The big issue of fellowship

Fellowship is a big issue among us. Not a few books have been written about it to define what it is, to whom it extends, from whom it ought to be withdrawn.

Fellowship deserves attention. After all, we were created for it. Christ redeemed us so that it could be restored. A whole cluster of words describe it in Scripture. The noun for fellowship, communion, participation, koinonia, is found in the New Testament 17 times, but the teaching on it goes far beyond that group of terms.

In the first chapter of 1 John, the apostle states that our fellowship is with God, Christ, and one another. Continue reading “The big issue of fellowship”

Us and them

By Brett Christensen — The only reason you and I are in Christ’s church is because we have heard the pure message of salvation as taught in scripture, and have believed it with enough conviction to obey it and continue in it. That’s not true of anyone outside the Lord’s church, whether they’re in some humanly established alternative church or even irreligious.

It’s good news that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the tragic corollary is that those not in Christ are not new creatures. We in Christ have an unassailable hope; those apart from Christ are living without hope. If God means what he says, then we cannot deny these truths. So the unpleasant reality about any person or group which has not followed God’s instructions on how to get into Christ is that they’re without God, without hope in this world, not having the forgiveness of sin which is available in Christ. Continue reading “Us and them”

Preaching partners

“I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel, from the first day until now, being confident… that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:4-6).

In what amounts to a piece of gallows humor, missionaries misquote Exodus 1:8 thus: “There arose in the church an eldership that knew not the missionary.” Continue reading “Preaching partners”

Firmly rooted and knit together

This is the time of year when the careful gardener is painfully aware of root systems in the garden; especially when they are insufficient.

Rainfall has been almost nonexistent for the past several weeks, and many of the newer trees and shrubs are showing signs of stress. The brilliant colors that herald autumn are muted even in the more established trees, because of insufficient water. Continue reading “Firmly rooted and knit together”

The need for fellowship

“After we tore ourselves away from them, we put out to sea, and sailing a straight course, we came to Cos, on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went aboard, and put out to sea. After we sighted Cyprus and left it behind on our port side, we sailed on to Syria and put in at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. After we located the disciples, we stayed there seven days” (Acts 21:1-4 NET).

One thing that becomes very apparent as we read about Paul’s travels is that he desired to be with Christians. It wasn’t that Paul wasn’t with Christians all the time – he was travelling with a group of at least seven other Christians (see Acts 20:4 and the “we” statements in Acts 21, indicating that Luke was also with him). Continue reading “The need for fellowship”

I’m thankful today

I’m thankful today for the medium of the internet that makes it possible to communicate easily and quickly with you and so many others, seeking as we do to edify and build each other up in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful today for my time yesterday morning with the congregation in the Pimentas neighborhood, in the city of Guarulhos, about an hour from here, as I shared with them the “7 powers of the servant of God.” They’re looking to choose some men next month to serve in some important functions, a sign of good growth for this 10-year-old congregation.

I’m thankful today for the two and a half hours I spent yesterday afternoon, in the Pimentas church building, with a dozen men from several congregations in greater São Paulo area, answering their questions about spiritual service. They are earnest men, dedicated to the work of the Lord, aware of their needs, desirous of doing a better job. Continue reading “I’m thankful today”

Why the church gets no respect

You probably remember the favorite line of funny man Rodney Daingerfield: “I get no respect.” Sometimes, it seems to me, the church gets no respect.

As writer John Stott once observed, “The unchurched are hostile to the church, friendly to Jesus Christ.” Often we hear someone say, “I don’t like organized religion.” One wonders, does that mean he likes his church disorganized? As Will Rogers once quipped, “I am a member of no organized political party; I’m a democrat.” Continue reading “Why the church gets no respect”