What is Christian fellowship and why is it an important Spiritual Discipline? That’s two questions. I will take one in this post and the other in the next post.
What is Christian fellowship? In a chapter entitled, Cultivate Koinonia, from his book, Simplify Your Spiritual Life, Dr. Donald Whitney writes:
The word fellowship in the New Testament (as in Acts 2:42) is a translation of the Greek word koinonia. At its root koinonia describes two or more people in close association and often speaks of these people as sharing in something, such as a marriage or business. Christian koinonia exists between everyone who knows God through Jesus Christ (see 1 John 1:3). Everyone united with Christ by faith is also united with everyone else united with Christ. The same Holy Spirit indwells all believers and gives each a common share in the body of Christ, the church. As the apostle Paul put it, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . . and all have been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
This passage is commonly known as “the Great Commission.” Each of the four gospel accounts, as well as the opening chapter of the book of Acts, recount for us particular instructions from our Lord Jesus Christ, which he gave in between his resurrection and his ascension. I want us to focus primarily on these words from Matthew’s account. They are a succinct directive as to what Christ has ordered his church to do until he returns. I want to ask the question, “What?” What has our Lord commanded his church to do? In latter posts we will ask the question, “How?” How has our Lord instructed his commission to be carried out? But for now, our focus is the purpose of the church. Later, the focus will be the plan for the church—the plan we have been given through which Jesus’ commission purpose should be carried out.
Mark 11:1-11 is the opening segment to the last section of Mark’s Gospel. Chapters 11-16, which comprise a third of the book, record the key events surrounding the last seven days of Jesus’ life. The weighted emphasis put upon Jesus’ last week highlights how important those events have on for grasping the meaning of Jesus’ life and mission.
Mark 11:1-11, which narrates the first day of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, is one episode with three scenes. Ever since 8:27, Jesus and His disciples had been “on the way” to Jerusalem. They have now arrived. The first scene (11:1-7) records the preparations that lead up to Jesus’ arrival. The second scene (11:8-10) reports the Passover festivities that were occurring at the time of Jesus’ arrival. The third scene (11:11) is the brief account of Jesus appearing at the Temple upon His arrival.
God gifts followers of Christ with much grace; God calls followers of Christ to reflect much grace. Grace teaches us and changes us. One of the areas of life that we should be ever increasingly evidencing the difference that the grace of Christ makes in our lives is in our marriages. We can be tempted to think about our challenges in marriage in terms of what changes our spouse needs to make; however, Christ always first calls us to consider the changes we need to make. The grace of Christ calls and enables us to face our own selfishness, self-service, and self-righteousness.
In recent blogs I have referenced how parents are called to disciple their children. God uses parents in the training and nurturing processes to introduce children to Christ and then to help them grow in Christ. But are children the only ones who can experience growth as a result of parenting? How does God use the work of parenting to grow parents? Just as God uses our marriages to shape His children into the image of Christ, God also uses our parenting for shaping us into the image of Christ.
On the one hand, trained professionals might be best suited to train children; after all, the professionals have been properly oriented in the needed skills and expertise. However, trained professionals are not the best suited as the primary trainers of children; parents are. It may not seem the most efficient, but God has entrusted to parents the primary task of discipling their children. Wouldn’t you think that since God loves children so much, He wouldn’t assign their spiritual development to parents unless He was convinced that was the best route?
This weekend at FBC Saint Peters we will regroup in order to be readied for reaching out and remaining with. To that end, we are continuing our series Doxology: Doctrines for our Discipleship with the third of a three-part emphasis looking at the doctrine of Scripture entitled, Bibliology: The Glory of God Expressed in the [...]
Biblical Christianity is rooted in the historical truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose again. However, merely assenting to the truths of Christianity does not fully capture what it means to be a Christian. The truths concerning the Lord Jesus Christ have practical effect on those who are Christian. Christianity is practically seen in Christians. But what are some of the practical marks of Christianity? Love and holiness are two essential marks.
We are called to be in the world but not of it. Followers of Christ are somewhat alien to this present evil age; we are citizens of the age to come who, nevertheless, live amidst this present age. Our churches should be reflective of the culture that is to come and thus, counter-cultural to the world around us. As we remain with each other in distinctly Christian ways we are being prepared to reach out with love, grace, maturity, and truth.
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