RELATIONSHIP – PART 1
TEXT: II SAM. 9: 1 & 7 - David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake? “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all
the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
Last week we looked at relationship as the essence of life and at the heart of God’s creation. Relationship is important to God. We are expected to have good relationship with God and with men. The bible says we should live at peace with all men. In Rom. 12:18, the bible admonishes“if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (NIV). If you look at this passage, you would notice that it says as far as it depends on you. Note your living at peace with all men is not dependent on them but on you. This means that you are to make up your mind to live at peace with all men no matter what they do or who they are. This is what would make the difference between you and others. We are told that while Apostle Stephen was been stoned to death in Acts 7:58 -60, his prayers to God was “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (NIV). I believed that God answered his prayers; perhaps a reason why Apostle Paul who consented to the stoning could be saved and later became the greatest Apostle. The bible records in Acts 8: 1a that Saul (who later became Paul), “was there, giving approval to his death” (Acts 8:1a) - NIV.
There is always a choice to make when we are offended. Repay evil with evil or turn the other ears. We would always be offended in the course or our relationship at whatever levels and in whatever circumstances by men. Why? It is because the hearts of men are desperately wicked and always set in them to do evil. People would often, intentionally and unintentionally, offend us. Sometimes because God is longsuffering and slow to punish, people are misled to believe that they would get away unpunished. In Eccl. 8:11 we were told that “because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil (KJV). Also, in Jer. 17:9 the bible says "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (NLTV).
If you want to please God and do His will then we must learn to live at peace with all men. God’s plan is that His church would march on and the gate of hell would not prevail over it. So, for this to happen, we, as the church would need to ensure that everything we do is going to lead to the edification of the Church. According to Rom. 14:19, the bible says “let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (NIV). One of the reasons why we need to live at peace with all men is so that we can have mutual edification. What is edification? Edification from religious point of view could be described as moral and spiritual enlightenment or improvement or promotion or expansion.
In the course of our relationship in the Church, offence often occurs amongst brethren for so many reasons; one of which is because the devil is aware of the power of unity that the Church has. The bible says in Deut. 32:30 that one would chase a thousand while two would chase ten thousand of your enemies. Who are your enemies? The devil and his demons are your enemies. So, the devil would do everything to ensure that there is no unity in the Church by destroying relationship in the Church. So, when you are offended by a brother or sister, the bible (Matt. 18: 15-17) is clear about how such should be resolved in the Church. “If your brother sins against you go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector” (NIV). It is when we learn to do this that the Church would be able to command anything to move or come; loose or bound; ask and receive; knock and have open door; and seek and found. If we follow this dispute resolution command above, that is when the bible in Matt. 18: 18 says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (NIV).
Brethren, in Jesus Sanctuary, let us purpose in our hearts that we would live at peace with each other. That is the only way by which the Lord can add to his Church as it was recorded in Acts 2: 42 – 46. It is within our power to do so, and I pray that the Lord would add to His Church in Jesus name.
Dr. Yinka Okude
RCCG, Jesus Sanctuary Northampton