CREATED for WORSHIP (Part 3)
LOVE ONE ANOTHER: FELLOWSHIP and WORSHIP
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
- Acts 2:42-47
We are on the third instalment of our Series CREATED for WORSHIP and I hope by now that we have been having a wider and deeper sense and understanding of what Worshipping JESUS is all about.
We have been exploring the key purposes of the Church through our ministry teams (namely: EVANGELISM, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP, DISCIPLESHIP and MINISTRY/SERVICE) and how they contribute to the exaltation and glorification of our Lord JESUS in our lives and in our world.
In the past 2 weeks, we’ve had a wonderful talk with our M1 - Mission Team and talked about EVANGELISM as WORSHIP - on how worship to God naturally results in telling others about His love and grace and how also our worship becomes a witness for others to come and see.Last week, we had our M2 - Magnification Team and M6 - Momentum Team. They lead us week in and week out in our Worship Services; and we talked a great deal about the Lifestyle and the cost of Worship - what it means to worship God beyond our Sunday gatherings - to Worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
We said that our increasing WORSHIP is proportional to our increasing revelation of WHO HE IS! The more we know Him. The more we worship Him. That’s why those who do not “know” JESUS cannot truly y worship Him. If we don’t have a revelation of His worth - we won’t ascribe greatness to our Lord. (e.g. the Samaritan Woman at the well; Peter in his first encounter with Jesus; John in Revelations 4) At the heart of worship is really about WHO HE IS. And as we get to know GOD more we also get to know more of His heart and what He loves and values - in effect, this also becomes the things we love and we value because we love Him.
On the entry doors of our church you will find the sign: LOVE GOD : LOVE PEOPLE.
And that is what Church is all about. God loves people and He died for His Church and that’s why we also exist to love people and love one another. We truly worship God when we truly live in love for one another.
From the Old Testament down to the New Testament, the core message of the Bible has always been consistent and it is encapsulated in the Greatest Commandment:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The Ten Commandments can easily be summed up to how we should relate to God and how we should realte with one another. The phrase "one another" is derived from the Greek word allelon which means "together; mutually, reciprocally." It occurs 100 times in the New Testament.
FELLOWSHIP means communion; unity in community; serving one another in love; and is at the heart of worship because it pleases God. Jesus Himself modelled this kind of love.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
On this note He gave "a new commandment". Before, it was "love your neighbour as yourself. Now, He commands "love one another as I have loved you". The JESUS kind of love is the AGAPE kind of love which is only possible when our hearts are redeemed and ruled by the Holy Spirit.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
- 1 John 4
The root of our fellowship and the one that binds us is JESUS love for us and our love for Him. Modern day Christianity has watered down fellowship to just merely church attendance but that's just religion and not the Biblical model of fellowship (Acts 2:42-47 as above)
The apostle Paul has saturated his letters to the early Church with such admonitions and exhortations: E.g.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. - Romans 15:5-7
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
-1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Ultimately, God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children. If we, earthly parents finds delight and are pleased when our children love each other, work together, serve one another, putting each other's concerns before their own; how much more our Heavenlt Dad who loves us all. If worshipping God is our goal and our call, then fellowship is a must and at the heart of the Christian Gospel. JESUS died on the cross, ultimately to reconcile us to Himself but equally as well so that we can be reconciled with one another.
The SIN nature is selfishness and knows nothing about love and therefore results to hurting and harming each other. But the nature of Christ is selflessness that results to the healing and restoration of relationships. We are those who belong to Christ and are dead to sin.
That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. - Ephesians 2:19-22 MSG
Questions for Discussion
1. Our favourite hashtag is #churchisfamily ; when did you realise that this church is your family? Can you share with us your own personal experience of why you decided to commit to this local church?
2. What does BIBLICAL FELLOWSHIP look like?
3. Comment on ACTS 2:42-47. What can you say about this verse. How do you think we as a church family can emulate and grow this picture in our community?
4. What do you think are the essential attributes or characteristics of a Biblical Fellowship?
5. Since becoming a Christian, how has your perspective on what Church is changed?
6. Why is FELLOWSHIP a form of WORSHIP? (e. g. The Greatest Commandment, The Ten Commandments)
7. Why does it matter to God so much how we treat one another as fellow believers? (E.g. the One Another verses)
8. What is your favourite Bible Verse that inspires your love/worship for God and for your your brothers and sisters in Christ?
9. Why do you love Jesus and why do you love our Church?