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How to Develop Authentic Relationships, Part 2

From the series Love One Another

Chip continues his message on how to develop authentic relationships.

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Message Transcript

You know where most problems come in churches? People are sitting on the bench; people are sitting on the stands.

People who have unconsciously a consumer mentality, “Feed me. You don’t have this for my children? Oh, you’ve changed hours? Oh, this is going to happen? Well, how come we don’t have donuts with the coffee? It would be nice if we had nametags. You know, it would really be wonderful if we could, you know, it was a little too hot that last weekend. You know, that one song was a little too loud but then next week it was a little too soft. You know…?” Been there, huh? That happens in churches all the time. You know why? They don’t got the agenda. And that was coaching talk, “They don’t got” on purpose.

Third, the Church is supernatural, not only because it has a supernatural origin, not just because it has a supernatural agenda, but third, it has a supernatural power. Did you see that in verse 8? “Wait for the gift and then you will receive power.” Power. If you’re a believer, you know who lives inside of you? The Holy Spirit.

You know what Romans 8 tells us? The same power that raised Christ, literally, from the dead dwells in you and dwells in me. The power – what? To overcome sin’s power in your life, the power to love people you don’t even like, the power to reach out when you’re tired. The power to align priorities in a way that seems so difficult. The power to trust Him through difficult times, the power to endure when you feel like giving up, the power to be bold and courageous and identify with Christ when you know everyone in the office is going to look down on you afterwards.

You know what the human equivalent is? Gangs. If you go into prison, you know what the likelihood of you being in a gang is? High, high, and higher. You know why? If you go into prison in this day and you’re not in a gang, you may be dead soon. Why? Because you’re one frail person who is vulnerable.

So, what do they do? You join a gang, well what’s a gang do? You’re in the Bloods, or you’re in the Crips, or you’re in the Aryan Brotherhood, or you’re in a Black Muslim group or, … There are all kinds of gangs in prisons. And you either join one of them or you’re a pawn.

See, community offers bonding through teams. Community brings about loyalty through the concept of having power.

On a lighter note, a lot of you are members of Costco, aren’t you? That’s a gang. We call it a club. We’re the Costco gang! Right? Why do that? Why don’t you just go and buy someplace else? Because there is power in buying bulk. And there’s… isn’t there? And there’s power in membership.

The human institutions that provide community are precious to us. There’s probably nothing more important than your family, some sense of team, and some sense of club somewhere.

Those are the human institutions where you’re giving and receiving where there has been power, where there is loyalty, where there is commitment. Here’s what I want you to hear: It’s just human.

You, if you’re a believer, are a member of a supernatural community, with a supernatural origin, with a supernatural agenda, and you possess supernatural power. If you get that from your head to your heart, you’ll never think about Christians the same way ever again! Ever! Ever! Ever!

We’re in the same family. We have the same agenda. We have the same power.” You are members. Notice the passage doesn’t say, “You ought to be.” You are members of one another. You belong.

Now here’s the final thought: That’s the doctrine, that’s the truth. But we would all admit, right, we would all admit that we are not experiencing supernatural community in our relationships like most of us would like.

Now, we’re tasting it, I pray. And the closer you are to that core, the deeper you’re probably experiencing it. But I want to give you now, from Romans chapter 3 verses 3 to 5, I want you to know what makes it authentic. How do you get in the body of Christ so you experience community? It’s not just human community.

I mean, it’s one thing to say, “Yeah! Yeah! We came back in the ninth inning and our softball team and we all went out for beers afterwards and boy, isn’t it great to be part of a group?” That has some merit. Not a lot.

Three things you need. First, you can experience authentic community – how? When we possess an accurate view of ourselves. It begins with you; it begins with me. Romans 12:3 says this, “For by the grace given to me,” the apostle Paul writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit, “I say to every one of you do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but rather think of yourself with a sober or sound judgment.”

The word literally means, “Don’t think of yourself insanely.” Off balance. Irrationally. But think of yourself, literally, accurately is the idea, “In accordance with the measure of faith that God has given you.” In a word, if you want to experience this kind of community that is supernatural, it begins with humility.

Humility is not thinking highly of yourself, humility is not thinking lowly of yourself. Humility is an accurate view of yourself, it’s a genuine recognition of, “These are my strengths, these are my gifts, this is what I bring to the table, this is my background, this is my personality, this is who I am, my strengths,” and a genuine recognition, “and these are my limitations.”

See, it’s not genuinely humble to be in a group and be able to see clearly what the group needs, know that you’re the best at whatever the group needs, and then put your hands in your pockets, “Well, gosh, you know, I might be willing, I’m not really, I’m not really good at it but I’d try…”

You know what that is? That’s arrogance. That’s false humility. If you know you’re the best then you say, “You know something? I don’t know how this will work exactly but I’ve got some background and experience. I’d like to serve the group by taking this on.”

And humility is, “And these are my limitations. I can’t do that. I’m not good at that.” In fact, recognizing your limitations means that you are willing to be vulnerable. And by the way, that’s where real community starts.

See, arrogance, pride is projecting image that we’ve got it together. Those little holographs that I call them where we project what we think other people will like and if they like it, then we say, “Oh, great.” Except down deep it doesn’t help, does it, because they didn’t really touch us.

Or if they don’t like it we say, “Well, great, because that’s not who I really am.” So, you never get deeply affirmed, don’t get deeply rejected, but you don’t get deeply anything.

See, genuine community starts with being open and vulnerable and saying, “You know what? This is what I bring to the table. I got plusses and I got minuses. Just like everyone else. I’m insecure just like everyone else. I have some baggage just like everyone else. I do some things really well just like everyone else.”

And when you can be open and vulnerable, then you allow people into your life to know the real you and when people affirm the real you, what happens? Bang! Connection. We call it getting loved. And when you reach inside and affirm the real person, boy oh boy, they get loved.

When’s the last time you really let someone inside your life? If you want community, that’s what it takes.

Secondly, authentic community happens when we nurture a healthy appreciation of others. Verse 4 and 5, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we who are many, form one body.”

If you want a great little study, draw one line under all the words that have the concept of plurality and draw two lines under every word that has the idea of unity or singularness.

And what you’ll see is stereo. Many, one; many, one; multiple, singular. See, God has made us, in a word, key word, to be interdependent. See, you have plusses, but your plusses are different than other people’s plusses. Their plusses plug into your minuses. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle that God has created in the body of Christ, the supernatural community.

You don’t have to be everything and you aren’t everything and you can’t do everything and you don’t have to apologize for it. But figure out who you are. And then function in your giftedness. Function where God has you.

By the way, what do we do, the normal way, notice this says, “We nurture healthy appreciation.” What do we do apart from the Spirit? We compare. We walk in, we look at another person, we compare intelligence, we compare weight, we compare cars, we compare dress, we compare kids, we compare how good they are versus how bad we are, right? Compare, compare, compare, compare, where did they get that, dat, dat, dat, dat.

You know what comparison does? It just produces carnality. It just produces carnality. Then we put up images to try and look like we’re better than we really are, so that when they compare themselves with us, and all these games, games, games, games. People don’t get loved when you play games. You don’t need to be anybody else. You need to be you.

You need to appreciate what other people bring to the table and invite them into your life and step into their life and nurture. And so what do you do? You give thanks.

You don’t have to be everything because you’re not. And neither am I. I don’t know about you, I like this one. It kind of takes the pressure off. But you need to figure out how God wired you up so you can function.

Number three, authentic community begins – where? Accurate view of yourself. Two, appreciation, nurturing appreciation for others, what they bring to the table. And three, it’s when we practice a loyal allegiance to one another.

“And each member belongs to all the others.” Belongs! Not should, not ought. This is not a, “Work harder, pull up your bootstraps, start being a better Christian.” It doesn’t say that! This is a fact.

You belong, with all the needs and this is the tip of the iceberg to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep. You belong. And we belong in yours. We belong to you. In a word, you know what this boils down to? Loyal allegiance? Commitment. Commitment.

We had a lady who was homeless. Homeless and in a wheelchair, in a difficult situation. Very difficult. You know what happened? There are some people. See, this is loyalty. See, it’s one thing to be loyal to people you know, people you like, people you’ve had relationship with. It’s different to be loyal to someone you say, “I don’t know them. Here’s what I know. She’s in the body of Christ.

So, they opened their home and she lived with them, was in the midst of a horrendous situation. And little, by little, by little, by little God restored her marriage, God restored her child to her, and a family just opened their home for two months. You know what I call that? Supernatural community. What God calls that is love. You see, where it all happens is in God’s body, the Church.

Let me ask you three quick application questions before we do a little pondering. And put simply, let me put it to you this way. This is not about, this whole message is not about, “Will you get with it?” Okay? If you’re hearing, “Get with it,” you’re missing it.

This whole message is about the Lord Jesus saying, “I died for you. I died for you. And I knew you had needs and when I walked on the earth and I saw your needs, I reached out with My hands to touch the leper, and I put the salve in the eyes of the blind man, and I had compassion for the woman and I raised her daughter from the dead, and when people were hungry, I said, ‘Bring Me what you have,’ and I fed them all!”

And He meant, the Acts of the Apostles, a better name would be the Acts of the Resurrected Christ through His body – us. And what He’s saying is, you are part of this supernatural community if you understand your origin, your agenda, and the power that you have, if you’re willing to be humble, if you’re willing to be interdependent, and you’re willing to commit to one another out of His power, what He’s saying is, “This is how you get loved when I’m in heaven. This is how it works. You are My body. You belong to one another.”

And so, let me give you three application questions so you can feast upon what you already possess. The first application is that no individual Christian can function effectively by himself or herself.

So, let me ask you, are you a lone ranger out there? Do you feel isolated? Who is your spiritual family? If I said, “Name the top three or four people that you could call at any time, they’re a quality Christian person who knows you, loves you, and cares about your life.”

If you don’t have someone, then you’re not partaking of this supernatural community.

And if you’re here and you don’t know Christ as your Savior, you’re not a part yet of the supernatural community.

But God would say to you, “It’s open for all.” We’re preaching the kingdom. The kingdom is people rightly related to God, rightly related together, reaching out to you, today.

Don’t leave here, today. Ask Jesus to be your Savior. Ask Him to forgive you of your sin. Admit you have need.

And you know what? If God’s speaking to you right now, just forget what I’m saying. You can keep your eyes open or shut them. Right where you’re seated right now, just pray. He’ll hear you. He knows.

Say, “Lord Jesus, come into my life. Oh God, forgive me. I had no idea, I long for community. I long for forgiveness. I’m sinful and I have violated a holy God!” And you have and I have.

The only difference between believers and unbelievers, He’s paid the price for all, some have received the gift, some have not. Which side of that are you on?

The second application: No member of the supernatural community is more or less important than anyone else. You’re part of the team. You need to learn how to function and you say, “But I don’t know where I fit.”

No one is more or less important, we all have a different part, but you got to figure out your part.

And finally, we must get connected in real life relationships if we’re to experience the reality that we are members of one another.

Come, figure out a way. Join a ministry! Do something so we can get connected with you and you with us, so you get loved.

What’s the missing link? Why aren’t more people getting loved? It’s real simple. You got all these needs and you’ve got all these willing people. We need to grasp membership in the supernatural community and discover how we function. And when you do, you’ll never be the same.