Posts Tagged fellowship
Eph 2.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, [NRSV]
As we study Rick Warren’s, “What on Earth am I here for?” We have looked two of the pieces that help answer this question. First we learned that You and I are are planned and made for God’s Pleasure. We were not made by chance and we were not made for our own design and own reasons. We are the product of God’s reason and pleasure. Today we look at the reality that You and I are created for family. Not just any family, God hopes we will choose to be actively part of God’s own family.
As difficult as it might be for some to imaging, not everyone chooses to be part of God’s family. God wants us all. Some people choose other paths and beliefs and that does not make them God’s family in Christ.
The church is not an organization. It is not an institution. The church is not a club or a location or non-profit entity. The church is the spiritual family of God.
Paul writes in his letter to the church at Ephesis 1.5 that God’s unchanging plan is to bring us into family by adoption through Jesus Christ. God wants us to belong and makes a way for us to come into the family through Christ. John 1.12 reminds us that through Jesus Christ we have the privilege of becoming a child of God.
With belonging to the family come family responsibilities: The number on priority of family responsibility is to learn to love everyone else in the family.
I have heard folks say, “I can love them, but I sure don’t like them.” Most often this is not a true statement. If we mean to say. “I can love them, but their behavior makes it difficult for me to be near them.” It can be a true express of our relationship, but it is not a true definition of love.
Jesus called for his disciples to love one another, just as Jesus loves us. He calls us to do this not to make us happy or at peace, but for a reason beyond our own. Prove that your love one another as my disciples so the world will see the power of love and want to join the family as well.
The Christian life is about learning how to love.
Last week I suggested that Sunday’s are a practice day for living the other six. Today I suggest that we think of our church family as a laboratory where we practice and experiment loving someone other than our selves and those in our personal genetic and marriage families.
Christian Fellowship is our lab work for the world to check out.
If we learn to love those in our church family, it will shape the rest of the world, from now own.
Today we will look at (4) four levels of fellowship:
1. SHARING Together
Sharing together, fellowship of sharing.. starts with sharing
sharing conversation, food, shelter, etc.
met together constantly and shared everything
The disciples spent time and stuff together, “in common.”
fellowship takes time and practice
Iti s a choice that we make: choosing to share time and life with other folks…
SMALL GROUPS ARE ULTIMATELY IMPORTANT
Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, let us encourage one another Hebrews 10.25
No church building for 300 years… all met in small groups in homes.
Open you home, and you let people in your life..
We share Experiences/Events and Sorrows Rom 12.15 Share your joy and sorrow.
When you gather, each one share something sing, lesson, story, prayer, insight, dessert, no one taking over, and you will all 1 Cor xx..14
2. Fellowship of Belonging together
KOINONIA” being committed to one another as we are to Jesus
Fellowship with each other as equal heir, child, person in Christ
Belonging is the difference in dating and being married, watcher vs agent of change.
You are members of God’s very own family and you BELONG in God’s household with every other Christian.
without a church we are an orphan without a home, no shelter, no home.. without other people you can’t do it.
rom12.5 we who are many belong to each other…
Belonging is not OPTIONAL.
The person who loves God must love other believers
Love your spiritual family
Taking the STEP of COMMITMENT of BELONGER, not just follower
3. Third, level of fellowship is SERVING together.
Deepen love in marriage, friendship, start serving God together, partner for a common purpose.
You love grows deeper when you rely on one another.
Example : Combat Veterans… last a life time.. What happen to keep them so connected? Serving together on a common task comes from no where else.
a. God never meant for us to serve alone.
b. We are partners working together for God 1 Cor for 3.9
c. You get more done
d. rely on each others strengths and over come each others weaknesses
e. If we don’t worry about the credit, more will get done Eph 4.16 each part does its work
4. Finally, FELLOWSHIP OF SUFFERING TOGETHER
When you share a heart ache, and walk along side someone without judgement, you will be closer together.
I makes us more human to share suffering
It is unifying
A community after disaster come together to rebuild
SHARE EACH OTEHR TROUBLE SNAPROBLEMS AND IN THIS WAY YOU OBEY THE LAW OF CHRIST
Love your neighbor as your self.
When you serve you do your part but when you suffer together you share your heart.
Help HANDS-ON someone in pain… learning how to love people who are suffering… GRC
Relationship are more important than accomplishments, achievements, success, money,
Life is about learning to Love
Wasting life if we are loving people in pain
Learning to love God : Worship
Learning to love others : Fellowship
PART of CHRIST BODY
if one suffer, all suffer together… if you have a tooth ache, your whole body knows it.
Be devoted like family member
Family lasts forever…God’s family
1 John 3.16 — We know what real love is,..we ought give up our lives for each other.
Our sacrament today is Holy Communion: Where Jesus invites us into this unique relationship once again.
At this table Jesus meetings with fellowship around a meal
We SHARE A loaf and cup
We BELONG because we are invited
We eat to be equipped to SERVE
We remember and share in the Christ’s SUFFERING with our own sin and pain.
Come Join the Fellowship! With Jesus and all the children of God.
Prayer: I’m making a choice to belong to a church and small group.. Im gong to be a belonged not just a believer…
Teach me the meaning of real love.
“Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.” Romans 6:13b (NLT)
Central to the message of scripture is a call for us to worship. The Sabbath is set as a one-of-seven opportunities to practice the one thing we were created to do from the very beginning.
Worship is not about the style of music, it is not about liturgies and traditions, new or old. Worship is about God.
Worship is our sacrificial giving of who we are to God.
- Worship is the activity of the first day of the week for a reason: It is the warm-up, practice for how we will live the other six days.
- If we indeed think of worship as a day of practice, it is not actually a day of rest.
- It becomes a day to let go of the rest that we are responsible, accountable and that in which we are burdened. Not to be reckless, rather to practice trusting God to provide.
- What does it look like when you take a day and live it the way God hopes and dreams you and I would use and invest the life we have?
Turn to your neighbor and name one thing you ‘could’ do on any given Sunday that God hopes you would decide to do
- Did you hear things like Pray? Give? Read? Rest? or Serve?
- These are all good things in the right direction.
- Thinking other than this time or worship and not including Sunday school class time. Thinking of the other 22 hours in this day of worship of God.
- How might you use this time to prepare and practice living in relationship with God?
- What things could you do with this mini retreat to try-out acting like the person God hopes you will mature to become?
- What could you do to find rest-in-God rather than just sleeping?
The real question to tell your neighbor is this:
What I am actually going to do to worship God during the rest of today is… (fill in your blank)
Asked another way: What will I actually do to be available to be present with God and God’s people?
When we frame sacrifice to God in this way, we can focus on what we will gain rather than what we will give up.
- If I spend time listening to God, I just might hear words of comfort, bless, assurance, promise and love
- If I spend time studying and focusing on God’s plan for my life and our family and our church and community, then I might have a stronger foundation for all these relationships
- If I invest this time, right now, I will see the fruitfulness, at a later time, just as planting seeds leads to a full garden down the road.
- If I use the time already set aside, I don’t have to try to carve out another time to worship.
- If I get up and come on to share in study, fellowship, singing, and prayer then I can inspire, encourage and and model faithfulness for two hundred other folks all at one time.
- If I give extravagantly, I will see exponential work and witness of God’s hand and will around me.
- If I give because I can, rather than because I have to, then I begin to understand how God loves and works.
If I could spend one day with God, fully doing what God wants, I will see how the whole of my life might be.
Worship as a practice time is something we need to do every day.
- Sunday is our big practice before the day we get back to work, back to school, back to the routine, and resume the responsibilities of the rest of our life.
- Most of the time we rush and fuss to get here on time, complain and gossip, can’t enjoy a moment from someone else’s needs or behaviors, and after lunch I’m on my own time and have done what I am suppose to do.
- Think if you are a parent and your child comes to visit you for an hour or two and then they are gone.
- On one hand, you want to cram as much in that short time
- On the other hand, you want to steal the watches and car keys and just enjoy each other, learn from each other and be present with one another.
Worship is not one of those things we are suppose to do or even NEED to do.
Worship is the reason we were created.
Therefore: When we are not in worship, we are out of sorts, out of alignment, out of sync with who and what we are.
- Starting a noon today, call a do-over. Ask over lunch of yourselves and others around you:
- “What can I do right now to spend more time with God?”
- “What am I willing to do, RIGHT NOW, to be with God, RIGHT NOW?”
- “What am I giving up with God, when choose to do something that does not include or focus on God?”
WORSHIP of God may generally not very still and seldom very quiet.
- Imaging if Saturday were a day of rest, we might have the energy and focus to make Sunday a day of WORSHIP.
- No matter the style or tradition: Worship is an active practice.
- No matter the time or location: Worship is what God planned for us, past-present-future