READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l We are created to connect intimately with God and one another in community.
Spiritual Friendship is a shared relationship rooted in Christ, where there’s mutual commitment to help each other grow Christlikeness. Then there’s Spiritual Mentoring, where one takes on the responsibility to intentionally and relationally guide the spiritual formation of one or several others. In mentoring Timothy, Paul challenged him to “entrust what he had learnt to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”. (2 Timothy 2:2) We are the outcome of discipleship in community where we are either being mentored, peer-mentoring, or mentoring others by journeying with them in spiritual friendship bands.
Biblical Perspective – Created as Humans to Enjoy Companionship
We accomplish more when we work together with others. We need someone to help us up when we fall. We benefit from each other’s warmth, and are stronger when together. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) Moses, Abraham and Job each enjoyed a special friendship with God. (Exodus 33:11, Isaiah 41:8, Job 29:4) While crowds of people were ministered to by Jesus, He taught and fed them in smaller groups of 70. His 12 disciples journeyed closely with Him. Peter, James and John enjoyed even closer intimacy with Him. On the road to Emmaus, the resurrected Jesus comforted 2 followers who shared their discouragement that He had died. Unwittingly, they listened intently as He spoke the scriptures concerning Himself. Realization came as He ate with them and broke bread. (Luke 24:13-35) They were both powerfully and purposefully restored in the spiritual friendship and presence of Jesus.
Wesleyan Perspective – Watching Over One Another In Love
“The gospel of Christ knows of no religion, but social; no holiness but social holiness.” (John Wesley) Through mutual encouragement and accountability that a spiritual community provides, God uses spiritual friendships to grow us as Christ disciples when we commit to relating honestly and openly about God in our lives, and how discipleship is transforming us.
EAT-SHARE-PRAY to Form Spiritual Friendships
Intentional about growing spiritually? Join 2 or 3 other persons to nurture spiritual friendships over monthly meals “so that our joy may be complete”! (2 John 1:12). Where there is SAFE space to confess a sin, celebrate a victory, pray for one another, share what we are learning, reflect on what God is doing in our lives, grow Christlikeness. Growing spiritual intimacy with a few Christian friends in a discipleship band allows us to:
- Share a question of choice within 20 min. Listen attentively without interrupting someone else’s sharing. Receive the Holy Spirit’s prompting to pray for one another.
- Show up and tune in to bless, encourage and build each other up.
- Grow in grace to pardon someone who confesses sin with “In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven.” Learn not to judge or condemn a secret shared.
Intentional spiritual friendships progress systematically over time from:
- Basic sharing of a thanksgiving or item of concern, to
- Intermediate sharing of how we are stepping up in faith to obey Christ, and whether our words and attitude have reflected Christ this week, to
- Advanced sharing that is deep and confessional
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) Desire to help each other live according to Christ by prayerfully choosing someone to EAT-SHARE-PRAY with. Together we shall experience spiritual nurturing, healing and transformation as fellow Christians who help each other stay rooted in Christ – intentionally and authentically.
(Sermon notes by Marjorie Tan)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- What is one key takeaway for you from this message?
- If you have experienced being part of a “spiritual friendships” group before, share a time when you grew in your faith because of such Christian friends?
- What are some challenges you may have in being part of a Spiritual Friendship group?
- If you are already in a Spiritual Friendship group, how can you take your Spiritual Friendship group to a deeper level?
- Are there fellow Christians in your life today that you can form a Spiritual Friendship group together? Commit this group to prayer.