Summary: A sermon that explores unique componants of christian fellowship
What are they based on.
Some years ago I went out to dinner with some Christian friends - in fact a lot of Christian friends - it was a great night one that will stand in our memories probably for the rest of our lives.
I have vivid memories of laughter and happiness - jokes and frivolity and good friendships based on our mutual love for Christ and our openness to one another.
Since that night some of us have gone on to serve God in various places - at least one has died others have become Pastors - formed ministries or just been faithful to God where they are another - the life of the party that night - in fact has broken up his family through adultery.
One of the great words that floats around the Christian church is fellowship it is a word that is used to describe deep relationships between people - it can be just as easily used in relation to the kind of relationship between people in say the red Cross or a Rugby club - Fellowship is not a particularly Christian phenomenon - it is part of being human.
I guess we could see some Maori people here on this plain some three hundred years ago gathered around an umu with a Moa cooking in it enjoying fellowship.
As a Christian church we need to ask what are is particularly profound about our time together our fellowship.
The book of Romans in the bible is a marvelous book and has had a profound effect on many people over many years -
It is helpful to look at one or two examples because it is these examples that give us some insight into what is unique about our Christian fellowship:-
On May 24th, 1738, a discouraged missionary went very unwillingly to a religious meeting in London. There a miracle took place. About a quarter before nine, he wrote in his journal, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given to me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
That missionary was John Wesley. The message he heard that evening was the preface to Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans. Just a few months before, John Wesley had written in his journal: I went to America to convert the Indians, but Oh! who shall convert me? That evening in Aldersgate Street, his question was answered. And the result was the great Wesleyan Revival that swept England and transformed a nation.
Paul’s Epistle to the Romans has changed the lives of many. Augustine. Luther, John Bunyan and Wesley all trace their conversions to encounters with God’s truth in this letter. Countless other less famous men and women have encountered God in mighty ways through Romans.
There is something of an x factor in the book of Romans that locates the core of the Christian faith - the "x" factor is of course the cross and whatever it is that binds us together in fellowship obviously revolves around the cross of Jesus Christ
As Paul says in:-
1CO 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
I used to be involved with the Southland vintage car club - we used to drive around Southland and other places in our 1928 Studebaker commander 8 car and people would wave to us and come and talk with us about the cars they used to own, but they weren’t part of it.
There was something to do with enthusiasm about old cars that kept us together as a bit of an oddity in those days. Some would have called it foolishness.
But there was something about preserving history and enjoying history that we considered quite important away back then.
Of course the cross of Jesus is far more important - but a similar principal applies - it is foolishness to those who don’t understand on it but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.
This morning I would like to talk of what Paul reveals in Romans chapter one that are the basis of Christian fellowship.
I want to begin in the most difficult place which is the last part of Romans:-
The heading in my New International Version of the bible is headed:-
God’s wrath against Mankind.
RO 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.