Summary: Third in a series on the four vital functions of a church, **based on a sermon posted here by Darrin Hunt called the 10 Commandments of Fellowship**.
Four things our church needs to do - #3 - Fellowship
Romans 12: 9-21
by Jim Galbraith, based on a sermon by Darrin Hunt
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni.
May 20, 2007
I want to start this sermon by thanking Darrin Hunt, a Baptist pastor in Pennsylvania, for the inspiration and title for this sermon. He has done a masterful job of using this passage to explain fellowship, and I was blessed as I worked his thoughts in with mine to produce this sermon.
We have been working through a series on what I believe are the essentials of a healthy church.
We have talked about the primary need for worship, which I defined as the direct praise and affirmation of God himself.
Through spoken and sung word, through prayer and craftsmanship, through dance and so many other methods,
we can tell God we love him because he first loved us.
With worship, we live out our primary purpose – to glorify God.
Without worship, we’re just a social network or service club.
We have also talked about nurture; which I define as the deliberate teaching and training of Christians for service in the church.
We nurture when we preach, teach and train.
We nurture when we help each other discover our spiritual gifts and then use them.
We nurture when we help leaders learn to lead.
With nurture, we produce Christians ready to serve and bear fruit for God.
Without nurture, we produce nothing.
The third and fourth vital functions are fellowship and outreach,
and it is to fellowship that we turn our hearts today,
FELLOWSHIP includes activity which promotes and edifies RELATIONSHIPS within the church body, both local and abroad.
It includes friendships, social gatherings, small groups and any activity where Christians seek to enjoy each other, give to each other and help each other.
Fellowship can be chatting over a sandwich after a morning service, or it can be kneeling together in prayer for a sick friend or family member.
It is love acted out with each other as the subject.
Now, that makes me think of a new way of explaining these functions:
If worship is our love shown to God,
and nurture is our love for learning and growing in his word,
then fellowship is our love for each other, modeled on God’s love for us.
(I’ll save how outreach fits into this next week )
The passage we read today is one of the best passages to explain how exactly we can be loving each other,
and when we love each other well we are enjoying good fellowship.
There are actually 24 different instructions about love and fellowship in these verse, but in the interests of time and attention spans every where,
we are going to group them into a top ten list of fellowship,
or, if you like, “The 10 commandments of Fellowship”.
1. Love one another. v. 9-10
- Love – agape, unconditional, sacrificial – God and Jesus love!
- Brotherly love – “philidelphia” - family love, friendship love - Devoted and – devoted – actively caring and committed to each other (love)
A church that understands fellowship is a church that loves each other.
2. Honour one another. v. 10
Honour – something weighty, valuable, high esteem, dignity, respect.
When we honour a commitment, we are giving that commitment respect and dignity by taking it seriously.
When we honour a person, we give that person respect and dignity by taking them seriously.
Fellowship means that we honour others.
3. Worship with one another. v. 11-12
Here is another example of the functions overlapping
– we need to worship God, and we need to do that together!
We can worship on our own, of course, but the coming together of God’s people to worship is also one of our strongest expressions of fellowship.
Worship draws us closer to God and closer to each other.
Worship promotes fellowship!
How can we best worship and serve the Lord?
By being zealous for Him, burning and boiling with desire for Him,
being joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.
Fellowship means that we worship together.
4. Be gracious to one another. v. 13
Fellowship means that take care of each other within the church,
and also that we care for those who come to visit or check us out!
We’re pretty good at looking out for each other, but how well do we do at making sure the visitor(s) amongst us are truly cared for, and not just counted for the attendance record?
Here’s a great story about a man who tested how well churches showed hospitality to visitors in their midst.
A church newsletter mentioned a man who visited eighteen different churches on successive Sundays, trying to find out what the churches were really like. In every church, he was neatly dressed and followed the same routine of giving ample opportunity for fellowship. Then he used a scale to rate the reception he received. These are the points he awarded: