Summary: This sermon examines the meaning of churh fellowship.
Tonight we are going to share a pot-luck meal. Everyone is asked to bring dishes of their favorite foods. Pot-luck suppers are wonderful. We enjoy the food. We enjoy the laughs. We enjoy the time of sharing with others. These are special times. We tend to refer to them as fellowships. However, to call a church dinner a fellowship is to merely scratch the surface of the meaning of this term. Fellowship goes much deeper than eating a meal together. Many people ask to have their name placed on a church membership list, but never understand the Biblical meaning of fellowship. In order to help us understand the meaning of fellowship I have asked eleven people to do a scripture parade for us. Each of these individuals will step to the microphone and read a verse of scripture.
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:10
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” Romans 14:19
“Receive one another, just as Christ also received us.” Romans 15:7
“I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:14
“Serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
“Bear one another’s burdens.” Galatians. 6:2
“Bear with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
“Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. Ephesians 4:25
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“Submit to one another in the fear of God.” Ephsians. 5:21
Does that not sound like more than a pot-luck meal? Does that sound like some shallow commitment?
Many people are like the Baptist leaders I read about. A small town had three churches: Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist. All three had a serious problem with squirrels in the church. Each church in its own fashion had a meeting to deal with the problem. The Presbyterians decided that it was predestined that squirrels be in the church and that they would just have to live with them. The Methodists decided they should deal with the squirrels lovingly in the style of Charles Wesley. They humanely trapped them and released them in a park at the edge of town. Within 3 days, they were all back in the church. The Baptists had the best solution. They voted the squirrels in as members. Now they only see them at Christmas and Easter. (Contributed to Sermon Central by Rick Pendleton) Unfortunately, that is the extent of some people’s understanding of church membership and participation in the fellowship.
I want to share a passage of scripture that will help us better understand the meaning of church fellowship. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25 NKJV) Notice the context of this passage. The writer of Hebrews was concerned that believers “hold fast” their profession of faith in Jesus Christ (vs. 23). After encouraging them to hold fast he shares this teaching about church fellowship. It is interesting that a writer encourages steadfastness and in the very next breath encourages participation in the fellowship of a church. Church fellowship is essential in being a steadfast follower of Jesus Christ. So, what is fellowship? Good question!
I. Fellowship is a crucial aspect of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Notice the context of Hebrews 10. Believers are encouraged to verify their faith. “Having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus (vs. 19)….. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope” (vs. 23) When your faith is right your life will be right. Your relationship with Jesus is crucial in understanding fellowship but fellowship is crucial in your relationship with Jesus.
A. Our faith in Jesus should motivate us to be in tune with his desires. Christian writer A.W. Tozer compares fellowship to the tuning of a piano. “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all turned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.”
(SOURCE: A.W. Tozer in "The Pursuit of God."--Contributed to Sermon Central by Steven Dow)
B. Because of our faith in Jesus Christ believers should be of one mind.