Summary: Almost every church claims to be a loving church, but what does it really take to be the loving fellowship God desires? In his letter to the church in Galatia, Paul lays out 7 clear characteristics of a loving fellowship!
Date Written: February 3, 2015
Date Preached: February 8, 2015
Church: OPBC (AM) Sunday
Title: 7 Characteristics of a Loving Fellowship
Text: Galatians 6:1-10 (NLT)
ETS: Paul’s message was that a fellowship that loved one another was focused on others not themselves.
ESS: Looking at this passage we can see if we desire to be a strong, loving fellowship we must focus on others & not ourselves.
For weeks, you heard me preach about overcoming fear with the tools God provides you as a believer. We can overcome fear thru God’s power, God’s love and the sound mind we have in serving Christ Jesus.
Last week you heard Bro Aristide preach about a Purpose Driven Church. His message offered 5 points to a purpose driven focus, they stated we must become a learning church; a fellowshipping church; a praying church; a fearing church and a transforming church…
We have entered into a partnership with our sister church at Franklin Ave for the purpose of revitalizing our fellowship and becoming a force for the Gospel in our community. We want our fellowship to reach this community…do we not?
One comment I hear quite a bit from our members is that they believe we have a loving church…a loving fellowship. I believe our members truly DESIRE that our fellowship to be seen by the world as a loving church…but is it?
I know that if I sat down with each one of you here this morning and asked you the question, “Do you want a loving fellowship here at Oak Park?”
I can imagine the answers I would get. I am sure most would be positive and many would believe that we ALREADY have a loving fellowship here at Oak Park.
I am also sure I would hear some say we are NOT a loving fellowship. But this is not about arguing the points these people may have for or against us being a loving fellowship!
Personally, I believe we have many great moments where our fellowship can be VERY loving, but I also see moments where we are not. I believe the reason we find ourselves NOT being loving is that we can lose focus and drift from the characteristics that make up a loving fellowship in Christ.
Now I want all of us here today to understand completely that I believe we ALL want to be a loving fellowship! But where we fall short as humans… where we fall short here at Oak Park Baptist church is that we see love ONE way.
However, God sees love in an entirely different way! We have to learn to focus on how God sees and demonstrates love and NOT on what we are comfortable with in showing love.
For us to become the loving fellowship God desires, we cannot simply settle for what WE think is loving, we must go the extra mile as Christ has called us to do…
There are some characteristics set forth in this passage that reveal what a loving church IS and what God desires from ANYONE calling themselves a fellowship of His people!
This morning I want us to look at these characteristics and see how we can apply them to our lives to become a fellowship that is after Jesus’ own heart.
I believe the characteristics Paul lays out here for the church create a fellowship that reflects the heart of Jesus, just like he taught in John 13:35(HCSB) [show now] where He said, “35By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Also we can become a fellowship that imitates His high priestly prayer of John 17:21 [show now]where He prayed, “…that they may ALL be one, just as you, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
If we take these characteristics and apply as a fellowship, we CAN be a church known for love of each other, love for God and our witness for Christ! Let me ask, “Would you want to be a fellowship known for THOSE things?”
Turn with me the Paul’s letter to the Galatians chapter 6 and let’s look at v1-10 this morning. [Show Gal 6:1-10 NLT – follow me as I read]
1Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. 4Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5For we are each responsible for our own conduct. 6Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. 7Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.