9-28-14 Why Fellowship
Genesis 2:18- “It is not good for the man to be alone”?? Hebrews 10:23-25- Hold fast to the confession that you were taught.? Let us consider how to spur one another on toward love and good works.? Let us not give up meeting together as the manner of some, but let us encourage one another- all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
?Why Fellowship? Made to Love? Heb. 10:23-25 9-28-14 I believe church is a wonderful place where people gather together, sing- because they have something positive to sing about, laugh, pray together, and enjoy each other?s company. But amazingly, some do not want to be bothered with fellowship. I understand in part because I am a naturally shy guy. There is a part of fellowship as there is a part of love that is hard- even effort. People can rub you the wrong way. But the alternative is to be isolated or live in a bubble of sorts. I know some who say, ?I want to be Christian, but be a Christian all alone.??? But this passage is a reminder that it is God?s will that we be together. There was a movie starring John Travolta about ?The boy who lives in a bubble.??? To live in a bubble, we may think means to live a sheltered existence-secure- protected. But David Vetter was the real live boy who lived in a special bubble in Houston Texas to protect him because he had no immunities (SCID- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome). He could not be touched except with plastic super- sterilized gloves. The doctors who designed the bubble believed someone could live 80 years in the bubble but he only lived until 12 years old.?? We are not meant to live in a bubble- isolated and alone. We are designed to be with others. Spiritually we are not designed to be isolated on our own. We are designed for fellowship.?? Our passage gives us great advice- hold fast to the confession- not give up meeting together- but stimulate each other to love and good deeds. We are not made to live in a padded cell in isolation but safe from those who might hurt us. Rather we are made to be together. I. HOLD FAST TO THE CONFESSION AND NOT GIVE UP MEETING TOGETHER- ???? I am indebted to Vic Penz of Peachtree who talked about the old time sailors used to tattoo to their knuckles the words ?hold fast.? When the storms come, we do not want to loosen our grip. Penz spoke of going on an American cup race and watching a sailor fall overboard but grab a rope. He went down into the deep but when the captain pulled the boat about he was jerked up into the air holding onto the rope. Our confession of our faith is our rope to which we hold fast.?? In our day of extreme doubt, we are called to give up and let go of the old paths and follow new ones. We are assured that if we give up our faith then we will attract more young people. ?? Perhaps you remember the story of ?New Coke.? After WWII Coke owned 64% of the market share. But by 1985 the share was down to 24%. People were taking the ?Pepsi Challenge? and saying on TV that Pepsi was sweeter. So the Coke people went into panic mode, and made a new recipe. They developed ?New Coke.? But Coke received over 400,000 letters. People were writing like they had lost a long friend. The new Coke lasted 77 days. Today Coke has reclaimed its title as king of the soft drinks. ?? The confession is simple- for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. We do not need to be embarrassed of that confession. It is not meant to offend anyone- it is meant to provide a window to get into heaven. ?? B. DO NOT GIVE UP MEETING TOGETHER- It is in meeting together that we learn to love each other. We hold fast to or confession together, and we meet together to join our voices to God together in song and prayer. Many a parent will say when they are bringing their child to preschool for the first time- they need this. They need to learn to socialize, cooperate, get along. Adults do too. Let us not give up meeting together. II. LET US CONSIDER HOW WE MAY- Think, plan, be creative in how you might spur one another on. A. CONSIDER WHAT FELLOWSHIP IS- It is not just a visible secular thing. If you take faith and the Holy Spirit out of the church, then church is just something you do- and it is not much different from a rotary, civitan, lion, 4H, charitable club. But the church is not just about doing good- though certainly doing good should be a result of the church. I want us to look for just a minute at Hebrews 12:1,18-24; As you know, Hebrews 12 is not far after this passage we have read today- and I believe it expounds on it. Hebrews 11 is all the examples of heroes of faith who have gone on before us- Abraham, Joseph, Moses and others. Verse 22 describes in poetical terms what we do when we ?come? to church. It is not coming to a visible group- but it is more. If you have ears to hear- then hear. It says, ?You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in assembly. In other words- when you come to church- it is like coming into the Temple in Jerusalem- a holy place where God abides. More than that- our worship is not just by ourselves but with the saints who have gone before and the angels of God. In other words we are not alone- and we get a tiny bit of heaven in church if our hearts are right. Those who think church is boring might need to look around a bit for I don?t think we would think an angel is boring. I don?t think the presence of God is boring. If we open our hearts and if we have faith- there is more to life than we can see. Hebrews says, ?Let us encourage one another as you see the day approaching.? What day? It is the Day when you come into the presence of God.?? If you knew you were going to die tomorrow.?? Would you approach church differently today? If you knew you were going to look into the face of God and the presence of His angels today- would you do deeds of love and good??? Hebrews says when you come to church- you are a bit in the presence of God and are preparing yourself to enter into His presence. III. STIMULATE OUR LOVE AND GOOD DEEDS- A. STIMULATE TO LOVE- There are multi-billion dollar industries out there to stimulate people to love one another. When I was in Peru they had this Anaconda (snake) blood- that if you drank it- it would help a man to love his wife. In Taiwan, they sold magic charms (aphrodisiacs) in the market to make your man fall in love with you. The way the world speaks of falling in love is really different but this kind of love- which is not the deepest kind of human love- points to how important human love is to us. What the world needs now is love- not just sexual love- that is too easy and too fleeting. The world needs real love that can last for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health?I?m not talking just about marriage- but the kind of love of one human being for another. A parent, for example, should love their child that way- for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. We do not love our children just when they make us smile. And we do not love our parents only when they give us stuff. Real love- the love modeled by Christ goes beyond that. The best friendships last that way- for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. You see faithfulness and love go together. Love is not just as quick as a smile. True love is worth stimulating. The best way to love someone is to look them in the eye- face to face.?? ???? Look there are times when we need stimulating to love one another. There are times we are apathetic to each other?s hurts and fears. There are times when we are cold to each other out of anger or misunderstanding. There are times when we are indifferent to the needy around us- the hungry, the poor, the sick, the children who are left out, the ones who look different or act differently from us. The fellowship is a way to have more eyes to see those who need to be loved. The fellowship continually calls- continually calls us to make the most of every opportunity to love and to do good= to shine as lights in the darkness. If you knew Christ were in this room today- listening to your thoughts, looking into your face, would you be spurred to love others better? I do not doubt that if you believed Christ were here or that you could see Christ tomorrow in heaven- you might find it easier to love others. | B. STIMULATE TO DO GOOD- ????? When we look at a little baby like Walker Harris, we want to encourage him to be a lover of humans and a doer of good. The scriptures speak of iron sharpening iron so one person sharpens another. We are put here in part to encourage one another, to sharpen each other to be the best we can be and be the kind of people we are meant to be. Just as a good- functional family will support each other and encourage each other.?? So a church family is designed to raise us up to be the kind of people we should be. ?????? The words fellowship in the Bible means sharing in common. It means life together. It means being a part of the team, being a part of the family. It means holding fast to the same rope- staying on the same path. I want to show you the rope that our Mother?s Morning Out children use when they go from their classroom to the playground. Hold fast to the rope- our confession- for that is how we hold onto each other and make our way to our Lord.