Summary: Sermon on fellowship
In 1765 John Fawcett was called to pastor a very small congregation in Wainsgate England. For seven years he labored at building up this small work. But because of the size of the congregation and the fact that they were all poor his salary was so meager that he was just barely able to provide his wife and himself with the basic necessities of life. Though the people were poor what they lacked in finances they made up for with their faithfulness and warm fellowship.
Then Dr. Fawcett received a call from a much larger church in London. After a lengthy time of consideration he and his wife decided to accept the call to London. As their few possessions were being loader onto a wagon many of his parishioners came to say good-bye, and ask if he would reconsider leaving.
Touch by this great outpouring of love his wife and he began to cry. Finally Mrs. Fawcett exclaimed, "O John, I just can’t bare it. They need us so badly here." God has spoken to my heart too!" he said, "Tell them to unload the wagon! We cannot break these wonderful ties of fellowship."
This experience inspired Fawcett to write a hymn, which opened with the following words, "Blest be the tie the binds our hearts in Christian love! The fellowship of kindered mind is like to that above."
Out of that example of Christian fellowship, came to us one of our most best loved and frequently sung hymns. Today I would like to speak of the fellowship that we all have or the fellowship we should have as brothers and sisters in Christ. Fellowship is perhaps one of the most widely used words among Christian’s yet many of us do not understand what exactly it is we are to have fellowship. Most of us when we think of fellowship we think of going downstairs and eating. Well while that it a type of fellowship, our Christian fellowship needs to go much deeper then that.
Today’s passage is again from the book of Philippians, now while we will be looking only at verse 5 of chapter one we need to read verse 3 and 4, to get the context of the verse. Please turn with me there as we read the words of Paul,
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,"
As we discussed a within the last couple weeks, Paul thanks God for the Christians at Philippi, he prays for them, not just once in awhile, but in every prayer, and the thought of them brings joy to Paul, even though his circumstances, that of being in jail are not the best. In verse 5 Paul is states one of the reasons he is so thankful for these people, because of the fellowship they share with him, the fellowship of the gospel.
As I stated earlier the word fellowship really is over used in our culture. We us it in ways that it was not intended. As we see Paul speak of fellowship here I believe we really need to understand the fellowship we who have trusted in Christ as our saviour, have with one another. I would like to begin by giving to you the definition of fellowship.
In Scripture fellowship means sharing something in common. It denotes joint participation in something, a common interest. The Greek word translated fellowship is also translated communion in other places in scripture. It is something which is shared. The Greek word translated fellowship comes for the root word meaning "common". This word in ancient times was also used to denote the marriage bond.
So the word as used in scripture does not mean getting together to eat, but something much deeper then that. And today I would like to share with you that which we as Christians share or have in common with each other. The fellowship spoken of in the scripture goes far beyond denominations, these fellowships, or common interest our for all who have called upon the Lord, be they baptist, Pentecostal, Christian Alliance, or what have you. I would be so bold to say that in our society in our culture we have far removed ourselves from the fellowship spoken of in the Bible.
Within Scripture we see many different fellowships which the believers share in. The first I would like to point out is our fellowship with the Father. 1 John 1:3 reads;
"that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ."