Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

  • Sunday - 10:30 am
  • 520 8th Ave, 16th floor
    New York, NY
  • phone: +1 (973) 837-1041


BAC Sermons

Intimacy in Relationships


Invest in Intimacy (innermost knowing/familiarity) on all Levels: Intellectual, Social, Spiritual, Emotional, Sexual

Align you Attitudes and Actions with Christ's  Philippians 2

                Maturity = having enough self-esteem/worth to be other-: centered, serving & esteeming

Grow with Godly Goals Galatians 6:7 Individual and Corporate (Couple); Spiritual Maturity (Christlike) and Ministry;             

                Social and Recreational (Leisure);  Accountability (Life Friends)

Expect to Triumph through Trials Philippians 4:13    Cherishing Commitment: the make-or-break element

Intellectual: Read broadly, narrowly, lightly and deeply. Think. Write. Bible Study and meditation. Articulate purpose/dreams, likes-dislikes.

Social: Commonality (reduces threat); friends vs lovers; Speak the truth in love; Don’t use others to meet our needs

Spiritual Triangle: The closer to God the closer to another; hearts in same direction;  Resource for grace & temporary insanity.

Emotional: we need to share (doubles joy and halves sorrows; validation); beware of dumping-go to God first, getting God’s perspective gives us control; requires PURPOSEFUL vulnerability (trust) and self-disclosure; Empathy is a learned skill: listen (verbal and non-verbal), accept as their experience (don’t yet judge as valid and conforming to Truth/Reality), reflect understanding of feelings, offer insight.

Sexual: Communication (see conflict resolution {previously}); Ownership; Mutual pleasuring; variety (cf food); Grace=power and desire

I. What is an Emotional Need? 

A. e•mo•tion An intense mental state that arises subjectively rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a strong feeling. MS Bookshelf

B. JLK An emotion is a controllable response to a stimulus that passes through a learned value filter and expresses itself in a learned behavior.  An emotion can be positive (life-enhancing) or negative (destructive), godly or sinful. -BC 1/99

C.  “These "personal" needs are intimacy with God, fellowship with other people, and self-worth...love and acceptance, a feeling of being cared for, and a lifestyle that makes an impact on others with good and lasting effects. Our self-worth is enhanced to the extent that those emotions and qualities define our lives. Yet another way of describing these basic needs is that we need a sense of belongingness, an assurance that we are considered worthy by someone important to us, and a feeling that we are useful and competent.  When I believe that someone important to me wants me and accepts me, I can regard myself as "good," approved, capable, and adequate to deal with daily life, partly to satisfy that person... Security includes being able to regard ourselves as loved, accepted, and cared-for as individuals.  Significance involves being able to regard ourselves as important and valuable to others in impacting their lives for good.  Minirth & Meier, The Healthy Christian Life p 139-143

II. How God Meets Emotional

A. Looking to another finite, fallible person to meet my needs is futile; it’s temporary at best, using rather than loving that person, stunting my growth.

B. An emotional need is met by an awareness and embracing of the Truth that: the All-Sufficient Creator God has initiated a permanent relationship with me and lovingly gives me everything I need to: do His perfect will and have godly contentment in the midst of any circumstances.

Pour out your feelings to God (not people) being Honest to God (Matt 26:38)

Recognize that God is able to change you or your circumstances, meeting your need/thorn with internal or external grace

Align your will with the Father’s knowing that The Father Knows Best (Lk 22:42)

Yield yourself unreservedly to embrace and do God’s perfect will

III. In Order to be Friends with Each Other

A. First be a Friend of God

1. Obedience sets hearts in same direction Jn 15:14 obey

2. Needs met on the infinite level.  The condition which high friendship demands is ability to do without it. - Emerson d. 1882

3. Insights can be garnered from/compared against His Truth

4. You become a person of worth 2Ch 20:7. Isa 41:8; Jas 2:23

5. Character becomes more loveable  The only way to have a friend is to be one. - Emerson 1803-1882  Pr 22:11

6. Resources for rocky times in the relationship

7. We learn to love from a Master    

B. Develop the Character/Skill Set Necessary for Good Friendships: self denial; fidelity, loyalty; passion, purpose; confidence, bravery, courage; selfless; industrious; serve; resourcefulness; inquisitiveness; communicate; empathy; patience, forgiveness; freedom from jealousy, envy, greed; self-controlled (tongue control); nothing to hide, nothing to prove, no one to impress; tact; truthspeaking in love;

C. Practice the Activities/Skills of Friendship

Free exchange of thoughts and lives (and time)

1. Friends freely share and communicate Jn 15:15

...almost always the union of a part of one mind with the part of another; people are friends in spots. - Santayana 1863-1952

2. Friends share time Mt 11:19 Go often to the house of your friend, weeds choke the unused path. - Emerson 1803-1882

Friends are thieves of time. - Bacon 1561-1626

3. Friends sacrificially love Jn 15:13 lay down his life

4. Friends are other-centered friendly Pr 18:24  friendly:

5. Friends speak of God's goodness to them Mr 5:19

Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:

1. If intimacy is an other-centered investment with the expectation of a return, what happens when the other doesn’t reciprocate?

2. How does one strike the balance between self-disclosure/self-restraint? How do you build trust, increase vulnerability and self-disclosure?

3. Can opposite personality types Introvert/Extrovert Thinker/Feeler develop intimacy? How are the challenges overcome?

4. What could you do to build intimacy with those important to you? What could they do?  How can you share that with them?


Most of us need friends. Some need lots of friends; others need only one or two. For a few people, their family or work can replace friends altogether. But, in a crisis, about half of us will turn to a friend for help, instead of our family. On the average, Americans claim to have about 5.6 close, intimate friends. Friends serve many purposes: they give us a sense of belonging, they guide our behavior and opinions, they give us emotional support, they give us a chance to talk and enjoy other pleasures, they help us, they give us a chance to help them, they show us that our lives are worthwhile, they reassure us that our thoughts, feelings, and values are okay, they cheer us on (Duck, 1983). Steve Duck has summarized the research about forming friendships and love relationships; his major point is that building a friendship is not just a matter of doing whatever comes naturally, as many people would like to believe. It requires many complex but learnable skills. Thus, finding, making, and keeping a good friend involves knowledge (working to learn many skills) and effort applying the skills.

What characterizes a close, meaningful relationship? Friends (1) spend time together, almost every day. (2) They interact freely, easily, and honestly. They feel safe enough to "be themselves," sharing their private feelings and experiences, both their successes and their failures. (3) To last, both must get more satisfaction than hassle from the relationship. Both must feel they are getting a fair deal. Both must strive to make the other happy. (4) There is a code of ethics between friends based on loyalty and trust.

Friends are tolerant of and devoted to each other; they are fair, emotionally supportive, and willing to help whenever needed.

BC- What about love? Self-sacrifically doing what is in another’s highest interest?

Innumerable writers have described friendships (Flanders, 1976), especially among women (Eichenbaum & Orbach, 1988; Pogrebin, 1987; Rubin, 1985). To build a friendship, one needs time, the freedom to be yourself, consideration for the other person, and many skills. Let's look at some of the skills.

Finding and making friends. Where are friends found? Wherever we spend time--near home, in our classes, at work, in sports or other activities. What kind of people do we tend to select as friends or as boy/girlfriends? Generally, persons similar to ourselves, i.e. similar interests, values, and attitudes; otherwise, we wouldn't enjoy being with them and they wouldn't provide us emotional support. We don't ordinarily chose friends to expand our minds. Of course, if we are looking for a boy/girlfriend, we also consider their appeal to us, both physically and personality-wise, and try to get as attractive a partner as we can. A major part of making friends is having the courage and skill to start a conversation and invite him/her to do something with you. Broder (1988) offers many suggestions for enjoying the single life. We shouldn't be too desperate to find a friend. See assertiveness, social skills, and role-playing in chapter 13.

Since many people today postpone marriage until their late 20's, these people have time to develop a network of close friends over a period of years. Often friends replace family in many singles' lives. These long-term friends are no longer dropped as soon as we get married. Besides, we have learned that one person, no matter how wonderful a partner, can't meet all our needs. In fact, about half of married women feel they can talk with a friend about things they wouldn't discuss with their husbands, such as self-doubts, child-rearing problems, trouble in the marriage, etc. As women have increased their own self-esteem and broadened their interests, they have increased their respect for and interest in other women. Women now develop "specialized friends," like a male's tennis buddy or car repair buddy, as well as "intimate friends."

                Good advice is to take your time making a friend. It takes, on average, 3 years to become "best friends." There are ups and downs in most friendships; some stresses may actually strengthen the relationship. Confide in each other, but go slow. If you think you are unloading too much or imposing on your friend, ask him/her about it. Remember, almost no relationship will tolerate total frankness; we wisely refrain from telling a friend things that will hurt or drive him/her away. Also, be cautious about disclosing damaging information to friends who might pass it on. Avoid expecting too much time and help from just one or two friend(s). Likewise, don't acquire so many friends that you don't have time for your better friends when they need you. Look for opportunities to do things for and with your friends. Friends are valuable treasures but we need time alone.

People addicts. Some of us are literally addicted to being with other people. We may feel lost, lonely, uncomfortable, afraid, and/or bored when alone. So it is understandable why these people spend most of their time socializing (usually very well because they are so practiced and try so hard) or talking on the phone or planning some social activity. The problem is that we may need to do some things alone: study, work, care for children, read, keep up with current events, plan our future, etc. If we can get good at doing some things alone, we will enjoy the activities more and become more comfortable with ourselves, even enjoy the silence and comfort of being alone (Storr, 1988). If we have a desire to always be with someone, it is important to understand this enslaving need. Perhaps we irrationally believe that we must be having "fun" all the time or that everyone must like us. Perhaps there is still an insecure child inside demanding attention and dominating our life. Perhaps we have grown up with people constantly around us and, thus, feel in a foreign place when alone. mentalhelp.net/psyhelp/chap9/chap9m.htm

Self-disclosure. Humanists, such as Jourard (1974), emphasized the importance of self-disclosure in becoming intimate with another person, either a friend or lover. Self-disclosure is a reflection of a healthy personality. It deepens relationships. Showing your true feelings, your real self, is a part of intimacy. Of course, self-disclosure can be excessive or premature, e.g. "I thought about killing myself last week" or "I really like the shape of your butt" might scare off a new boy/girlfriend (Rubin, 1973). Furthermore, we all have thoughts that are best left unsaid. However, a more common problem is when we assume (often erroneously) others will be unimpressed or won't like us as we really are and, thus, we think we need to pretend to be something we aren't. We pretend in order to impress someone or to hide our shame. Actually, the pretender will probably look phony and feel stressed enough that a relationship will not develop. A better approach is honesty. Not everyone will like us if we're honest, but those that do will at least like our real selves, not our phony selves (see chapter 13).

Accept and share yourself. If you don't like yourself, you aren't likely to freely reveal yourself to others you care about. This doesn't mean you have to be in love with yourself--you don't have to think you are the greatest, you don't have to be satisfied with every aspect of your personality. You just have to accept yourself and assume you can continue to improve. If you are tolerant of yourself, it is easier to believe that others will accept you, warts and all. Also, you must not be desperate to be liked. If you believe that someone else will love you even if the person you are disclosing to right now starts to loose interest in you, it is easier to take risks and honestly self-disclose. In chapter 6 we saw that some self-critical persons drive others away and become lonely. Self-acceptance and self-confidence enhance most relationships (Powell, 1974). Learning to like yourself better is dealt with in chapters 6 and 14.  

Empathy responding. No social skill is more important than empathy. Some people are seen as more accepting and less critical or judgmental than others. Such people are called "empathic;" they are easy to talk to, they enable us to "open up." In order to disclose, especially problems and feelings we are ashamed of, we must feel safe, i.e. understood, liked, and accepted by the person with whom we are talking. This is true in therapy...and in friendship...and in love. So, if you want to get to know another person, be empathic, tolerant, and genuinely concerned about his/her welfare. If you aren't really concerned about his/her best interests, don't pretend to be. Being empathic--being a true friend--is a cherished gift to offer; it is offering an open heart. Empathy responding is not easy to learn (in fact, no one ever masters all the knowledge and life experience involved). Empathy is emphasized in chapter 13 because it is such a vital attitude and communication skill. Learn it well; use it often.


Levels of empathy responding Chap 13

Level 1.0: Inaccurate reflection or distracting comments.

Changing-the-topic responses--a friend is complaining about a school assignment and you say, "There was a good movie on channel 3 last night."

"I know better than you" response--these are god-like pronouncements, such as "There's nothing wrong with you. You'll feel better tomorrow" or "The real problem is that your mother spoiled you" or "You are so in love, you can't see what a jerk he is."

Judgmental responses--a person tells you they had several beers last night and you say, "I hope you didn't drive afterwards--you could kill someone." (This may be a responsible reaction but it isn't empathic.)

Advising response--a 35-year-old tells you they are scared to go back to school and you immediately tell them what college to go to, what courses to take, what notebook paper to buy, etc.

Discounting and premature reassurance --a co-worker tells you that her husband didn't come home last night and you comment, "Oh, everybody has little spats, don't worry about it. He'll be home tonight." This is a little like saying, "Don't talk to me about it any more."

Psychoanalysis --a male friend describes his fear of getting married and you explain to him that he was too emotionally involved with his mother and that he is scared that a wife would dominate and smother him like his mother did. This may be true, but let him self-explore and discover it on his own.

Questions --a friend hints at some problem in his/her marriage and you start the inquisition, "Do you two talk?" "Do you go out?" "How is sex?" Questions control and guide the conversation (that's bad); let the talker tell his/her story in his/her own way. (On the other hand, questions that seek to clarify what the talker has just described are not controlling and encourage the talker to talk more.)

Telling your own story --your friend's problem reminds you of a similar experience which you share (that's not so bad, unless you forget to return to your friend's concern).

Causes of Marriage failures according to the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers: Poor communication; Financial problems; A lack of commitment to the marriage; A dramatic change in priorities; Infidelity; secondary: Failed expectations or unmet needs; Addictions and substance abuse; Physical, sexual or emotional abuse; Lack of conflict resolution skills