Saturday, August 25, 2007


This message asked the question, “What motivates you?” Using documented research supported by scriptural truth each listener is challenged to live a Holy and Devoted life of service to God. Deuteronomy 28 is used to describe the two elements of life God uses to motivate His children, pain and gain. What motivates you?


Key Scripture: Isaiah 1 NKJV

19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;

20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword"; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Motivation is an interesting element in life. What motivates you?

If you are like most people, according to a 30 year old study by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist at Princeton University, and his longtime collaborator, psychologist Amos Tversky, you are more motivated by avoiding losses than by attempting gains of equal amounts. (source: article - ‘When Words Decide’ Magazine Content: August 2007 – Scientific American Mind)

This classic study showed that getting people to focus on avoiding losses when they make decisions is more motivational than getting them to focus on securing gains.

For example:

“Appeals for women to do breast self-exams that emphasize the benefits or early cancer detection (gains) are less effective than those that emphasize the costs of late detection (losses).”

“Pleas to homeowners to conserve energy that focus on savings (gains) in utility bills are less powerful than efforts that focus on the added costs of using energy wastefully (losses).”

This same principle drives the stock market. People don’t necessarily buy emotionally as much as they are motivated to sell emotionally in efforts to protect against losses.

I was in the military during the Vietnam War, during the draft, when young men were involuntarily and often forcibly conscripted to serve in the Army of the United States. You can imagine the attitudes of young 18, 19 and 20 year olds who found themselves jerked from their lives of choice and into boot camp and the basic military structure. Even those with low draft numbers who volunteered for the service of choice instead of being at the mercy of the draft boards decisions were at times not necessarily happy about it.

I went through my basic military training with a squadron comprised of 42 young men. It so happened that I was chosen to be a Squad Leader and later Dorm Chief. It seems that I am in that minority of people naturally motivated by potential gains and burdened with very few risks aversions. Anyway, I chose to be there and excelled but was surrounded by a number of people whose only thought was find a way to leave.

During the six week initial training period different tactics are employed in efforts to shape thought and behavior and bring about conformity. If people don’t or won’t conform to the military way of doing things for the promise of promotion they are often faced with the reality that it costs not to follow orders.

One of the most feared results of not complying with my drill sergeant’s request in those days was the threat of being transferred to a special training squadron called ‘Motivation’. These were the recruit trainees we would see marching double time everywhere they went, continually standing out in the rain or heat with mops and mop buckets stretched at arm’s length, being screamed at constantly, awakened at all hours of the night and forced to do menial tasks for no reason other than their superior wanted to make them do it.

If one failed motivation, as we were told, he was not just let go from the military in those days, no way … he was sent to Leavenworth’s military prison to serve out his enlistment making small rocks out of big ones and then given a dishonorable discharge and drummed out of the military with all fashion and pomp.

Let me tell you, motivation, as it was called, was more motivating than anything else I had ever seen … and it worked for most.

For many people, Avoiding pain is more motivating than the promise of pleasure.

Perhaps this is why God’s word gives us both sides of the coin as well.

For those who are motivated to obey God and conform to His will out of the benefits of a right relationship, we are given the promises of Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

But for those who aren’t motivated by potential gain but rather by potential loss, there is the rest of that chapter, vss. 15-68.

Here at Golden Triangle Church On The Rock, we provide weekly incentives based on the hope that both earthly promises and heavenly rewards would inspire people to give their lives over to the Lordship of Christ, deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. Perhaps this is working for near 20% of those listening.

(This would support the 80/20 rule in Church statistics: 80% of contributions and physical support is given by 20% of the people)

Like I said, perhaps 20% of those listening are motivated to live a holy and devoted life just because of God’s goodness to us …

However, it is possible that some, maybe a majority and perhaps even you, are better motivated by other, more threatening prospects. It may be what some people need is to connect with the reality of the loss we face if and when we do not obey God!

So, with this in mind may I take this morning and provide some element of motivation from the solid truth of God’s word which paints a picture of what is at risk when we do not pay attention to the Word, the Way and the Will of God for our lives. Hey … it certainly won’t hurt any of us to read a little from God’s Word this morning.

Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live

Job 36

11 If you obey and serve Him, You shall spend your days in prosperity, And your years in pleasures.

12 But if you do not obey, You shall perish by the sword, And you shall die without knowledge.

335 times in the NKJV the phrase, ‘if you’, appears, the majority of these scriptures reference God speaking with man. This gives us the realization that many of God’s interactions with man are conditional and subject to our attitudes and actions.

So, lets look at Deuteronomy 28 and see if we can find sufficient motivating factors which will encourage us to conform to God’s will and live under the Lordship of Jesus, whether we want to or not.

Deuteronomy 28 NLT

1 ¶ "If you fully obey the LORD your God by keeping all the commands I am giving you today, the LORD your God will exalt you above all the nations of the world.

2 You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God:

3 You will be blessed in your towns and in the country.

4 You will be blessed with many children and productive fields. You will be blessed with fertile herds and flocks.

5 You will be blessed with baskets overflowing with fruit, and with kneading bowls filled with bread.

6 You will be blessed wherever you go, both in coming and in going.

7 "The LORD will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!

8 "The LORD will bless everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

9 "If you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways, the LORD will establish you as his holy people as he solemnly promised to do.

10 Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the LORD, and they will stand in awe of you.

11 "The LORD will give you an abundance of good things in the land he swore to give your ancestors—many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops.

12 The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens to bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them.

13 If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God and carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always have the upper hand.

14 You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today to follow after other gods and worship them.

15 ¶ "But if you refuse to listen to the LORD your God and do not obey all the commands and laws I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you:

16 You will be cursed in your towns and in the country.

17 You will be cursed with baskets empty of fruit, and with kneading bowls empty of bread.

18 You will be cursed with few children and barren fields. You will be cursed with infertile herds and flocks.

19 You will be cursed wherever you go, both in coming and in going.

20 "The LORD himself will send against you curses, confusion, and disillusionment in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and forsaking me.

21 The LORD will send diseases among you until none of you are left in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

22 The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, fever, and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew. These devastations will pursue you until you die.

23 The skies above will be as unyielding as bronze, and the earth beneath will be as hard as iron.

24 The LORD will turn your rain into sand and dust, and it will pour down from the sky until you are destroyed.

25 "The LORD will cause you to be defeated by your enemies. You will attack your enemies from one direction, but you will scatter from them in seven! You will be an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.

26 Your dead bodies will be food for the birds and wild animals, and no one will be there to chase them away.

27 "The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, scurvy, and the itch, from which you cannot be cured.

28 The LORD will strike you with madness, blindness, and panic.

29 You will grope around in broad daylight, just like a blind person groping in the darkness, and you will not succeed at anything you do. You will be oppressed and robbed continually, and no one will come to save you.

30 "You will be engaged to a woman, but another man will ravish her. You will build a house, but someone else will live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will never enjoy its fruit.

31 Your ox will be butchered before your eyes, but you won’t get a single bite of the meat. Your donkey will be driven away, never to be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will be there to help you.

32 You will watch as your sons and daughters are taken away as slaves. Your heart will break as you long for them, but nothing you do will help.

33 A foreign nation you have never heard about will eat the crops you worked so hard to grow. You will suffer under constant oppression and harsh treatment.

34 You will go mad because of all the tragedy around you.

35 The LORD will cover you from head to foot with incurable boils.

36 "The LORD will exile you and the king you crowned to a nation unknown to you and your ancestors. Then in exile you will worship gods of wood and stone!

37 You will become an object of horror, a proverb and a mockery among all the nations to which the LORD sends you.

38 "You will plant much but harvest little, for locusts will eat your crops.

39 You will plant vineyards and care for them, but you will not drink the wine or eat the grapes, for worms will destroy the vines.

40 You will grow olive trees throughout your land, but you will never use the olive oil, for the trees will drop the fruit before it is ripe.

41 You will have sons and daughters, but you will not keep them, for they will be led away into captivity.

42 Swarms of insects will destroy your trees and crops.

43 The foreigners living among you will become stronger and stronger, while you become weaker and weaker.

44 They will lend money to you, not you to them. They will be the head, and you will be the tail!

45 ¶ "If you refuse to listen to the LORD your God and to obey the commands and laws he has given you, all these curses will pursue and overtake you until you are destroyed.

46 These horrors will serve as a sign and warning among you and your descendants forever.

47 Because you have not served the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received,

48 you will serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. They will oppress you harshly until you are destroyed.

49 "The LORD will bring a distant nation against you from the end of the earth, and it will swoop down on you like an eagle. It is a nation whose language you do not understand,

50 a fierce and heartless nation that shows no respect for the old and no pity for the young.

51 Its armies will devour your livestock and crops, and you will starve to death. They will leave you no grain, new wine, olive oil, calves, or lambs, bringing about your destruction.

52 They will lay siege to your cities until all the fortified walls in your land—the walls you trusted to protect you—are knocked down. They will attack all the towns in the land the LORD your God has given you.

53 The siege will be so severe that you will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters, whom the LORD your God has given you.

54 The most tenderhearted man among you will have no compassion for his own brother, his beloved wife, and his surviving children.

55 He will refuse to give them a share of the flesh he is devouring—the flesh of one of his own children—because he has nothing else to eat during the siege that your enemy will inflict on all your towns.

56 The most tender and delicate woman among you—so delicate she would not so much as touch her feet to the ground—will be cruel to the husband she loves and to her own son or daughter.

57 She will hide from them the afterbirth and the new baby she has borne, so that she herself can secretly eat them. She will have nothing else to eat during the siege and terrible distress that your enemy will inflict on all your towns.

58 "If you refuse to obey all the terms of this law that are written in this book, and if you do not fear the glorious and awesome name of the LORD your God,

59 then the LORD will overwhelm both you and your children with indescribable plagues. These plagues will be intense and without relief, making you miserable and unbearably sick.

60 He will bring against you all the diseases of Egypt that you feared so much, and they will claim you.

61 The LORD will bring against you every sickness and plague there is, even those not mentioned in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.

62 Though you are as numerous as the stars in the sky, few of you will be left because you would not listen to the LORD your God.

63 "Just as the LORD has found great pleasure in helping you to prosper and multiply, the LORD will find pleasure in destroying you, until you disappear from the land you are about to enter and occupy.

64 For the LORD will scatter you among all the nations from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship foreign gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods made of wood and stone!

65 There among those nations you will find no place of security and rest. And the LORD will cause your heart to tremble, your eyesight to fail, and your soul to despair.

66 Your lives will hang in doubt. You will live night and day in fear, with no reason to believe that you will see the morning light.

67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were night!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’ You will say this because of your terror at the awesome horrors you see around you.

68 Then the LORD will send you back to Egypt in ships, a journey I promised you would never again make. There you will offer to sell yourselves to your enemies as slaves, but no one will want to buy you."

Deuteronomy 29 NLT

1 ¶ These are the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites while they were in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Mount Sinai.

Why aren’t people living a more holy and Godly life … perhaps it is because there if no fear of God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and wisdom is proven of her children.

It pays to serve the Lord and it costs to not serve Him.

God cannot bless those who will not obey Him for reason of fear or out of devoted love and respect. Unfortunately, the people who refuse, lose. They lose what could have been in life and in eternity.

So, what motivates you … the promise of blessings or the fear of loss? Either way … God’s Word provides motivation for you to live right and serve Him all the days of your life.

You know, the world’s research says that close to 80% of us are motivated when faced with the real fear of loss.

Interestingly when we survey Deuteronomy 28’s 68 verses, 14 of them, or effectively 20% of them are positive motivation to serve the Lord, while that same 80% are negative motivations to serve Him, pointing us to our personal loss if we do not.

So, in conclusion may I ask the question again: What motivates you? Pain or Gain? Both can be found in God’s word … you choose!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Simply Christ

Synopsis: This message reminds the Believer to not become separated from the simplicity which is in Christ, especially in times of witnessing to others. Becoming educated in the Word of God should make us more like Jesus in demonstrating our compassion and care for the lost and hurting of this world. Jesus made it easy for others to go to heaven and we should not become critical, judgmental or condemning agents of our own doctrines but rather represent the love of Christ.


Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Approximately 145 years before Jesus was born, there was a group of religious Jews who desired to make their lives more pleasing to God in everything they said and did. In order to accomplish this they felt it necessary to separate themselves somewhat from their Jewish brothers and sisters and live a more holy and devout life.

Over the years, most likely because of the felt need to educate and separate themselves, they became known as separatist and were called by the Hebrew name: Perashin which comes from the root Hebrew root word Parash – to separate.

Through the decades their hard line views kept them separated from the common population and eventually they adopted a feeling of religious and spiritual superiority. They lived very pious lives and generally taught that it was impossible to live a life pleasing to God without being just like them. They were very critical of other people’s approach to God and quite judgmental and legalistic in their approach to serving God. This further separated them from others.

About the time Jesus began to minister in the Galilee and Jerusalem, the numbers of this group had grown to about 6000 men, according to Josephus’ historical writings, and they were very entrenched into the Jewish culture, holding high positions in the religious leadership of that day, well educated and powerful.

Even though they believed in the coming Messiah and knew that the scepter had departed from Judah and that the weeks of Daniel’s prophecy were about to expire, this particular group of scholars were bitter enemies of Jesus and continually opposed Him throughout the Gospel accounts for His forgiving, merciful, loving and inclusive teachings.

The most learned scholars of the day were proud members of this group and they spent their entire lives studying and learning the Law of God. However, this only served to further separate them from others.

The word Parash, to separate, translates from Hebrew to Greek as the word: Pharisaios, where we get the English word Pharissee.

Hebrew – Parash – to separate

Greek – Pharisaios – a separatist

English – Pharissee – exclusively religious

Pharissees believed in justification by works and that they had the market cornered on religion. Anyone who did not live strictly according to the laws of Moses were condemned as heretics and were often arrested, tried and beaten or crucified.

Not every person educated by or affiliated with this group felt the same level of self righteous pride and superiority. However, when Stephen was stoned, it was members of this group that instigated that murder and one named Saul of Tarsus, a Pharissee, who consented to Stephen’s death and even proudly held the coats of those who threw the stones.

No doubt Saul had his studied and learned reasons. No doubt he could quote all of the legal errors in Stephen’s arguments. No doubt Saul knew soooooo much more than Stephen ever imagined! After all, Saul had sat at the feet of Gamliel and the greatest bible scholars of his day. He knew these rag-tag, uneducated, rebel followers of Jesus could not defend their faith against his superior intellect and arguments.

Later Saul of Tarsus, the now converted Apostle Paul, the servant of the Jesus, would write:

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Basically the humbled Apostle was saying:

Like it or not, I am no longer devoted to the Law of Moses, nor do I claim to know it, I know nothing but Christ and I am devoted to Him and Him alone.

Jesus became a New Law! A New Testament.

Six times in the book of Matthew chapter 5 (Matthew 5:21-48) Jesus refuted the doctrine of Pharisees and scholars and their hard line, judgmental, critical, harsh, legalistic views of the Word of God.

Six times Jesus says, “You have heard it said … but I say …”

This is what God said to Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration: In the midst of the Law and the Prophets as represented by Moses and Elijah, God said: “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him!” Matthew 17:5

God has every right to explain Himself and clarify His Word and Will, and He did this in Christ Jesus, His Son. Jesus became a New Law, a New Testament.

John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 8 NKJV

1 ¶ But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.

3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,

4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.

5 "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?"

6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."

8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?"

11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

12 ¶ Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

What is the question of the day?

The law says …, but what do you say Jesus?

Jesus is the light and He will always respond with no condemnation, criticism or rejection. He is not a separatist, not a judge but a Friend and a Savior.

Jesus makes it easy to go to heaven.

Like the Apostle Paul, I too am afraid …

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Please, please, please, don’t let your study and knowledge of the scriptures make you hard, harsh, judgmental, critical, condemning, or lead you to separate yourself from others with a self righteous pride.

And please don’t make it hard for others to go to heaven, not when Jesus made it so easy.

Make it simply Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That’s all it takes!

Perhaps you need Jesus now. He is waiting with His arms opened wide to welcome you, forgive you, love you and help you.

He is not angry, He is reaching out to you and He has made it easy to turn to Him.

Just let go and let God have His way in your life. Give it all to Jesus and let others know it’s easy to come to Him.

You have heard it said that it is hard, that you have to change or that you have to follow some pathway of religion, but Jesus said:

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Romans 10

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 ¶ For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Family Ties

In this sermon the Pastor Ron Hammonds encourages the listener to explore some new and challenging thoughts about our relationship with one another in this family of Believers and look at some principles from God's word in efforts to examine ourselves and our responsibilities to God for these relationships.

God is pro-family.

In fact when God could have described His relationship with mankind using any paradigm He desired, He chose the paradigm of family.

The Church is the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ and the Family of God in the earth.

We heard God’s hope and plan in our:

Key Scripture: Psalms 68:6 God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. (NKJV)

Synopsis: Tonight we are going to explore some new and challenging thoughts about our relationships with one another in this family of Believers and look at some principles from God’s word in efforts to examine ourselves and our responsibilities to God for these relationships.

Isaiah 62 NKJV

1 ¶ For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns.

2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name.

3 You shall also be a crown of glory In the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem In the hand of your God.

4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the LORD delights in you, And your land shall be married.

5 For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.

The primary relationships God desires to create in His family are not unlike the relationships we have in our own families. These relationships are not necessarily built on convenience or contract but rather on covenant.

Covenant means ‘your good at my expense’ … different than mere contract or relationships of convenience or commerce.

Some of you may have heard the story of Brenda and me getting married at such an early time in our life and the struggles we had during those initial years. (The brief version of the story.)

After surrendering our lives to Jesus we were still faced with having to learn to live together in peace and harmony while building a loving relationship which was pleasing to God and could last us a lifetime.

As many people are, I am one of research. I like to know the truth and how things work and why they break and what I can do to avoid trouble or fix it when it occurs. So, as a result of my passion to learn I went on a 20 year research mission, counseling with every person I could find who was going or had gone through marital problems, especially those who had divorced, cataloging the reasons why they thought their relationship was failing or had failed.

Matching my own non scientific research findings up with stories and scriptures in the bible I came to some conclusions and categorized them under one of seven major problems people face in marriage, which if not addressed properly, could lead to disunity and divorce.

Later I put these personal findings into a little Marriage Basics counseling guide for Premarital and Marriage Counseling which today is used by several churches around the nation and even in a few places outside the United States to assist Pastors and lay workers in counseling others.

I believe that God is pro family, pro marriage and pro relationship. I believe that God expects pretty much the same thing, in varying degrees and forms, from every one involved in covenant relationships, whether they are marriage, siblings, ministry teams or church family members. There is one perfect relationship pattern and God chose family to represent that pattern … even calling Jesus our Brother and Believers His children, Israel His wife and the Church His daughter-in-law.

We are the sons and daughters of the Most High God. And as such, we are family with one another.

So tonight, I want to briefly share the Seven Basic Principles of Marriage I have in the past referred to as, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Marriage”, which if not attended to, could cause problems in any covenant relationship … even in church families.

I want us to look beyond marriage tonight and look at the other primary relationships God has given us and explore how these truths apply to those relationships as well.

#1. A Personal Commitment to God and His Word as Final Authority

Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Not only in the marital relationship but also in church family relationships there needs to be a mutual level of personal commitment to God and to His Word as final authority if we are going to remain in unity. There will always be differing opinions when you get more than 2 people together, however, when we all tune to the Word, we are in harmony together … and that’s where the blessings are.

#2. A Personal Commitment to the Covenant of Marriage and the Marriage Roles.

Society today has endeavored to erase role consciousness, conduct and expectation. However, God is a God of order, structure and instruction. There are just some things which God has already decided upon and which are not up to us nor are they all about us.

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

A reading of the passages in Ephesians chapters 5 & 6 will show that God has established structure in relationships.

Roles, rules, rights and responsibilities come with each position God has created within the family and within the Body of Christ.

I often tell couples who want to be married that if they are already set on not driving a car, do not become the operator of a taxi cab. Why, because driving is an integral part of that job. Why frustrate yourself for the rest of your life. Some things are just job requirements and it is the same with covenant relationships. Each one has it’s demands … even in a church family setting.

#3. Communication

This is a biggie! Many relationships fail for no other reason than inadequate or ineffective communication. Not just marriages but friendships, business partnerships and even church family relationships.

Communication is a must … not just talking or just listening, but communicating.

Communication occurs when the message which is received is the same message that was sent.

Ecclesiastes 7

21 Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you.

22 For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you have cursed others.

#4. Unforgiveness and the Past

If you hang around any person long enough they will impress you at least one time and depress you at least one time. It is often in those moments of being depressed by others that we decide to take up offenses and not allow the relationship to move beyond the offense.

We have seen this to be a very destructive tool of the devil which he uses to divide people. It was not until Eve came on the scene in Genesis that Adam actually had productive/reproductive capabilities.

It was also about that time that the devil shows up in attempts to divide Adam and Eve and ultimately divide mankind from God. If it had not have been for the merciful forgiveness of God, mankind would have been forever trapped, held in the chords of their past, their last biggest mistake, their recent failures, their sin, their past problems.

God made a way to put all of that behind Him and allow a new day, a fresh start, and a healthy relationship to grow … He did all of this through the power of forgiveness.

Many marriages fail as do other covenant relationships and all of the God desired potential is lost due to the fact that someone cannot or will not or does not forgive and let the past be the past.

I know there are many individual situations and circumstances that fall into this category which have particular factors that make this hard to broad brush with the simple counsel – Forgive! But ... Forgive anyway!

How many times?

Matthew 18

21 ¶ Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

#5. Sex

Yep! I said it … and in church. Sex is the most productive and destructive adventures known to man. We will leave for the moment the marital implications dealing with this powerful covenant tool in it’s most basic form and rather for the purposes of this teaching focus on the designed results of sex in marriage --- reproductivity! (if you wish to explore more concerning the power sex holds in a marriage, you may order a copy of ‘Marriage Basics’ from our office or online at


If a church is not evangelistic it will become cannibalistic.

The very survival of the church is dependent on the body of Christ being productive together. In the scriptures it’s called being fruitful, increasing, multiplying, replenishing and harvesting among other things. It’s God’s will! The very first thing He required in His Original Five Commandments to mankind.

Genesis 1

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

#6. Money

It’s not how much we make together but how we spend what we make that often divides us.

The priorities and allocations of our resources are important to the collective we call church and to any relationship where pooled resources are expended. We contribute to and for a cause we believe in and we need to hold some assurances that our goals are being addressed and our expectations fulfilled.

There are basically two things that people need or desire:

* A Spending Plan They Agree On

* Follow Through

Most of the arguments and divisions over money just boil down to disagreement. Why? Whether in marriage, business or church …

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

#7. Unleft Family and Influential Friends

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Ephesians 5:31)

When we marry into the Body of Christ it is important that we leave the world behind and not allow our former worldly friends to influence our behavior. We can be in the world without being of the world. The Word tells us that to be friends with the world is to be an enemy of God and all who continue to entangle in the carnal worldly pursuits will not be free to be a soldier of Christ.


It is imperative that we treat the relationships God has ordered for us in accordance with the structure He provided for those relationships. Covenant requires commitment and just as the Apostle Paul says:

Ephesians 4:16 The Body of Christ is that by which every joint supplies. (Paraphrased)