our relationship with God should be the relationship of relationship- the cardinal overriding and overarching relationship. All others must the subservient, and serving our relationship with God or they have to be dumped if they run counter with our relationship with God. Any relationship that does not enhance our relationship with God needs to be examined and redefined and made subordinate to our relationship with God.
Christ Brings Division
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;
36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
I Never Knew You
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
We need to distinguish between the relationship people have with God in the Old Testament and that people have with Him in the New Testament.
God wants us to guard well our relationship with Him by not conforming to the patterns of this world or befriending the world but he wants us to reach people with a view to introducing them to Him. He wants us to be salt of the earth, light of the world, instruments of reconciliation.
4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Jam4:4
Do Not Love the World
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.
Rom12:1-2, ICor6:16-20; 2Cor6:14-18
We cannot serve two masters.
1 What is a relationship?
2 What are the different kinds of relationship we can have?
3 Are all relationships equal? Why?
4 Explain how our relationship with God begins and how? Use scriptures.
5 Which relationship is the overriding and overarching relationship and why? Use scriptures
6 What should the impact of this understanding mean in my relationship with God?
7 Does religion confer a relationship with God? Why?
8 What is the difference between Father/child relationship and Creator/creature relationship?
9 Does not having fellowship with unbelievers mean we should have nothing to do with them? Explain and justify your position.
10 How should our relationship with God through Jesus Christ affect our relationship with each other?
Quotes on relationship
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow. ~Swedish Proverb
Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand. ~Emily Kimbrough
There are days when you need someone who just wants to be your sunshine and not the air you breathe. ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com
For lack of an occasional expression of love, a relationship strong at the seams can wear thin in the middle. ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com
Sometimes it is the person closest to us who must travel the furthest distance to be our friend. ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com
Assumptions are the termites of relationships. ~Henry Winkler
Relationship taken for granted dies.
3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? Amos3:3
The Value of a Friend
9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you. ~Frederick Buechner
Present your family and friends with their eulogies now – they won’t be able to hear how much you love them and appreciate them from the grave. ~Anonymous
Trouble is part of your life, and if you don’t share it, you don’t give the person who loves you enough chance to love you enough. ~Dinah Shore
In the end there doesn’t have to be anyone who understands you. There just has to be someone who wants to. ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~Marcel Proust
To know when to go away and when to come closer is the key to any lasting relationship. ~Doménico Cieri Estrada
s we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it’s harder every time. You’ll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You’ll fight with your best friend. You’ll blame a new love for things an old one did. You’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love. ~Author Unknown
Relationships do not all last forever. Some are for a short season. Others are for longer periods. A few are for a life time. We need godly wisdom to know the duration of each one and not force them to be what they are not intended to our hurt.
Sometimes, we need a few people in our lives who will calmly call our bluff. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com
Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. ~Oprah Winfrey
Good company upon the road is the shortest cut. ~Author Unknown
There are times when two people need to step apart from one another, but there is no rule that says they have to turn and fire. ~Robert Brault,www.robertbrault.com
Soul-mates are people who bring out the best in you. They are not perfect but are always perfect for you. ~Author Unknown
You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with. ~Wayne W. Dyer
Once you find someone to share your ups and downs, downs are almost as good as ups. ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com
18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”