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The Reality of Your Relationship - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2021 12:00 am

The Reality of Your Relationship - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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September 23, 2021 12:00 am

Is a deep, personal connection with God fueling everything you do?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, September 23. Are your priorities where they should be? When your relationship with the Lord becomes secondary, it's easy to drift away from a holy lifestyle. When you and I look at the church today and look around us, what do we see? We see a church that is very confused. We see a church that has lost its way, and we see a church that is floundering for a sense of direction. We have more money today in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the institutional church, than ever before. We have more trained preachers than ever before, more staff members than ever before, more beautiful edifices, more convenient, more comfortable buildings than ever before.

In fact, we have everything better than we've ever had it before. And yet the problem is that while we are increasing in everything, our influence is diminishing proportionately. Now, there may be many reasons, but I believe one of the primary reasons is that in all of our program and all of our attempt to build great churches, one thing that we have overlooked above all the rest is this. That is, we have forgotten what God said in the very beginning about our relationship to Him, that He is far more interested and impressed by our relationship with Him than what you and I can ever do for Him. He's not interested in what we do for Him. He's interested in what we are in relationship to Him.

I want you to get this down. Everything that we do, we do from one of two resources. We either do it from human resource, whatever we are doing for God. We either resort to human resources within ourselves or secondly, a heavenly relationship. Either it's going to be the result of my human resource or a heavenly relationship. Whatever we are doing for God, whatever our work may be, whatever the activity is, it's going to find its source in one of those two.

Either I'm going to do it out of my human resources, my abilities, my talents, my gifts, my knowledge, my experience, my understanding, my material resource or out of my heavenly relationship with Jesus Christ who has promised to be everything you need at any moment in your life. God never intended for His children to serve Him, live for Him, work for Him on the basis of human resources. That is not of God.

That is the devil substitute way for doing the work of God. But on the other hand, if we are working and living and laboring from a heavenly relationship, that is because of our intimate relationship with Him, there's a whole different matter. And I think the 37th Psalm, there are two or three verses there that wrap it all up. When you and I are laboring, working, living on the basis of a heavenly relationship, what happens? First of all, we delight ourselves in Him because we know that it is as we are delighting in Him that that's the source. Secondly, we not only delight in Him, we commit to Him. And the third thing He says is therefore we can rest in Him.

You see, as long as we are laboring from human resource, we are always in a bind, always struggling and fretting and laboring and bearing the weight of what we are trying to do. When we are laboring under a relationship, a heavenly relationship, we have unlimited resources, unlimited wisdom given by God and so what? We just simply delight ourselves in Him, not in the work. We commit ourselves to Him, not to the work. We rest in Him and not weary ourselves under the laborious work that we feel that God has given us to do. Therefore, what I want us to do in the next few moments is to examine our hearts in this matter of our relationship to Him and let's just get this etched in your mind to ask yourself, whatever you're doing, wherever it may be, am I doing this on the basis of my human resources or am I doing this on the basis of a heavenly relationship? He is not the least bit impressed with works.

He is only impressed with relationship. Now let me ask you this. What kind of relationship do you have with God? You say, well, I read the Bible. I pray. I do this, that and the other.

What kind of relationship? Let me ask you this. When you think about God, what do you think about? Some invisible source or spirit up yonder in the somewhere, out yonder in a place called heaven or a man sitting on a large throne with a long white beard and white hair and with all these spirits of some sort, dancing around them and people bowing down saying praise to the Lord. What do you think about when you think about God?

Or do you think of a warm, intimate, personal, indwelling friend? What is your relationship to God? You see, we are so actively engaged in making a living and working for God and doing this and doing that and having our recreation and all that, we just pulled in so many different directions. We missed the one thing he told us to do above everything else in the Bible. You know, a lot of folks are legalistic.

They're very dedicated, but they're dedicated to legalism. And they are committed to work, not to God. And when I read the Gospels, the one thing he keeps talking about is my personal relationship with him.

He's not interested in what I do for him. Listen, when you think about God, what do you think about? Some people have an intellectual relationship.

Yes, I believe there is a God. They've read the Bible and they've read books about the Bible, and so they can intellectually assent to the fact that there is a God and their relationship to him is only an intellectual, mental assent to the fact of his possible existence or even a committal to the fact that God exists. But that is as far as their relationship to him goes because they go about doing their own thing and they owe him nothing.

They don't give him anything. They don't believe in him as the God whom we believe in. That's just an intellectual assent. The second, I think, that's evident here, not only is there an intellectual relationship, but there is a relationship that I think you and I could call, well, let's just say an indifferent relationship. Intellectual relationship and indifferent relationship. Now, let's talk about a Christian, for example, a person who's been saved by the grace of God, who's been baptized, and they've gone to church most of their life or maybe they're a young person, and when they were saved, somebody says, well, that's it.

Never got any instruction, never got any training, never challenged to grow deep, never challenged to walk in the Spirit, never challenged for a quiet time, just saved and got baptized and then dropped on a pew in the church building, and many of you grew up in churches and that's what happened to you. And so you always know he's there in case you need him. And the relationship is one of indifference because you only call on him in time of an emergency. So you see, you sort of live a little indifferent to him each day, and it's not that you intended to be that way, it's just the fact that nobody taught you any better, and it's sort of a distant relationship. I don't mean because you think he's up there, but it's just the fact that you don't, no one ever taught you that it's to be an intimate relationship, oneness, abiding, but just a distant relationship with him.

Then I think another facet of the relationship is an imitation, the imitation relationship, and that is you just sort of, you know, you just sort of act like it. Oh, sure, I believe in God, sure, I'm saved, yeah, everything's right. Oh, I pray, I read the Bible. In other words, you just sort of wear this counterfeit facade that everything is right and you're attempting to imitate what you know he wants you to be and somehow you can't be that, but you're doing your best to imitate the kind of life you think Jesus would have you to live.

It doesn't ever come through, but you keep on trying. And then there's an intimate relationship, and that relationship is one whereby you and Jesus Christ are on a personal one to one intimate, warm, private, fulfilling relationship of love and oneness to each other. Now, listen to what he said in this 15th chapter of John. He said, abide in me and I in you. He said, if the branch is to bear fruit, what is it to do? What is he talking about? There are many things he says in that 15th chapter of John, but in essence, these first eight verses deal with what?

A relationship. He says, abide in me. He says, abide in me and I in you, for the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in me. The whole idea is a relationship of the branch who is the believer to the vine who is Jesus Christ. Now, if you'll notice, he does not major on the fruit, though he speaks of fruit, more fruit and much fruit. And he says the ultimate objective of that branch is fruit bearing. But everything that happens in the life of the branch goes back to the relationship. He says, apart from me, you can do nothing so that Jesus did not major on the work of producing fruit.

He majored on the relationship of abiding in him. And if I am abiding in him in a proper relationship, I do not have to worry about fruit. Now, listen, our problem is we start examining the fruit.

The fruit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness and self-control. Now, oftentimes we say, but I don't love everybody and I don't have peace. I don't have joy and I'm not very meek and I'm not very patient. I'm not in control. Why?

Is it because what he's offered is inadequate? No, it is that we get out here struggling in our own strength from human resource rather than looking to the heavenly relationship. You see, the vine provides everything the branch needs in order to bear fruit for a branch doesn't produce fruit. A branch bears what the vine produces in it. The sap that runs in the vine runs in the branch.

Oneness. The sap in the vine runs in the branch, runs in the stem, in the grapes. The same sap in the grape, in the stem, in the branch, in the vine, it's all one life.

And whenever you separate branch and vine, you have the beginning of death in the life of the branch. And you see, he says the vitality of the believer's life is not in his ability to manipulate himself, but what? To abide in Christ. To live in him. He says Christ is to be everything. He's to be the source of everything. He's to be the center of everything.

He is to be enough in our life. Now, you see, you'll talk to people sometime. You ask them, are they Christian? Oh, yes.

Well, tell me about your relationship to Jesus Christ. And that's the end of it. They don't have any earthly idea what you're talking about. Somebody told them that Jesus Christ died for them and somebody told them to believe in him. And they did that.

They did everything they knew to do. And they can't talk to you about the warmth of Jesus. They can't talk to you about knowing him as friend because they're not building a relationship. Now, listen, a relationship is an intimacy where you and he can share your hearts with each other. And many people who are naming the name of Jesus Christ have a wall between them. A wall of indifference and rebellion and disobedience between them and their God. Listen, you cannot build a relationship with Jesus Christ living in constant disobedience to him.

And if you don't have a relationship with him, nothing else that you do is of any consequence whatsoever. He said abide in me. That is build a relationship with me whereby I can produce through you the fruit of the Spirit. See, the branch doesn't produce it.

The vine produces it. And if you are frustrated because the fruit of the Spirit is not in your life, it is because more than likely you are trying to do something he said you couldn't do. Apart from me, he says you can do nothing. The believer's total security. Listen, the believer's total security is not in his works. His total security is not even in his faith.

His total security is in his relationship with Jesus Christ. Apart from that, he says we can't do anything, we don't have anything, we are not worth anything. What are you worth apart from Jesus Christ?

What have you ever done that had any lasting effect apart from him? What can you be apart from him when he's to be the center of everything, the source of everything? He's to be the fulfillment of everything in our life.

I'll tell you, you cannot be. It's interesting when you look at the scriptures what our Lord said. Let's look at two or three things. Look in John chapter 17 for a moment. I want you to notice he prayed this prayer about his apostles. Then he comes to verse 21 and he begins to talk about unity and oneness and harmony of believers. His prayer was that we might build a relationship with each other and relationship with him. Verse 21, that they may all be one as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us that the world may believe that thou has sent me.

Now listen, what does he say? He's praying for oneness. He's praying that we might have a relationship, watch this now, a horizontal relationship with each other. Now I want you to notice what he said, a horizontal relationship with each other, a vertical relationship with him and if you'll notice what he said, he said that the world may believe that thou has sent me. Listen, all the working for God in the world minus relationship with him will not impress the world one bit.

Now watch this, don't miss this. In order for the world to be impressed and influenced by the church of Jesus Christ, those two relationships must be right. My horizontal relationship with my brother must be right.

My vertical relationship with my Father must be right. If those two are not right, the world's not going to be impressed. He says in order that the world may believe that thou has sent me. If the world is going to believe in Jesus Christ, the world has got to see Jesus Christ in us and they cannot see him in us unless we're building a relationship with him and with each other. Now what is the objective of God's building a relationship with us? There are three things, now write these down. Number one, it is oneness, oneness with Christ, oneness with Christ.

That's his objective. Number two, likeness to Christ, likeness to Christ. And number three, fullness of Christ. You see, he says abide in me, oneness with him, likeness to him, fullness of him. If one wants a relationship whereby you and the Lord Jesus Christ might be one with each other, harmony, unity, oneness of mind, and that there might be the fullness and the likeness of Jesus Christ, then the outside world looks into the heart of the believer and sees an intimate relationship with the living Christ. Are you impressed with the dead God of some other religion?

No. And the unbelieving world, until they see the living Christ within us, they're not going to be impressed by Jesus Christ. Listen, the unbelieving world is not impressed by crosses on top of church steeples. They're not impressed by crosses around your neck.

They're not even impressed by religious books or television programs. They are impressed and influenced when they see the living relationship of Jesus Christ having changed a man's life. That they cannot deny. That bocks them and stalks them. And that confronts them and frustrates them and confuses them until their hearts are enlightened and they say, there's something about that lady, something about that fellow that's different. What is it?

It isn't how much work you do. It's the relationship. And what is he saying? He's saying that he wants us to build a personal relationship with him whereby we might be one in Christ, one in Christ, likened to Christ, and what?

Just filled up with him. And that's why some of God's greatest saints don't stand behind pulpits, don't stand before classes, don't stand in choirs. They are quiet believers whose life is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ.

And moment by moment, day by day, in their growth in him, there is a likeness and a reflection of him within their face that cannot be denied. Now let me ask you this. What is the supreme desire of your heart this morning? What is the one thing that goads you? The one thing that prods you? The one thing that motivates you? The one thing that pushes you? The one thing that keeps driving you?

What is the thing that magnetizes you? What is the thing that gets you up, gets you going? I believe that it is the will of God that our relationship with him be the number one objective of our life. Thank you for listening to The Reality of Relationship. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-06 01:25:37 / 2023-08-06 01:33:04 / 7

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