Ordinary Means of Grace: Fellowship

Here’s my sermon outline for “Ordinary Means of Grace Part 2: FELLOWSHIP” preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship, our church in Naperville.

Means of Grace Week 2: Devoted to Fellowship (Acts 2:42)

Intro: 1st of the LOTR Trilogy is Fellowship of the Ring. This “fellowship” refers to 9 individuals united in the purpose of seeing the one ring destroyed. It was a shared mission and life they had together; Frodo could not do it alone, and neither can we as Christians. We need fellowship with other Christians to be strengthened and helped as follow Jesus in this broken world. And fellowship is one the means of grace, given to us for that purpose.
*Fellowship is an ordinary MEANS of grace, given to us by God that we might be strengthened in our faith.

-Reminder: The Ordinary Means of Grace
are the ways that God ordinarily uses to strengthen and grow his people. God is free to work in other ways, but He has told us He will use these specific ways in the lives of His people. We are invited to partake of them, that we might experience God’s grace strengthening and growing us to be more like Christ.

-SEEN IN in ACTS 2:42.
This is a scene from the Early Church: Apostle Peter preached a sermon and over 3,000 people coming to faith. Immediately after this, we see 4 patterns of devotion in this lives of the Christians:
Acts 2:42:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
        -4 things: Word of God, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer. Last week was word of God and this week fellowship!

QUESTION: What is fellowship?
A sharing, or partnership, of our life together in Christ, through which we might be strengthened to follow Jesus.
ANOTHER QUESTION? Why would we need fellowship? Because this is how we were created.
         
                                            3-2-1 GOSPEL:
(Glen Scrivener)
3: God is three persons united in love. He created us to know Him and walk in His ways.
2: The story of the world is the story of two individuals: Adam and Christ.
1: You are one with Adam, be one with Christ. Through repentance of sin and faith in Christ.
-In the gospel we are called into fellowship with Christ:
        -1 Cor 1:9:  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
-In the gospel we are called into fellowship with other Christians:
        –1 John 1:3  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
                    -Christians are commanded to seek out fellowship and life with other Christians: Hebrews 10:24-25
 
                                            Today, we’ll consider 7 things we share together as Christians.

1. A shared Lord
Christians of Acts 2:42 came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Their lives were transformed.
         -Not lip service, or mere intellect: for Jesus to be lord means Jesus is FIRST in your life.
                      -As Christians, we share in a devotion to Jesus with other Christians. 
                                 -On Sunday mornings and throughout the week we encourage each other in this shared devotion
PERSONAL: This was such a source of comfort and strength for me as a new Christian. Beat up by the world, but strengthened by other Christians. I continued to be strengthened regularly by fellowship with other Christians. 
APPLICATION: View other Christians as those who share devotion to the Lordship of Christ with you.
        –Remind each other when things are hard: Jesus is our Lord, He’s in control; we can trust him.
        –Remind each other when temptation feels strong: Jesus is our Lord, let’s obey him.


2. A shared Book
When I was a trumpet student all of us carried around a book called Arban’s.  -As Christians we have a shared book, the Bible: 2 Tim 3:16
         -We gather on Sunday mornings to hear from God in the preaching of God’s Word
                     -We commit ourselves to read it
                                -We encourage each other to be in.
APPLICATION: Don’t just talk about things of this world (Marvel movies and parenting). Talk about Jesus and His Word.
        –BE INTENTIONAL to share about what you learned about God in His Word
                     -Ask about what God is teaching others in the Word, or what they are reading lately.
        –REFRESHING: 2 Tim 1:16 “Onesiphorus…he often refreshed me.”
                    -Something REFRESHING in fellowship that is gospel-centered and includes speaking about God’s Word

3. A Shared Mission
LOTR: Shared mission of seeing the ONE RING destroyed.
Christians: Shared mission given to us by Jesus in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20)                    -Our church’s mission statement: “Making disciples as disciples”

                                -Yesterday: sharing Christ at meetup.
                                            -Upcoming outreaches: North Central and Labor Day Weekend.
                                                        -EVERYDAY MISSIONARIES: Encouraging each other to be on mission regularly.
DANGER: “Mission Drift”=we lose focus of the mission, start to argue about secondary things. Or we become so focused on ourselves that we forget about the call to share the gospel.
APPLICATION: Let’s encourage each other on mission. Let’s pray for “open doors to share the gospel.”

4. A shared Struggle
The LOTR fellowship had intense struggles outside—ring wraiths, goblins, orcs—and inside—temptation of the ring.
Christians have a SHARED STRUGGLE: Sin, Satan, Worldliness.        -Struggle with our sin (Romans 7:21-24)
                    -Jesus has defeated sin and we share in that victory. Yet we battle daily with indwelling sin.
                                -Owen: “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you”
        –Spiritual battle: Devil and demons are real. 1 Peter 5:8-9. Eph 6 armor of God
        –Struggle against the pressures of the world: 1 John 2:15-17
                    -The challenge to live as a Christian in Naperville (idols of comfort, convenience, career)
SOME WAYS TO EXPERIENCE FELLOWSHIP AND HELP EACH OTHER IN THE STRUGGLE AT CCF:

        -Community Group (CG) =At moment our CG is taking a break and the women are gathering on Thur evenings
        -Discipleship Group
: 2-3 same gender individuals meeting regularly to go deeper with each other. NOTE:     -Fellowship requires intentionality: some of you need to reach out and ask for help. Other need to offer it.
                                -Fellowship also requires TIME: giving of your time to be in fellowship with each other.
DANGER: Seeking out a “human wish dream” of community instead of embracing the community God has given us.
Bonhoeffer:Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.”
Answer: PURSUE GRATITUDE. Bonhoeffer:
“If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.”

5. A Shared Joy:
Christianity is not a gloomy community of moralistic rule keepers, but a joyful fellowship of Christians who find joy in God!
Psalm 4:7
“You have put more joy in my heart than…” Psalm 16:11 “In your presence there is fullness of joy”
APPLICATION: REMIND EACH OTHER OF THIS: God is our joy!
                                -Westminster: Chief end of Man “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever”

                                            *CHILDREN: There is more joy to be had in knowing God than anything else!

6. A Shared Sorrow

There is much sorry we experience together in this life. We are to enter into that with each other: Romans 12:15
        -The sorrow of sin’s ruin (relationships, self, loss, cultural evils)
        -The sorrow of painful trials
        -The sorrow of physical death
APPLICATION: Don’t hurt alone. Share your sorrows with another.
                    –My own experience: God’s comfort through Rach in losing my mom.


7. A shared Destination
Growing up taking trips to Flathead Lake to see my grandparents: shared destination as a family.
Christians have a SHARED DESTINATION: Heaven. We’re exiles: 1 Peter 2:11. We seek another city: Heb 13:14.
CONCLUSION
: There is much grace to be had through fellowship with each other. May God help us to pursue and experience his grace through this fellowship, which is an ordinary means of grace.

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