Monday, March 02, 2009

Friendlationships - Part 3

This is our third episode of friends and uncovers the all-important dimension of covenant. 

Big Idea:
Do you want your relationships to go to a whole new level? Do you desire deep, meaningful, and life-transforming relationships? Then you are looking for the dimension of covenant.    

Why do people feel so lonely, disconnected, and empty in a hi-tech world where we seem to be in touch with more people than ever? Maybe it is because much of the world is settling for imitations rather than pursuing real relationships. Meaningful relationships require serious investment and commitment. The Bible reveals that the dimension of a relationship that makes it special is the covenant. A covenant is the commitment to love and be faithful in all things and at all times. A covenant in the Biblical setting was a pledge to death and was cut in blood. Can you imagine being loved so much that someone would pledge himself to die for the security of your well being? Staggering, isn’t it? In His love, Jesus cut a covenant with us and freely gave His life for us. This covenant also serves as an example of the kind of relationships we are to have with other members of God’s family - the church. These relationships should be the richest and most rewarding we have in life. They should be filled with love and compassion, grace and mercy, encouragement and affection.

The friendship between Jonathan, the son of King Saul, and David, the king-to-be, is a stunning picture of taking a relationship to a whole new level of covenant. The story is summarized in 1 Samuel chapters 18 through 20. Let’s look at five qualities of covenant that made their friendship special and that can take your friendships to that new level. (1) Covenant friends are committed to caring for one another. (2) Covenant friends are faithful, loyal, and trustworthy. (3) Covenant friends are committed to the principles of honesty, transparency, and truth. (4) Covenant friends protect and cover one another. (5) Covenant friends encourage and empower one another. The dimension of covenant is essential if we are going to be the kind of “friend” to others that Jesus was to people during his ministry, the kind of friend that Jesus is to us today. Ultimately, it is essential if we are going to win people to faith in Jesus Christ.

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

1 Samuel 18:1-4 and 1 Samuel 20:41-42
Do you have this kind of covenant relationship with another person? If so, please share how it works and what it means to you. How have you shown covenant friendship to others?

Galatians 6:10 & John 13:35
Have you witnessed or experienced first-hand a difference in friendship between Christ followers that is not present with others? Why does the way Christians treat one another matter? Give examples of how our relationships with believers can be enhanced.

Romans 5:8
How did Jesus demonstrate a covenant relationship toward us? Explain why we can commit to a covenant relationship without the other persons commitment? Discuss the kind of relationships that require the dimension of covenant.  

Taking Action: Read 1 Samuel chapters 18 through 20. Examine your friendships. Are you reflecting the qualities of covenant? By God’s grace, commit to exhibiting the qualities of a covenant friend to those closest to you.

Ministry Time

1 comment:

Zack said...

This is great Eric! In our culture the definition of friendship has been brought down so low.

We need "marvelous comrades"!