Please find below my notes for the teaching series, Relationships, Pt. 1 “Relationship with God.” For personal use only. All other uses contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2012, Terry Broadwater.
Welcome to Part 1 of our new teaching series: RELATIONSHIPS! Illustration: My friends in HS- the “BUD Club”- Big Ugly Dudes… I’m not making this up! We did everything together… We were inseparable… We hugged and cried at graduation, promised to stay in touch- BUDS forever! That lasted a few months at most…
Did you ever have somebody that you loved, cared for, committed to, and then one day, it was all gone? How about, ever meet Mr. Perfect and he turned out to be Mr. Psycho? Or, knew a married couple that you knew was the prefect couple, if anyone was going to make it, they would; and then one day, they just split up? Makes you wonder if any relationship can make it!
Well, there’s a direct correlation between all our relationships and our relationship with God! Since God created us for “relationship” then we can’t get them right unless our relationship with Him is right. Because you can’t simply have a “religion” with God or a “ministry” with God or a “thing” with God; you have to have a relationship!
Why do relationships go wrong? We won’t work at it!
Prov. 29:18 (NLT) “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild!” Without vision people perish and that goes for relationships- you have to have a vision for your relationships, and starts with your relationship with God!
Rev. 3:15-16 (NLT) “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
Jesus said this, “You can be hot and you can be cold, but don’t be lukewarm when it comes to your relationship with God! That’s nauseating!” And when that comes to our relationship with God people fall into one of three categories:
HOT- You are growing spiritually! Spiritual growth is not some mysterious thing that just happens to us. It is the result of developing certain disciplines in your life and living them out consistently. And it’s a process over time as you learn, apply what you’ve learned practically, and mature as a result.
2 Thess. 1:3 “…for we are thankful that your faith is flourishing and you are all growing in love for each other.”
Are you “hot” for the things of God? Is your faith flourishing? Is your love for God and for others growing? Spiritual growth is not just about biblical knowledge- that can puff you up; but it’s about applying that biblical knowledge to your life in the everyway and the everyday!
COLD- You don’t know God yet! And Jesus said that’s not necessarily a bad place to be, since you can basically meet God in a moment and in that moment, be instantaneously turned around. But when that happens, you get turned around (repentance) and then start taking the steps to follow Jesus…
But if you’re “cold” it’s because you don’t yet know God; maybe you know about him, you know about Jesus; you even believe that he’s for real; but you don’t yet “know” him in a personal relationship dynamic!
Jesus talked about this- John 7:28 “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I represent the one you don’t know…” So, Jesus said, “I’d rather you are hot and growing spiritually or cold, with the opportunity to meet God, then to be…
Lukewarm- You’re drifting! Frankly, Jesus said, this is the worst state to be in! We would think that to be “cold”, to not know God is the worst possible condition someone could experience. But that’s not true! It’s being “lukewarm” about God- drifting…
Heb. 2:1 “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.”
If we don’t give diligent attention to our “following Christ” we will drift away from Him, from the truth of His Word and the truth of what God has written about us! And honestly, this is where most Christians and most churches find themselves! Shocked?! How do I know that, because of the spiritual landscape in America right now tell us!
The problem is we have lost our focus, our vision, regarding having a personal, “hot”, relationship with God! Church services, church programs, church activity, church buildings… cannot replace our personal relationship with God! We are drifting and so many don’t even realize it because they’re having so much “fun” doing church stuff!
Illustration: On vacation at the beach… riding the waves… looking up and realizing “I don’t recognize the beach!” Didn’t realize I’d drifted so far… Wasn’t paying attention!
My relationship with God doesn’t happen by accident; doesn’t happen because I’m in church, or in a class, or in a ministry, or LIFE Group; your relationship with God happens because you want it to and you work at it! That goes for any relationship that we say matters!
So, here are two questions: Personally and in our groups, to deal with and answer…
What “Disciplines” Best Help Me Relate to God?
Jer. 29:13-14 “If you look for me in earnest, you will find me (when?) when you seek me. I will be found by you, says the Lord…” Notice, it’s only when I’m very diligently, with all my heart, earnestly seeking God, that I will find Him!
But when you “seek God earnestly” it’s because you want to go with Him and you want Him to go with you! And that’s what the Bible tells us, God said, 2 Chron. 15:2 (NASB) “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you!”
See how that works? You have to “go with God” because God knows where He’s going; it’s not the other way around, which is so much of what we pray and what we do… A hot relationship with God is all about disciplining yourself to “go with Him” everyday!
What disciplines help you experience and relate to God in a way that produces spiritual growth in your life? We are all potentially going to relate to God in different ways!
The key is you are relating and as a result you are growing… Me- I relate to all three of my kids differently…
Disciplines of: Bible Study, Prayer, Fasting, Worship, Fellowship, Accountability Group, Serving, Missions, Other Ways? The key is, these disciplines that you need to incorporate into your life, the purpose for them, is to grow spiritually; not just do stuff, and to do these in a way that it’s you relating to God and relating to you.
What “Distractions” Hinder Me from Relating to God?
Just like there are disciplines that will help you to experience God in a growing, more on fire way- hot, there are things that will definitely keep you from developing in Christ!
Ps. 24:3-5 “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have right standing with God…”
“Clean hands” and “idol free” is what enables you to experience God’s presence in your life and be blessed. This represents being purified from sin!
Two primary “distractions” that will hinder your relationship with God:
SIN- Greek word “harmatea” literally means to “miss the mark.” What sin in your life is making you miss the mark with God; hindering your relationship with Him?
1 Cor. 15:34 “Come to your senses and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t even know God!” Wow! What do you have to do? Stop the sin! Stop doing the thing that is greatly hindering you in your relationship with God.
People do it all the time- “Man, I really love Jesus… but I hate my boss so I’m just going to keep making him miserable until…” Or, “Oh, I love the Lord… but I love my car or my job or my neighbor’s wife or… more!” What is that sin in your life that you love more than God?
John 14:15 “If you love me, obey my commandments!” That’s the test! If I really love God then I’m obeying his word, I’m living in his purposes for my life! You cannot have unconfessed sin in your life and grow spiritually- it will only hinder your relationship with God!
If you want to have clean hands and a pure heart then you have to confess the sins in your life so your relationship with God can be right; you have right standing with God! So, pray about those things, tell a mentor, share it in your group, but plan to make it right or it won’t be right!
1 Cor. 10:13 “But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”
IDOLATRY: This greatly hinders your relationship with God because you’ve made gods out of other things. And what are other gods? Anything and everything in your life that you love and worship more than God!
Ex. 20:3 “Do not worship any other gods besides me.” You say, “I don’t do that!” Then why is your relationship with God so lukewarm? Why are you so nonchalant about the Lord? About going deeper with God- really living out His purpose for your life? Why? Because he’s not God, capital “G”, he’s just thrown in there with all the other god’s you have in your life!
“What are the things that I put ahead of God in my life?” And let me define that- “putting it ahead of God” means that you are more passionate about that “thing” than you are about growing in the Lord and doing his will. It could even be something that is a good thing…
Talk about this in your groups this week; in your personal devotional time; work it into your vision for your life- determine to have a purposeful and passionate relationship with God!
How’s your relationship with God today? Is it hot? Cold? Lukewarm? Is there any unconfessed sin in your life? Idols? What are you going to do about it?