The King | Week 3: The Relational King

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Solomon’s father, David, introduced Solomon to the nation of Israel as an inexperienced king. But David thought Solomon had potential and wanted both Israel and God to give him a chance.  As a young king, Solomon asked God to give him wisdom to lead the nation. God granted the request and blessed Solomon with remarkable wisdom and every other blessing as well.

Over the years, Solomon built the Temple of the God Almighty and he ruled and reigned effectively for many years. He built an extraordinary kingdom and lived an extraordinary life.

But, unfortunately, Solomon’s story is one of those classic rise and fall stories. In his old age Solomon did extremely foolish things that destroyed his legacy. And most of those foolish things happened within his relationships.

Solomon embraced his relationship with God in his youth and enjoyed the benefits of God’s wisdom but in his later years Solomon turned his heart away from God and foolishly began to worship other false gods.

In his early years, Solomon accomplished the main task that God had given him to do which was the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. And Solomon accomplished all of that through his relationships because…

The relationships you MAINTAIN will determine the legacy you RETAIN.

The people you surround yourself with are shaping your life. The quality of your life will be determined by your five closest friends.

In Solomon’s life there was one relationship that really accelerated his life as a young, untested king and helped him become the man that God wanted him to be. But there were also relationships that Solomon had in his later years that ended up destroying his kingdom and ruining his legacy.


The Right Relationships

The right relationship that Solomon had was started by his father David. We’ll pick the story up in 2 Samuel chapter 5.

“Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built David a palace. And David realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel and had blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” 2 Samuel 5:11-12 NLT

When David was a young king taking over the kingdom from King Saul, he was a little insecure about his leadership. He was unsure whether or not people looked at him as the king. So God used Hiram, the King of Tyre, to confirm to David and the people of Israel that David really was the king.

Through David’s relationship with Hiram and the successful completion of this palace building project David came to know that God really did want him to be king and that the kingdom was more secure and stable than David had actually realized.

The first thing that your friends should do is:

  • Affirm your CALLING.

 The people that you surround yourself with should see the greatness that God has placed in your life. Reality is that the people around us are either pushing us toward our destiny or they are keeping us from it. There’s not much middle ground.

As you evaluate your relationships ask yourself, are these people driving me to be better…? Are they affirming the call that God has on my life…?

Too many of us have surrounded ourselves with critics who tell us all the things we can’t do and all the reasons why we can’t do them. God wants us to surround ourselves with people who are constantly pulling greatness out of us.

One of Satan’s favorite tools is self doubt. He gets you to doubt whether or not God has really called you. So you need people in your life who affirm your call because lives will be changed on the other side of your obedience.

God doesn’t want us to go through life alone. He wants his church to work together, encouraging one another and building each other up.

The second things friends do for us is they:

  • Assist your VISION.

Once you get God’s call on your life, then you get a vision for how that’s going to unfold. Solomon had a vision of building the Temple and Hiram is going to play a role in that vision.

“Solomon decided to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord, and also a royal palace for himself. Solomon also sent this message to King Hiram at Tyre: ‘Send me cedar logs as you did for my father, David, when he was building his palace. I am about to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God. So send me a master craftsman. Also send me cedar, cypress, and red sandalwood logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber in Lebanon. I will send my men to help them. In payment for your woodcutters, I will send 100,000 bushels of crushed wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley, 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil.’ King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon: ‘It is because the Lord loves his people that he has made you their king! I am sending you a master craftsman named Huramabi, who is extremely talented. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father. We will cut whatever timber you need from the Lebanon mountains and will float the logs in rafts down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa. From there you can transport the logs up to Jerusalem.’”  2 Chronicles 2:1-16 NLT

It is fascinating that we call it Solomon’s Temple. We say that Solomon built the Temple. But really, David got the vision for it, drew up all the blueprints and raised all the money. Hiram supplied all the timber and craftsmen. But,  Solomon got all the credit. It’s called Solomon’s Temple.

When God gives you a dream, something He wants you to accomplish with your life, it’s always bigger than what you can do on your own. So you have to look for those strategic that make you bigger and better than you are yourself.

The third things friends do is:

  • Address your SHORTCOMINGS.

“It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time, he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them. ‘What kind of towns are these, my brother?’ he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means ‘worthless’), as it is still known today.” 1 Kings 9:10-13 NLT

Hiram calls Solomon out for being a bad gift giver. Sometimes we don’t see the things that we are bad at. So you need people in your life who will point out areas where you need improvement.

We usually react to this defensively, but after the pain fades a little bit we can be thankful for people who will call us out and speak truth.

Solomon said, The wounds of a friend can be trusted. It’s only an enemy that multiplies kisses.

Next thing your friends do is:

  • Alter your POTENTIAL.

Your relationships are shaping how much you will be able to accomplish with your life. Some of us live well below the lid of what God had for us because we don’t have friends pushing us to excel. Others of us live far beyond our own capacity because of what our friends help us to accomplish.

That’s what happened with Solomon because of his relationship with Hiram.

“King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon’s men. They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons of gold.” 1 Kings 9:26-28 NLT

The people of Israel were shepherds by nature. That’s the trade, the lifestyle, that has been passed down to them from all the way back to Abraham. But then when God gave them the Promised Land they became farmers and city dwellers.

They had never sailed before. They were not an ocean going people. There was a lid on what they could accomplish. But in this relationship between Solomon and Hiram, Hiram was by nature a trader. He sailed ships and exchanged goods with foreign countries all over the Mediterranean Sea. He knew how to work trade deals with other countries.

Once again, Hiram had the knowledge. And as a result of his relationship with Hiram we see Solomon diversifying his portfolio. He’s becoming an entrepreneur in a new market. But you don’t successfully do that without someone leading the way.

You have to know how to sail the ship, to chart your course, to know what goods you possess that would be good for trading over seas. That’s what Hiram did for Solomon. The Bible tells us that these ships returned with sixteen tons of gold.  In today’s money that is over 456 million dollars, and they did it every three years.

That’s a very good rate of return on investment. In fact, that’s why in our theme verse it says,

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.” 1 Kings 10:23 NIV

Solomon is at the pinnacle of success and things are going great for him and Israel. But lurking in the background of Israel’s history is this foreboding prophecy in Deuteronomy 31:20. God says…

“When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their forefathers, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other     gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant.” Deuteronomy 31:20 NIV

In other words, God saw this coming. What would make Solomon and the nation of Israel turn their back on God at the height of their success?

The answer is… their relationships.


The Wrong Relationships

“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites.” 1 Kings 11:1 NLT

The word there for loved means to affectionately desire. It speaks in a sexual sense. The first thing the wrong relationships do when they creep into your life is…

  • Prey on your PASSION.

All of us have unhealthy desires that we must overcome, contain and bring in line with what God says we are to do in His Word. You don’t want to surround yourself with people who pull you in the direction of those unhealthy desires.

Some of us have people in our lives who are not helping us win the battle. Instead, you have people in your life who are telling you its no big deal and everyone does it.

“The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. 1 Kings 11:2 NLT

It matters who you love. It matters to God and it matters to you. There are consequences to these life choices. Here’s the pattern of sin when it comes into our lives: I want it. I deserve it. I can handle it. 

Solomon wanted these unbelieving foreign women even though God told him to stay away from them. He felt he deserved it based on the good things he had done for God and others. And he thought he could handle it because he was strong enough.

Unfortunately, Solomon couldn’t handle it.

“He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. 1 Kings 11:3-4 NLT

You are never too old to be immune from Satan’s attacks. Satan wants to destroy your faith and he doesn’t care how long it takes.

  • Wrong relationships… Pull you from your PURPOSE.

Solomon’s purpose was to build the Temple, the first permanent place on the planet where the Creator of Heaven and Earth could be worshiped. Now in Solomon’s heart and mind he probably thought he was fine because he continued to make sacrifices in the Temple. He just also offered sacrifices in these other temples to other gods.

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14 NIV

God doesn’t want us worshipping other gods. He doesn’t want to share our affection with other gods. He doesn’t want half-hearted worship. He wants us to worship Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength.

What other things, maybe even good things, are vying for our passion, our love, our worship?

 “Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites.” 1 Kings 11:5 NLT

  • Bad relationships… Pollute your PERSPECTIVE.

The worship of Ashtoreth and Molech was very, very detestable. First, because it involved temple prostitution. They were fertility gods so there was perverse sexual activity in their worship. Which we already see was a problem in Solomon’s life because he had a thousand wives and concubines. He’s got an issue that he’s not dealing with properly.

Also, if you worshipped Molech you would take your first born child and sacrifice it on that altar in the belief that Molech would then bless your family with prosperity and more children.

God had very specifically told the nation of Israel not to allow that kind of worship to be practiced in their nation. And not only did Solomon allow it to be practiced but because of his relationship with these pagan women he is participating in it and building the temples where it is taking place.

His perspective has shifted. In the modern day church how many of us have allowed relationships to come into our lives that are shifting our perspective away from God’s word?

We’re waking up today in a modern day culture where sin is no longer considered sin and the Church is condoning things that the Bible clearly calls sin. That kind of cultural drift is costly. It cost Solomon dearly and it will cost our culture, our churches, and our lives dearly as well.

“The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” 1 Kings 11:9 NLT

“So now the Lord said to him, ‘Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants.’” 1 Kings 11:11 NLT

Solomon’s bad relationships cost him his legacy. Your relationships are going to accelerate your life and help you fulfill your call, vision, purpose and potential. Or your relationships are going to prey on your passions, pull you from your purpose, and pollute your perspective.

It is a very significant choice we have to make and it is not an easy one because the wisest man who ever lived messed it up. Who are you going to allow to have a voice in your life?


Check Back

Quickly check back on your discussion from last week: “The Wise King.” God gives us wisdom (continuously) and generously (enough for everyone) to all (each one individually) without finding fault (He’s happy to give every time you ask).

How has God given you wisdom this past week?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

The relationships you maintain will determine the legacy you retain. Solomon had both right and wrong relationships. Both kinds of relationships had significant impact on his life and legacy. The same thing is true for you.

Hear the Word

Right Relationships – Read 1 Kings 9:10-13;26-28 – Affirm your calling, assist your vision, address your shortcomings, alter your potential

Wrong Relationships Read 1 Kings 11:1-11 – Prey on your passion, pull you from your purpose, pollute your perspective

Application

Solomon’s rise came as a result of pursuing his relationship with God and pursuing right relationships with positive influences like Hiram. His fall came when he began to turn his heart away from God and toward his pagan wives and their gods.

What positive influences have made inroads in your life due to healthy relationships?

What negative influences may be making inroads in your life due to unhealthy relationships?

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Week 1: The First Purpose of Your Life

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


Today, let’s take a look at our first responsibility as a Christian, the first thing God expects of you. Let’s start by reviewing God’s nature and God’s purpose for the whole world.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is (real) love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  1 John 4:8-10 (NIV)

Love is not only something God does, it is something He is. The only reason you are able to give or receive love, is because our Creator is a God of love and He created us in His image. He loves you on your bad days as much as your good days. He loves you when you feel it, when you don’t feel it.

He will never love you any more than he does this very second. He will also never love you any less than he does this second. 


Our Motivation For Serving

Let’s take a look at four fundamental statements for your life and ministry from the Bible. Before you step out to serve anyone, before you step out to love anyone, this is your motivation.

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The first purpose of my life is to be loved by God. God made you to love you. We think our first purpose is to serve, give, witness, read, or do stuff for God, but your first duty is to be loved by God.

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My first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God. Everyone who is a Christian is called. If you’re called to be saved you’re called to serve. The call to salvation, ministry and mission are all the same call. Life is not about the role you play, the responsibility you have or the rules you keep. Life is about the relationship you have with God.

“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people…”  Romans 1:7 (NIV)

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The relationship God made you for is to be His son or daughter. This is not God’s plan B. This was God’s plan from the beginning of time. Don’t doubt your worth. He did it all so He could love you and that would give Him glory. He did it all because he loves you that much. He doesn’t want slaves or workers, He wants children.

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT)

The Creator of the universe had a secret plan, a mystery. The plan was that God wanted to adopt you into His own family, He wanted you to be His daughter or son.

Before you serve God, you need to be a child of God. You’re not a worker bee, you’re a child of God. The further you get away from God, the further you get away from your identity. This is why so many people are in an identity crisis today.

The closer you get to God, the more you see your identity.

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The #1 thing you need to understand and remember is how much God loves you. It affects all of your relationships.

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”  Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT) 

God’s love for me is…

  • Wide Enough to be everywhere.

God’s love is wide enough to be everywhere you are. There will be times you feel alone, but you’ll never be alone.

  • Long Enough to last forever.

Human love wears out. God will never stop loving you. Don’t put your purpose and security in something that can be taken from you, otherwise, you’re not secure. If you want real security you have to put it in something that can’t be taken from you and there’s only one thing that cannot be taken from you, God’s love.

  • Deep Enough to handle anything.

If you’re going to go through struggles, suffering, loneliness, or problems, God can handle it. You may even feel like you’re in a pit. God’s love is deeper still. There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper.

  • High Enough to cover my mistakes.

The Bible says God does not deal with us as we deserve. It also says that love covers a multitude of sins. Regardless of what you’ve done, God offers to forgive us so we can start over.

Love comes through Jesus Christ. He is the way to the Father’s love. There is only one way to God’s love, and it’s Jesus. You may come to Jesus through pain, loneliness, with a question, with a problem, in prison, but you’ve got to come through Jesus for God’s love.

If you felt completely and unconditionally loved by God every moment of your life, your life would change. Some of your fears or anxieties would fall away. Some of your competitiveness, envy, pride would be affected if you truly felt loved by God.

God’s love is so powerful because it invades your life and is so strong, it can break strongholds that have been there for years. It can soften hearts and wreck pride. It’s so powerful. So what happens when your life is motivated by God’s love?


When You Are Motivated By God’s Love…

1. You stop feeling pressured to perform.

The pressure to perform means I feel like I’ve got to prove myself. I’ve got to show God how good I am. Until you feel God’s love, you will constantly be evaluating everything you do, thinking you don’t measure up. This is the number one cause of burnout. Forgetting how unconditionally God loves you.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him…”  Colossians 2:6 (NIV)

This verse says that the way you got saved, is how you stay saved. The way you got into God’s family is the way you serve God. It doesn’t change after you get saved. You received Christ by grace through faith. You walk with him by grace through faith too.

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”  Romans 5:1 (NLT)

At some point in you life someone is going to tell you that you’re saved by works, but there is nothing that you can to do to be saved. Even if you could do it, then why did Jesus take that punishment? This sets you free from the pressure to perform.

2. Internally, you feel accepted, rather than ashamed.

If you feel shame, it’s not from God. God’s desire is to set you free from shame and condemnation. You may be convicted by the Holy Spirit of a sin, because he loves you, but shame is not from God.

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1 (NIV)

3. You become bold in bringing your needs to God.

If you’re not bold, you don’t understand the rights you have as a child of God. One of the things that astounded people about Abraham Lincoln is how he gave his son, Tad, access to the White House. He could be in a cabinet meeting or war strategy meeting and Tad would just walk in. His dad would pick him up and hug him. Because of their  relationship. That’s the relationship you were meant to have with God.

“This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”  Ephesians 3:11-12 (NLT)

You don’t have to pray wimpy prayers. You don’t have to knock. Just barge in. Tell God what you need.

4. You have unmistakable peace during conflict.

A sign you know the love of God is, when everyone else is losing their head, you know God loves you. When everyone else is panicking and freaking out, you’re calmly confident. At times of unmistakeable hurt and offense, you have the peace that passes understanding. My identity is not tied up in what is going on around me. I know God loves me deeply.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

5. You gain the courage to take bigger risks.

If you understand how much God loves you, your fear goes down and you have the ability to step out in faith.

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”  1 John 4:18 (NLT)

The less you understand God’s love, the more fear you will have. The more you understand God’s love, the less fear you will have.

6. You find yourself worshiping more and worrying less.

Worry is the warning sign that you’ve forgotten how much God loves you.

“It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Philippians 4:7 (MSG)

Worship is the opposite of worry. Worry focuses on you and what you don’t have. Worship focuses on how much God loves you.

Worship is enjoying God’s love for you and expressing your love back to Him.

The problem isn’t that you don’t love God enough, your problem is you don’t understand how much God loves you. If you did, you can’t help but want to love Him, express His love, worship Him, serve Him or share Him.

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.”  Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

If you do the right thing with the wrong motivation, you’re not going to last. If what you are doing is based on anything but the love of God, it’ll eat you up.

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT)


Check Back

Do you have any more thoughts after reflecting on our birthday message, “Look Up. Look Back. Look Ahead.”?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Start out by reading 1 John 4:8-10 (NIV)

Before we talk about loving others, serving Christ and serving others, we have to understand that the first purpose of our life is to be loved by God. Our first duty as Christians isn’t to do anything. This changes our motivation for serving. These should be our driving motivations for serving…

  • The first purpose of my life is to be loved by God!
  • My first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God.
  • The relationship God made me for is to be His son or daughter.
  • The #1 thing I need to understand and remember: How much God loves me.

When you are motivated by God’s love…

  1. You stop feeling pressured to perform.
  2. Internally, you feel accepted, rather than ashamed.
  3. You become bold in bringing your needs to God.
  4. You have unmistakable peace during conflict.
  5. You gain the courage to take bigger risks.
  6. You find yourself worshiping more and worrying less.

Worship is enjoying God’s love for me and expressing my love back to him.

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message?
  2. Which of the six things, do you find yourself struggling with the most? How could God’s love help?
  3. Is there something you feel led to do, but fear is holding you back?
  4. How could this understanding of God’s love change your prayer life? Are you praying bold prayers? Are you telling God what you need?

Tell Someone Else

God loves the people around you just as much as he loves you. Who can you share this life-giving message with? Who can you encourage with God’s love?

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT)

 

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