genuine relationships, pt. 4

©2021 dan bulkley | ask@lifefellowship.org

section 1

When we are faulty in our hearts and relationships, we need to be open about our sins i john 1:9 and renounce them proverbs 28:13 especially with those we have harmed, or even think we’ve harmed james 4:17 romans 14:14 , in our relations with them james 5:16 hosea 14:2 . If we want healing to occur, we must be genuinely open acts 24:16 , and desirous of reconciliation proverbs 14:9 . But being honest does not mean boasting in our sin unashamedly jeremiah 6:14-15 , as if our sin is "their problem" to get over. We should not hide our sin or boast in them james 3:14 . Because harboring our sin and/or hiding it separates us from God psalm 66:18 isaiah 59:1-2 and each other isaiah 5:8 ii timothy 3:2-5 , while being open AND repentant with our sin opens the door for us to truly fellowship i john 1:7 .

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supporting scriptures

i john 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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proverbs 28:13

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,

but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

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james 4:17

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

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romans 14:14

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

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james 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

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hosea 14:2

Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, "Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips.

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acts 24:16

So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

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proverbs 14:9

Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.

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jeremiah 6:14-15

They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.

15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown," says the LORD.

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james 3:14

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth

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psalm 66:18

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

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isaiah 59:1-2

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;

2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

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isaiah 5:8

Woe to those who join house to house,

who add field to field,

until there is no more room,

and you are made to dwell alone

in the midst of the land.

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ii timothy 3:2-5

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

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i john 1:7

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

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section 2

In regard to relationships it is beneficial to recognize that we are limited in our opportunities and capacity ephesians 5:15-16 colossians 4:5-6 . This is not to put up contrived boundaries in our life, as we are to do good to all we have opportunity with i thessalonians 5:15 galatians 6:10 . Still, we should humbly recognize that by our very nature we are subject to the opportunities God directs us with and should not arrogantly think we are able or authorized to go beyond our scope God has given us ii corinthians 10:13-15 . Such thinking burdens us and detracts from the immediate opportunities God has assigned us to serve in i corinthians 3:5 psalm 131 . Do not think to force your way into an opportunity; such thinking is not from faith in God’s hand in your life romans 14:23 ii thessalonians 1:11 , but rather is from selfish pride numbers 22:12-19 .

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supporting scriptures

ephesians 5:15-16

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

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colossians 4:5-6

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

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i thessalonians 5:15

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

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galatians 6:10

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

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ii corinthians 10:13-15

But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged,

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i corinthians 3:5

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

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psalm 131

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

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romans 14:23

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

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ii thessalonians 1:11

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,

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numbers 22:12-19

God said to Balaam, "You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed." 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, "Go to your own land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you." 14 So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, "Balaam refuses to come with us."

15 Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honorable than these. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, "Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Let nothing hinder you from coming to me, 17 for I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. Come, curse this people for me.’" 18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, "Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the LORD my God to do less or more. 19 So you, too, please stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me."

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section 3

So, we should be careful not to seek to collect glory acts 12:21-23 , influential control daniel 4:25 daniel 4:30-31 or "friends" to put in our own trophy case galatians 4:17 or at the cost of our God-given responsibilities i corinthians 7:24 judges 9:8-13 romans 12:3 . Social media has exposed our own redefinition of friends as self-gratifying, self-actualizing, self-promoting objects for one’s own, yes, self. Beware the heart’s proclivity to idolize "likes", "friends", "views", "shares", etc. A relationship with another is not a means to building yourself up, but rather a genuine relationship with another is THE REWARD for all the efforts made here on earth i corinthians 3:6-17 . The only thing that goes into eternity with us, is the relationships made in Christ.

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supporting scriptures

acts 12:21-23

On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, "The voice of a god, and not of a man!" 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

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daniel 4:25

...that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.

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my notes:

daniel 4:30-31

and the king answered and said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,

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galatians 4:17

They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.

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i corinthians 7:24

So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

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judges 9:8-13

The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, Reign over us.’ 9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my abundance, by which gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees?’ 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?’ 12 And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’

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romans 12:3

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

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my notes:

i corinthians 3:6-17

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

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section 4

It is the genuine, reciprocal love in the truth for each other that IS our joy, IS our crown, and IS our glory i thessalonians 2:19-20 philippians 4:1 . Jesus Himself IS our eternal life john 17:3 , IS our inheritance revelation 21:6-7 psalm 16:2 , IS our glory romans 8:17 , IS our all in all ephesians 1:22-23 romans 8:32 . We are His inheritance ephesians 1:18 psalm 2:8 . And as such we all share in His inheritance of each other...together matthew 19:29 psalm 16:3 hebrews 11:40 .

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supporting scriptures

i thessalonians 2:19-20

For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

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philippians 4:1

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

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john 17:3

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

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revelation 21:6-7

And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

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psalm 16:2

I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord;

I have no good apart from you."

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romans 8:17

and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

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ephesians 1:22-23

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

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romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

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ephesians 1:18

having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

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psalm 2:8

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

and the ends of the earth your possession.

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matthew 19:29

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

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psalm 16:3

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

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hebrews 11:40

since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

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section 5

This is why it should be so valued among us to invest our hearts in genuine relationships with each other luke 16:9 . For that is the substance of Heaven psalm 16:2-3 psalm 16: 5-6 psalm 16: 11 and even the participation in the Heavenly life here colossians 3:1-17 .

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supporting scriptures

luke 16:9

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

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psalm 16:2-3

I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord;

I have no good apart from you."

3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,

in whom is all my delight.

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psalm 16:5-6

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;

you hold my lot.

6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

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psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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my notes:

colossians 3:1-17

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

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section 6

But self is the destroyer of the reward of others luke 9:23-24 . So, be aware that it is not necessarily the quantity of relationships you collect, but more the quality of the relationship you have, within the opportunity God has given you proverbs 18:24 . Jesus Himself had many relationships, but to various scales and scopes within the opportunities. He had dear friends outside His daily circle john 11:5 . He had people He cared for within only that small window of opportunity luke 19:5 . He taught to crowds as they would listen mark 4:1-2 . He had many who followed His teaching but were not too close i corinthians 15:6 john 6:66 . He even had secret followers john 19:38 and a betrayer john 13:18 amongst His relationships. But the largest scope of His relationships was with His twelve close students matthew 10:2-4 , in which there were three He was especially invested in matthew 17:1 and even one out of those three in whom He had an even closer friendship john 19:26-27 .

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supporting scriptures

luke 9:23-24

And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

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proverbs 18:24

A man of many companions may come to ruin,

but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

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john 11:5

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

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luke 19:5

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today."

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mark 4:1-2

Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them

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i corinthians 15:6

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

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john 6:66

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

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john 19:38

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.

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john 13:18

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’

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matthew 10:2-4

The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

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matthew 17:1

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

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john 19:26-27

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

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section 7

Though, I do not believe we need to exactly mimic Christ’s numbers; it gives us an idea as to how a godly person’s relationships might develop. Marriage being the closest human relationship genesis 2:24-25 , then the literal household i timothy 5:8 , the brotherhood romans 12:10 , and then beyond. One could be single, like Paul, and still develop close familial relationships i timothy 1:2 and dear friendship philemon 1:12 philemon 1:16-17 within the brotherhood.

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supporting scriptures

genesis 2:24-25

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

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i timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

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romans 12:10

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

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i timothy 1:2

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

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philemon 1:12

I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.

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philemon 1: 16-17

no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.

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section 8

The point is that genuine relationships, true friendship, consists of pouring your life out for others not from a distance but in an ongoing, life-sharing way ii corinthians 7:3 i thessalonians 2:8 . The more you live, worship, serve and even eat together the more the relationship can grow acts 2:42-46 . Commonality, or better yet, unity of having the same mind, love, mutual understanding and purpose philippians 2:2 is fertile ground for growth of genuine relationships. Just as sharing with the Lord in suffering romans 8:17 philippians 3:10 , life-principles proverbs 3:32 , responsiveness proverbs 1:23 , communication isaiah 30:18-21 and work i corinthians 3:9 builds the relationship ii peter 1:4 ; so it is with our relationships in Him with each other. As we follow His way it is inevitable that we will build genuine relationships with any in our sphere of opportunity who also seek to walk with the Lord in His way philippians 1:27-2:5 . As we draw closer to Christ in His perfection together hebrews 11:40 , we too shall draw closer to each other together philippians 3:7-4:3 .

supporting scriptures

ii corinthians 7:3

I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.

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i thessalonians 2:8

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.

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acts 2:42-46

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

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philippians 2:2

complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

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romans 8:17

and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

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philippians 3:10

that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

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proverbs 3:32

for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD,

but the upright are in his confidence.

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proverbs 1:23

If you turn at my reproof,

behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;

I will make my words known to you.

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isaiah 30:18-21

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. 19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

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i corinthians 3:9

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

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ii peter 1:4

by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

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my notes:

philippians 1:27-2:5

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

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hebrews 11:40

since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

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my notes:

philippians 3:7-4:3

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.