Julian Freeman just finished preaching a 4 part series of sermons on friendship titled, “Friendship Redeemed.” In his last sermon, he was teaching that delight in God creates delight in friends. One of his points was that we should love people because they reflect God.
Here is the audio version of the clip: Enjoying God in People
Here is a clip of his sermon notes:
Sometimes theology can be misapplied and hinder our love. We get ‘total depravity’ stuck in our minds and all we can think about is how hard these people are to God. But being unable to work your salvation doesn’t mean there is nothing good in you—doesn’t mean that the image of God is totally effaced! Do you see anything in them that testifies to the God whose image they bear? Do they have a creative bent? God is the Creator. Do they have a sense of justice? God is Just. Do they love knowledge? God is all-knowing. Do they have compassion on the weak? God is the protector of the widow and the orphan. These can even be used as opportunity for evangelism. Ultimately, seeing this will help us love people.
So, there you have it – a way to think rightly about the people we preach to: they are valuable for they are created in the image of God. Also, what we find in this teaching is a practical way to begin a conversation about God: take note of a characteristic of God which you see in another person, acknowledge it, commend it, then tell the person where it comes from (God), and then go from there (who knows . . . maybe go on to magnify how that attribute is demonstrated in the cross of Christ).
I will save any examples (for I have not used this kind of approach before), but I plan to use this method with the right person at the right time and then I will be ready to post about it from experience. I am thankful that my Pastor is helping to better equip me, not only for friendship, but also evangelism (cf. Ephesians 4:11-12).