Sunday, the 16 th of July, we celebrated our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, with a
baptism. We also had the blessing of a good friend of the Church moving her
membership to First Christian. To many Churches, this is a monthly event; …
sadly at First Christian, it does not take place that often … and for the most part,
we accept this.
Well, I believe it is time to bring a close the “being satisfied” with the status quo!
I can hear some of the thoughts now: … “Here he goes again; … push, push, push!
We’re doing okay, … we’re paying our bills; … what else does he want; … about
time to give it up!”
Well, I’m sorry, … that’s not going to happen. There are people out there hurting,
… many we pass daily are lost, … some put on a good show but are just waiting
for someone to extend their hand. Yes, our Church is small and doesn’t have all the
programs and benefits of some of the large Churches but we have the people that
make up the congregation of First Christian in Mt. Pleasant … and I personally
don’t think one could find a more loving or caring group of Christians, anywhere!
WE JUST NEED TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT.
We’ve just got in a new supply of Church business cards with the worship service
time added. Take a few of these and hand them to someone when the opportunity
arises. Everyone has a desire to be wanted and needed, … the community of Mt.
Pleasant is no different.
YOU have a wonderful Church, here that God and His helpers have provided. Be
proud of that fact and brag a little.
By-the- way, The Summer-Fall series we participate in with St. Marks, St,
Andrews, Tennison and First Presbyterian (this year, August 27 th through
September 24 th ) is an excellent opportunity to initiate conversation: … use it!
We just might surprise ourselves with a few more baptisms and new members!
Your servant in Christ,
This being “Fellowship Dinner Sunday” is what helped guide me to today’s
message. … What better Sunday could there be to speak on “Fellowship”!
Sometimes Christians speak in the "Christianese" language. …
We talk in terms and words not in common usage outside the Church; …
atonement, … Doxology, … anti-Christ, … communion, … doctrine, … gospel, …
incarnation, … redemption, … sanctification; … these are just a few examples of
language that sometimes confuses new and old Christians, alike.
"Fellowship" is one of those words. … This sermon is on our fellowship with God
… and our fellowship with those about us.
Three pastors met and were talking over conditions at their Churches.
The first pastor said, … "You know, since summer started, I’ve been having trouble
with mice in my Church. … I’ve tried everything; … noise, … spray, … traps, …
even cats; … nothing seems to scare them away."
The second pastor chimed in, … "Yeah, … my Church too.
There are hundreds living in the basement of the Church. … I’ve set traps and even
called an expert to get rid of them … but nothing has worked so far."
The third pastor, … quite arrogantly added, … "I had the same problem, …
so I baptized all of mine and made them members of the Church; ... haven’t seen
Fellowship is one of those “Church” words. … It’s a word that isn’t commonly
used by non-Christians. … It’s also a word that is misunderstood … and misused
We have our fellowship hall, … our fellowship dinners, … our fellowship worship
with other Churches … but what exactly is fellowship? … What does it mean? …
How does it relate to God, … to Christians … and to non-Christians.
Is fellowship a potluck dinner?; … It could be.
Is fellowship a Sunday School class?; … possibly.
Is fellowship joining the Church?; … perhaps
Is fellowship becoming a Christian?; … conceivably.
The dictionary defines “fellowship” as: … Companionship, … friendly association,
… mutual sharing as of experiences, of activities, of interests; … A group of
people with the same interests, brother and sisterhood.
The Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia (koinəˈnēə)” … and it comes from a
root meaning: … common or shared.
So fellowship means common participation in something, … either by giving what
one has to the other person … or receiving what he or she has.
Give and take … is the essence of fellowship … and give and take must be the way
of fellowship in the life and body of Christ.
Fellowship is Vertical … and it is Horizontal.
1. Vertical is our relationship with God.
2. Horizontal is our relationship with our community and society; …
the human race, … if-you- will.
This morning we’re going to briefly cover these two areas in the life of the
Christian, … which needs to be saturated with this idea of fellowship.
I. Fellowship With God: … Vertical Relationship
I’m sure all of you are familiar with the temptation and fall of humanity that took
place in the garden when the forbidden fruit of the tree of good and evil was eaten.
… Adam and Eve, then realizing their nakedness and shame.
Then what happens: … “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD
God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid
themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 So the LORD God
called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3: 8-9)
You can almost feel the longing and despair in God’s heart as He says those words.
Prior to this, … man and woman had unbroken communion and fellowship with
God … but it was different now.
These first humans were no longer waiting … for their time with God.
Adam and Eve were hiding … but God was seeking.
Something had happened in what was, … the perfect relationship and fellowship:
Ever since that fellowship was broken, … humanity has been trying to get it back.
Humankind tries Religion … but to no effect. … They pursue pleasure …
to fill that emptiness … but is still unfilled: … Sex, … wealth, … power, …
alcohol, … drugs, … vain pleasures: … Nothing satisfies.
Everything that has been attempted to restore that missing something-in-life, …
leaves us empty.
Nothing can fill that void but God; … Fellowship with God.
Here’s a question for all of us: … “What is the chief end of our life on earth?”; …
ANSWER: … “To Glorify God … and to enjoy Him forever.”
Relationship is the Basis of that Fellowship; … Fellowship with God is, first of all,
… relational; … “Sonship”
1 John 1:3: … what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you
may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ
1 Corinthians 1:9: … God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with
His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord
Sonship is established when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and are born again
into the Family of God: … Sin Breaks that Fellowship
God is Holy; … sin hinders the relationship.
Just doing good works doesn’t restore the estrangement of a relationship.
It involves making what was broken, … right.
If a man and wife have an argument, … just buying a box of chocolates doesn’t
solve the whole problem. … Whatever is hindering the relationship has to be dealt
with, … whether that is unfaithfulness, … a bad temper, … selfishness, etc.
Confession: …What is it? … It is simply agreeing with God.
Some people have a “Sadaam Hussain” God. … They live their lives in fear of
crossing Him … and then being put before the firing squad.
The Benefits of fellowship with God: …
Romans12:1-2: … Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to
present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your
spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and
perfect will of God
This fellowship transforms us.
Fellowship is always getting a new piece of paper when we have messed up ours;
… God never runs out of fresh, new, paper.
II. Fellowship With Others: … Horizontal Relationship
Our Relationship with Other Believers: … Acts 2:41-42: … So those who accepted
his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the
breaking of bread, and to the prayers
Recently a Church in Summerbrook, SC, … changed it’s name from “Oakbrook
Baptist Church” … to “The Fellowship at Oakbrook”.
Why is it so important for Christians to “fellowship” together; … It helps the
Christian to grow in their walk with the Lord.
One lesson I have learned in 19 years of pastoring, … is that I often go from being
the teacher … to becoming the student … and that the student becomes my teacher.
Fellowship with other Christians promotes accountability, … establishes teamwork
… and builds unity.
Example: … A comedian once said (not actually politically correct these days [but
you’ve all heard it]) that there can be union without unity: …
Just tie two cats tails together and throw them over a clothesline; … one will soon
discover what “without unity” … is really all about!
Philippians 2:3-5: … Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider
others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for
his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Make your own attitude that
of Christ Jesus
We all heard this growing up: … “I’ll just take my ball and go home.”
This phrase had reality to me when I was 11 years old playing sandlot football with
some of my friends. … Harvey Lanier had brought the football … and if he
couldn’t be the quarterback then he would take his football and go home.
What does that say to our Relationship with Non-believers.
2 Corinthians 6:14: … Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what
partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship
does light have with darkness?
We need to understand something very important: … Fellowship and friendship
are not the same; ... they are completely different.
Friendship is being friendly with another person.
Fellowship is that which is shared by people who have something in common.
Fellowship includes friendship … but it also includes qualities we can’t get
anywhere else; … like accountability, … encouragement, … agape love, help,…
We need to be friends with people of the world … but that friendship with
someone … can steer us … to be in the world … and not OF it.
HOWEVER … if we have fellowship with the world, … it not only puts us in the
world … but it makes us OF the world also; … thus … the reason for the need to
find that perfect balance!
Balance has got to be one of the most difficult areas in the life of a Christian.
We must have such a perfect balance … in order for us to be able to be effective,
… not only in our personal walk … but also in our evangelistic efforts, … not to
mention having a scriptural based … world view.
To wrap it all up: …
Fellowship is built on Love
1. Love for God
2. Love for Other Christians
3. Love for Unbelievers.