Ruth succinctly states four crucial decisions in every human being’s life. Ruth 1:15-18
- With who will I journey and stay?
- Who is my tribe and who are my people?
- Who is my God?
- Am I fully committed to these three decisions?
Today we consider the importance of “my people and tribe” as I journey to Father’s House.
From conception we begin our journey to Father’s house.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1
From the Trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we gain insight into an exclusively Christian experience of fellowship.
- 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14
- 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9
- 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3
Christianity is a common shared life (fellowship).
With whom am I in fellowship as I journey home to Father’s house?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer captured the high value of fellowship in his book, Life Together.
The believer feels no shame, as though he were still living too much in the flesh, when he yearns for the physical presence of other Christians. Man was created a body, the Son of God appeared on earth in the body, he was raised in the body, in the sacrament the believer receives the Lord Christ in the body, and the resurrection of the dead will bring about the perfected fellowship of God’s spiritual-physical creatures. The believer therefore lauds the Creator, the Redeemer, God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the bodily presence of a brother. The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christian a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God. Visitor and visited in loneliness recognize in each other the Christ who is present in the body; they receive and meet each other as one meets the Lord, in reverence, humility, and joy. They receive each other’s benedictions as the benediction of the Lord Jesus Christ. But if there is so much blessing and joy even in a single encounter of brother with brother, how inexhaustible are the riches that open up for those who by God’s will are privileged to live in the daily fellowship of life with other Christians!
It is true, of course, that what is an unspeakable gift of God for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trodden under foot by those who have the gift every day. It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living in common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.
Christianity is a common shared life, it is fellowship and we are extremely blessed by this grace.
Careful selection of those in your fellowship is very important.
“…your own performance is either improved or diminished by the other people in your scenario.” Cloud, Henry. The Power of the Other (p. 9). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.
- Ruth was improved by Naomi.
- Samson was diminished by Delilah.
- Paul was improved by Barnabas.
- David was diminished by Saul but improved by Jonathan.
Careful observation of the Acts 2:42-47 church reveals seven beginning points for this glorious improved common shared life (fellowship).
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
|The Early Church Common Shared Life
|Our Common Shared Life
|Devoted themselves to….the fellowship
|Devote myself to the fellowship
|The fellowship includes communion and prayer
|Devote myself to holy communion and prayer
|All who believed were together
|Devote myself to being together with the fellowship
|Had all things in common
|Devote myself to sharing with the fellowship
|As any had need
|Devote myself to meeting the needs of the fellowship.
|Every day attending the temple
|Devote myself to daily corporate worship
|Eating together daily
|Devote myself to eating with the fellowship
When someone prioritizes these seven beginning points of fellowship with you, they are, as Bonhoeffer said, “a gift of grace” for whom “we thank God on our knees.”
Fellowship is a double blessing. We are at home in our fellowship as we travel Home to Father’s House.
MCA Life Group Homework
Listen – My Story
- Do you have a memorable eating together experience?
- Is there a time when a Christian friend was “the presence of Christ” for you?
Lift – Prayer
- Please pray for God to increase your joyful anticipation of being in Father’s House someday.
- Please pray for each Life Group member’s hopes and wishes for their tribe and people.
- Please pray for Connie Ordway, long-term MCA member nearing Father’s House.
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Read 1 John 1:1-7.
- From this passage, do you see any differences between friendship and fellowship?
- Who are the fellowship partners in verse 3?
- What does God require of his fellowship partners? 6
- What are the two benefits of walking in the light? 7
- Who are the fellowship partners named “one another” in verse 7?
Life – Taking it Home
- Which of the seven beginning points of fellowship do you need to prioritize with your tribe?
- Is there someone you should consider adding to your tribe?
- Is there someone you should consider deleting from your tribe?