#653. FELLOWSHIP REQUIRES BUILDING ON PURPOSE (22/9/22)
This week, in our Devoted vision series, we are looking at God's desire that we be a community which is devoted to 'fellowship'.
Summary: A church of true fellowship does not happen by accident; it requires prayer, planning and dedication from every one of us.
Yesterday, we began to look at how ‘fellowship’ can be summarised as ‘family on purpose’. We saw that the church’s purpose is to seek to know God and help others to come to know Him through the gospel. Today, I want us to think about being purposeful about this. The church is not built by accident. We don’t build a healthy family of God without focused prayer, teaching and planning. The church is built through devotion to the right things! Terry Virgo has written of the need of both vision and effort:
‘The rediscovery of the glory and significance of the local church is fundamental to God’s ultimate purpose, to glorify His Son among the nations. This is no small matter and demands our devotion and sustained commitment.’ (NF Magazine April 06 p5)
If you want to build anything, it requires both a plan and focused effort - it requires that we are devoted to fellowship. However, there is a danger of fragmenting our focus, as Kevin D. Young wrote in Crazy Busy:
‘Jesus knew the difference between urgent and important. He understood that all the good things he could do were not necessarily the things he ought to do….If Jesus had to live with human limitations, we’d be foolish to think we don’t. The people on this planet who end up doing nothing are those who never realised they couldn’t do everything.’ (Quoting Kevin D. Young, Crazy Busy)
To ‘BUILD FAMILY ON PURPOSE’ requires at least these four things:
Firstly, we need a vision of what the church is to be from the Bible. For example, what we read in Acts 2:42-47, is a great example of the vision that God wants us to share and build purposefully toward.
Building the church requires life-long devotion. We are not building a house on a greenfield site! We are building the bride of Christ in a fallen world with the world, the flesh and the devil against us!
The word ‘Devoted’ (proskartereó) that we read in Acts 2, means to attend constantly, persevere, to continue steadfast in. This requires that you and I build on purpose and over the long haul.
To be devoted to being family on purpose we must forgive those who hurt us in the church. We will be let down. Left out. Feel overlooked. We can say, “You should love me more so I’m leaving”. Jesus, however, would say to us, “You need to love as I have loved you!” Love takes the initiative. When we say, “People don’t care about me so I’m leaving” we are being ‘legalistic; We are saying, “if you perform well toward me then I will love you!” However, what does the gospel say? Jesus loves sinners! Let’s do that! All healthy families learn to forgive. A toxic family loves or rejects based on the performance of those in the family and the church should be no different. If we all focussed on giving love more than receiving, there would be enough to go around!
We cannot be family on purpose unless we make it a priority in our diary. In Acts 2, the emphasis is on devotion to being together. We read:
‘Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…’ (Acts 2:46)
‘All the believers were one in heart and mind.’ (Acts 4:32)
As brothers and sisters, we are to be mutually supportive and committed to being together regularly. We all have 1,440 minutes in a day, 10,080 minutes in a week, 43, 804.8 minutes in a month and 525, 600 minutes in a year. So will you and I be purposeful in using them to build the local church? Have we given them all to God? What would God want us to do with that time? We know that He wants us to give a good portion to being with His people - Love is spelt ‘TIME’. Let’s remember that every “Yes” is a “no” to something or someone else so let's build family on purpose’.
TOGETHER IN SEPTEMBER
During September 2022, at CCP, we are having 'Together' meetings instead of our usual Community Groups. You are very welcome to attend these gatherings.
Please come to the church building at 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings - refreshments and a meal will be available.