|Robert Houk Hitchcock|
The Heart of a Fellowship
Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
The goal of every fellowship is the riches of full assurance of understanding the Mystery- hearts knit together in love. That we might know and believe all that God has done for us in Christ!
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
That every believer knows and understands that it's Christ in them.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
God has blessed us with ALL. He has given ALL, provided ALL. No more to give; He gave it all in the new birth.
Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
We desire for all in the fellowship to be "perfected" in Christ,
that is, to know all that God has done for them.
Teach the Word
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
What is always CENTRAL to the fellowship is the Word of God. Maybe we share our lives on various topics, but it's the Word of God that has to be the center of every fellowship: before, during, and after.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Just keep speaking the Word, the Word, the Word.
2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
Teach, teach, teach....that's how we can all arrive at the full assurance
Fellowship is a Body
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
The fellowship is a body of believers, members one of another.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
It is the love of God amongst the fellowship that will be so comforting and edifying.
Ephesians 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
That's the Mystery!
Romans 15:1-2 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
In every fellowship, some will be strong (mature) and some weak (immature). We are to have the same love, care, and concern for all, whether mature or less mature.
Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Love, don't criticize.
1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
All members care for the others, not just the leaders who do it.
Same love, same care.
Ministries Are to Function
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
God gave these gifts to the church, so the church could arrive at the full assurance of understanding the Mystery. They all function differently, but all function by teaching.
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
The saints, i.e. the individual, is always most important. To love people, and help them, and teach them and nurture them. Then the work of the ministry- there is work involved if God's Word is going to move out and grow. All to the end that the whole Body of believers is edified.
Ephesians13-16 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Verse 16 is HOW the fellowship arrives at the full assurance of understanding the Mystery. The whole body, the whole fellowship, working together, in love, with every member contributing to and supplying the rest of the Body.
Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Those with ministries: GET BUSY. DO IT.
1) to establish besides, to strengthen more
2) to render more firm, to confirm
Acts 18:22-23 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
The ministries help to establish, make firm the believers in the Word of God and in their walk.
Acts 15:32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
The ministries in proper operation in the fellowships will establish the individuals and the churches.
Acts 15:40-41 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
There are many records in Acts and in the church epistles of the
visits and re-visits of ministries continuing to bless, teach and establish
Abundant Giving and Receiving in Practice
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
There is no law now. We are to give according as we purpose in our hearts. Why is it that so many purpose so little? It has to be an indication of a lack of spirituality ,a lack of reliance on God, a demonstration of immaturity. In the age of Grace, it would be proper for our attitude to be very abundant because of the abundance that God has given spiritually to the Body.
Philippians 4:15-19 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
When giving is abundant because of an abundant trust and reliance in God, then the receiving will be more than abundant also.
Acts 4:34-35 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
This fellowship Body of believers lacked nothing! They were so abundant in their giving that not only was their spiritual leadership taken care of materially, but distribution was made to all so that no one had a need! They brought their giving to the apostles, who were then responsible to utilize it and distribute it.
Acts 6:2,4 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
The ministries devoted all of their time and life to prayer and to
the Word of God. The abundant giving provided for them to do that.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
All in the fellowship are witnesses. Witnesses with the power of God.
Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
Speak the Word! Dynamic witnessing= dynamic outreach.
Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
They simply preached Christ. His resurrection. What God did for us in Christ.
Acts 2:22-24 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
They preached the resurrection.
Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
The power of the holy spirit within us is the witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
Jesus Christ is the only man ever raised from the dead to eternal life.
Acts 2:41-47 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
This fellowship was hot. The Word first. The fellowship together.
Abundant giving. Abundant witnessing. Ministries functioning. Dynamic outreach.
The ingredients needed for the church to be knit together in love with
full assurance of understanding.
© Copyright September 1997