A Sermon Series on Christian Basics by Rogan Taylor
Hebrews 10 : 19 - 25
Pastor Rogan Taylor, New Hope Church,
South Fork, Colorado - Sunday 19th April, 2009
This morning I am continuing my series on the basics of the Christian Life. So far we have looked at –
- 1. The importance of the Church Family, which as Christians we are all are part, and the fact that it is God’s desire that you grow spiritually, and move on from where you are now.
- 2. The fact that none of us must just presume we are Christians - a genuine relationship with Jesus is evidenced by a changed and changing life, even through tough physical, emotional, social and spiritual life experiences.
3. The fact that once we truly come to know Jesus and can say “I am His and He is mine”; once we have marvelously come to know His forgiveness and saving grace, then we are totally and eternally secure in Him; and not because of us but because of Him!
4. The importance of our obedience to the Lord, doing what He asks us to do; our actual obedience to Him is proof of our love for Him.
5. We saw that although baptism doesn’t save you, only Jesus can save you, it is something that is very important to Jesus. If you & I as Christians have the time and are able, we ought to be obedient to the Lord’s command and get baptized, an opportunity to stand up for Jesus and make a public declaration of our faith. In Matthew 28 Jesus final instructions to His disciples before He ascended into heaven was - “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
- 6. We looked at God’s Word, the Bible – His message to humankind; His instructions, His guide, His map to life, His life giving handbook, His standards, His expectations of you and I. As Christians, we believe that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, are
· Fully inspired by God.
· God’s infallible (unfailing) revelation to man.
· The final authority for faith and life (a manual for life).
· Uniquely powerful.
· Uniquely precious.
Hebrews 4:12 says - 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The Bible contains knowledge, wisdom, the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of Believers. God was 2,500 years getting ready to write the Bible, 1,600 years writing it, and has been over 2,000 years fulfilling it. Forty men were employed in making the Bible. It was written by doctors, farmers, fishermen, kings, shepherds; by the old, the young, rich, poor, learned and the unlearned …do not neglect your Bible. As Believers we must read it every day and allow God to speak deep into our hearts.
- 7. The last two messages have dealt with the crucial basic of Prayer. We watched the DVD called “Be Still”, and looked at the Scriptures together. We saw that Christianity is not just another religion. It’s a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; and like any relationship it needs to be developed by good communication; that’s another word for prayer, which is simply talking to God.
The challenge is this Church: You & I need to get back to prayer; the Church needs to get back to prayer if we’re going to see God’s kind of work done in this place…
I ask you to pray with me that God will fashion us into a praying Church.
Today we look at the next absolutely crucial basic if we are to grow and be strong in our walk with Jesus. This is an aspect of our Christian lives that must not be ignored or neglected. It is called Fellowship.
One of the greatest things about becoming a Christian is that you are adopted by Jesus Christ into a new family - God’s family! It’s a family that includes all people who have truly and genuinely believed and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. It means that you have millions of ‘brothers and sisters’ all around the world! The early believers 2,000 years ago gave this family a name, they called it the “Church”. It’s a family where there ought to be plenty of love going around – a place where you can receive love, and a place where you can show your spiritual family plenty of love! That’s what God designed families to be.
Now, God has put us in this new family for a reason. He wants us to spend time with other Christians. The very first Christians also felt that togetherness was important. They often met together to listen to the Apostles, have fellowship, eat together, and pray. Acts 2:42 JB Phillips) says –
“They continued steadily learning the teaching of the apostles, and joined in their fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer.”
Today, it is just as important for us to meet together with other Believers. We do this by meeting together regularly on Sundays at Church, and during the week on Wednesday nights or at small group Bible Studies. We fellowship when we eat breakfast together, or when we minister and outreach together to others. Our Saltshakers ministry in the Church is really helping us to fellowship like the Church ought to. Last night the young adults met together for a meal at Dairy Queen and had a blast of fun and fellowship at Monte Vista’s Bowling Alley. We fellowship as together we construct a new Church building. We fellowship when we spontaneously just visit each other in each other’s homes to say “hi” and see how our brother’s and sisters in Christ are doing. We fellowship by planning to develop good Christian relationships and friendships. It’s true that as followers of Jesus we all have different spiritual gifts that God has given us. Sometimes we think that hospitality is one of those gifts that some have and some don’t. Actually, God’s Word tells all Believers, not just some, to practice hospitality. That means inviting folks into your home for a meal, or taking them out for a meal, so that you can fellowship with them.
Listen to what Romans 12:9-13 says –
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
This was a letter written by Paul to all the Christians in Rome. It came as an instruction to all Believers.. Practice hospitality.
Listen to how the Amplified Bible puts 1 Peter 4:9
9 Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).
The NIV puts it more directly..
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Hospitality over a meal, or even a mug of coffee, makes it possible for you to spend time with your friends in Christ and not just rush in and out without really making any meaningful contact.
One of the great tragedies of our lifestyle, something that our society has lost somewhere in the last 100 years, is that we are in too much of a rush with people, and invest too much of our time staring into little square boxes that portray images in High Definition color.
Friends, hospitality breeds fellowship!
# I love camping and sitting round a camp fire in the late afternoon, sipping a cup of hot tea or coffee and staring into the flames and receiving its warmth! As a family we’ve camped a lot over the years in Zimbabwe, and had a great few days camping up at Big Meadows last summer. Just as much as a glowing red-hot coal will quickly go black and cold if you remove it from the centre of the fire, so we too will be negatively affected if we neglect our fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, the Bible teaches that we need each other, just as the members of any loving family need each other.
Perhaps you are very familiar with Church life; on the other hand, it may be that you’ve never been associated with a Church in the past. Whatever the case, it’s so important to find a spiritual home where you can grow spiritually. You need to know how God uses other people and begin to allow Him to use you as well. This way you will become a mature Christian.
True Christian fellowship will see us encouraging each other, building each other up in the faith, praying together, and building deeper friendships with each other. It will see us being more aware of each other’s needs. And, some of us need to hear this, not only must we give help to one another, we should all also learn to gratefully accept help. Some are happy to help, but are too proud to accept someone else’s offer of help. They don’t realize that by refusing that help from someone else, they are actually robbing that person of a blessing.
Friends, as Christians we must learn to give and learn to receive.
Let’s together briefly look at some other Scriptures that talk about true fellowship:
1. True Fellowship means unity.
In one of the most beautiful prayers of Jesus recorded in Scripture, we find Him praying for all Believers who would ever live and calling out to His Heavenly Father in John 17:20,21 –
20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Romans 12:18 says –
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
“In essentials let there be unity,
In non-essentials let there be liberty,
In all things let there be charity”.
Yes, true fellowship means unity
2. True fellowship can only be exercised if we ‘walk in the light’.
1 John 1:5-7 says –
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 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.
3. True fellowship is evidenced by our love.
In John 13:34,35 Jesus says –
34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
4. True fellowship reveals itself in practical ways.
Galatians 6:2,3 says –
2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
5. True fellowship will see us “looking out for each other”.
2 Timothy 1:16-18.. this is an example of how Paul the Apostle received true fellowship:
16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
6. True fellowship can only happen if we meet together often, regularly & consistently.
Hebrews 10:23-25 says –
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
New Hope Church, let’s take God seriously here; let’s really fellowship! - and demonstrate to the community where God has placed us what Christian love really is!