Sing: Have it All – Bethel
God does not want us to do life alone. Yet, when Americans are asked to list their close friends, (not family members) those you confide in, the ones who will be there for you, the ones who will come help even when it’s inconvenient — the average number of friends they could list was two. In fact the latest polls suggest that 25% of Americans have no close friends. (http://www.asanet.org/press/20060616.cfm)
The Bible is chocked full of stories and examples of close friendships. Multiple examples of those who committed to one another. There are many close friendships in Scripture: David and Jonathan, Moses and Joshua, Ruth and Naomi, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Even Jesus had friends – Jesus calls his disciples friends!
Friendship for Christians is so important that there is a Greek word ἀλλήλων (ah-LAY-loan) which is used exactly 100 times in the New Testament. . It’s one word in Greek but to translate it into English it takes two words “One Another”
When the word ἀλλήλων (ah-LAY-loan) one another is used. It is used in such a way as to highlight the importance of community and the value of friendship. But more than just highlighting the importance of relationships, more than just talking about friendship, this word is generally followed by some kind of command or admonition. In other words the Bible takes seriously the idea of friendship and the aspect of ‘one another’ Some of the “one another” uses are:
- Love one another
- Be at peace with one another
- Bear one another’s burdens
- Don’t grumble among one another
- Serve one another
Here are two Relationship Don’ts as we take seriously the aspect of ‘one another’
1) Don’t Eat Alone – It’s more enjoyable together
Aristotle once observed, close friends, he said, “share salt together.” It’s not just that they sit together, passing the salt across the meal table. It’s that they sit with one another across the course of their lives, sharing its savor — its moments, bitter and sweet.
Acts 2:46 NLT
46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
We are called to live life together. The Bible calls this fellowship…it is experiencing life together.
When it comes to fellowship size matters. Smaller is better. The disciples met in homes…once a group becomes larger than about 10 people someone stops participating…I’ve been in small groups most of my life. I believe in the power of getting together…I’ve seen meaningful changes in church but I’ve seen more change in small groups.
One Pastor noted: You can worship in a crowd but you can’t fellowship in one. In other words you can’t have relationship with a crowd. Real Christianity is not played out in the large gathering and in homes.
The idea of fellowship around the meal is powerful. It’s where we share each others joys and pains. Life is more enjoyable, it is meant to be shared.
2) Don’t Run Alone – Go Farther and Faster together
I would have never accomplished 2 marathons without the help of my running buddies.
WE are in the race of life. We go farther when someone is running with us.
In the race of life you’ll go farther and seek God more deeply and understand Him much better in the context of running with someone.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.