The Basis and Purpose of Fellowship: The Good News!
Welcome race runners (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 9:26; Hebrews 12:4; 2 Timothy 4:7)!
This is the fourth in a series of feasts cooked-up to remind us what our FELLOWSHIP, COMMUNITY is in reality, and how it can work in the best way… practically.
And when God designed men, He designed them for fellowship. In Genesis Chapter 2 God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Man was not made to be isolated. Being alone is not the will of God. People were made for fellowship. And the Church, the body of Christ is a body for fellowship.
The Church, supernatural, and the church institutional, is to be a fellowship. Not a building where we walk in alone, listen alone, learn alone, have coffee and donuts alone, walk out alone, but a place of fellowship.
John Stott said, “The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give His church. It’s an imitation dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is a permissive accepting and inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable. It is democractic. You can tell people secrets and they usually don’t tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, and so many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers.” (One People)
Reminds me of a quote we’re all familiar with, “Our heart is restless until it finds its rest in You.” (Saint Augustineof Hippo) Note the word “our”…
Please consider today what the basis for our fellowship is truly made up of: The Gospel, the Word of Life: Jesus Christ.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life (Jesus Christ)—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that (RE: SO THAT) you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:1-4—emphasis, parenthesis added)
Essentially, John is saying, what we all should be saying… in the back, middle, front, side, top, bottom… everywhere imaginable in our hearts (core beliefs), spirits (emotions), words, and deeds… somehow in each and every breath… each and every day, “I’m declaring the gospel to you. And the reason I’m doing that is because the gospel is the basis of fellowship. I want you to know the same God and the same Christ that I know in order that we may have common ground for fellowship.”
Please think about this: If the God of the Bible (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) has blessed you by sinking deep within your heart the essentials of the Christian faith, regenerating a dead spiritual life to a brand new, born-again, life within you…
…you, me, we—the fellowship of the Saints—should “begin, middle, and end” every day with this aim in mind as we “get up, get out of bed, drag a comb across our head” (Beatles)… and face God and people each day!
In some way, shape, or form—perhaps it’s by a prayer; perhaps it’s by a gesture of thanksgiving; perhaps it’s by a gesture of charity; perhaps it’s by our sacrificial (like until it hurts) giving; perhaps it’s by using our spiritual gifts to serve in the church; perhaps it’s by our hospitality; perhaps it’s by volunteering; perhaps it’s by being a bold yet humble and visionary leader; perhaps it’s by aiming for excellence at work each day; perhaps it’s by being a superior athlete… Godly man, woman, husband, wife, son, daughter… IN JESUS’ NAME.
God via John is reminding us of how The Good News is spread aboard by, in, and through the fellowship of the saints until Christ returns to make all things new: Consider getting this down deep into your heart “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8), and every day thereafter:
“Every day God gives me a heartbeat and a breath, I know the main reason He’s doing so is to provide me the chance to live out, in word and deed, as I interact with anyone God providentially places in my midst, in some form (as mentioned above), ‘I’m declaring the Gospel to you. And the reason I’m doing that is because the Gospel is the basis of fellowship. I want you to know the same God and the same Christ that I know in order that we may have common ground for fellowship.’”
Amen. And Amen.
Until we chow down again, Run the Good Race, Beloved marathoners for Christ!