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Fellowship - Purpose of life

Sunday, 18th February, 2007

1 Did you notice last week that we moved the focus of our livesaway from ourselves and to God?

This week we continue to desert self.Fellowship is what you were created for. In our post-modern culture self rules. Isolation, loneliness broken relationships, broken marriages, are the products of the worship of self. Our gospel turns self out of the castle and enthrones Jesus. And he said

2“As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34 1082


3 The example is Jesus

Philippians 2:1-11 Philippians 2 verse 1 - 11 (NIV)1179


4 1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,

if any comfort from his love,

if any fellowship with the Spirit,

if any tenderness and compassion,

2then make my joy complete by being like-minded,

having the same love,

being one in spirit and purpose.

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,

but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

4Each of you should look not only to your own interests,

but also to the interests of others.


5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6Who, being in very nature God,

 did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

7but made himself nothing,

 taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

8And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

We often use this in our communion to reflect of the work of Jesus but it is written to encourage us in our Fellowship. Jesus is the model and example of our lives. He is the one who practiced the presence of God, he worshipped his Father and he had pure selfless fellowship with his followers. And he wants you to join him. Follow the example! Follow Jesus!

5 The command is to love one another. Fellowship is the practice of loving one another.

6 Love for one another is the proof that we walk with God.

7 1John 2:9 1226

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

And again

1John 4:19 1228

We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Worship reveals itself in Fellowship.


8 “God is the one who made all things, and all things are for

His glory. He wanted to have many children share His glory...”

                                                 Heb.  2:10a (NCV)




10 “The person who loves God must also love other believers.”

                                                             1 John 4:21 (GW)


11          FELLOWSHIP is loving God’s Family.


12 “I’m writing… so you’ll know how to live in the family of God.

That family is the church...”          1 Tim. 3:14-15 (NCV)


13 Fellowship is sharing  This comes from the fact that the greek word koune has that sort of background meaning. To full the purpose that God may you for you have to live in a community. God does call people into isolation, but that is very rare. Even the monastic tradition emphasised community of monks or nuns and they in turn tended to express their worship in action in the society in which they lived.

13a Fellowship is holistic  1 John 3:16-18 1227

14 1Jn 3:16

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

We are not just a spiritual society. We are concerned with every aspect of every member’s life. Spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. That does not mean we live in some weird intense community and there is even warnings in the Bible about overdoing the intensity. Proverbs 25:17 says Seldom set foot in your neighbour’s house – too much of you, and he will hate you. But it does mean we care for each other. It is not unspiritual to share family and work. It is unspiritual, to share a third person’s life – that is gossip and wrong. But it is healthy that we pray in house groups for all our needs. The danger is that we spend to little time praying for each other’s spiritual needs.


15 Fellowship is accepting God's choices as to family

We are called to be members of God’s family. We , in fact, choose to be part of that family. However, you can’t choose God without choosing the rest of the family. Including the ones sitting around you now! God actually delights in putting strange combinations of peple together so that his transcendent power to transform a society can be seen. It is seen most graphically in churches in Israel when Israeli and Palestinian worship together. Or in Northern Ireland when Protestant and Catholic stand together. Or in Uganda when Hutu and Tutsi share together. In South Ruislip when residents of 50 years standing welcome newcomers from the diverse nations which will make up our community in the coming years. Asians, East Europeans, Caribbean and African. If we cannot demonstrate that in Christ there is no East or West or North or South (so we even welcome the Scots!) If we cannot demonstrate that the Kingdom of God has no cultural and economic boundaries, then the world will fail to see Jesus and our lamp will have been extinguished and ‘Icabod’ – the glory has departed written against our fellowship.


16 Fellowship is commitment


Commitment is a dirty word in our modern society. We are consumers, who like to be able to pick and choose. Slip out to another church when something interests there or we don’t like what we get here.  But Jesus calls us a family and you don’t get the opportunity of changing family except in sad circumstances when your own family has broken down for whatever reason. And the same is true for the church. We do have a membership and we look to those to show loyalty and commitment to this church to make it a place where others will feel loved, welcomed and safe.  A lot that happens here is the evidence of deeply committed people who choose to support church when there are other priorities that could justify them not doing so. 


Shrek onions



So we are going to look at





19 “...You are members of God's very own family... and you belong  in God's household with every other Christian.”   Eph. 2:19 (LB)


20 “In Christ we who are many form one Body, and each member

belongs to all the others.”                           Rom. 12:5 (NIV)


     This is not just signed up membership of a local church but also the commitment not to walk away from your brother or sister when they embarrass or annoy you.

It is demonstrated by the physical act of baptism.


21 “This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized. Each of us is now a part of His resurrection Body.”

                                                     1 Cor. 12:13 (Msg)


22 “That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.”   

 Rom. 6:3 (Msg)

Remember you are not only joined to a local church, but more importantly you are joined to the head, even Christ, part of a world wide community, part of a community which includes Those early disciples and the prophets and patriarchs. All of us are one big living family a lot of which are resident in heaven, and a few resident in South Ruislip.



24 “All the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other.”                 Acts 2:44 (LB)


·                   25 OUR EXPERIENCES

26 “People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.”

                                                            Prov.  27:17 (TEV)

·                   27 OUR HOMES

28 Open your homes to each other.”            1 Peter 4:9 (NCV)

 House group hosts demonstrate this but we can all do our bit, including sometimes accepting invitations to visit.

In Romans 12, we are also urged to practise hospitality.


·                   29 OUR PROBLEMS

30 “Share each other's troubles and problems.”           Gal. 6:2 (NLT)         

A key element here is that we share with one another and also share with God. Often, someone not quite so involved as you are can offer good advice and experience when you are too close to see a way through.


31 “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together.  Instead, let us encourage one another...”      Heb. 10:25 (TEV)

I can’t believe this was a 1st Century statement. But it is true that throughout history, giving up on church is one of the steps to giving up on God. You are needed on Sunday mornings, not to fill empty chairs but to encourage one another. You are needed on Sunday evenings so the body can worship Jesus together. You are needed at PowerHouse because this church is struggling in its prayer life because we are not making the effort to call on God to bless us. You are needed in House group because your being there adds to everyone else. Your contribution, however small, enriches all.



33 “We are partners working together for God.”       1 Cor. 3:9a (TEV)


34 “The whole Body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole Body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

                                           Eph. 4:16 (NLT)

The church is the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it. God intends everyone of us to have a role or service in that body. If you don’t do your bit, we all suffer. The body may adapt to cope without it.


35Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to Me.”       Matt. 25:40 (NRSV)

Our worship of God expresses itself in your service to other members of the family.



37 “...they were like family to each other.”          Acts 2:42a (CEV)


38Be devoted to each other like a loving family.”      Rom. 12:10 (GW)

What we are talking about here goes beyond belonging and sharing and doing my part. It takes us into the realm of Christ-likeness that will cost you. The old saying Blood is thicker than water applies here. Friends you can lose, family you bear the cost of. This is to do with sacrifice. And Jesus calls us to follow him in that way:

39 “We know what real love is because Christ gave up His life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters.”                     1 John 3:16 (NLT)


I don’t want you to be trying to calculate where you are on these levels. I want you to understand that God loves you and Jesus gave himself for you. His Holy Spirit is in you creating and developing the love of God in you. And that love will envelope your relationships with other Christians. They are the brothers and sisters of the new family you are part of. This family is what God chose you to be part of. We need you and you need us. Together we need the Holy Spirit to transform human relations into Christ-like relations.


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