Summary: This sermon was the 4th in a 5 part series on defining the mission of our church. This one deals with developing fellowship and caring within the church.
“We exist to fellowship and to care”
In the fall of the year, Linda, a young woman, was traveling alone up the rutted and rugged highway from Alberta, Canada to the Yukon. Linda didn’t know you don’t travel to Whitehorse alone in a rundown Honda Civic, so she set off where only four-wheel drivers normally venture. The first evening she found a room in the mountains near a summit and asked for a 5 a.m. wakeup call so she could get an early start. She couldn’t understand why the clerk looked surprised at that request, but as she awoke to early morning fog shrouding the mountain-tops, she understood.
Not wanting to look foolish, she got up and went to breakfast. Two truckers invited Linda to join them, and since the place was so small, she felt obliged. “Where are you headed?” one of the truckers asked. “Whitehorse” was her reply. “In that little Civic? No way! This pass is DANGEROUS in weather like this.” “Well, I’m determined to try” was Linda’s gutsy, if not very uninformed response.”
“Then I guess we’re just going to have to hug you,” the trucker suggested. Linda drew back. “There’s no way I’m going to let you touch me!” “Not like THAT!” the truckers chuckled. “We’ll put one truck in front of you and one in the rear. In that way, we’ll get you through the mountains.”
All that foggy morning Linda followed the two red dots in front of her and had the reassurance of a big escort behind as they made their way safely through the mountains.
That story reminds me of what this church is supposed to be like. Caught in the fog of our dangerous passage through life, we need to be “hugged”. With fellow Christians who know the way and can safely lead ahead of us, and with others behind, gently encouraging us along, we, too, can pass safely. – Don Graham as quoted in Growing strong in the seasons of life by Chuck Swindoll, p. 286
So far, we have looked at three of the reasons that we exist as a church. This morning, we come to the 4th reason. Let’s say it together: New Life Baptist Church exists to fellowship with and care for one another. We’re going to look at both of these topics this morning – fellowship and caring – in order that we might answer two questions. 1st - How are we doing? 2nd - What can we do to improve? Let’s make that a little more personal so that we don’t do what often happens in churches and say “That was a really good message for Joe sitting over there. I hope he listened to every word.” No, this message is for you and for me. So let’s re-word those questions. 1st – how am I doing at fellowshipping and caring? 2nd – What can I do to improve?
FELLOWSHIP – Turn with me to 1 John 1 (quickview) . We’re going to look at verses 3-10. As we look at these verses, I want us to see some fellowship principles and then, we’re going to apply them to both our fellowship with one another and our fellowship with God.
1. Fellowship is made possible by shared experiences. (vs. 3)
In this passage, John says that he is going to communicate to his readers some of the things that he has heard and seen in order that they might have fellowship with him. The word that John uses here to speak of fellowship is the word “koinonia”. It is the idea of sharing a portion of your life with someone else. Sharing needs, hurts, joys, laughter, tears, stories – everything that makes up the everyday existence of your life.