Summary: Church is not about entertainment, nor about being made to feel good, nor about promises that God will give you health, wealth and happiness ... it is about becoming a mature disciple for Christ.
FELLOWSHIP FOR DISCIPLESHIP
If you go on line and look up the basic needs for camping you will be amazed at what some folks think is essential for camping. They talk about bringing tables, and chairs, and portable camp fires, and solar cells for recharging batteries, and fans, and battery powered TVs, and tents, and toilets, and portable sinks, and battery powered refrigerators, and a chuck-wagon pantry, and a ton of food, and I could go on for a long time with stuff like this. Now all of these things do serve to make you more comfortable; but, I would not call them essential.
When I was a young fellow the idea of what was essential for camping was a bit different. From our perspective it was nice to have an army blanket and a poncho, a couple of slabs of bacon, a bag of beans, a bag of self-rising flower, ground coffee, and a small bag of salt and pepper was always nice. Of course a small pole ax is handy. These were considered essentials for comfortable camping, and with the ax and a knife you could make any other convince you wanted. The point is that when we say “essentials” … essential is all in the eyes of the beholder.
When we consider our basic needs for a camping trip these needs are determined by the camper. If our objective is to be out doors but have all the comforts of home than our list of fundamental needs will be humongous. On the other hand, if our objective is to be out doors without a lot of fuss and bother then your list of fundamental needs will be rather small. If a person is doing their things then they can determine their own needs; but, when it comes to man doing God’s thing it is God who determines what is needed. Thus, when it comes to following Jesus’ command to make disciple we must go to scripture in determining what is needed to fulfill this task.
SOME BASIC NEEDS FOR MAKING DISCIPLES
When most Christians consider the reason for having a fellowship they seldom associate the fellowship with disciple making. Most Christians will tell you the reason we have a church meeting is so that we can come together to worship God. Some may even include the need for Sunday school. In fact, if we look into this a bit deeper we will discover that most people wrap-up all of their Christianity into a one or two hour meeting each week. The rest of their life belongs to them and their pursuit of worldly things. When your objective for going to church is as shallow as this your list of fundamental Church needs will be very shallow as well.
In our last sermon we showed that the foundation of any Christian Fellowship is Jesus Christ and that the main mission of any Christian fellowship is making disciples who will labor in God’s ministry of reconciliation. Think about this! Have you seriously considered church as being focused on making you into a disciple: who will labor in God’s ministry of reconciliation? Of course not: we go to church to have our “get-into-heaven” ticket punched. Well, many people do; but, they are wrong! When we address the fundamental needs of a Christian Fellowship we must focus on the needs required for making disciples who will labor in God’s ministry of reconciliation.
Before you run off with the notion that Sunday school is for making disciples … you just might want to think about what a disciple is. A disciple is someone who knows the teachings of Jesus; a disciple adheres to the doctrines of Jesus; and a disciple tells others about the teachings of Jesus. Sunday school should help us with understanding the teachings of Jesus, but in most cases it does little in developing commitment to the doctrine of Jesus; and almost nothing in training us to take this doctrine to a lost and dying world. It should be both sermons and Sunday Schools that help build disciples willing to labor in the ministry of reconciliation.
Although there are many fellowship needs associated with making disciple, for the sake of brevity, we have attempted to coalesce this list a few basic sermon themes that should frequently be heard in a true Christian fellowship. Ergo, to mature as a Christian we need:
There is much conflict in Christianity over what “worship” entails. For some odd reason we have mistakenly assumed that there is an automatic “worship” portion to our fellowship. Most people feel that worship entails singing and perhaps even dance. It is difficult to see how our entertaining one another can have anything to do with worshiping God.
This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Matthew 15:8-9