The part of the chapter that I want to focus on tonight is at the very end there in verse 24, where the Bible reads, "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.
What I want to preach about tonight is the subject of being friendly. Go through into Matthew chapter number 5. This is a very biblical subject. There's a lot of scriptural teaching on this and it's something that we as Christians need to work on in our lives.
First of all, as you're turning to Matthew 5, let me read for you from Philippians 4:21. The Bible says, "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you." What does it mean to salute every saint in Christ Jesus? To salute them, basically means to greet them or say hi to them. To acknowledge them. The Bible uses the word "salute" actually over 50 times and it used the word "greet" over 20 times in the New Testament. These are words that the Bible uses a lot admonishing us as Christians to salute our brothers and sisters in Christ and to greet them.
Look what it says in Matthew 5 verse 47. It says, "And if you salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?" The verse before that he said, "That if ye love them, which love you, what reward have you? Do not even the publicans so? If you salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be there for perfect even as your father which in Heaven is perfect."
We look at this passage. It's saying don't just even salute your brethren, or your relatives, or the people that you're friends with. He's saying that's even what an unsaved person would do. You as a Christian should go beyond that and you're saluting every saint. You're saluting even people that are not saved. You're just a person who is friendly and greeting people.
That means when you walk down the street and you walk by somebody, you greet that person. When someone walks through the door of the church, you greet that person and you be friendly to that person. That's what the Bible is commanding us to do. Not only that, but it says in 3rd John, you'll have to turn there, but in 3rd John verse 14 it says, "But I trust that I shall shortly see thee and we shall speak face-to-face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name." Not even just to say hey just greet them like, "Hey how you doing? Hey brother hey, how's it going? Hey." Actually saying greet them by name. Actually greet that person individually. Actually care about that person.
If you look at the Apostle Paul and Brother Romero touched on this last Sunday night, but I want more about it tonight and go into more detail. He preached a great sermon last Sunday night about being thankful. He talked about being thankful for your brothers and sisters in Christ and in a local church. He talked about greeting people and knowing people. We need to care about our fellow church members. We need to love people and show them that by greeting them, saluting them, greeting them by name. Not just treating them as if they don't matter.
If you would, go to Malachi chapter 3. The book right before Matthew's, the Book of Malachi. While you're turning there, I'll read for you from John 13 where it says in verse 34, "A new commandment I give onto you that ye love one another as I have loved you that ye also love one another. By this, should all men know that you're my disciples if ye have loved one another." The Bible is telling us we need to care about people. We need to love our fellow church members. We need to salute them. We need to greet them. We need to see if they have a need and try to meet their needs. We need to greet them by name and try to know the people in the church. The Bible says in 1st Thessalonians 5, he said, "To know them which labor among you."
To know them. What does he mean by that? Know who they are. Get to know them. Be their friend. God has given us the local church, not to be like a movie theater or something, where we show up, we pull down the seat, we pull out the popcorn and we watch the show. That's not what the local church is. So many people even today don't go to church, but instead they just watch church on computer. Watch it on TV, listen to it on the radio. That's not church.
I'm all for listening to preaching outside of church as a supplement. Sometimes during the week, I will download preaching and listen to it as a supplement. I like to listen to sermons from my friend Pastor Roger [Jimenez 00:04:41] or from Pastor Dave [Bersons 00:04:42] or other great preachers. When I was younger I got a lot of spiritual growth from sermons that I would get on cassette and on CD from people and listen to those sermons to grow in the faith and learn more. But it was never a substitute for church and it never should be.
Because church is not just about listening to a sermon. Yes, that's part of it, but a part of the assembly or congregation is getting together with the people and the other believers. Getting into a congregation where you know people. You greet people, you salute people, and you love people. You don't get that from a TV screen, a computer monitor, or a radio. You get that from physically assembling with God.
"Well there's no good church in my area." You know what? You need to go to the best church that you can find. Go to the best one. Today if you live in America in any major city there are churches. Yeah, they're going to have things that you don't like, but honestly, you can find a church where the people are saved and where there's a King James Bible being preached. You go there, love people, make friends and be a part of that congregation.
If you say, "Well no, I just can't find any." Then you need to move somewhere else and get to a church where you can be excited about going there then. You need to get in church. You need to be there. It's important.
The big part of church that a lot of people are missing today, because we live in a spectator-type society, is the interactive being friendly, meeting people, talking to people, building relationships with people. Breaking bread from house to house. Eating a meal with people and enjoying fellowship one with another. It's important. Look at Malachi chapter 3. It says in verse 16.
I love the 3:16s of the Bible. A lot of great scriptures that are 3:16. Genesis 3:16, John 3:16, 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy 3:16, Galatians 3:16. Here's Malachi 3:16, "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another." Isn't that just a great thought? "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another." They're not isolated. They're not doing their own thing. They're not a hermit. The people who loved the Lord and feared the Lord spoke often to one to another. "And the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."
Do you know the difference today like it says in that last verse, between him that serves God and him that doesn't? Between the righteous and the wicked? There's a difference isn't there? Isn't there a difference between the people in a godly Bible believing church and the people out there? There should be. There should be a huge difference between God's people and the people of this world. The Bible is constantly telling us over and over again that we need to have fellowship with God's people. That we need to have the deepest friendships with God's people. When we go to get married, we need to marry one of God's people. Not marry an unbeliever. Not marry the unsaved. We need to have friends that stick closer than brothers that we find in the local church.
The Bible says, "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." The Bible is saying you can even have friends that will even stick closer to you than your brother. You could even by closer sometimes with a brother in Christ than a physical brother. Not to downplay the relationship of your physical brother. Hopefully you have a great relationship with your brother, but the Bible says there's a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
We need to develop these type of friendships. We need to speak often one to another. We need to greet and salute people when we come to church. Not just get here. Sometimes people get here late and they're gone early. They're the first one gone and they're the last one here. They get here and get out of here and they're missing the point a little bit of why we're here. By the way, you don't come to church to see what you can get, you also go to contribute to the group. Part of the way that you contribute is by being here, being a friend, greeting people, talking to people and being friendly.
By coming to church, being here a little early, saying hi to people, talking to people, smiling and getting to know people, you're actually serving the Lord because that person is more likely to come back now. That person who was a little shy about even coming here in the first place. A little nervous to try a church for the very first time. When you go to them and greet them, when you smile at them, when you ask them about their life and get to know them, you're helping that person to get established and grounded in our church. That is something that you can do to serve God when you come to church, by being friendly. It's what God commanded you to do. By saluting people. By greeting them by name. That's what the Bible wants us to do.
I had to jet out of here super fast this morning, which I don't normally do, but I had to leave really fast this morning because I had to do an interview that was at 12:00 and it was something that I don't normally do. I jetted out of here really fast, but let me say this though. A lot of times when I'm done preaching, sometimes I'm not really able to do a lot of socializing, because sometimes I leave it all out on the field. Sometimes I preach so hard that I need to go sit down somewhere. I can't always do it, but most of the time, you'll see me after the service greeting people, talking to people, and trying to get to know people.
I don't go to the same person every time. Saluting my brother and only. Go to the same people, the same three people and talk to them. I usually, on a Sunday morning, try to seek out the ones that I don't know that well. The ones that are new. The ones I haven't talked to much and go to them. Try to get to know them, figure out what's going on in their lives. Get their names, try to learn something about them. Be friendly, let them know that I'm glad that they're here. This is something that we should be doing, but I am one person. I cannot do this by myself, especially after preaching a sermon. I'm not always able to do everything that I need to do.
We have visitors in almost every single church service. What do we have five visitors this morning? Hardly a service goes by at our church, especially on Sunday mornings where we don't have a multitude of visitors. You need to be talking to these people. You need to be friendly to these people. Let me say this though, that it shouldn't end after their first time visiting. You know what I've noticed sometimes? When a first time visitor comes, people greet them, and say hi to them. Get to know them. Then it's like that person doesn't exist anymore. The second time, the third time, the fourth time.
Anybody that you don't know and I don't care if they've been coming for 6 months. I don't care if they've been coming for a year. I don't care if you've both been here for years, you need to talk to that person and say hi to that person. If there are people in this church that you don't know, you need to get to know them. You need to meet them and you need to go into Sunday morning services with a mentality that says, "I want to meet somebody new today. I want to get to know somebody new. I want to meet a new family. I want to meet a new single person that's here. You know what, I've seen those people sitting over there for weeks, I don't know who they are, I want to go greet those people. I want to greet them by name like the Bible told me to do. I want to salute people and let people know that I love them. That I'm glad they're here."
Are you glad when people are here? I'm glad. Who's glad when people are here? When you see a full house? This morning, we almost broke the record again. We break our attendance record almost every week. Today we're only two short of breaking it this morning. Don't you like that? You like to see all the fresh faces. Let those people know that you're glad they're here. Get to know those people. Care about these people. We don't want our church to grow simply so we can have a bunch of people in a building. Cram a bunch of people and I'm done. No, we want people because they're people. Because they're human. Because we love them. Because we want to get to know them. We want a fellowship with them. We want to serve the Lord and get in the battle with them.
We need to work on that as a church, saying, "I'm not just gonna be friendly to a first time visitor. I'm going to be friendly to the person that's been here for a month. I'm gonna be friendly to the person that's been here two months." If there's somebody that you don't know, you need to get to know that person. There are people that come here week after week that you don't know. We need to get to know them. It's important.
We need to be friendly people. We need to smile, salute people, and greet people. I don't have time. If you want, we can turn to all 50 salute scriptures. We can turn to all 20 greet scriptures. Paul is saying, "Man, salute Rufus, and salute Priscilla and Aquila and salute.." He's listing name after name of people who we've never heard of. We don't even know who these people are, but they meant something to him. They were his fellow laborers in the cause of Christ and he wanted to make sure that they knew that he was thinking about them. That he cared about them. That they mattered to them.
Church should be like that a family, a brotherhood. The Bible says love the brotherhood. Not impersonal where we show up and we're all here just to see Pastor [Anderson 00:14:09]. No, you've got to be here to see each other. Be friends with each other. It shouldn't be, "Well we all know Pastor [Anderson 00:14:13] and he knows us." No, know each other. It's a church, it's a group. It's not a one man show. It's never been that way. Many people in our church are really good at this, others need to work on this. That's why I'm preaching about it, because we need to be ... You say, "Well, I'm just not really that type." Then change. Then repent if you're not that type.
"Well I'm just not the type that greets people. I usually wait for people to come greet me." Then shame on you because a man that hath friends must show himself friendly. You can't sit there and wait for everybody to come to you and be friendly to you and approach you. Why don't you be the one who reaches out the right hand of fellowship as the Bible says? Why don't you be the one who does the greeting and the saluting? Why don't you be proactive about meeting people and making people feel welcome in our church? I know it's in your heart. I know you're glad they're here. I know you're glad to see them. You need to show that to people. You need to let them know that you're glad that they're here. You need to be friendly and let people know.
It's interesting when I was studying the subject of friends, I found the famous verse in Song of Solomon 5:16 that says, "His mouth is most sweet yet he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved and this is my friend oh daughters of Jerusalem." Basically a husband calling his wife his friend. Did I get that right or it is the wife calling the husband or I don't know. I'm so mixed up anymore in 2014. Anyway, it's a wife. Let me slow down and get this right. It's a wife calling her husband her friend. The Bible is teaching us that our spouse should be our friend. My wife should be my friend. Your wife should be your friend. Wives, your husbands should be your friend. Okay, show yourself friendly in your marriage.
What does that mean? Salute your spouse. Be friendly to your spouse. Treat them with love and affection. Quit waiting for them to be friendly to you. Why don't you give them a reason to be friendly to you by being friendly to them. If you wonder why your spouse doesn't want to spend time with you, ask yourself how well are you treating your spouse. Because the better you treat your spouse the more you show yourself friendly to your spouse the more friendly they're going to be to you. You have to understand that within marriage also. That's the way it works within a church. That's the way it works in all of life's relationships. In a family, brothers and sisters. Parents and children. We need to be friendly people. We need to show ourselves friendly as the Bible says.
Look if you would to Acts chapter 2. Acts chapter number 2. We'll see more of this fellowshipping that God's people do within the church all throughout scripture. It says in Acts chapter 2 verse 42, "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine." They continued in the teaching. Doctrine is teaching. The teaching of God's word. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship." See how the fellowship is an important aspect here? Then it also says, "In breaking of bread, and in prayers." Look at verse 46, "And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart."
Why is this so important? Go to 2nd Corinthians chapter 6. Why is it so important that we are friendly at church, especially? Obviously we should be friendly in other areas of life as well, but I'm focusing tonight on being friendly when we come to church. Being friendly to our fellow church members that have been here a long time. Being friendly to people who are brand new, first time visitors, third time, fourth time. Still keep on getting to know people and greeting people. Why is it so important? Because pretty much everybody in this world is going to have friends. Everybody in this world has some kind of a friend and the question is, who are you friends going to be? Look what the Bible says in 2nd Corinthians 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." Here's the phrase I want to focus on, "For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?"
When you're living a righteous life, you don't have a lot of fellowship or a lot in common with the unsaved. When you go around with all of your friends being unsaved-type people, ungodly people, that's going to have an influence on your life, because if you're going to have fellowship with the unrighteous, you're going to have to become a little bit unrighteous. It becomes a bad influence on you. It drags you down. Obviously, yeah you can be friends with other believers that go to other churches that aren't a part of our specific church. We need to make sure that we are friends with people that are saved and no only saved, but people that love the Lord. People that want to be a righteous Christian because it's going to help us to grow and to stay on track to hang around those people. It's important.
You may say, "Well, I just don't really have that need in my life. I've already got a few friends, that's all I need." Okay, but what about the person who comes to our church that doesn't have any friends? You're not talking to them, you're not being their friend. Okay, they're getting their friend somewhere else. Maybe if they could some good Christian friends in our church that can help them grow. That could help them become a better Christian.
It says, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." Again, marriage is where this would be paramount. When you're getting married, the number one consideration should be is this person saved. Because that is, as I pointed out from Song of Solomon, your spouse is your friend. If you're going to enter into the deepest most intimate friendship of your life, it better be righteous with righteous. It better be believer with believer or your going to have all kinds of problems. It says, "What communion have light with darkness?", verse 15. "What concord hath Christ with Belial or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" Infidel means unbeliever. "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father onto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord Almighty." God's telling us, don't get yoked up with the unsaved. Have communion, have fellowship, have concord with God's people. "Iron sharpeneth iron", the Bible says. You're going to help each other to grow in the Lord.
Turn if you would to Proverbs 27. Proverbs chapter 27 and then put your finger in Hebrews 10, that's where we're going next. Proverbs 27 and Hebrews 10 are the two I want to point out to you. While you're turning to those two, I'll read for you some other scriptures. The Bible says in Philippians 1:3, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making requests with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now." He was thankful for the fellowship that had with these people. He prayed for them. 1 John 1:3 says, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." We need to have fellowship when we come to church.
That's the purpose of being in church, is to assemble with people. Not to be here to watch a show. That's the purpose of having a church activity. That's the purpose of going on the camping trip. That's the purpose of going out soul winning even. Yes, it's to get people saved, but you'll never have better fellowship than the fellowship you get out soul winning. When you go out soul winning, it's a great time of fellowship. You get to know people, because when you're going between the doors, you talk to people. Between doors, you're getting to know one another. You're fellowshipping. Then you get to share all these great soul winning experiences. You share the victory of getting someone saved. You share the defeat when the person rejects the Lord Jesus Christ, but you're right there with them. In the yoke with them serving God with them. You're not just winning souls, you're also building a relationship with your fellow Christian by going out soul winning. It's a great way to fellowship, is by going two-by-two into the harvest field, working together.
In Proverbs 27 verse 5 it says, "Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." When the Bible says "faithful are the wounds of a friend", this is telling us that sometimes your friend will say or do something to you that might hurt you, but they're actually doing it for your own good. That's what it means when it says "faithful are the wounds of a friend". They're not hurting you because they want to harm you. It's rather that they're doing it for you own good by openly rebuking you and when you need to be rebuked. When you have a godly Christian friend, they can be there to tell you when you're wrong. The world is not going to tell you you're wrong about the things that you need to be told that you're wrong about.
The world's not going to condemn you for drinking a beer. Are they? Are the people at work going to condemn you when you divorce your spouse? No, they'll tell you, "Oh yeah, I've divorced the first three of mine too. Don't worry about it. We've all been there." That's what they'll say. When you start complaining about your husband or your wife to worldly unsaved people, they'll just be like, "Oh yeah, you need to move. It's time to move on, honey. Unless you're just sure that you're still in love with them and unless you're having the time of your life, unless this is just the best thing that's ever happened to you, it's time to move on." That's what the world will tell you.
When you tell them, "I'm thinking about divorcing my spouse" they're not going to rebuke you and say, "Shame on you!" When you say, "Hey let's drink a beer", they're going to say, "Let's do it." When you want to do everything that's ungodly, when you want to skip church, when you want to not go soul winning, when you want to skip reading your Bible, when you want to go out and do worldly things and go to the dance club and the bar and you want to go out and do all this stuff, they're going to be right there with you to back you up. To bolster you and to encourage you to do all those things.
Whereas your godly Christian friends will tell you, "No, you're wrong. You need to stop criticizing your wife. You need to stop criticizing your husband. You need to love your spouse as Christ loved the church." That's what your godly Christian friend will tell you. They'll tell you divorce is not an option because they Lord hateth putting away. The Bible says, "Whosoever marrieth her that is divorced, commiteth adultery." That's what the Bible teaches. That if you divorce your spouse and marry another, you're committing adultery. That's what your Christian friend will tell you. That's not what the world's going to tell you.
In Hebrews chapter 10, flip over, here's a perfect example of what we see in Proverbs 27 when he says, "Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend." Look what the Bible says in Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." The first thing I want to show you about that scripture is that we need to consider one another, meaning, don't just think about yourself, think about other people.
When you come to church, it's not just about, "Me, me, me. What can I get out of the sermon? What can I get? I need to get encouraged. I need to be built up." Why don't you consider one another? "What can I contribute? How can I help the people around me?" He said, "Consider one another." Think about the needs of one another and he says, "Think about provoking them to love and to good works."
What does it mean to provoke? Provoke, if we break down the etymology of that word, means to call forth. "Voke", like a vocation would be a calling. "Pro" means forward. To provoke is to call them forth. To basically call them out and basically inspire them and motivate them to do something. If I'm provoking you to love and to good works, it means that I'm saying or doing something that will get you to do those good works. It will get you to love people through what I've said, what I've done and through the influence that I've had on your life.
God is telling us consider one another. Did he say, "Pastor consider the people"? No, he said consider one another. This is everybody's job. "Consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is" watch this, "but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." That is saying that as we see the day approaching, what day? The day of Christ, the day of the Lord. As we see that day approaching, the Bible says we need to not forsake the assembly.
People are forsaking the assembly today more than they ever have and that's exactly why God put that verse in the Bible that said, "So much the more, as ye see the say approaching." Because he knew that in 2014 people would be getting out of church. Let me tell you something, we're closer to the day of the Lord than we were in 2013. We're closer to the day of the Lord than when this was written. We're closer to the day of the Lord than we were 20 years ago. "As ye see the day approaching." Do we see the signs of the times? Okay, then we better be in church. We better not forsake the assembly, "as the manner of some is".
Let me tell you, there are a lot of people today, they're even teaching people to get out of church. First it was that giant eared weirdo out in California, Harold Camping. "Er the church age is over. We need to leave the churches." Who listens to this guy? One time I was listening to a recording of one of my own sermons and I put it down to half speed and I sounded identical to Harold Camping. I was like, "No, I'm Harold Camping!" It was literally identical. It was uncanny. I'm like, "[inaudible 00:28:52]."
It used to be just that goofball out in California on public access TV. I used to turn on the TV as a kid and see Harold Camping when I lived in Sacramento, CA. He's the one who predicted that Christ was coming back March 21, 2011. Put billboards up all over California. The Bible guarantees it. Just because the devil wants to destroy people's faith in the Bible. He said, "Oh the Bible guarantees that Jesus is coming back on March 21st." Then when it doesn't happen, you know what people say? "Oh, the Bible was wrong." Even though the Bible never guaranteed any such thing. He had people send in millions of dollars because the world's going to end on March 21st. He was like, "Oh whoops, psyche. It was October 21st. Send in more money. More money, more money." Then October 21st rolls around, "Something happened up in Heaven, just didn't happen down here." That's what they always say. That's what the Jehovah's Witnesses said. It's what the Seven Day Adventist said. Whenever these comings of Christ fall through, it's always like, "Oh it just happened up there."
It's a fraud. This Harold Camping has been preaching for years about people need to leave the churches. Get out of church. "Church is all apostate. All churches are bad. Every church is bad. We need to leave the church. The church age is ended." All this stuff. That's the only person that I heard saying that, except now, everybody's saying it. It's all over the place. It's everywhere. Now it's this, "There's no good churches." I've heard people even say, "Well you know in the tribulation, we're not going to be going to church in the tribulation. You think we're going to be going to church in the tribulation?" I'm going to be in church in the tribulation. "So much the more as ye see the say approaching", I'm going to be assembled together with God's people. Either that or I'm getting my head cut off or running into the wilderness or something. If I'm in [inaudible 00:30:44], I'm going to be at church. As ye see the day approaching, we don't need less church, we need more church. This garbage that says that in the last days there's no good church, then why did he say to keep assembling even in the last days? More than ever it's needed.
Not only did he say to assemble together, everybody you're here. You've already fulfilled that part of Hebrews 10:25 by being here, right? Everybody's here. You've all succeeded tonight at assembling. Okay, how about exhorting one another? Because the obedience of this verse is not just to assemble, it's also to exhort one another to do what? Not to forsake the assembly. It's not enough to be in church, you need to also be motivating other people to be in church and to stay in church. Let's read it again. It says in verse 24, "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." Look at that colon at the end of verse 24. Now he's going to tell us what those good works are or at least an example thereof. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching." That means that when somebody quits coming to church, we need to contact that person and try to get them to come back to church. Try to exhort them and say, "Hey we missed you at church." Not in a rude, condescending, judgmental way, but rather in way that says, "Hey man, we missed you. Are you coming?"
A lot of people, too, will have this attitude toward people that are Sunday morning only type people. There are a lot of people who only come on Sunday morning and then there are those that come three times a week. What I call, "three to thrive". The "three to thrive" Christians that come Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. They're not trying to be on a starvation diet of Sunday morning, they're thriving. All three services. I'm preaching to the Sunday night crowd, so you're back for Sunday night. You're back for more, but let me say this, do people on Sunday morning, the ones who only come on Sunday morning, you need to salute them and greet them and be their friend. Not have this attitude of like, "Well, yeah I don't know them because they only come Sunday morning, that's why I don't know them. I mean, if they went soul winning I'd greet them by name. I mean, if I saw them on Sunday night I might greet them by name. Yeah, on Wednesday night I'll greet them by name. But these people that are Sunday morning only, I'm not going to take the the time." That's a bad attitude. It's a horrible attitude. So what if they only come Sunday morning. We need to love people wherever they're at in their Christian life and their spiritual growth.
Pretty much all of us were Sunday morning [only's 00:33:29] at some point in our life. We've been at that stage. We've been in that phase where we were a Sunday morning glory. That doesn't mean that we should not consider them part of our church because they are a part of our church. Many people on Sunday morning they love the Lord, sometimes they're Sunday morning only because they're driving from over an hour away. There are multiple people in our church that drive from an hour away and maybe that's why they're Sunday morning only. By the way, there are people in our church who will come on Sunday mornings, maybe three times a month, two times a month and you might think to yourself, "Oh those people aren't very faithful." But they actually have a church in their area an hour away that they go to all the other services. They like our church, they come here when they can, when they want to make that two hour round trip drive. But on the Sunday nights and on the Wednesday nights, they've got a local church where they're at.
You don't always know people's situation. You need to realize that if somebody's in our church, we're glad that they're here and we want to love them. Plus, maybe somebody's a new believer. Maybe somebody's not real mature in the faith. Maybe that's why they only come two times a month, three times a month. Let me say this, if you would reach out to them and befriend them, maybe they'll come more often. If they know that they've got a friend there. Maybe they'll go because they know that there's important fellowship.
A lot of people will show up on Sunday morning and then they think, "Oh I'll just download Sunday night. Just download Wednesday night." But they can't download you. That's why we need to be they're friend and show them some fellowship. If they show up and they get the preaching plus the fellowship, then they'll come back for the preaching and the fellowship. Then they'll be back Wednesday night for the preaching and the fellowship. Whereas if it's only about the preaching, they might come on Sunday morning to say, "Hey I did the assembling like the Bible said. I did my minimum by showing up." Then they might just download the preaching on Sunday night and Wednesday night.
I don't know about you, but I like to have everybody here on Sunday night and Wednesday night. I like a full house on Sunday night and Wednesday night. I like all of God's people fellowshipping all the time, so much the more as we see it. We need these friendships. We need this fellowship. We are living in some perilous times. We are living in some crazy times and out there it's a mad house at there. It is a jungle out there in 2014 America. It seems like sometimes we're living in the Twilight Zone. It's crazy. It's madness. We need to come to a place like this just to get some sanity. Just to get a breath of fresh air. Just to realize, "Okay, normal people. Normalcy. Wow, people who actually have a halfway traditional value system." Instead of out there in the world where everything is so backward and topsy-turvy, unscriptural and ungodly.
We need it more than ever to be in church. We need iron that sharpens iron. We need Christians who exhort one another, pray for one another, strengthen one another, help one another, and find out what people need and give it to them and help them with it. Figure out what they need and what you can do to help them. It's a blessing to do so.
The Bible says, "A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity." Did you hear that? "A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity." Look, in this church we're both. We are brothers in Christ and so when the Bible says a brother's born for adversity, it's saying that your brother is going to be there for you in times of adversity. When you are going through trials and tribulations, your brother is the one that's going to be there for you. Both your physical brother, God willing, and also your spiritual brother.
He says, "A friend loveth at all times." That means that when a friend is down and out, you love them anyway. When the friend is injured and can't do anything for you, you go to them and help them. You visit them. When your friend's in prison, you go visit your friend in prison. You know, "That's him. He's in the [inaudible 00:37:43] for the next 10 years." No, you go visit your friend. You stay faithful to your friend even when they go through hard times, struggles, illnesses, injuries, imprisonment and whatever else. Financial problems and whatever. You love your friends and you love your brethren and in church it should be both. It should be our friends, they should be our brothers and sisters in Christ.
How do we put these scriptures in [inaudible 00:38:10]? A lot of scripture. I didn't even turn to all. A lot of scriptures on friendship. A lot of scriptures on salutation. A lot of scriptures on greetings. How do we apply this? How do we make it practical? What do we do to obey these scriptures? Number one, salute everyone. Salute everyone. I go to the grocery store I salute everybody.
I remember I learned this from my friend Mike years ago, he called it "running for office", because whenever I would go with him to the grocery store he'd be saying hi to everybody. I was like, "You say hi to everybody." He said, "I'm running for office." He was just joking, but honestly, everywhere I go I'm "running for office". Just, "Hey how's it going? Hi." Smile, friendly. Maybe I'll be practice for you, so when you come to church you might actually say hi to people and be friendly to people. Get the, "Well I'm just shy", change! "Well I'm just not the type to approach people." Then get boldness. Pray for boldness. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but a power of love and a sound mind. Today in this electronic age where everybody's got all their friends on Facebook and their friends on YouTube, it's like they don't know how to interact with human beings anymore.
Here's your homework assignment, all week everywhere you go, smile and say hi to people. Then you might actually learn how to interact with human beings. Then when you come to church, you'll be able to interact better. Be more friendly and greet people. I go to the post office, I'm friendly. I'm smiling. I'm greeting people. I go to the grocery store. I'm friendly. I'm smiling. I'm greeting. It's just practice. You know what? It's a good testimony too, especially when I'm wearing my after the tribulation t-shirt and I'm friendly. I'm just kidding. Anyway, it's a good testimony, because you know what it shows? It shows that you're not prideful, arrogant and haughty.
If you notice that prideful arrogant people, they don't smile and greet you. Think about that. Think about that for a minute. What kind of person, when you're out in public, smiles and is friendly and greets you versus what kind of person wouldn't even give you the time of day? The person that wouldn't give you the time of day, the person that wouldn't salute or greet or smile at you, is a prideful person. They're arrogant. There like, "I don't have time for you. I'm not going to greet you. Who are you?" I understand this could be a cultural thing in different parts of the world. In some areas if you greet people, it freaks them out, because they're so ...
In New York City, don't listen to this part of the sermon. If you're in New York City, because we have these girls here from New York, when you're in New York City, you're like, "Hey how's it going?" They're like, "Whoa you got a problem? What's going on?" Nobody greets you in New York. I remember one time I was at a restaurant in Rhode Island, Massachusetts somewhere like that and I was friendly with the waitress. She thought I was trying to get her phone number. I was like, "Whoa I'm married." Because it's just nobody's friendly there. The person I was with I was like, "What is going on with this waitress?" and he was like, "You can't be friendly to the waitress. This is Massachusetts. People aren't friendly. This isn't California, buddy. You can't be friendly. People take it the wrong way." But honestly, in Arizona you can be friendly to people. In California you can be friendly. In the south, good night, you can be really friendly to people.
In the south, everybody greets you. In the south, people walk up to you and start talking to you and you're like, "Do I know you?" It's like they've known you their whole life. In the south, you'll be in line at the grocery store. There's 15 people in line, no "three's a crowd" policy like we have here, where there's never more than three people in line at the grocery store. In the south there will be 20 people in line and everybody's talking to you the whole time like they've known you their whole life. Then you go up to New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, nobody will look at you. Nobody will talk to you, nobody has time for you.
So yeah, there are cultural differences, but I don't know about you, God told me to salute everybody, I'm going to salute everybody. God told me to salute. Don't salute your brethren only, do more! Salute everybody and good night, if we're talking about saluting people at the post office, can you salute people at church? These are your brothers! These are your sisters! These are your friends! At a minimum you should be greeting everybody at church. By the way, greet the friends by name. It's hard to learn everybody's name, especially because our church is growing fast. Constantly new people are coming in. It's challenging, it's difficult, but try to get to know people.
Our church is not too big to know everybody. Try to know everybody. Even if you can't, do the best you can. Honestly, go into Sunday mornings, even go into Sunday nights and Wednesday nights of, "Hey let's meet somebody new. Let's make somebody feel welcome." Not, "Just let me go to my two buddies that I always talk to every time. I talk to my same two buddies every single time." Especially not on a Sunday morning, because we'll probably see those buddies on Sunday night. You'll probably see them on Wednesday night. You see them out soul winning. Use that Sunday morning time. I think it's great that when an unsaved person comes to our church they get the gospel, because someone asks them about it. Let's not let it stop there. "Oh you're saved? Well then nuts to you." "Oh you're not saved? Okay, I'll spend 15-20 minutes with you giving you to God." "Oh you're already saved? See ya. Never talk to you again. Come every week for three months and I'm never going to talk to you again. They're saved, my work here is done."
No it's not. You need to now befriend that person. Show yourself friendly. That's how you put this sermon into practice. You obey the Bible to salute. You obey the Bible to greet. You obey the Bible to show yourself friendly. You obey the Bible when it tells you to greet the friends by name. You obey the Bible when it tells you to speak often one to another. You obey the Bible when He tells you to love the brotherhood. You obey the Bible when He tells you to assemble, sharpen one another, exhort one another, and to see your brother have need and to help your brother in Christ. If you have, this world's good, that's what it's all about. That's what God's telling us to do over and over again. Let's put it into practice.
Let's bow our heads in a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much of the church Lord. It's a blessing. It's a gift that we even have a church to go. There are people in other parts of the world that they don't have fellowship of like minded believers and here we are in a building with 100 people who believe just like us. They love the same Word that we love. They love soul winning like we love. It's a blessing. On Sunday morning over 125 people this morning, Lord. It's a blessing to have all these friends. Help us to take advantage of the fact that we have an assembly like this and not to just blow in, blow out and just not really know anybody or greet anybody. Lord, help us to be a family and a brotherhood.