A Life Of FellowshipJohn 10:10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. [HCSB]
An abundant life is not a life spent in isolation. It is not a life of loneliness it is a life of friendship and fellowship. Of undertaking this journey together. Fellowship, the relationships we form within the church and how we spend time with one another, is yet another tool God uses to transform us and reach the world. In order to have a strong fellowship with one another within the church we must be willing to let go of a few preferences, be willing to focus on Jesus, and be willing to work with one another.
This doesn’t mean we have to do everything the same or enjoy the same things. In fact it means that, within the boundaries of Christ’s love and the scriptures truth, we have room for a diverse group of individuals and fellowships within the church. All of which are united by their desire to know Christ more each and every day.
So what is this fellowship Christ was wanting for us?
FELLOWSHIP: Bond of common purpose and devotion that binds Christians to one another and to Christ. ~ Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Fellowship, even more than mere friendship, goes beyond Good times. Look at how the word fellowship is used in the New Testament and you see it more likely to describe shared suffering as shared blessings. Fellowship is there both to celebrate the good and help shoulder the bad.
You can go to the ball game and have a hot dog with both your friend and your brother in Christ but you can confess your weaknesses, receive counsel, accountability and prayer from only your brother.
An old story is told about a preacher and a deacon went on a hiking trip together and after a long day of walking they made camp, ate a good meal and crawled into their tent to get some sleep. In the middle of the night the deacon wakes the preacher, points up to the sky and asks “What do you see?”
The preacher looks up and says “I see billions of beautiful stars, each placed perfectly in the sky.”
The deacon then asks “and what does that tell you?”
The preacher responds “It tells me that we serve a mighty God who has, in this vast universe, lovingly placed us at the perfect place to enjoy His wonderful creation.” Then he turned to the deacon and asked, what does it tell you?
The deacon responded “That someone has stolen our tent!”
It is good to have friends who are focused on the right things! We need that balance between the practical and the theological. Unfortunately we often let our fellowship focus first on the practical - the fun, the food, the physical needs - and throw in the theological as an afterthought or not at all. What a wasted opportunity!
"I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one." ~ John 17:22In John 17:22, Jesus prays that we will be one, but let's not stop there, we must finish reading the sentence! He says that we be one as He and the Father are one. Our fellowship must be focused on Him first, each other second. That does not mean that every fellowship must be a worship service or a bible study. It does mean that every action we take together must be done in a way that encourages and strengthens one another. It is through our fellowship that we help one another with our burdens, celebrate with one another in our triumphs and gently but constantly point one another closer to Christ. That is the focus of our fellowship - no matter what activities our fellowship takes - to bring one another closer to Christ. In that way it is an active form of discipleship in our daily life.
We spoke last week about how our journey has a destination - heaven and that in many ways this life is a preparation for that homeland. Likewise our fellowship here is preparation for our eternal fellowship there. Both our fellowship with God and with each other.
We are going to spend eternity serving, praising and having fellowship together. Why not prepare for that now?
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