Summary: One day we all will stand before God and Paul says that no one will be able to utter an excuse for not knowing God.
(1 John 1:3 NKJV) 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.
(1 John 1:4 NKJV) And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
Last time we learned that in giving this reason for writing his letter John wants to accomplish three things:
1. John wanted to explain what true fellowship is all about
Koinonia - "a joint participation with someone else in things held common by both."
Last time we learned that koinonia means to have a joint-participation in the goings on of the local church. It is involving yourself in the things that go on in the local church--learning and obeying the teachings; attending communion service; participating in the prayer service; welcoming in to the assembly and supporting the evangelism and mission those of like precious faith.
There is a passage of Scripture that teaches about this kind of fellowship. The context is where the apostle is sharing with the Corinthian believers about the Macedonian believer's generosity.
(2 Cor 8:1 NIV) And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
(2 Cor 8:2 NIV) Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
(2 Cor 8:3 NIV) For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
(2 Cor 8:4 NIV) they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing (kononia) in this service to the saints.
(2 Cor 8:5 NIV) And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.
Paul was bragging to the Corinthian believers about the Macedonian believer's generosity. There was a need in the body of Christ and though the Macedonian Christians didn't have much they gave out of their poverty and beyond their ability on their own.
This act of generosity describes one aspect of fellowship: it is the mutual ministry of the body to itself. When the body has a need, it responds to care for its need. When it has lost its ability to care for its own need we say that that body is sick.
To illustrate the mutual ministry of the body take a look at how your own body functions. When you have an itch, your body scratches itself. When you have a cut, your body heals itself. When you are hungry, your body feeds itself.
You get yourself some food. Your hand brings it to your mouth. Your mouth tongue and teeth sends it down your esophagus to your stomach. Your stomach breaks it down and relays it to your intestines. Your intestines further digests it and sends it on to your bloodstream and your blood stream carries the nourishment to the rest of your body.
This is the ministry of the body to itself. The body of Christ is to minister to itself in like manner.
Fifty-eight times in the Bible it uses the phrase "one another". It says, "Love one another, Care for one another ... Greet one another ... Encourage one another ... Pray for one another ... Counsel one another ... Share with one another ... Help one another ..." It is the mutual ministry of the body to itself.
God never meant for one man -- a super star pastor -- to meet everybody's needs. But He meant for all of us to be ministers to minister to each other.
When we started this church nine years ago, Debbie and I did most of the ministry in the church. I wrote out the bulletin, typed it up and print it out. Deb and I planned ministry events. We stored all of the church equipment in our house and every Sunday we would load it and the nursery equipment in our van and take it down to UMBC where we rented a classroom and set it all up. We'd do the service.
When it was over, we'd load it all into the van and haul it back to our house. During our first year as a church, I was the church secretary, the treasurer and the maintenance man. We literally did everything in the church.
But as the church began to grow, we began to give the ministry away. The church spreads all the ministry around. In too many churches we have this one-man superstar who Rick Warren says, "tries to minister to everybody. If you get sick and in the hospital then Superman Pastor comes flying in with his cape and he sprinkles pixie dust around your bed. Here a prayer, there a prayer, everywhere a prayer, prayer.... Then he flies off into the sunset. And we say, "Who was that man? And I didn't even get a chance to thank him!""