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Sunday, 11th June, 2006


1.We believe that everything we do should be a response to the love of God.

2. Our Vision for Mission sees that response in three commands of Jesus and a fourth.

3. As a fellowship we believe we have nine responses.

Today we are considering Fellowship

4. Jesus said.

34 A new commandment I give you:


As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples,

if you love one another."

John 13:34-35

Jesus spells out here how our response is based on his love. It is not only that we love because he first loved us, that our love in the expression of the love of God entering our lives, but his love is the mark of quality in our love. We measure our love for one another by how it measures up to his love for me. Ask not what I get out of Fellowship, only ask what can I give in response to the love of God. True pleasure in fellowship comes from seeing others encouraged, uplifted, and rejoicing. Of course you will be encouraged , uplifted and rejoicing but the joy comes not from seeking it but from giving that others may have that joy themselves.


Secondly, verse 35 is not written as a ‘success criteria’. It is written as an encouragement. People will notice the transformed nature of your love. They will recognize the true value of the gospel when they see it changing this community into what God intends for us. Love one another like Jesus loved you and the world will beat a pathway to our door, either to receive the love of God for themselves or to stamp out the demonstration of the truth. Jesus is alive and active in South Ruislip.


In the ‘Vision for Mission’ is described as:


Everyone is of equal worth in the eyes of God and loved by him6. Fellowship is to be characterised by a commitment to worship together, pray together and share communion together1, looking out for each other2, praying for each other3, encouraging one another4 and seeking practically to support one another5.


I have added the extra clause (in blue) as I have been preparing for today.

Your printed notes

are a collection of quotes from the message version of the Bible that gives the biblical foundation for what we are committing ourselves to in our ‘vision for mission’ I will not be going through them in detail but I want you to go away and read them in your own time, let God’s word sink into your thinking and ask the Holy Spirit to transform you so that our fellowship reflects his ideals and values.



Fellowship is being

1.     Committed to

a.      Worshipping together, 1 Corinthians 14:26 shows that its not just turning up on Sunday morning, expecting to be entertained. It is about coming together to share what we have in the week. That is why on a Sunday evening we meet in open worship. It gives us the opportunity to exchange thoughts about our Lord and Saviour in the terms written here and worship him together. On Sunday morning we are more formal and different people are asked to lead. But that I all they do – lead. The worship comes from you and me engaging in the songs and reading and thoughts and prayers and saying Amen and being open to what God is saying to us.

b.                 Praying together, There is great value in praying with one another. This is where our fellowship is most strongly linked. You see it is in prayer together that you, your brother or sister and the Lord are brought together in conversation. This is the clearest example of spiritual fellowship. I pray with you, to the Father. We agree and talk to God. God is active in bringing us together to pray, and putting in our hearts what we desire so our prayers are speaking back to God what he wants to hear. We pray in House groups and that is great. But I am concerned that we are missing out in two directions. First praying one-to one or in triplets. We need to develop the habit of praying together about everything we talk about!  You know one of the great joys of prayer walking is that talking to Father becomes an extension of talking together. You notice something and comment to your friend and then pray about it. Would that we felt comfortable in our fellowship to pray in our refreshment time over those things that we share. But we also need to develop a passion for prayer as a larger community.  The reason we alternate Powerhouse and House groups is not just variety and certainly not to give you an excuse for a week off. We believe that the church should meet for prayer. Our unity is dependant on it. Our vision is dependant on it our commitment to each other is dependant on it. There is not a special group of ‘prayers’ who meet at Powerhouse. Just those who are committed to this church and want to make it work enough to seek collectively to know the heart of God.

c.     Breaking Bread together.  1 Corinthians 10:16-17 underlines the importance of the communion. It is when we obey our Saviour in celebrating the Last Supper that we are drawn together. We, in the Brethren tradition, downplay to purely symbolic the action of eating bread and drinking from the cup but we action carries strong motifs of sharing and receiving from the Lord. And in the act of sharing and receiving bread and wine we receive Christ through the Holy Spirit and express our common faith and dependence on him.

2.     Looking out for each other

a.      Love one another. I come back to this at this point because it is at the heart of Fellowship. Love is caring. Enjoying the sharing of joys and being pained by the sharing of painful experiences. That requires time spent together. And the best way of doing that is

b.     Eating together – hospitable. Our society has so left the meal table that most homes to not have a dining table at all. And yet the most valuable part of our fellowship is in eating together. We know it is true in business, hence the importance of hospitality in conferencing, etc. We cannot get away from it in the rest of our lives without losing a very precious gift. If you don’t already, try to make at least one meal in a family a meal you eat together. And you will protect your family by doing so. I would go further and say also pray together while you are round a table for a meal. The family that prays together, stays together. Those of you who live alone, know only to well how much value there is in eating together. Meals alone are never anything like a meal shared. Which brings me to hospitality. We are called to practise it. It is not an optional extra but part of our being a practicing Christian. So plan to invite someone for a meal. Be humble enough not to make it a grand meal, just a plain ordinary meal shared is far better, in fact proverbs actually says that in Proverbs 15:17 “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred”. That is why we organise meals at church. Because it is good fellowship. Tuesday Focus meals, Sunday lunches, Eric’s party are all examples of where eating together adds to fellowship. So lets get inviting each other around for meals. Mind you we will have to watch our diets if we get carried away!

c.     Stand by others in suffering 2Corinthians 1:7 Hebrew 10:33 THes verses touch on another aspect our our mission Links with other Christians. It is part of our fellowship with the rest of the Church, the wider catholic church that we pray for those who are suffering, complain to our government that they are taking no action on human rights, send messages of support and financial support. Open Doors and Barnabus Fund are the two which I recommend to you to get engaged in the practice of Fellowship with those who are persecuted.

3.     Praying for each other. Now this is different from praying with each other. Ann does a great job compiling the prayer diary. And the new arrangement means you can pick your own pace and check up on yourself that you are praying for the other members of the fellowship. Use your church directory the same way. But what do you pray for. Our children began praying for others with “that they may have a nice day”. We have no difficulty praying for the physically sick and the unemployed and the stressed out but what of someone who does not ‘have aproblem’? Now we are the body of Christ and each one of you is part of it. So what deeper fellowship can we have than praying for spiritual blessings for one another, whether they are sick or no, whether they are stressed or no.  Open Ephesians 1:15-23 when you pray and, it may seem a little odd to start with but pray in those terms for every brother or sister in Christ. We must

4.     Encouraging one another. You have the scriptures there but do you do it? This is not just saying well done to Nicki for leading the morning of to the musicians for their contribution. This is working with the Holy Spirit as we talked of last week, encouraging , cheering on in the spiritual realm. How about us all not being embarrassed to talk about our Bible reading this week? Or talking about what God has laid on our hearts to pray about? How about egging each other on to be at the communion service or Powerhouse. Or talking about our faith to friends and family? Encouragement is meant to be written into every review in the professional world because they know it transforms work patterns. We need to discipline ourselves to speak first of what we are enjoying in Christ and speaking less of what was wrong about the service, the sermon, the music, the organisation, etc,etc.

5.     Seeking practically to support one another. I find it salutary that in the New Testament, fellowship is referred to in this way more often than any other. The world is materialistic. They judge us by material standards, so they will notice when we spend time and money on each other. They will particularly note when Christians are not supported practically by their own fellowship. My neighbour, Eric, has seen the love of God when Tim was in intensive care because he saw you deliver meals to us daily. He would not have seen your prayers on our behalf although we valued them a great deal.  I like the message version of 2 Corinthians 8:3-4 – “pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians”


6.     Everyone is of equal worth in the eyes of God and loved by him.

a.     Being in harmony together.  This is not uniformity. We actually have lots of differing opinions about a whole lot of issues. From creation science to George Bush to the second coming to the exact nature of the trinity. We fellowship with one another not because we agree with each other but because God has called us into his family. So when someone has upset you, step back and remind yourself that both of you are loved by God, then you can smack him in the eye if you insist!

b.     Showing equal concern for all. Our scriptures about fellowship specifically include foreigners and asylum seekers and are specifically anti-discriminatory.  I get a little fed up with Christians who are quick to tell me a person is coloured or Muslim as if that is the defining question. Our Gospel says that the defining question is have they believed in Jesus. And if not, how can I tell them about him and show his love to them. But equal concern for all goes further. It means that you must use the church prayer diary as a guide to who to speak to next Sunday. If you don’t know who someone listed is, find out. Then find an opportunity to show fellowship with them. The quite and the poor attendees and the newcomers are of particular concern for you. So I have devised a fellowship guide for you to check out on a superficial scale your fellowshipping.


In addition, this morning, before we have communion, I want you to stand up and then move round and greet everyone you haven’t greeted already. So we will sing XXXXXX and then we will have 5 minutes of chaos. After which we will share the bread and wine in remembrance that Christ died for us and is alive and we need him more than the food we eat.

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