January 26, 2020
1 Thessalonians 2: 1-13

Gather: Build Authentic Relationships

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January 26, 2020
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First Thessalonians chapter two verses one through eight. As you were doing that, though, I have a really the final, very exciting announcement got permission to share this.

But our very own pastor recapped gray and his lovely wife, Brittany gray have given birth to their son, Jonathan Isaac gray. He is perfect. Just a gift from the Lord and overwhelming, overwhelming overwhelming gift. So thank you for your prayers. I'm not gonna say more. I'm gonna let him return in a couple of weeks and he can tell you all about it. But Praise God. He's so good. He's so good.

So, this week, and the next three weeks, we're going to be doing a kind of in depth study on discipleship. We last week laid out the vision for 2020 which is our mission is to make disciples that's what we want to see happen in this place. We actually believe us leaning into and reclaiming the foundational mission of this church which is to make disciples will allow us to go forth with longevity and legitimacy, and gospel fruitfulness. If we once again reclaim our true identity which is to make disciples we are disciple makers. If you claim the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are called to make disciples. So we laid out this framework that we believe is helpful, practical tool for us to this do discipleship wherever you find yourself, whether that's with someone in your workplace who doesn't know Christ, or someone who you've been walking with for a long time, whether it's in your connection group, whether that's in a discipleship group, or wherever you would find it, the framework of build authentic relationships, assess spiritual growth and set transformational goals. And our goal these next four weeks is for us to just unpack those three realities and more practical detail for you. We will be tying it all to a text of Scripture that I think reveals a lot to us specifically through the book of first Thessalonians is where we will be kind of marching through these next four weeks.

Well this morning we are going to be talking about building authentic relationships. And and First Thessalonians chapter two verses one through eight Paul describes his interactions with this Thessalonians church. And I think from that we can glean a number of principles of what does it look like to build authentic relationships? But as I've been thinking about friendships and relationships in general, I think we can all admit that there's different ways that people come together to form relationships and friendships, right? So affinity groups, right like you love doing the rock wall thing here in Iowa because we're really depressed there's no geography anywhere. So you go to an indoor rock wall right and now all of a sudden you have new friends, you go to CrossFit, you have friends, you are runner, your best player, whatever its affinity, right hobby, sharing, whatever it may be, you bond friendship, their cultures and other way right. I come from this place. I come from the south. I come from this country. I come from this cultural background. That forges you together in a new identity. Age demographic or life stage is another way, right? Like, Hey, I'm in the throes of having a two year old, I, all of a sudden I'm deeply connected to other people in the thorough right. So, new ways recipe bonded together, all these different ways in which we come together. Even proximity, right? Like why am I friends with this person? Because I'm just literally live next door to them and I have no choice like I'm either gonna make a friend or not. So, sometimes proximity is the reason why. Which is why I find it quite fascinating that I am friends with Pastor recapped gray. Because almost none of those things are true about me and him. Okay, so just a couple of factoids about the differences between me and pastor recap, Greg. By the way, I listened to a podcast this week that describes the kind of sociological reality that it's almost impossible to make cross cultural friendships.

Like in the United States, it's like almost impossible. Especially for white folk to have cross cultural relationships because we just don't. So it's it's like on a sociological standpoint, it's like rare if not impossible at times. Okay, so why it's like, I'm looking at Pastor Recab, and I'm like, this makes no sense.

I wear boots. He wears Jordans. He loves he's a hip hop head. I love indie rock. I run and have not an athletic bone in my body and he loves basketball. I don't know if you guys knew this. He's black. I'm white. So there's just major differences between the two of us, it actually makes no sense that we are friends. And yet I call that brother, one of my deepest friends that I've ever had in my entire life. Because there is a bond that we share, that blows any other affinity group, cultural connection, proximity, interest, whatever, maybe blows all those things out of the water, and that bond is the Lord Jesus Christ.

So First Thessalonians, chapter two, that's where we're going to be want you to stand up with me. We're going to read this out loud together.

If you don't have a Bible, you can grab one in front of you that we have in the pews. I'm just going to be authentic today. I totally left my Bible in my office. Good thing we got a bunch of these all over the place. And that's that's really great. So, yep, okay, so, with that out of the way, First Thessalonians, chapter two, starting in verse one, we're going to read down to verse eight. Let's read this out loud together.

For you yourselves know brothers, that are coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippon, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God, in the midst of much conflict, for our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive but just as we have been approved, approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. So we speak not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery as you know, nor with a pretext for greed, God is witness, nor did we see glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ, but we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own selves. Because you had become very dear to us. It's actually keep going, my apologies. For you remember, brothers are labor and toil. We work tonight and day that we might not be a burden to any of you. While we proclaim to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct towards you believers. For you know how like a father with his children, we exalted each of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God who calls you into His kingdom and glory.

Let's pray. Jesus is said the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart would be pleasing to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer Jesus, make yourself known in this place today. For those who don't know, do not know you for the saints in this place. Would we have a glorious understanding of what you have done on the cross Jesus Christ and how that radically impacts our relationships with one another? Come Lord Jesus for the saints. aggressing Amen. Yes, take seat.

So the main idea this morning, from First Thessalonians chapter two verses one through 10 is this one through 12 rather than Christ is the architect of authentic relationships. Christ is the architect of authentic relationships. From this text, we're going to see three components to building authentic relationships. Okay, so in Paul's interactions with a Thessalonians described in verses one through 12, we're going to see three components on how authentic relationships are built. Okay, so here's the first component, authentic relationships are built, when our common bond is Christ.

Authentic relationships are built when our common bond is Christ. So verses one and two, for yourselves no brothers are coming was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and had been shamefully treated a Philip Hi. As you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. So Paul authentically preach the gospel to the Thessalonians he said it wasn't a sham said I came to you genuinely I did my job. I shut up and I proclaim the gospel to you boldly. But he explains the context though, because he just came from Philipi, where he suffered immensely in the midst of that proclamation, being in that town is where some of his deepest sufferings occurred for the sake of the gospel. So what Paul's describing here is this is that it it would have all of that suffering and you could think about it all of that pain of proclaiming the gospel of boldly saying what's true about the Lord Jesus Christ, it resulting in suffering and rejection and pain, you'd think Paul would be a bit cautious as he stepped into the solonius now.

You'd think that he'd be a little bit trepidatious that he'd be treading lightly, that he actually would be tempted to shy away from preaching the whole counsel of God, that He would have some some fear within him. Because proclaiming the gospel hear me guys, proclaiming the gospel is risky.

It's offensive.

You are dead, you are worthless. Everything that you do, gives you nothing in the eyes of God. You need a savior to come and redeem you and rescue you. And there's nothing you can do to deserve it. His love was the thing that pervaded heaven and earth to rescue yet to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ so you can be saved. That's an offensive message for our world. And it always has been and always will be. But it's a true one.

But how often is fear the reason why we are not articulating the gospel to people around us, perhaps fear of what we've experienced previously, when we shared the gospel with somebody that we're thinking of that time when it all went wrong, and I don't want that to happen again. Maybe it's the same relationship and think when I talked about spiritual things with this person, everything went weird and terrible. They get super upset with me, I want to preserve this relationship. So I'm not going to go there anymore.

We're afraid and we're fearful so often, of the bold proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ. And Paul's experiencing the same thing yet he said, I came and I still proclaim this gospel to the Thessalonians. Despite the potential of conflict boldness came from the Lord and enabled him to proclaim authentically the whole counsel of God. This was not Paul saying, I'm just going to get strength here. This is him exactly what he had said to Timothy in Second Timothy chapter one where he said, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self control. That wasn't just for Timothy, that truth needs to be true for Paul as well.

The greatest missionary in the world needed strength from the Spirit of God to do his job. So why are we not thinking that we don't need that same desperate dependency in the Holy Spirit as we interact with others as well? Oh, we are fearful. But oh, the Spirit of God casts out fear as we proclaim bold to those around us.

Because of this boldness though, a genuine Bond was formed between Paul and the church at Thessalonica. Because the spirit enabled him this bond was now forged. Because the foundational bond of all authentic relationships is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So our friendships and I mentioned this earlier, right, our friendships and our relationships are often united around identity defined by an affinity group, by culture, by a life stage by location, etc. It makes me think of my buddies from college, Nate and Lee. Nate had Nate was a farmer Lee was Lee. They're just different dudes. I had nothing in common with these guys. But the thing that we did have in common was this. We were both on the same cross country team. So these guys now we were friends, all of a sudden we interacted with each other because we had running. Running was the thing that brought us together. That was our affinity group that brought random dudes together, all of a sudden we are on the same team. And now we were but it made total sense. And that happens so often. But I want you to know that if an affinity group, if a culture, if a life stage, if an interest if even proximity is the foundational component of your relationship, that relationship is on shaky ground.

That relationship is probably more shallow than you actually care to admit. Because here's actually what's true about my friends, Nate and Lee. We are no longer running together. I haven't seen those guys in 10 years. We're cool. We're good. It's fine. Like what like there's no beef between us. But it just shows that there is actually just some shallowness to our friendship. The core component of why I was friends with these guys was running, not our faith. It was running. And now when you take that out, what do we have left? Nothing?

How many of your friendships right now, if you take your hobby out of the picture, do you have a friendship anymore? How many of you right now that once your friend has a baby, you realize I'm probably not going to be friends with them anymore? Because it's actually your life stage is the primary glue that's holding your friendship together. Oh, perhaps so many of us in this room have extremely shallow friendships, because they're actually not connected to the most important thing, which is Jesus Christ, because there's what's true. Our affinity groups, our culture, everything define our identity, don't they? And we then find ourselves linking with someone who can enforce that identity that we have. But when that identity is now taken from us, now all of a sudden, we have no connection anymore. But here's what's true about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He defines our identity. He's the one who calls us who we truly are. He's the one that directs our gaze, our focus, our purpose defines our joy, our satisfaction, our mission, the reason why we live out our life, and no matter what happens around us, that never changes. Therefore your relationship, stay steady and set more than anything else can actually unify your friendship can. That's true that when that when the core reason you are in a relationship with someone is Jesus Christ that gives us steadiness, depth and longevity. Steadiness, depth and longevity.

A relationship bonded in Christ even does this. That even when suffering and pain and difficulty come your way, which often by the way, breaks relationships. The Lord Jesus Christ will use difficulty pain, conflict to forge your friendship rather than break it.

So think about soldiers. Soldiers go and by the way, in boot camp, often there's animosity, often there's personal conflicts between them. And then they go after boot camp, and sometimes they see combat enemy combat all over the place. Well, what happens in the midst of this is that while all of these things are thrown at them, major external forces shoving wedges between them, like the stress of war or personal beef between one another, we're stuck with each other over and over and over again, the main reason why these soldiers have bonds that get forged together, even in the midst of conflict is that the purpose has remained the same. And that trust in one another actually gets forged and built the Lord Jesus Christ does that as we pursue him together.

He uses conflict, to like like a like a fire, actually forging your friendship and burning away. That is authenticity and fakeness that you want. When you go through difficulty and conflict with a friend, you see what you really have with one another. And the gospel of Jesus Christ cements it down the midst of that. Jesus always uses pain to grow us more and more and more into the likeness of His Son on an individual basis. He most certainly does that with a corporate basis within our friendships and our communities.

First step in discipleship is to build authentic relationships. And when we take the risk and begin making Christ Central, that's when a true authentic relationship can begin. Relationships remain shallow and unsteady, unless Christ is at the center. So Cottage Grove, What relationship do you have that is remaining shallow, because you have not brought Christ into the center of that relationship? That's the first component to building an authentic relationship is that you have a common bond in Christ.

The second component of building an authentic relationship is when your motive is pure when your motive is pure, so look at the text with me. Paul says this our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery as you know, or nor for a pretext for greed, God is witness. Nor did we see glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as gospels, puzzles of Christ. So Paul's motives were pure in his preaching and practice among the Thessalonians period is preaching and practice. So I know that this is true. Paul was describing this profound reality that he did not come to deceive them. That seems like obvious but but but that's just described he's wanting them to know my motives are pure. I did not come to deceive you. I'm not a car commercial. Okay, that's all that that is a lie by the way. Okay. Whenever I hear Joe Clemens oh my goodness I know I'm getting lied to all right so boy, he's got some marketing points. Let me tell you what he Everyone knows that dude. So I but you show up. Here's the reality all car commercials this do this. All deal is to get you to get into that store to think that whatever percentage or payment plans or everything is actually a good deal, it's actually just going to be a slavery into debt for who knows how long and they're showing up and they're wanting to be your friends. They're asking you like about your family. They don't care. They just want your money. Everything is an error. Everything is a lie. It's all just for the goal of getting something out of you, right? Like Paul is saying, I have come with pure motives, not to deceive you. Everything I've been saying to you is true, is honest, is for your good in mind. That's what I've done to be able to describe this pure, a message that can be trusted. He didn't come to deceive, he didn't come for gain or for glory. Paul didn't come to receive praise and approval from men. He wasn't looking for money or prestige, or attention or fame or recognition. Paul's motive was to please God. That was this whole goal and even made this statement too, in verse four.

We come to please God who tests our hearts, who tests our hearts, who tests our hearts. We can fool people who don't know us. But we can't fool people who knows us inside and out.

I've always been interested in being a jean jacket guy. I've wanted a jean jacket. I find them really intriguing. I feel like they made me a little more edgy. I want that. I've tried multiple times to purchase one. Okay. So, but I have a lovely person in my life. My lovely bride, Emily Norris, who looks at me and goes, that's not you. Never been in a fight. never ridden a motorcycle. You're trying to be somebody or not babe. I know who you really are. And I'm saving you from being a complete fool trying to pretend like somebody you're not I can't fake it around here. I'll never own a jean jacket. So they recipes.

You may be able to fool people and hide your motives. But you can never fool the Lord who knows all of your thoughts, all of your motives, all of your intentions. You can hide behind pretense, you can hide behind looking good. You can hide behind trying to make yourself look better than you actually are run another person, but God knows that you can't fool him. You're not fooling him. So we have to be cautious as we're going into interacting with other people, because you may be able to fake it for some time, but the judge of Heaven knows, if you're faking it and fooling somebody. You can't fool him. We tread lightly, because he knows all of our thoughts. He knows all of them.

While he is aware of our thoughts, sometimes even when we are not because we're often blind to it. I think there are some really important ways and some helpful ways when we can tell that our relationship with someone is extremely inauthentic. And here's two of them.

First, the relationship is about pleasing a person. The relationship is about pleasing a person. Paul said, I didn't come to please you, I came to please God. But you can tell when a relationship is inauthentic, when it's all about pleasing that person. It causes us to cultivate false peace and false unity, where you're never gonna actually go there with that person. You're never actually gonna have real conversations with that person. Because all you want is for that person to be happy when they're around you. All you want is for that person to be pleased by your presence. All you want is for that person to like you. That's all that you want. Your goal is to please that person that has no longer become a relationship that's become an idol. It's become an idol.

If our motivation is to please the Lord, that's when true unity and peace can be found. But if it is to please a person, you don't have a relationship. It's fake. So that's the first one. A relationship is about pleasing a person.

Secondly, our relationship is about using that person. Greedy for attention, for money, for recognition, for social connection, for glory, whatever it may be, we use the person to get the thing that we want. But not an individual. They're a vending machine. They're not an image bearer. They're in it. A means to an end. It's kind of like, basically how the whole country treats Iowa during caucus time. They don't care about us guys. They really don't. We're only here to get that one poll point that we never seen again, do it. It's over. They really don't care about the Heartland. So authentic relationship don't treat people as objects, but as image bearers. Of worth, of dignity, of attention of time of our very lives.

This week, perhaps, you need to do some diagnosis on your relationships. Honestly asking yourself if they are primarily based on pleasing or using a person that's going to need to be some soul work that I think all of us need to do.

Our motives must be genuine for authentic relationships to be formed. We see a really authentic relationship in First Samuel 18 through 20, a classic Old Testament friendship between David and Jonathan. David was the anointed king of Israel and Jonathan was the son of the current king of Israel, Saul, whose whole aim in life at the this point in David's life was to kill the future anointed king David. That was his whole purpose. And Jonathan was the son of this murderous King, who saw David saw the hand of God on David and said, I'm going to covenant myself with this man. I'm going to link my soul with this man, I'm gonna give myself to this man. I'm gonna be in your corner. I'm going to be the loyal one for you. I'm going to be the one who is is fighting for you, praying for you. with you. I'm going to be with you With you With you is what Jonathan said to David, by the way, at the expense of his own life. Because he in his loyalty to David was jeopardizing his very safety being in the presence of his murderous father, betraying his own father for the good of his friend that he was committing himself to. There was deep loyalty that Jonathan had with David even to the point of this where Jonathan at the very very dangerous of his life, warned David of his father's murder attempts of his life and placed himself in danger for the hope of saving his friend. Oh, we need Jonathan's in our life Don't wait. If you have it, Jonathan in your life like that, praise the Lord Jesus Christ, because he's given you a profound gift. We need loyal friends like that in our life, don't we? Oh, we are blessed when we have Jonathan's in our life.

But here's the turn. That if we are called to make disciples, our focus shouldn't be to find Jonathan's but to be Jonathan's. Your focus shouldn't be God, why aren't you giving me a Jonathan? Why don't I have a loyal friend like that? Please, please give me one of those. Please, please, please, but rather, Lord, make me a Jonathan. Form me into a selfless friend. Form me into one who has pure motives. Who cares about them and wants to see Christ at the smack dab center of my friendship make me someone who's selfless in my attitude towards them? Well, we see that post conduct towards the Thessalonians was very Jonathan like, and he describes that in the rest of this passage, and it's actually the third component of authentic relationships. And that's that authentic relationships are built by a conduct of love. When our conduct is loving, authentic relationships can be built. Paul's loving conduct towards the Thessalonians was obviously seen. So verses seven and eight. This is how he described his conduct with them. We were gentle among you like a nursing mother taking you like a sorry, like a nursing mother, taking care of her own children. So being affectionately desirous of you. We're ready to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us motherly love is false conduct here motherly love so these descriptors gentle, affectionately desirous, giving our own selves our very lives to you. Gentle, affectionate, selfless. That's a mom right there. That is that is giving all all energy all focus all time even her own good for the sake of loving her kids. That's what moms do. They run circles around everybody else in society in terms of caring for children because of that, that that that loving motherly affection and gentleness and selflessness that they have Paul was gentle. He considered their emotions when he acted. That's a gentleness is we're gentle when we're thinking about how would they feel by this act. That's our your gentle person, is when you're thinking of their emotions. Before you even taken action. That's where gentleness can happen. So Paul is doing he's wanting his actions to make them feel safe and loved. And he's affectionately desirous of them, longing for them or yearning for their good pulse emotions are now directed towards them. So he's not only concerned for there's he's directing his towards them, right. He's affectionately desirous his desires to be near them close to them, love them, be with them. And then he's selfless. He is giving up his own well being for their own.

They are more important to Paul than he is to himself. Loving them as he loves himself. That's motherly love, but he doesn't stop there. There's also fatherly love in this text too. So look in verse nine.

For you remember brothers, our labor and toil, we work night and day that we might not be able burden to you while we proclaim to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses and God also how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct towards you believers. For you know how like a father and his children, we exhorted each of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. fatherly love, exhorting, encouraging, charging, exhorting, he's intentionally teaching and instructing them follow me as I follow Christ. He's encouraging them, he built them up and he inspired them. He's charging them challenging them to be more faithful to work in a manner worthy of the call that they have received. That's what a father does. He steps in the home and he directs his family, towards godliness and holiness and faithfulness. His intentional is purposeful, he's strong. He speaks the truth. All for the concern of loving his kids and his wife and his whole household sort of father does.

But I want you to see that an authentic relationship contains both types of loving conduct. An authentic relationship contains both motherly love and fatherly love. And in fact, when you only have one and not the other things are kind of out of whack. So it makes me think of my aunt and uncle, Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary. Uncle Tom was a physician, and he was the hardest dude like you'd ever interact with K we're like hanging out with my cousins. And you hear the booming voice so Hey, he's from Kentucky, and and we all kind of cower in fear because here comes Uncle Tom coming upstairs. What are y'all doing? Everyone needs to go on down and go to sleep. We got things to do in the morning and like the fear of God comes upon us. And we line up and we say Yes, sir. And we go to bed and everyone said, Yes, sir, in my life, but to him, I do you know, and I fall down and I'm going to sleep. And then like shortly after, up comes Aunt Mary. How y'all doing everyone doing okay? Can I pray with each and every one of you and she comes up and she she hugs you, you're so loved. You're so cared for. You're so perfect in the eyes of God like just Karen over and over and over again. Here's the reality. If you have fatherly love without motherly love, that's harshness.

But if you have motherly love without fatherly love that's coddling. You need both. It's honestly why my siblings probably love Jesus so much. And that's why my cousins love Jesus so much. Specifically my cousins because they live this wonderful balance of experiencing fatherly love and motherly love not in one person, but in parents. And they got weaknesses they both through Nate admit that but thanks video that marriage crafted that loving conduct that cultivated an environment that pointed them to the Lord Jesus Christ. Well in our friendships, Cottage Grove, we have to have that same that that different side of the same coin of motherly love and fatherly love. Other areas and the text describe it as this grace and truth.

The person who modeled that so perfectly was Jesus Christ Himself. Gospel John says that he was full of grace and truth that Jesus so purposely spoke the truth instructed, called charged, exhorted, encouraged, coached, but at the same time, was gentle, and was caring and was nurturing and was ultimately perfectly selfless, but he was full of grace and truth had that motherly and fatherly love. That's what an authentic relationship does. Grace truth, gentle, strong, truthful, patient. All of those things happening all at the same time. Authentic relationships can contain this type of loving conduct. Sometimes this conduct toward somebody, by the way is very natural. Okay? Very natural at times, I think about just literally just a parent with their kid. It's very natural to want to desire, truth and grace for this child, right? Because no matter how this honoree this child can be that's going to be set. It's natural at times to have a loving conduct towards people. It's natural for you to have a loving conduct towards someone who shares a lot of commonalities with you. That's natural. That's easy, but that's not what this text is calling us to do. That's not what the gospel calls us to do. The Gospel calls us to love when it's hard.

The Gospel calls us to love and be consistent in our loving conduct when someone's unlovable. They gospel calls us to love someone when it's unnatural in our core to do that to love indiscriminately. And I'm telling you what it is impossible for you to love like that in and of yourself. You need to experience that type of love. That is undeserving. That seems completely unnatural. That makes completely no sense. That is something that is so outside of yourselves that your own logic can't even make sense of it. That's something that you think about. You say, I can't add that up. That does not make any sense to me. I am talking about this profound reality that there is a holy God in the universe that would look on unworthy, sinful, disgusting, rebellious, wicked people like you and me and say this. I love them.

So much do I love them that I will send my perfect son who modeled grace and truth, who was the perfect blend of that motherly fatherly love, who demonstrated true authentic relationships. Because although these people were completely unlovable, I demonstrated the perfect act of love, that I laid myself on that cross in their place so that they can experience the love of a holy God forevermore. Amen. That's the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's the love of God that blows our minds. That blows our minds.

Christ is the architect of authentic relationships, because he was the one who loved us first. Beloved, first, john four says, If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another, for not that we love God, but he loved us and gave himself up for us. We are able to love authentically because he loved us first.

So as we seek to make disciples, know that we must build authentic relationships for this to happen. We have to build authentic This is the first step of true discipleship. You have to build authentic relationships with somebody that costs a lot that you've given up your own self sometimes to make that a reality. And it is by our love that the world sees Jesus Christ, our love for one another and by the way, your friends your doesn't even know Christ will see the love of Christ by the way in which you love them. That'll be a signpost to them of the ultimate love that they long for, that your relationship must point to, must be the center component. It is that authentic love that will be one of the most profound witnesses to the world around us. These are authentic relationships are built. When our common bond is Christ, our motives are pure, and our conduct is loving. And know that he does the work for he is that architect of the authentic relationships. Let's pray together, Jesus, we pray that you would do a marvelous work in this place. As we strive to be faithful to the call that you've given us to build and make disciples. We know that the first step in that is literally doing what you did. loving people, coming for us making a way to have a relationship with you in Jesus Christ, you did that.

Now we can be in the relationship, a loving relationship now and forevermore of the trying God of the universe. God it's that love that empowers us and enables us motivates us, equips us to build authentic relationships around us. God would we never strive to do any of this apart from you? We can it's a sham. If we do, but God would we be able to say just like Paul said to the Thessalonians I did not come in vain. This was not empty, this is not a sham. This is not an authentic because Jesus Christ, you are at the center of why we are now having the conversation with our neighbor. Why we are fine with our friend that we've been friends with for years. Finally, bring the Bible with us as we go to coffee together. Would you be the reason why we are going to do that crazy hard thing, that although our co worker comes from a country completely different country we believe in the power of the gospel, that all barriers can be broken down. And relationships can be because of the powerful love of Jesus Christ that you demonstrated to us first. Amen.

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