Quarter’s Theme: INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CHURCH
UNIT 2 – Practicing Interpersonal Relationship (Lessons 5-7)
CONSECRATION AND DEDICATION MONTHS
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 37, 223
Devotional Reading: JN. 13:31-35
Topic For Adults
YOUR RELATIONSHIP IN THE CHURCH MATTERS
Topic For Youths
GOD IS INTERESTED IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Topic For Intermediates
LET CHRIST BE SEEN IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
JAM. 4:1-6; ROM. 12:9-11; HEB. 13:1-3; ROM. 12:16-18; 2 COR. 13:11; PHIL. 2:1-2
14/1/2018 LESSON 7
RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER CHURCH MEMBERS
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself (Phil. 2:3) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Relating As Family Members
1 Tim. 5:1-2
Paul admonished Timothy as the pastor of his church on how to relate to various categories of people within the congregation. The admonition is pertinent and useful to every member of a living church. In relating with one another, members have to demonstrate mutual respect, love and care. Older people should be related to as if they are one’s biological parents, showing them respect as if they are one’s father or one’s mother. Young people should also be accorded respect and love which one would normally show to one’s brother or sister. Even when the person one is relating with has done something wrong, the matter should be addressed with understanding and respect. Every form of relationship within the church should be marked with purity of intention and unblemished motive.
Point of Emphasis: Relate to every member of God’s family as if he or she is your blood relative.
Prayer Point: Father, grant us the grace to pursue excellent and godly relationship in our church.
Jesus’ commandment to His disciples during His life ministration “to love each other” is relevant to His followers in all generations. This week’s lesson teaches us about how we should relate with other members of the church. We should demonstrate that we are disciples of Jesus Christ by relating with others well.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: CAUSE OF FRICTION BETWEEN MEMBERS (JAM. 4:1-6)
The church ought to be a place where perfect relationship exists between members of the congre-gation. But oftentimes there is friction between members and this may even degenerate to enmity. One hears statements like “I can’t work with that brother” or “I do not want to be near that sister, she hates me”. What could be the cause of such ill feeling among Christians?
Friction arises when brethren allow their carnal desire for recognition and desire to meet the necessities of life to override God’s command for them to love one another as He loves us. The carnal nature always wants to rise and reign in the life of the Christian. Carnal nature wants to be pampered and worshipped. When its desires are not met, it feels wounded and will like to fight back to wound others in return. The Christian who wants to be a friend of the carnal nature or a friend of the world will always bring friction into relationship between members of the congregation. Such a Christian might have given his life to Christ a long time ago, still he is a babe in Christ not growing into maturity. When friction occurs in the fellowship the root cause is, quite often, immaturity due to unbroken fallow ground in the members’ lives.
Friction also arises when the Christian misplaces his trust – putting his trust in man rather than in God. Rather than trusting in God and praying for his needs to be met by God, he expects the rich or influential brother in the church to meet the needs. When the rich brother fails, the man gets disappointed and begrudges the rich brother. God is the only source of help that can never fail. Man fails to have his desire met because he fails to ask God or because he asks with wrong motives.
PART 2: SHOW BROTHERLY LOVE (ROM. 12:9-11; HEB. 13:1-3)
“A new commandment I give to you that you love one another; as I have loved you that you also love one another” (John 13:34). Relation-ship between genuine Christians should be marked by genuine love – love that does not have the tinge of hypocrisy. Love makes a person help another without counting the cost. Genuine love does not take into consideration the social status, the educational level, the tribe, the colour of skin, or the age of the one to be helped. Genuine love does not expect any gratification in return for the help rendered. Genuine love empathizes with the person that needs help, desires to see the good of the neighbour, does not rejoice when the other person suffers adversity. Genuine love seeks to bear burdens with others who are heavily laden – spends quality time praying for others, visiting them for fellowship and encouraging them.
PART 3: BE OF ONE MIND (ROM. 12:16-18; 2 COR. 13:11; PHIL. 2:1-2)
It is impossible to know what goes on in the mind of the Christian who is sitting next to you. Experience has shown that when a project is being discussed, hardly do all have the same goal in mind. While some are pushing hard to move the project forward, some will be pulling back for their selfish motives. Two Christians who claim to be working for God will be fighting over who should be in control. When one Christian is given recognition, the other becomes sour. Satan encourages dissension so that Christians will not be able to achieve as much as they would have achieved if they are of one mind. Being of one mind does not mean we lose our individuality. It means we subject our individual differences to the good of all.
It is impossible to relate together having one mind as long as indivi-duals focus on their superio-rity above others, or focus on their own personal gains at the expense of the good of the generality. Each person has his strong area and at the same time has his weaknesses. We should take time to listen to others and try to understand their viewpoints.
To relate with one mind, members of the congregation should put God’s agenda first and above individual interests. We used to spell JOY as Jesus first, Other people next and Yourself last in our relationship with other believers.
Our relationship with one another in our congregation should reflect the love that God has for us – unconditional love that is willing to help carry the burdens of others. There ought not to be two Christians who find it difficult to relate. Wher-ever carnality has caused friction, individuals involved need to surrender anew to God and let the peace of God reign.
- What are the causes of friction among brethren in the church?
- Why are the desires of man not realised according to this lesson?
- What are the things that genuine love do among the people?
- How can you demonstrate true love?
- Is it possible to relate together with one mind? Discuss.