Who Are You Walking With?

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In this message, we learn why everyone needs 2 or 3 godly relationships in their life.

Everybody, good morning, welcome to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you’re here with us today. And I love what God is doing in this place. I am so excited about who we’re becoming, and where we’re going. We’re following hard after Jesus and we’re becoming a community of faith, hope and love. And I am so proud of you for the way you’re taking next steps and seeking Jesus, I’m so excited about what God did on our 21 days of prayer and fasting, that we created space in our lives, for God to come and speak to us, and have conversations with him.

And I’ve heard incredible stories about what God has been doing in your lives, and in this place. And what I love about where we’re at is, we’re not only growing wider, reaching more people, we’re also growing deeper, which means we’re becoming mature in our faith. And as we continue to grow together as a church, it’s so important that we stay intentional about pursuing the right things.

In fact, this week, I was thinking about this question. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this or not, but what makes a great church, great? Do you ever just stop and think about that for a second? Like you know the difference between a great church and just kind of – a church that maybe is okay. Well, what makes a great church, great?

Well, great churches aren’t great because of great preaching, okay? So we’re still in the running on that one, that’s good news for all of us. Great churches aren’t great because they have great entertainment of programming. Great churches aren’t great because they have great buildings. Great churches are great, because they’re full of godly relationships. It’s what makes a great church great.

In fact, if you’re here checking out Valley Creek Church, trying to find a church that’s for you, you need to know, when you into a church, look and see, are there godly relationships in that church, Christ-centered relationships, where people are gathered together, together with one another around the name of Jesus.

And as we continue to grow, we have to be so intentional about pursuing godly relationships, because godly relationships don’t just happen on their own.

So we’re going to start a new series today, called, 2 or 3, and for the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about godly relationships. And so if you got your bibles, turn with me to Matthew 18, and 2 Corinthians 6. Matthew 18, and 2 Corinthians 6, and I’m just going to tell you, the big idea of this series, right out of the gate is this, it’s that every person at Valley Creek Church, needs 2 or 3 godly relationships in their life. That’s what we’re going to talk about for the next few weeks. And I really believe this is a significant series for our church, that we’ve grown so much over this last season, over this last few years, and it’s so important that we take time to get in these godly relationships.

And so here’s what I’m going to do, I’m just telling you out of the gate, I’m going to challenge you, I’m going to press on some sensitive areas of our hearts, I’m going to cast some vision for you, I’m going to try to inspire you, because I really believe that if you want to become everything God has called you to be, if you want to enjoy your church, experience, if you want to fully encounter Jesus and the way he offers his presence to you, you have to have 2 or 3 godly relationships in your life.

So Jesus, even as we begin this series together, we acknowledge how significant and important this is for us as we continue to grow and follow you. And so holy spirit, we invite you to move into this place, would you just bind all the distractions in the name of Jesus? Would you give us eyes to see, and ears to hear, that which the spirit wants to say to us? Give us a heart to receive? And Jesus, right here, even now, I pray that you would start binding us together, in 2 or 3 godly relationships that we may fully encounter you and become everything you have called us to be. In your name we pray. Amen.

Alright, I’m going to start with the story of Matthew, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. And you can read this on your own later in Matthew 9 or in Luke chapter 5, and I’m going to tell you right upfront, I’m reading into this story, okay, I’m reading into the text, and the reason I’m doing that is because this is not the main passage we’re using today, I’m using it as an illustration or a story. And as I reflect and spend time with all the holy spirit, meditating on the story of Matthew, here’s how I see it play out in my mind.

Jesus is out in and it’s a great day, and he’s doing a whole lot of ministry. How many of you know that whenever Jesus is doing ministry, it’s always a great day, right? When Jesus is doing ministry, it’s a great day. So he’s sitting in a house, he’s teaching about the kingdom of Heaven, a crowd has developed so large, there’s no room in the house, there’s a swell of people outside of the house, and four men come, carrying their friend, how was paralyzed, a paralytic, on a mat, and they bring it to the house, because they want Jesus to heal their friend. Only they can’t get to Jesus because there were so many people there.

So they climbed up on the roof, and you remember the story, they dig a hole in the roof and they lowered the man down, and Jesus looks at the man and he says, take heart, son, your sins are forgiven, now pick up your mat and walk.

And for the first time in this man’s life, he stretches his legs, steps off the mat, grabs his mat, runs out the door, and it says, the crowd is in awe of Jesus, they’re worshipping him, they’re praising him, they can’t believe the miracle they just witnessed with their own eyes, and so the crowd is in this frenzy.

And Jesus gets up, and it’s time to leave the house, and he starts heading down the road, but because the miracle was so incredible, the crowd doesn’t go home, they stay with Jesus, they’re packed in around, and they’re high fiving each other, celebrating, worshiping, praising, they can’t believe who this Jesus is, and what he’s just done, and you got to see it in your mind, the crowd is so large around Jesus, that he can barely take a step in front of him, because everybody is pressing in, it’s a worship service gone crazy, it’s amazing.

And as they’re heading down the road, over here is Matthew. And he’s sitting at his little tax collector’s booth. You see, Matthew was a tax collector, which probably meant he was a well-educated, very wealthy man. And here’s Matthew, and in Jesus’ day, tax collectors were considered the lowest of lows, they were sinners, they were the outcasts, they were lonely, isolated, rejected, nobody wanted anything to do with them. And so here’s Matthew sitting at his tax collectors’ booth and he’s watching as these crowds going by, everybody belongs, everybody has community, everybody’s a part of something.

And he’s over here by himself, and it’s almost as if the crowd passes him by, he’s watching life pass him by. And what I love about what the scripture says is that, as Jesus was walking with this big crowd of people, all his friends and disciples around him, he gets to a spot and he stops. And he kind of pushes the crowd out of the way and he looks over to Matthew sitting at this tax collectors’ booth. And here’s what I love about Jesus. No matter how many relationships he had, he always has room for one more lonely isolated person.

And he looks at Matthew and he says, hey, Matthew, you come and follow me. And for the first time in Matthew’s life, he’s accepted, he’s wanted, he’s loved, he’s known, he belongs to something. So he gets up and he leaves his business, he leaves his entire tax collectors’ business behind, and runs after Jesus and starts following Jesus. And it says, that night, Matthew invited Jesus and the disciples over to his house, and he throws a big party for Jesus, but because Matthew’s a tax collector, the only people he knows to invite to this party, are other tax collectors and sinners, okay?

So it’s a party full of tax collectors, and sinners, and Jesus’ disciples, and you can just picture this tax collectors looking at Matthew, being like, dude, you’ve changed, like there’s something different about you, you’re not the same Matthew we knew. He’s like, I know, I met this guy named Jesus, and I wanted you to meet him too. It’s this big party. Party finishes up, and then in my mind, here’s how it plays out in my mind. The next morning, they wake up and Jesus, like he always does, looks at the disciples, says, come on guys, time to go to the next town to do ministry.

And the 11, the know the deal, so they pack up all their stuff, they start following Jesus down the road in front of Matthew’s house, and I can picture Matthew totally confused, watching this whole thing behind like, “What? Hey, Jesus, can I just talk to you for a second?” “Sure, Matthew, what is it?” “Come over here away from those guys for a second, come here, Jesus. Jesus, just one question for you. I was just wondering, like, when are those 11 guys going to go home?” I can picture Jesus kind of tilt his head a little bit and squint his eyes and be like, “What do you mean when are they going to go home?”

“Well, Jesus, you invited me to come and follow you to be your disciple, so I thought this was about just you and me going on this great adventure and it would just be the two of us wherever we go, and it would be this journey just you and me, and I want to know when are they going to go home so we can get to that adventure.”

And Jesus, I think looks back at Matthew and he chuckles a little bit and he says, “Matthew, they’re not going home. In fact, Matthew, if you’re going to follow me, you’re going to have to walk with them.” And I can see Matthew literally recoil, like, “Whoa, wait a second, Jesus. You’re telling me I’m going to walk with you, I got to hang out with these guys? These 11 guys?” Like, “Jesus, you got to be kidding me, I got nothing in common with these guys. Like, some of them are fishermen, they made my house smell really bad last night. And that guy, Peter, he’s obnoxious, Jesus, he’s annoying, he’s like always putting his foot in his mouth. And that guy John, that dude’s got an anger problem. He tried to call fire down from heaven on some of my tax collector friends last night.”

“And Bartholomew, the dude doesn’t talk, nobody knows anything about him. In fact, I bet he never gets recorded in the bible again, after this day, Jesus. I don’t know, I’m a bad guy. And how about this dude, Thomas, do you realize, Jesus, Thomas doesn’t believe anything you say? He questions everything you say, he’s a skeptic. And this guy Simon the zealot, I don’t hang out with zealots, Jesus. And that dude Judas, I’m just telling you, he gives me the creeps, alright? I don’t know what’s wrong with that guy, but he shouldn’t be with you. I’m just saying it may help you down the road if you got rid of him now. But I don’t have anything in common with these guys. I’m wealthy, I’m educated.

And Jesus looks back at Matthew and says, “Yeah, Matthew, but you have me in common with them. Isn’t that enough?” And Matthew looks back at Jesus. I think the said, “Well, Jesus, I want to follow you, but I don’t need them, I have friends in my life, you met them last night.” And I think Jesus looks back at Matthew and says, “Yeah, but it’s time for some new friends, Matthew. Some friends who will celebrate you for giving up your business, not criticize you for it. Some friends who are passionate about pursuing me, not passionate about pursuing the things of this world. And I will use you to reach your old friends, but you need some new people to talk through this life with.”

“In fact, Matthew, if you’re going to follow me, you have to walk with them.” And I think Jesus looks at us today and says, if we’re going to follow him, you have to walk with them, because no one follows Jesus alone. If you’re going to follow him, you have to walk with them. No one follows Jesus alone. And I realize that may be a really scary statement if you look at the person sitting next to you, you’re like, “I don’t know.” And you’re thinking, “I don’t have anything in common with these people. I’m good coming in, listening to some worship or participating in it a little bit, a message or whatever, and then I leave. I don’t have anything in common.” You have Jesus in common with every person in this room. Isn’t that enough? And maybe you think, “Well, I already got friends, I got more friends than I know what to do with, I don’t need any new friends in my life.” Well, do you have friends that are pursuing Jesus or are they friends that are pursuing the things of this world?

You see, what I love about the story of Matthew, is that it’s our story. Jesus is walking through this world, looking for the one lonely, isolated, broken person, just like you or me, and he calls out to us, and he calls us on to himself, and into his community.

In fact, nobody follows Jesus alone. You can get to heaven by yourself with just you and Jesus, but you cannot follow Jesus on this earth by yourself, because Jesus will always lead you back to people, because he is most passionate about people. If you’re following him, you can’t get away from people, because he’s always going right towards the person you less want to hang out with, I’m just telling you, that’s what Jesus is running after.

In fact, think of the analogies that the bible uses to describe the church, it says, we’re a family, it says, we’re the body of Christ. You actually got to be connected to another part, to be a part of the body, he’s a father, we’re sons and daughters, which means he wants us to be brothers and sisters. Nobody follows Jesus alone.

In fact, when you become a follower of Jesus Christ, there’s three circles of belonging that every follower of Jesus, needs. The first one is just the kingdom of God, you get saved, you follow Jesus, you become part of the timeless global limitless kingdom of God, you’re a citizen of another realm. It’s your job to now be an ambassador of that kingdom on this earth and fulfill the mission as a kingdom, citizen, as an ambassador, to bring the rule and reign of Jesus Christ to this earth, you belong to the kingdom of God.

And within that kingdom, every follower of Jesus needs a local church, not 5 local churches, not 10 local churches, not 3, not 1 for this weekend, and 1 for next weekend, not I like the children’s mystery here, but the worship there, or this thing over here, but that thing over there. One local church, that you get rooted and established and planted. In Psalm 92:13, those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish. One church where you believe in the vision and the DNA and the culture where you give and you bless and you serve, and you act like the body, and achieve God’s purposes for that local church, for that time in history, in that city.

And within that church, you need 2 or 3 godly relationships, where Jesus is the center, and you gather together around him. In fact, Matthew 18:20 in your bible, I want you to underline it because it’s our theme verse for this series, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name,” Jesus says, “there I am, also.” Where 2 or 3 people gather together around the name of Jesus, he is the center point, he says, there I am with them, he shows up in the midst. No one follows Jesus alone.

And you’ll see this goes all the way back to Genesis the garden of Eden. Fact is, it’s fascinating. If you just read Genesis 1 and 2, you’ll be amazed, you’ll see this pattern develop. God creates something and the moment he creates it, he looks at it and says – and God saw that it was good. It says it over and over and over and over again, God created the sun, and the stars, and saw that it was good, and he created the plants and the animals, and he saw that it was good, and he created the land, and the sky, and he saw that it was good.

It says it over and over and over again, and then you get to Genesis 2:18, and the verse literally jumps of the page at you, because this pattern has been developed, that everything God has created and saw, he says that it’s good, and you get to 2:18, and it says, and the Lord god said, it is not good, for man to be alone, so I will create a suitable helper for him. Not good, like what on earth could possibly be not good? Do you understand? They don’t fall under Genesis 3. There’s no sin, no rebellion, no brokenness, no curse. This the perfection of creation and yet God looks at Adam and says, it is not good for you, Adam, to follow me, alone, you have to walk with someone else.

And if it was not good for Adam to follow God alone in the perfection of creation, it’s intolerable, for you and I to try to follow God alone in this broken and fallen world. In fact, every person in this room, you know, the pain of loneliness. I don’t care who you are, we’ve all experienced that sorrow, it’s a deep pain, deep in the heart, it’s probably one of the worse feelings that we as human can experience, that sense of loneliness.

And yet, I believe loneliness is God’s grace designed to draw us to others, so that we may ultimately find him. It’s what loneliness really is. It’s a grace that draws you to other people, where in that relationship, you ultimately find him. Why? Because where 2 or 3 are gathered, there Jesus is, also, when you find those godly relationships, you end up finding Jesus, and together, that fulfills all of the loneliness you will ever have in your heart.

And if you’re sitting here today, and you’re lonely, can I tell you, I don’t think you’re here by accident. I think God has something great for you in this church. In fact, Psalm 68:6 says, God sets the lonely in families. If you’re lonely today, I believe he is setting you in this family, he is letting your roots start growing down and deep into this place and he’s telling you he has 2 or 3 godly relationships for you to flourish in, right here, in this church.

In fact, the only thing worse than loneliness is having the wrong relationships. So flip over with me to 2 Corinthians 6, real quick. Are you with me so far?

Some of you don’t like where I’m going, you’re going to like it even less when I continue to take you there, okay? I told you right up front, I’m just going to push a little bit, so stay with me on this. 2 Corinthians 6:14, because I believe if you can catch this, it’s really going to help you – Paul is writing to the church at Corinth, it’s fascinating, you and me read the bible, and we think everything is written to us as an individual, and we forget that almost everything in the bible is always written to communities, to families, to churches, pluralistic, it’s not individualistic, it’s pluralistic, he’s writing to the church at Corinth or to Valley Creek Church, here’s what Paul would tell us, verse 14, do not be yoked together with unbelievers, for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial or the devil? That does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there, between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

As God has said, I will live with them and walk among them, I will be their God and they will be my people, therefore, come out from them and be separate, says the lord. Paul doesn’t mince words, he goes right for it, he said some really strong stuff and yet they’re words full of wisdom that if we would heed in our lives, would save you so much pain and brokenness and destruction. You see, if you’ve heard that passage before, and you’ve been in the church, you’ve probably heard it in the context of marriage, that a Christian should never marry a non-Christian. And while that’s an accurate application of that passage, it’s actually deeper than that.

What Paul was talking about here is, he’s talking about all close relationships in a believer’s life. He’s saying that if you’re a follower of Jesus, every close relationship in your life, needs to be a Christ centered relationship, because whoever you are walking with, you will end up going where they’re going. It’s what he says.

He says, every Christian, right, he’s writing to the Church, every follower of Jesus, the closest relationships in your life, need to be other Christ-centered people, because whoever you’re walking with, you’re going to end up going where they’re going. He says, don’t be yoked together with unbelievers, to the church, he’s talking to believers. Believers, don’t be yoked together with unbelievers, that word, yoke, it means to entangle, to ensnare, to connect, to wrap your heart around theirs, or wrap their heart around yours, to wrap your life around theirs, or wrap their life around yours.

He says, don’t do that, because if you start walking with them, you’re going to end up where they’re going, and ultimately, he uses strong words, agreement, harmony, fellowship, in common, he says, you don’t have stuff in common with these people. In fact, we don’t know what that word, yolk, means, but it’s like a farming term that was real familiar to the day that – when Paul was writing that, and basically, it means, it’s a big piece of wood, that you take two animals, and put it over their necks, and you would strap them together, they’d be yoked together, right around the neck. And the moment they were in the yolk, this big piece of wood, they could struggle all they wanted, but they could not come apart.

They were now yoked together, and it was usually yoked together to pull a plow or a cart or something, but they were yoked together, and now, wherever they walk, no matter how hard they struggle, they’re going to end up going in the same place, together.

And in fact, there’s a law in the old testament that says, you could not yoke together two different kinds of animals. Like, you couldn’t yoke a goat and a donkey, or a donkey and a bull, or a bull and a chicken, okay? Just – you could try, but it’s not going to work. And the reason for that is, is because you need two animals that have the same stamina, the same strength, the same direction, and the same desire, because once they’re strapped together, no matter how hard they struggle, they will end up going in the same place. And what Paul is saying is, he’s saying, you’re a follower of Jesus, which means, you’re going in this direction, and the people of the world are going in this direction. What do you have in common with them, why do you want that to be the closest relationships in your life?

Because when you yoke yourself together, no matter how hard you struggle, you will go in the same place they’re going. In fact, a lot of us, we think we can beat this principle in scriptures, so we strap ourselves together, our closest relationships with people of the world, do you understand how exhausting that is? Just think of the word picture, that he’s giving you, imagine, your neck wrapped around their neck, you are always fighting to pull them in this direction, like, come on, let’s be people of honor, let’s not do that. Hey, come on, no, we can’t lie to our husbands, that’s not a good idea. Come on, let’s not deceive our wives so we can go to that thing, that’s just, no.

Hey, no, we’re not going to sneak out of our house today, we got to be obedient to our parents, come on, that is not a good idea. Hey, you know, come on, we don’t want to gossip again, come on. You are pulling them this way, and the moment you take a breath, they pull you in this direction and pull you deep into the things of the world. What does light have in common with darkness, righteousness, and wickedness, hope and despair? Listen, I don’t want to strap myself to somebody who’s going to walk me deep into the things of this world. I want to walk with people who are going to lead me closer to Jesus.

Whoever you’re walking with, you will go where they’re going, the bible says, and if that’s not bad enough, Proverbs 13:20 takes it a step further, says, he who walks with the wise, becomes wise, but a companion of fool, suffers harm. In other words, not only will you go where they’re going, you will become who they’re becoming.

He who walks with the wise becomes wise, a companion of fool, suffers harm. You hang out with a wise person, you become wise, you hang out with a fool, you become a fool, and you know it. I mean if you’re a parent and you’ve got kids, you’re really concerned about who your kids hangout with, because you know when they hangout with those kids, they pick up that attitude, they pick up their vocabulary. We learned that first hand this year, first year kindergarten. We’re like, say that again, and where did you learn that? “Oh, you know, my buddy at school.” Okay, you become who you hang out with, and yet for some reason, as adults, we think we can be stronger than that. I can go with the girls on the girls’ weekend, I’ll be strong enough, don’t about it. Hey, I can hang out with these guys, I know they drink a ton, but that’s okay, I won’t have it.

Really? Because 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, do not be deceived. Bad company corrupt good morals or character. Don’t be deceived or be fooled and think you can stand strong enough, because you can’t. What he’s saying is, in a close relationship, the negative is actually stronger than the positive. Bad company corrupts good, in close relationship, the bad will always pull you down the things of this world. It’s what Paul is telling us.

And so here’s what I want you to do for a second, think of all the close relationships in your life, let is kind of bubble up in your mind, for a second, okay? Here’s my question, do you want to go where they’re going, and become who they’re becoming? Because like it or not, bible say, you keep walking with them, you’re going where they’re going, and you’re becoming who they’re becoming, are they taking you further from Jesus, or closer to Jesus? In fact, what’s the yoke that binds you together if the yoke is the thing that holds us together, what holds your relationships, those close relationships in your life together? Is it alcohol? That’s the thing you have in common?

Or is it gossip? We like to gossip or it’s our kids’ sports team, or it’s our hobby, or it’s work or our neighborhood, or a job, or is it Jesus? A lot of us are yoked together with the wrong people, and we’re yoked together with the wrong stuff, and it ends up creating this massive carnage and damage in our lives. And what he’s saying in verse 17, he says, therefore, separate, come out from them, says the lord. In other words, in the name of Jesus, it’s time to break that yoke off and say, I can’t do this anymore, I got to start walking with people going in this direction, I got to change it.

And some of you are like, yeah, maybe in 2 years, no, like, today, when you leave service, bang, break the yoke, in the name of Jesus, and start going this way, because otherwise, you’re not free. You see, the wrong question that we ask, this is how we pose it in churches a lot of times, is, we say, do you have community? It’s the question we ask. It’s the wrong question. Most of us in this room, you have more community, then you know what to do, it’s like you’re drowning in it, you still feel lonely, but you got all these relationships, you’re trying to manage. It’s the wrong question.

The right question is, do you have 2 or 3 godly relationships in your life? And when I say godly relationships, I’m not talking about your friend who post a bible verse of Facebook, and you gave it a – you may think that counts, that don’t count. I’m not talking about your friend you think goes to church somewhere, or that person in Valley Creek, that you love hanging out with, but when you get together, you just watch the Super Bowl or talk about kids, or just kind of shoot the breeze, or go out for dinner, you never talk about Jesus. I’m not even talking about being in a bible study with people, like in soul sisters are emerged, but you never share your heart and what’s going on inside of here.

I’m talking about godly relationships where you talk about, learn about, and become like Jesus together. In fact, I want you to write that down if you’re taking notes because I’m going to say it over and over again, in the next years to come, because it’s that important. You need people that you talk about Jesus with. That your conversations are full of who He is, and what He is doing, and how He is moving in your life, people you learn about Jesus with.

Who you share revelation and process your faith and cultivate each other’s hearts, and pursue him together, and you become like Jesus together, or you actually take next steps, and actually become more like who Jesus is, and move forward in that journey. Godly relationships are full of faith, hope and love. It’s where you dispense and receive grace, it’s where the word is our authority, and the spirit is our guide. Do you have a relationship like that? Where the word is the authority and how you’re going to live life and the spirit is the one that gest to guide you where you’re going? Where you’re honest and transparent, submissive and real, and raw with one another, with the joy of the lord as our strength, where we stand strong and put on the armor of God together, collectively, where we live out the one another of the bible.

In fact, you realize, the bible says, one can put a thousand to fly, two can put 10,000 to fly. You by yourself, can do some good, you and godly relationships, have an exponential impact and an explosive power. Why? Because where two or three are gathered in Jesus name, he shows up, and bang, when Jesus shows up, there is an exponential impact and explosive power. And I could tell you all kinds of stories of people in our church that have godly relationships.

I could tell you about a guy who got so low in his own life, and had such a demonic voice in his mind, that he thought the only way out was to end his life, by taking his pistol and finishing it. And he shared that with his godly relationships, some men in his life, and those men decided they were going to go to his house and they took all of his guns, and all of his ammo, and anything he had, that he could use to hurt himself, and they took it all away from him, and they looked at him, and they said, we love you, we’re not going to let you do this to yourself, we’re going to walk with you until this demonic thing is broken free.

And I can tell you today, that man is free, he has all of his stuff back, he can go hunting, he’s free, because he had those relationships.

What if he didn’t have those godly relationships? I could tell you about a marriage that literally imploded and the husband and the wife, both had godly relationships in this church. And what’s amazing is, they decided to stay, even though it was imploding. Most of us, when there’s sin or shame, brokenness or failure, when we’re in need, what do we do? We run, we run as fast as we can, we bail on the relationships, we bail on the community, we get out, we become like Adam and Eve, we jump on a bush and we put fig leaves on, because we don’t want anybody to know.

In fact, if I can go somewhere new or nobody knows me, they’ll just think these fig leaves are a normal part of who I am in my personality, but they stayed. And these women worked with her, and these men worked with him, and worked them back together, where today, they’re totally healed and whole, and nobody even knows they had a marriage issue, except for the handful of godly relationships in their lives.

Let me tell you about a man in our church, who had such a pornography addiction, that it was destroying literally, chemically, his brain, was destroying his wife, and was destroying his kids. And he looked at the godly relationships in his life, and he confessed it to them. And they looked right back at him, and without shame or condemnation, they said, man, we’ve been there too, and we’re going to help you get free.

And today, that man is healthy, and whole, and free from that addition. See, nobody follows Jesus alone, if you’re going to follow him, you got to walk with them, and you’d be amazed, if you start reading the bible, how you find this theme of 2 and 3 all around, I’m shocked, I had no idea until I started studying for this series. It goes all the way back to God himself, God exists in 2 or 3 you realize that, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, he’s the model, look at how they engage, spirit doesn’t talk about the spirit, he points people to Jesus. Jesus didn’t come for himself, he came to reveal the Father to the world, and the Father sent the Holy Spirit, they live in godly relationships, and are the model for scripture, for our lives.

I mean just start thinking about it, Moses, Joshua and Aaron, 3 men in godly relationships, their task was to lead the Israelites, 2 million of them out Egypt, into the promised land, it’s in godly relationships where you get to follow God through the impossible. How about David and his 3 mighty men? David had a whole army, but he had 3 men that were really close to him, godly relationships.

God was their center, he was the reason they gathered, and together, David and those three mighty men had great victories, and won great battles and defeated the enemies of the people of God, it’s in godly relationships, you’ll find victories and win great battles in your life.

How about Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, 4 guys, godly relationships, bound together by Jesus himself. And when king Nebuchadnezzar came and told them to bow down to the idol, the stood strong, and defeated that temptation, it’s in godly relationships, you can defeat the temptations in your life. When you’re isolated, you’re a sitting duck, when you’re wrapped together with other people, you can push through and break those things down.

How about Paul, Timothy and Silas? 3 guys who literally changed the face of the earth in their generation, brought for the kingdom of God, it’s in godly relationships, you’ll live out your mission, and the vision God has for you to be a kingdom carrier in this world. How about this one, Jesus, Peter, James, and John?

Even Jesus had godly relationships. He had 3 guys, he had the 12 disciples, but the 9, sometimes, he pull the 3 this way, and they got to see things the others didn’t go place, the others didn’t and Jesus needed them in a way he didn’t need the other 9. In fact, in the garden of Gethsemane, right before he goes to the cross, he takes the 3, Peter, James and John, and he pulls them aside, and he says, come pray with me, because my soul is full of anguish and I need your friendship right now, to bring comfort into my life.

It’s in godly relationships where you’ll find comfort for the pain that you experience. If Jesus needed godly relationships, how much more do you and I? And so my question for you is, do you have 2 or 3, 2 or 3 godly relationships, in fact, if there was another page written in the bible about you, a disciple of Jesus Christ, how would the page read? Would it have your name? And 2 or 3 other people, and a whole page full of incredible encounters, and victories and battles and temptation being defeated and mission and comfort, all these kind of grace, or would it be your name and a blank space, because you walk alone?

Or would it be your name, and 2 and 3 other people that you don’t really hang out with, you don’t really want to be around, and you kind of become who they are becoming, and you’re going where they’re going? How would the story read in your life? In fact, Hebrews 10:24 says, let us spur one another towards love and good deeds. No one likes to be spurred. I think there’s a reason the bible uses the word, spur, because it’s uncomfortable. How about this, is there someone in your life that can look at you and say, I see bitterness rising up in your heart, and I need to challenge you, you need to forgive that person. Someone that has that kind of relationship with you, can challenge you on forgiveness.

Or how about, they could look at you and say, man, I see you becoming really selfish, it’s not about you, you need to start serving other people, you need to step out of yourself. You got somebody like that? How about this one, do you have somebody in your life that can challenge you on your giving? On living a generous life?

You might look at me and say, well, I don’t want anybody to talk to me about my money, that’s about me and myself, and that’s about all you need to know about that, because really – because that’s not how I see the scriptures read. In fact, the deeper the issue is, in the heart, the more God sends community into our lives to pull that issue out that we might be free. Do you have somebody who knows your next steps and cares about taking them?

And I can see it on some of your faces, some of you are looking at me, like, hey, that all sounds really great, that’s a cool bible thing, I don’t have the time for that. Like, I’m good, my life’s not falling apart, I got plenty of relationships, I don’t have the time for that. Listen to me, you don’t have enough time to do everything, you always have enough time to do the right thing, you can’t do it all, but God gives you enough time in the day, to always do the right thing. And if you think you don’t need godly relationships, because your life isn’t falling apart right now, you’ve missed the whole point.

Godly relationships are not crisis management, they’re a way of living. And if you wait for the crisis to hit, it’s too late. Do you know the only people, really, that call the church’s main phone number, like the main line? Are people whose lives are in massive crisis, and they call.

And the first questions we start asking them are, are you connected with anybody? No. Do you have any godly relationships? No. Are you in a small group? No. Do you know anybody else in this church? No. What’s going on? My life is falling apart. We can do the best we can, to help you at that point, but it’s really hard to help you when you have no other relationships, in your life. What if you would be in godly relationships, you probably wouldn’t need to call anybody, because those godly relationships would have helped you along the way, totally different reality.

But for some reason, we want to wait until the world implodes, and then we’ll show up and say, now, I need some Christian fellowship, some godly community, some good relationships in my life. Been hanging with these people that sucked me into the darkness, but now, I need somebody that can help me get rescued. You’re missing the whole point of walking with Jesus.

You want a great marriage, get in godly relationships, you want to be a great parent, godly relationships, best thing you could do for your kids, have 2 or 3 people you walk with Jesus with. You want good finances, godly relationships, because they’ll be doing things god’s way, you want your destiny, godly relationships. I realize some of you are looking at me, are like, well, this is a fun series.

I know, I know. It is challenging, it’s challenging for me, and all I’m trying to do today is get you to start reflecting and thinking about your relationships, in fact, I’d love to give you a homework this week, and it’s just think – just evaluate your relationships, look at them, do you want to go where they’re going and become who they’re becoming? And all you got to do this week is do this, listen to their words, look at their life, and learn about their direction, just listen to their words this week, how do they speak? Do they speak words of life, and faith, and hope? Because their mouth reveals their hearts. Do they build you up or tear you down? Make you feel encouraged, or full of shame and condemnation? Look at their life, is there anything in their life that is an example of you that is a model to you, that inspires you to move forward, and learn about their direction? Flat out ask the people you hang out with in your life, say hey, where do you want to be in 5 years and who do you want to become?

You’ll be amazed at how people look at you with a blind look and they’re like, uh, I don’t know, I just want to get through the next 5 years and maybe get a couple of raises, along the way. Really? 5 years, you just want to make it through life and make some more money? Because man, I sure don’t want to be walking with you, because I don’t want to go where you’re walking, and I don’t want to become who you’re becoming. Do you understand? If they have no vision for their life, and your yoked together with them, that means all you’re going to do for the next 5 years is wander.

And if you don’t have a vision for your life, even more of a reason to find someone who does have a vision, who knows who they want to become, and where they want to go, you’re like, I’m just going to link up to you, man, because I want to end up where you’re going to become, or your becoming. I want to be with people that say, in 5 years, man, I want to live like a son or a daughter and understand God as Father, I want to fulfill my kingdom destiny. I want to make disciples and be discipled, I want to learn to be a person of faith, hope and love. Come on, that’s you, I’m strapping in with you, because that’s where I want to go and that’s who I want to become.

Whoever you’re walking with, you’re going where they’re going, you’re becoming who they’re becoming, you can’t walk with everybody, you got to walk with somebody. Can you catch the bird in my heart that I’m trying to share with you today? Some of you, the thing you need to do, is you need to break that relationships, I’m telling you, today, break the yoke in the name of Jesus, you think you don’t have the strength? You don’t, Jesus does. In fact, he says, come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.

Jesus says, we can break that dysfunctional yoke in the name of Jesus, and I’ll put my yoke on you. And I’ll be the thing that binds you together with other people, and you’ll live the purpose and the destiny and the calling that I have in store for you. Some of you in the name of Jesus has got to be broken, others of you, it’s time to pursue some godly relationships, and say, have it – made it a priority, you have a lot of other things to creep in, all these other relationships that really aren’t that important, it’s time to change it, it’s time to really pursue Jesus. Listen, and here’s what I love about what I’m trying to tell you in this whole message.

I’m not trying to build it up to now say, okay, everybody go in the atrium and sign up for a small group. You’re in the kingdom of God as a follower of Jesus, find one church, I don’t care if it’s Valley Creek Church, find a church that you believe in, get rooted and stay there for a long time and get godly relationships where you can walk with them towards Jesus together, talk about, learn about and become like Jesus.

It is the greatest determiner of who you will become as a person, who you walk with in this life. And if you’re serious about taking next steps and following Jesus, you cannot do it alone, you cannot. You can trick yourself into thinking, but you cannot. My hope and my prayer for every person in this church is that we would have 2 or4 3 godly relationships. You’re only as strong as your relationships. And here’s what I think Jesus wants to say to us today, if we’re going to follow him, we have to walk with them, because they’re going where we want to go, and they’re becoming who we want to become.

So you close your eyes with me and let me just ask you, what’s the Holy Spirit saying to you today? I know this is tough, I know this is challenging stuff, it is for me too, in my own personal life, and the reason I think I have such a burden on my heart for this, is because I think this is what the Lord is speaking to us, this is what he’s saying, and he’s saying, man, stop walking with those people who are sucking you into the vortex. Stop living life alone.

Some of you right now, the Lord is – you know that part, the Lord has been telling you for 2 years to break off that relationship, today is the day the Holy Spirit is saying, let’s walk out of here together, and do it right now.

Some of you are here, and you’ve been a part of Valley Creek Church for a long time, but nobody knows your name, or your story or your next step, any godly relationships? It just starts with saying, Lord, today, I’m going to make a decision to pursue those relationships. I’ll start telling you how, over the next couple of weeks, but you got to make a decision before how it even matters.

Some of you are here, and you think you’ve walked with God for a long time and you think you’ve graduated, like, I don’t need those relationships, I have a good prayer life, I know Jesus, I walk with him. Listen, if Jesus didn’t graduate from godly relationships, you and me don’t either. And maybe today, the Lord is saying to you, hey, if you’re really following him, he’s going to always be leading you back to people and it’s time for some new relationships.

Relationships can be the greatest joy or the greatest sorrow in our life. And the reason Paul says, don’t yoke up, link up, entangle yourself from people of this world, it’s because it will always lead you to heartbreak.

Instead, yoke up, link up, connect with people where Jesus is the reason you are connected, because when you gather with them, Jesus shows up, and he’s in your midst.

So Lord Jesus, I just pray right now, that you would just move in our hearts and in our lives, give us courage and strength to follow you. Lord, I pray for every one of us who are lonely, who are willing to say, give us godly relationships, would you start bringing Psalm 68:6, to fruition, that you will set the lonely in families. You promise it, we stand on that promise, because all promises in Jesus are a yes.

Holy Spirit, would you just move in our lives and give us the revelation of where we’re going and who we’re becoming based on who we’re walking with. And would we give you the control over the relationships in our lives, instead of trying to hold on to it, for ourselves?

Thank you, Jesus for the way you’re building this church and assembling us together, we love you, Lord.

Hey, if you’re here and you need prayer, we need prayer for loneliness, for a painful relationship, for courage to break that yoke when you leave this place, let these people pray for you. If you’re new to Valley Creek Church, I’d love to invite you to Guest Central, some of our leaders would love to just meet you.

For those of you that give, your tithes, and your offerings, there’s boxes at every door when you leave. Believe giving is a response to the Lord, and who he is, and how he moves in our lives, but may you go this week knowing God has great relationships in store for you, right here, at Valley Creek Church. Blessings.

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