fellowship

SERMON LEFTOVERS 6.26.17

Don’t Ruin a Good Meal                  

 

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

 

How did the Corinthians ruin a good meal?

Let’s try to picture the scene Paul describes

They ‘came together’ in homes of the wealthy which had limited dining space, so some people sat in outer courtyards

People were bringing or being served different meals based on status, which was a social norm

The wealthy arrived early and servants would arrive later

Some were gorging themselves and v21 getting ‘drunk’

The ‘division’ described is over economic and social status

The results: God was dishonored, v22 the church was ‘despised’, v22 some were ‘humiliated’ and their witness to the world was corrupted

 

Application #1: Take seriously our fellowship with God

Paul takes the church back to the meaning of the Lord’s Supper

vs23-24 the Bread – represents Jesus’ body and the physical reality that God in flesh took our place

v25 the Cup – the context for the cup in the Old Testament was often wrath. Jesus died taking wrath for us 

Exodus 24:8 describes the Old Covenant: obey God’s law and he will bless you

Jesus’ blood established a New Covenant: trust in Christ’s death and you will receive his life

This New Covenant is between God the Father and God the Son; and we are brought into it (John 17:6-8)

This meal is called a ‘remembrance’ – to live with a cross-centered perspective

Eating this meal v26 is a ‘proclamation’ –  a testimony to one another

 A holy meal (fellowship) requires a holy heart

vs 27-32 tell us to ‘examine’ our hearts and eat this meal in a ‘worthy manner’

The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal which proclaims our relationship with God

If we are careless with this relationship, we are guilty concerning Jesus v27

Carelessness with the Lord’s Supper shows inattention to the death and reign of Jesus

The honor of Christ is so momentous, God judges those misuse him

Those who reject him, are eternally condemned!

Believers who claim to know better, were disciplined for it (v30-32). “Does that mean I will be disciplined like this?”  The better question is should you be?

How do we ‘examine’ ourselves?

It involves careful reflection based upon what our actions reveal

But beware of self-examination that focuses only on our unworthiness 

Stephen Um: “Look for repentance and look for evidences of grace at work”

 

Application #2:  Take seriously our fellowship one another

The Corinthian’s misuse of the Lord’s Supper, was a misuse of one another

They didn’t distinguish fellowship in church from how the world treats one another

Their fellowship was marked by the world’s categories

We use people according to their gifts and maturity, but our fellowship with them is according to the cross

Take this a step further; we should be alert for those who are marginalized 

Their fellowship was ruled by personal selfishness:  Here I am, please me!

Remember how Jesus introduced this meal?  He first washed their feet (John 13)

The Church is not here to serve you; we are the Church to serve Christ and each other

Our fellowship is not in common earthly bonds, it’s in common heavenly bonds

We simply are a supernatural community; so we need to live that way

v33 the command to ‘wait’ – is a command to share the meal as a church. It is a command to look out for and take care of one another

 

What is your response – seek forgiveness, reach out, serve, or find biblical community?

 

WE ARE TAKING A FRESH STEP

This article grabbed my attention immediately

“The Big God in Your Small Group”

I saw it on the Desiring God Blog and it dealt directly with an issue we recently discussed in our Community Fellowship.

Although we have a strong group that has remained consistent for many years, we recognized we still have work to do in building more community and interaction outside of our scheduled meetings.

We talked about being more intentional in how we connect with one another as individuals, couples and families. Our desire is to deepen our relationships, bear one another’s burdens and simply know what is going on in each others lives.

What especially encouraged me was that the youngest couple in the group initiated this conversation.

Here was a couple with their hands full with life: they have two preschool children and another on the way; the husband operates his own business; and they serve in church – yet they recognize the need for and want deeper biblical community.

Do you have this heart?

Are you willingly to take steps to make it happen?

One of the comments made in our discussion on sharing life together, was how much we all enjoyed a recent gathering when we went around the room updating the group on what was happening in our lives.

It helped us to feel we really know what is going on in one another’s lives. I know it help me to have better clarity in how I can pray for the other members of my small group.

The greatest encouragement we can have in pursuing deeper community with one another is that God will be right in the middle of it. Scripture tells us that He wants (expects) biblical community to happen. This mean God will give us grace for it (and that will be needed). It also means God will bring fruitfulness to it (and that will be wonderful).

As you read the “The Big God in Your Small Group”, ask God to inspire you in how you share life with the members of your church – they are your forever family!

DO WE KNOW WHAT THIS WORD MEANS?

Fellowship is a well worn Christian word.

We use it a lot

We name buildings and activities after it

We claim to give a significant amount of time doing it

BUT are we clear about how the Bible describes what it should look like?

Like most churches, Greentree talks about fellowship quite a bit, however we like to use the phrase Biblical Community.

Our reason for this is that the word fellowship is so well used; when people hear it, they think they know what it is and are doing it – yet they don’t give any thought to what it means.

Biblical community at least sets us down the path of what fellowship is meant to be. And more importantly, it declares that the answer can only be found within the practices described by the Bible.

True Biblical Fellowship Is Being Dismantled

Community itself is disappearing in many ways and for many reasons. This includes our neighborhoods and our families, as well as our churches. The reasons are many!

We move more often

Our houses are bigger, so everyone has their “own space”

Downtown’s no longer localize where we shop and socialize

We are barricaded in our backyards rather than being on our front porches

We sink into our personal gadgets

We have confused faith being personal with faith being private

We are learning to despise accountability

Biblical Health Cannot Exist Without Biblical Community

This is a drumbeat healthy churches must maintain and church members must learn to prize.

Mark Dever from 9Marks interviewed Pastor John MacArthur in order to discuss this issue of Fellowship (Biblical Community). I urge you to listen to their discussion, if only for the first 10 minutes. It is that important!

 

HEALTH UPDATE

Many of you are aware I was hospitalized last Sunday. I had chest pain beginning Saturday, but I thought it was connected to the neck and back pain which had been bothering me for a couple days. The pain increased through the morning and by the middle of the second service, I knew I needed to get help (thankfully a guest was preaching). I want to thank Tom Putney and his ushering crew who knew what to do. In minutes I was under the care of an excellent nurse (Lori Pearson), and on oxygen with an ambulance on the way. All this was done without disturbing the service.

Tuesday morning in the hospital

The pain in my chest gradually increased to the point that even after two doses of morphine I was yelling from the pain. I was given a battery of tests which all showed my heart was fine. Tuesday morning the cardiologist informed me I had a rare condition called “Epipericardial Fat Necrosis”. In brief, it means the fat surrounding my heart is inflamed. This is not dangerous, just painful. The amazing part is I am only the 27th person diagnosed with EFN. I would feel honored if my rare condition didn’t contain the words “fat” and “death”.

Many people were praying for me and it showed. Even as my heart was in intense pain – it was still at peace. Another great blessing was the speed of diagnosis. Most people with EFN (including the first 19 diagnosed), had their chests opened in emergency surgery for what was thought to be a serious heart condition or malignancy, only to find an inflammation that didn’t require surgery. Thanks to Dr. Blaustein, who knew something didn’t add up and personally went over all my test results with the technicians. Finally one of them remembered hearing of this condition and I was quickly diagnosed with a classic case of EFN.

The cure is time and rest as the inflammation recedes. Usually this takes a few weeks, but in one case it lasted a year. I no longer have severe pain, however I have found that it doesn’t take much to exacerbate the pain. On Friday I was up and around with doctor appointments and errands. I felt fine until the end of the day when the pain became significant. Right now coughing, yawning, laughing, a deep breath or certain movements will bring out a wince or whine of pain.

My inspiration for the coming week

I do have a couple observations about the past week that I hope can be a help to my readers:

1.  There is no substitute for being deeply involved in a fellowship of believers. Words cannot express my gratitude for the prayers, notes and messages sent to me. It is all overwhelming and wonderful! My church family immediately surrounded me with care and love. God repeatedly directs His people to be connected and share life together. This honors God, immensely blesses us and is a testimony to those who are without Christ.

2.  Consistent time with God on a daily basis will show its value in difficult times. Like all Christians, I struggle in my devotional life, however I have sought to be consistent and to keep growing a closer relationship with my Savior. Even when intense burning pain was in my chest, it was natural to trust God and worship Him. My first thought was to repeat “God is good and He is faithful” over and over. This is because I read of these truths and worship God for them day by day.

3.  God is Good and God is Faithful. These are unchangeable aspects of His character. And He will always be present with His people – that is His PROMISE!