Saturday, August 6, 2016

August 7, 2016

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." I John 1:7

All Summer we have been studying what it means to follow Jesus and why it matters. 

Some of the evidence of following Jesus shows up in fearlessness as "perfect love casts out fear". Further evidence is an obedient life-style marked by self-denial and dying to self. Christ-followers live an I AM 3rd life-style.

One more important benefit of following Jesus is deeper and richer fellowship! Fellowship is a direct benefit of followship!

The Scripture says there is a condition to fellowship and that is walking in the light. Walking in the light means walking in God's Word, walking in God's will and in His way. In other words, be a Christ-follower.

When Christians follow Jesus and meet His conditions there is a connection that results - "we have fellowship". Following Jesus together connects believers with each other through the Holy Spirit that dwells in them. 

There are strong connections formed as you worship together and study together and pray together and serve together and serve each other and sacrifice together. Those bonds are the bonds of fellowship. Strong fellowship!

The condition of following develops the connection of fellowship and change happens in the hearts of men. Fellowship that develops out of followship results in a transformational church.

So, if you want to be part of a fellowship make sure you are following well. Be aware your followship will either strengthen or weaken the fellowship of your church.

Which is it for you?

When you are with your church family today look around you at the incredible people you are blessed to share life with. Think about how important their followship is to the fellowship you enjoy so much. Thank God for them! And ask God to help you follow His better so you can also strengthen the fellowship of your church!

August 6, 2016

"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25

I have often heard these verses used to put pressure on people to come to church. And, in truth, it does say pretty clearly that believers should come to church.

But I think the stronger message is found in the first part of verse 24 where it tells you WHY you should come to church. And it tells you HOW you should come to church. And it tells you what should happen while you are at church.

Why should you come to church? You should come prepared to bring encouragement to others. The Scripture suggests that during the week you should be praying and thinking of ways to encourage. You probably know from week to week who in your congregation needs some encouragement so that gives you all week to pray and prepare to encourage.

It also says you should come regularly because there will never be a week that someone doesn't need to be encouraged. So, there shouldn't be a week you fail to come so you can encourage!

Church should be like that mythical, musical "Home on the Range" where never is heard a discouraging word. Encouragement should be one of the main things that happens to church when people come.

Doesn't it make sense that if people knew they were going to be encouraged every week when they went to church they would be more likely to come to church regularly?

I think so!

There is a by-product of coming to church to encourage others, you get encouraged too! Who doesn't want to attend a fellowship like that?

Does that describe your church?

Does that describe how you go to church and why?

There is one more important qualifier in these verses, you and those you go to church with should dial up the encouragement as "the day" approaches. What day is that?

The last days. The trying and testing and troubles. The days when encouragement will be at a premium and churches that do it well will see their fellowship grow and expand and deepen.

Let this thought from God's Word encourage you to encourage!