Boundaries with Each Other

Boundaries
With Each Other
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
November 26th, 2017
Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Boundaries with Each Other
**This series is based on the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. 

Proverbs 4:20-27 
My son, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to my sayings.
21 Don’t lose sight of them;
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it is the source of life.
24 Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly,
and don’t let your lips talk deviously.
25 Let your eyes look forward;
fix your gaze straight ahead.
26 Carefully consider the path for your feet,
and all your ways will be established.
27 Don’t turn to the right or to the left;
keep your feet away from evil. – Guard your heart.

This scripture is all about boundaries.  Here God has set many boundaries for us like… “Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly…” This is a boundary for what we say.  Or “Let your eyes look forward…fix your gaze straight ahead…”  This is boundaries for our eyes.  We get in trouble when we don’t keep our focus on Jesus.  Just ask Peter what happened when he looked to the side while walking on water.  Or “Don’t turn to the right or the left…keep your feet away from evil…”  This is a boundary for our path. 

These are all boundaries that God set’s for us…but in this scripture He also tells us to set boundaries when He says “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”  In other words, we need to set some boundaries, we need to set some invisible property lines that people are not to cross around our hearts.

Today we are going to talk about 2 boundaries…

Boundaries in Helping one another  

Galatians 6:2-5Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Let each person examine his own work, and then he can take pride in himself alone, and not compare himself with someone else. 5 For each person will have to carry his own load.

This scripture starts by saying “Carry one another’s burdens…” and it ends with “…each person will have to carry his own load.”  Notice there are two different words used here “burden” and “load.”   We are to help carry burdens, but everyone should carry their load…

The word burden here means it is more than someone can carry, it is a burden… however a load indicates something that a person should be able to carry.  So what this scripture is telling us is that what someone is carrying is too much for them to carry, then should we help them carry it.  HOWEVER, this doesn’t say that we should carry their load too.  If we end up carrying their load and their burden, then it becomes a burden.  But there are people, who, as soon as we offer to help carry their burden, they dump their load on us as well. 

This means that we need to set an appropriate boundary.  A boundary that is close enough that we should help when there is a burden, but is far enough that we don’t end up carrying their load. 

Boundaries with Friends
The second boundary that often gets Christians in trouble is boundaries or lack thereof with our friends. It’s hard to set boundaries on friends, but it is our friendships that can be most toxic sometimes.

I Corinthians 5:11-13
… I wrote you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister and is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 God judges outsiders. Remove the evil person from among you.

This verse is cautioning the church to be careful of who they associating with and allowing to be a part of their church.  It says not to associate with people who claim to be Christians but who do not follow the teachings of Christ.

And we need to be cautious of people we call friends because we tend set boundaries very close for our friends.   And if our friends are immoral, greedy, idolators, verbally abusive (think facebook…), or are continually drunk or dishonest…then Paul says we need to remove these evil people from among us.  In other words, we need to set a very distant boundary with them. We can help them, but not be so close they draw us in to their sins…

If we are not careful, they will begin to influence us.  Without forcing us, they will pressure us into doing things we don’t want to do.  And when they start causing us to do things we don’t want to do, or that we shouldn’t be doing then it is time that set that boundary for them that far far away, where they have no influence over us. 

Yes it may mean that you lose their friendship… Yes they may talk behind your back… Yes, it may be difficult.  But remember we have to look at life from a spiritual point of view… we have to look at the cost of the sin vs the loss of their friendship.  And let me just say, no friendship is worth the cost of sin….

Have you set appropriate boundaries?



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