Summary: Part 3 in series The Purpose-Driven Life, this message looks at Fellowship, the second of God’s five principal purposes for our lives.
Formed for God’s Family
The Purpose-Driven Life, part 3
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers channeling Rick Warren
October 28, 2007
Now we’re in this 40 days series on God’s purpose for your life. And last week, we looked at His first purpose, which is to get to know Him and to love Him. The Bible calls that worship because you were planned for God’s pleasure. And today, we’re going to look at the second purpose, which is that you are formed for God’s family.
Ephesians 1:5 (MSG)
(5) Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)
The entire Bible, this entire book, is the story of God building a family. It is an eternal family. You were made to last forever.
Now, once you understand and get started on God’s first purpose for your life, which we talked about last week, getting to know and to love God through worship, God wants you to begin to focus and start practicing His second purpose for your life. And here it is in 1 Peter 2:17. Read it with me.
1 Peter 2:17 (MSG)
(17…Love your spiritual family...
Again! Again! Love your spiritual family. That’s what God wants you to do. That’s the second purpose of your life. God says I want you to learn to love the people in your family. Why? Well, there are several reasons. First, your physical family is going to eventually fall apart. In fact, many of them fall apart here on earth. But your spiritual family is going to go on forever. And so you’re going to spend more time with your spiritual family than you do with your physical family. God wants you to learn to love them.
Now, why else does He want us to learn to love them? Second, it makes us more like God, because God is love. Third, he wants His children to learn to get along together. All of you parents know you usually want your kids to get along with each other.
So our second purpose in life is Fellowship. That’s the word that the Bible uses to describe loving each other. Now, again, this word, like the word we looked at last week, Worship, is often misunderstood. I mean, if I were to go out and ask people on the street, “What do you think of when I say the word ‘fellowship,” some would say a casual conversation, some would say eating out together, some might say going to church. See there’s a huge difference between simple talking and real fellowship.
Real fellowship is loving God’s family. Read this with me:
The person who loves God must also love other believers.
We have to love other believers. Now, how do you do that? Well, fortunately, the Bible gives us crystal clear instructions. Paul wrote this, he said, "I’m writing so that you’ll know how to live in the family of God. That family is the church." See, the church is a family. It is not a building; it is not an institution; it is not an organization; it is not a club. It is a family. A lot of people say, “Well, I’m going to go to church,” as if church is a place you go to. That’s not correct. Church is not a place you go to. Church is a family you belong to. Big difference. It’s more than a building (and for us it’s WAY more than a building!), more than a service. It is family that we are to belong to. And the truth is, in God’s family there are four levels of fellowship. Today, we’re going to look at each one, because it is impossible to fulfill all the other purposes God had for your life without fellowship. You were not meant to be here on earth alone, to go through life on your own. The fact is we need each other.
So there are four levels of Fellowship, the first level is Membership. The first level is, write this in with me, "Choosing to belong," making the choice to belong. That’s the most basic level. That means you find a church family and you choose to get connected to it. Look at what the Bible has to say in Ephesians 2:19. Would you read this verse with me? "You are members of God’s very own family and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian." You belong. The Christian life is not just a matter of believing. It is matter of belonging, and you and I must choose to belong. Fellowship begins with belonging, with making that choice. God wants you to make the choice to be a part of His family. When you were born, you automatically became a part of the human race. But you have to choose to belong to the family of God, the church. It is a choice.