Summary: Adapted from the Purpose Driven life sermons
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR YOU IS TO LOVE OTHERS
How can we do that in a world that is full of hate and isolation? When one becomes a Christian it is because he believes in Christ and leads a new life not under the bondage to sin and the devil. Now that one has become a part of God’s family it means that we belong to a family and need to have family relationships. To be in a family means that we care for one another. I like my wife; she baked a coffee cake this week for me. It made me feel special. We need that more and more in this day to make people feel special. So it in this church that you are loved and each time we meet we love each other more and more. This church is here to make people feel loved. 1 Tim. 3:14-15 “I am writing these things to you now so you will know how to live in the household of God. This is the church of the living God.” How to live is the key in this verse. Let us take time to read Rom. 12:9-16 to build on five ways that fellowship will help each of us to live with the family of God.
1. WE MUST KNOW THAT FELLOWSHIP IN WHICH WE ARE REAL. We could say to be authentic. It says right here in vs 9 “Love must be sincere.” We could say love must not be with hypocrisy. That means we do not wear a mask. In the theater world people wear masks to show a character that is not really them. In the next scene or next presentation they could play a different character from what they were by wearing a different mask. They call this being a hypocrite because they keep changing who they really are. What this verse is saying, “Love does not wear a mask.” If you are to really love you have to be yourself and not act as though you love when you really don’t. When you are in true fellowship you share your true feelings. Let us look at 1 JN 1:7, 8. We really do not fool others we are only fooling ourselves. This would mean that we can admit that we have weaknesses that we have sinned, that we make mistakes. When one walks in the darkness he tries to hide things and does not want others to see blunders or failures or blemishes. If we are truthful we do not hide in the darkness but are free to let others know the real us. If we are living in the light of God’s Word we will not want to hide our faults. If we want true healing we must reveal who we really are. The recovery ministries that are around put it out in this way so if you are involved you first must admit who you are and your need. So one can say, “This is who I am and this is where I am at in my life.” We can not hide from what God’s word says in HEB 4:12. To be real you it will not come through therapy, being sentimental, or revealing our life to a psychiatrist. It only comes as we let ourselves be touched by the living word of God. That is the reason this church is here. It is here you are exposed to the word of God and you have to do something because you can not hear the word of God and remain unchanged. You will either receive new light and walk in it or close your ears and be in the darkness. Our first way to fellowship is being real. ARE YOU BEING REAL OR IS THE REAL YOU HIDING BEHIND A MASK?
2. WE MUST KNOW THAT FELLOWSHIP IS BEING SENSITIVE TO NEEDS OF OTHERS. It says, “Be devoted to one another.” As a believer you are to have a love that is a family kind of love. This means that we show respect to others in our family even if we disagree. Listen to Tit. 3:2 “Believers shouldn’t curse anyone or be quarrelsome, but they should be gentle and show courtesy to everyone.” In all small groups there includes at least one difficult person. They are the ones who have characteristics that bug you a little bit. They are the ones we call ERG people which means Extra Grace Required. Now if you can not think of someone like that then it must be you. The problem most of us have is that we want to fix the problem in other people right away. So we have a quick answer to help these people. I have found they do not want a fix it answer but a listening ear. Men, including me, have a special problem with this when it comes to our wives. My wife will begin to tell me a problem she has and almost before she has time to even get the whole problem out I have an answer. I have learned that she does not want a quick fix answer but for me to just listen. I should say something like this, “That is a big problem. That is such a problem that I do not think I have a good answer for. I am sure as you think about it, it will come clear to you what should be done.” That would make her feel loved and accepted. That is what I should do. Here is the truth you need to follow up on from this point: If others tell you their problems do not jump in as mister fix it man. Take time to listen until they are done. I have found that some people I have taken time to listen to will solve their problem just by talking it out to a listening ear. Back up what that person is feeling and express concern. BE SENSITIVE TO THE NEEDS OF OTHERS AND YOU WILL HAVE FELLOWSHIP. 3. WE MUST KNOW THAT FELLOWSHIP IS GROWING TOGETHER. What would it take to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer? In family life we become stronger than when we are alone. We need the help of others to be all that God wants us to be. I would not be here if I had not had the help of many brothers and sisters in my 40 years of this walk with Christ. Ecc.4:10 “If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.” Together we are able to build each other up. Three ways to do this: