Acts 2:42-47; "A Devoted Fellowship: Why your closest friends can only be found inside the church."
Turn with me in Bibles if you will to Acts chapter 2, we are continuing our way through the book of Acts this morning. Looking at what the early church looked like and what it was that they gave themselves to. We're just going to be looking at verse 42 this morning. We looked last week at the devotion that the church made to the apostles teaching to the Apostolic word. And so I just want to remind you of this. If you would look with me Acts chapter 2:42. We'll just read this verse just to remind ourselves one more time what we are talking about and then we'll pray and we will ask God to help us as we get to work. Acts chapter 2: 42, “They devoted themselves," they gave themselves, they set themselves to the task, “of learning the apostles teaching and fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon every soul and many wonders and signs we being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together" notice this, "All who believed were together and they had all things in common and they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all as any had need, and day by day attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts. Praising God and having favor with all the people and The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." Let's bow for a word.
Father we come to You now and this is Your Word to Your People, this is Your Word to our church. Father we pray the example of the first church, born in Jerusalem by Your Word by Your Son would be instructive for us today in terms of how we are to commit ourselves as a church, the activities to which we need to attend, Father we pray that this look at the early church and what it was that they focused one would inspire us as we consider our focus today Lord. With so many things happening all around us in the world with different elections and different wars and with just all of the unrest Lord there are so many opportunities for your people to be distracted and I just pray Father that You by Your Spirit through This Word this morning would call our attention back to You to a focus upon You to a care for each other, a commitment to The Word and to be a church of prayer. We ask that you do this morning by Your Spirit through Your Word we pray these things in Christ's name~ Amen."
A number of years ago when train travel was still a thing a couple of engineers and a couple of accountants were going to a conference together on better business practices. And so the accountants pulled up to the ticket window there to buy tickets for themselves and they got out their purses and they counted out the exact amount of money and the exact amount of change. They did as accountants are prone to do, they had it all mapped out, they counted out précis details down to the exact penny, exactly how much money they would need. The engineers however took a different approach they asked the clerk at the window, If you would be so kind as to allow them onto the train for just a bit in order to take some measurements. And so they got onto the train with their tape measures and they went to the bathroom and they measured and they hmmed and they hawed and they figured and they did their engineering thing. They took down some numbers and they made some calculations they went back to the teller and they said, “thank-you Sir. We'd like to buy one ticket for the 3 of us." The teller was a bit taken back by this so he handed them the ticket, took the money. The engineers got on the train, the accountants got on the train. The accountants looked at the engineers and said, "You know the conductors going to come down here in just a bit and ask for tickets and there's three of you but only one ticket. Which you're all holding together in common as one." They said, "Oh it will be all right, we’ve figured it out." So the accountants kind a looked at each other and they chuckled and they said, "Oh okay we're going to see what's going to happen here." And before to long as the train started to take off from the station, the 3 engineers crammed themselves into the washroom on the train and closed the door. And the accountants watched all of this and said, "Huh, well that's a nice trick " and the conductor came down the aisle and began taking the tickets from everyone stamping the tickets and handing it back and the accountants watched and the conductor went up to the bathroom door, knocked on the door and the door opened just a crack and one little hand reached out with one ticket The conductor took it, stamped it, handed it back and the door closed. And on the conductor went. The accountants said, "Man! What a great way to do it! that is impressive." So they attended their conference on better business practices and as they're coming back, as their coming back on the return train, the accountants said, "We think we can fit three of us into a bathroom too.” So they bought one ticket for the three accountants and they got on the train. The engineers got together and did some whispering and some figuring and they said, “we think we can do it with no ticket." And the accountants said, " How in the world are you going to pull that off?! No ticket for any of you?" They said, "Just watch and see."
And so they got onto the train and the three accountants went into one bathroom, with their one ticket and the three engineers went into another bathroom with no ticket. And as the train began to pull away from the station. The engineer’s bathroom door opened, and the engineer came out, went over to the accountants bathroom door knocked and said ticket please and the accountant cracked the door and held out one ticket. And the engineer took it and closed the door and went back to his own bathroom with the ticket in hand. Impressive stuff, impressive stuff. The reason I started off with that rather lame joke this morning is because this idea that these three men would hold something in common together as one even though there are three of them is the idea of fellowship. When we use this idea fellowship often times we are talking about a potluck or some sort of a gathering that's going to happen here at the church, where we are all going to get together, we’re going to eat, we're going to laugh, we are going to tell better jokes than what the preacher tells, we're committed to it as a church and ultimately at the end of the day after we've laughed, after we’ve laughed better than we did in the worship service, we're going to go home and that's going to be the end of it. When we say fellowship, we almost invariable are referring to a social interaction that we are having with each other but what I'd like to open your eyes to this morning is that while it is social, it goes far beyond friendly interaction. The idea of fellowship is the idea of holding something in common and we're not talking about simply being friends with each other, it is much more than that, but when I say that you need to make sure you hear me carefully. It is more than simply being friends with each other but it is not less. Hear me carefully when we use this idea of Christian fellowship it is far more than simply being friends with each other but it is not less. Look with me Acts chapter 2 verse 42. The verb there that is followed by all the other activities is they devoted themselves to it, depending on your translation it could say they gave themselves continuously, or they were committed steadfastly, or they consecrated themselves to it, the idea here is that there were a number of activities which once they heard the Gospel, the preaching of Christ as King crucified for their sins with the opportunity of forgiveness and redemption through repentance and hoping in Jesus as their Saviour they are now followed a desire in their hearts to commit themselves to certain activities. Luke records this for us in Acts chapter 2 verse 42 it says they devoted themselves or they consecrated themselves, they gave themselves, number 1 to the apostles teaching, they gave themselves to a continuous diet of the preaching of Christ, to the preaching of His Word. They gave themselves to that number 1, number two it says they gave themselves to the fellowship which we're going to come back to. Number 3, they gave themselves to the breaking of bread and we're going to look at this next week it could be a reference obviously to communion it also could be a reference to the fact that they simply ate their meals together. This is not necessarily as distinctive an event as what we make it today often times the early church would celebrate communion as a part of a fellowship meal, whereas today we don't always put the two hand and hand together. But they gave themselves to the breaking of bread and then it says they also gave themselves to prayers. They consecrated themselves to those activities coming back to this word fellowship. When I say fellowship you read it almost invariably, you're thinking potluck, your thinking soup, your thinking sandwiches, you’re thinking devilled eggs. Your thinking about that thing when we get together and we are friends with each other. The word means 'common' it is obviously a reference to friendship but it doesn't necessarily mean friendship. Fellowship goes beyond the idea of friendship in the sense that we're not simply friendly with each other there is something which we have in common with each other.
A number of years ago I was talking to a man who attended a church that I was a part of in Texas, who shared with me his best friend was a devote atheist. He said he got along really, really well with this fellow and that they enjoyed going out, and that they enjoyed having coffee together and talking and he said often times that he finds in the church, he doesn’t have friends that are as kind to him or as considerate of him as his atheist friend; A man who rejects Christ. Now of course I was a young wiper snapper back in those days and I didn’t’ really think to challenge it but it never sat well with me. How could a man who is not simply agnostic but who is committed to preaching no Christ, no King , no Salvation, no hope be someone in whom you could take joy in whom you could take friendship to such a degree as to say he's your best friend over and against those in the church whom, hey let's be honest, probably are a little irritating, probably get on your nerves, probably bring bad food to the potluck when you brought the nice steak dinner. But at the end of the day recognizing all the faults and the failures of those within the church how is it possible that we would ever dare to consider someone who is hostile and opposed to our King to be a greater friend to us than anyone in the church who worships the same King that we worship? When it says that they gave themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship. It says that they gave themselves to the preaching of Christ and to the common life that they had through the preaching of The Word of Christ. You need to understand fellowship and prayers and breaking of bread and all of these things, they are not to be viewed as distinct as though they're some completely different category than the preaching of the Word. We need to understand that all of these activities were all complimentary of each other. Obviously the preaching of the Word was central but all these activities relate to that preaching of The Word they are all Christians, they are all following Jesus as King and so they give themselves to that and as a result of that there's something that they hold in common. In very much the same way as you've got 3 engineers cramming themselves into a bathroom with one ticket. And that one ticket has to suffice for all of them completing the journey to getting to where it is that they're trying to go. We are here on a journey we all receive The Word of Christ and what forms the foundation of our friendship what is the basis of our fellowship is that we hold a life in common. We hold the life of Christ. Each of us as individuals and together we hold up The King of Christ as a church. That's the idea of fellowship. You say, "whoa pastor I don't see all of that here in this particular verse." Listen, follow with me if you can keep up. First place I want you to go to is John 13: 8 if you can flip quickly. Of course in John 13 this is Jesus washing the disciples feet this is the night He is to be betrayed, this is the night before His crucifixion, He comes to wash the disciples feet. You have Christ the King coming and serving His disciples taking the lowest position in that upper room, doing the least enjoyable job that any one of them should have volunteered for yet none of them did. Christ takes it upon himself, He comes to Peter , Peter says “ Nuh uh not happening you're not washing my feet.” And Jesus response to Him in John 13: 8, Peter says "you shall never wash my feet!" and Jesus' answer to Him, "If I do not wash You," look at this, "You have no share with me." now this is a reference to what we share with Christ. Peter is saying to Jesus, "You don't serve me, you don't wash the dirt from my feet, that's never going to happen." One could be forgiven for pointing out to Peter, “Hey Peter we've been sitting here all night. You could have gotten up and washed everybody's feet. Here it is the master comes to wash our feet and you rightfully say, "No you don't serve me I serve You!" but notice Jesus' response He says, " I serve you," he says if " I don't wash you" and of course this is one of those passages that has a twofold meaning. If I don't cleanse you obviously a metaphor to a deeper understanding of cleansing, the cleansing of our soul from sin, “If I don't cleanse you, you do not share with me.' Notice that second phrase there. Jesus is inviting the disciples by extension you and me, into a common life with Him that we would share with Him but we do not share with Christ if we do not accept Him as the One who serves us by dying on the cross in order to bare our sins, in order to forgive us from all that we've done wrong in offending against a Holy God. If He does not wash us, we do not share with Jesus. Now John picks up this theme latter on in first John. If you want to flip with me now to 1st John, I want you to go to 1st John chapter 1. The introduction to the book, John writing to a church that's going through, division that's going through split. He says, " That which was from the beginning which we have heard which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands concerning The Word of Life," what an introduction, concerning The Word of Life, we've seen Him, we've touched Him, we've looked upon Him, we've held Him, concerning that look what he says here jump on down, " that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you in order that you too may have fellowship with us, that you may share with us and indeed" he goes on to say, "our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, and we are writing these things so that our Joy may be complete," and that is a crucial second piece of the puzzle. John stepped back he's says, we've seen Jesus, we've touched Him, He's real, we've held Him, He's the Word of Life, we proclaim Him to you, so that you can fellowship with us. In other words if we don't proclaim Him to you, here's the opposite of the statement, if we do not proclaim Christ to you The Word of Life, the means of Salvation, then you cannot fellowship with us. We proclaim Him to you precisely so that you can fellowship with us, meaning that whatever we are talking about when we talk about fellowship it does not happen apart from Jesus Christ and His blood and His Salvation being the foundation for it. All well and good but notice how he concludes, he says, " we are writing these things to you, " again purpose clause, "In order that our joy may be complete." John is saying this is happy, this is good, we like this, we're proclaiming Christ to you, so that you can fellowship with us and we want you to fellowship with us so we can have all the joy we can possibly have. Is that not beautiful? Especially as we are entering into the Christmas season. You know proclaiming the gospel, it is a task, it is one to which Christ has called us. And don't misunderstand me, there is joy in sharing our faith, absolutely, but you also know there's hardship in it as well. There is a privilege in delighting to make the name of Christ known but the world doesn't receive Christ and often times the world rejects against the offer of salvation and they respond with criticism and ridicule and we've all known the ostracism, we've all know the ridicule. I wonder if you’ve also had the privilege though, of seeing the offer received and whatever that relationship looked like before Christ came, I wonder if you've had the joy of seeing how that friendship was transformed to something far greater, after Christ was introduced. The apostle John says, we tell you these things so that we can be happy. Did you catch that? I could step back from this passage this morning and I could say to you, "Listen church, you need to go to the potluck after church this morning, because it's your Christian duty." and some of you would agree. In fact we can go to Scripture verses that point to that I mean when we consider this idea of love and having to love one another, In terms of how the Bible talks about it, very often the Bible talks about it in terms of duty in terms of obligation, something we ought to do. I mean if you think about it, 1 Corinthians 13: 5 it says, "Love is not rude, it does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not seek its own, " In other words it's seeking after the good of the other individual therefore we as Christians have a duty not to be interested in our own joy, or in our own happiness necessarily but to be sacrificial and to work for the happiness and the joy of those around us, to be loving others is to be doing what is best for others even if it hurts us. And so sometimes with that definition in mind we approach this whole idea of fellowship and friendship and this whole idea within the church of caring for each other out of an idea of duty. And there are other verses we could go to as well, 1 Corinthians 10:24, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor,” or Romans 15: 1, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." We could go to these verses and we say, "Listen the idea here as Christians is that we're going to go to the people next to us and we're going to serve them, and we're going to sacrifice and we're going to jus totally give, generously and sacrificially for their good." and we got verses that point to that but the problem is when we take those verses that talk of Christian duty and we isolate them from other passages such as what we've already encountered in 1 John, this idea of Christian duty now becomes a form of legalism within the church. You're obligated to go to that potluck after church this morning or else you're not a Christian! right? Now I say that and you laugh because you see that that's silly, but come now how often do we slip into this form of thinking? Going to care group, going to Bible study, going to Tenet talks giving ourselves to The Word. Going to prayer meeting, giving ourselves to prayer, we're good Christians if we do these things right? Absolutely, we can go to the Word, we can even see here in Acts chapter 2 where it says this is what the early church did and we can approach it with that same mentality, we do this to be good Christians, that's where the lie comes in. Such that if we have a brother or sister in the church who can't make it to the Wednesday evening prayer meeting, or has other commitments on a Sunday morning perhaps and isn't able to come to the Tenet Talks to the discipleship. “We’re doing it, look at how good we are, why can't this guy get his act together, why can't he do it?" If we take the Bible verses on duty in isolation and they're there. If we take those Bible verses on Christian duty in isolation and we do not see that they are to be properly paired with other verses that talk about joy, then our whole view of our own efforts and these things will be confused, we will slip into a mentality of a works based righteousness, I'm holy, I'm good because I do these things, which inescapably leads us to looking down our noses at those who cannot or do not for whatever reason and thinking ourselves to be better than them. John doesn't start his first letter by saying, “we know what we've touched and seen and heard and we proclaim this to you because we're awesome like that," That’s not what it says. John's letter is ,we proclaim these things to you so that you will share with us, so that you will hold it in common with us, so that you will fellowship with us because that makes us happy not because of so much what it can do for you and that's true it can do things for you, but because we take joy in your company, and when we approach fellowship that way, we're approaching it far more biblically. It's not just potlucks, it's not just forced conversation with awkward people who bring bad food, it’s we like each other not just like each other, we love each other and we take joy in each other. Coming back to these verses, you say, " what about those verses in 1 Corinthians 13 and Romans 1, " Jonathan Edwards, in his classic Trieste," Charity and Her Fruits," coming back specifically to this passage made famous in 1 Corinthians 13, where it says, "Love does not insist on its own way," He offers this comment, " the error that so many make in reading 1 Corinthians 13: 5, the error is that 1 Corinthians 13: 5 opposes is not the degree in which a person loves his own happiness but in placing his happiness where he ought not and subsequently limiting and confining his love. Some, although they love their own happiness, they do not place that happiness in their own confine good or in that good which is limited to themselves but they place it in," Notice this phrase from Jonathan Edwards, " They place it in the common good, they place it in that which is the good of others or in the good that could be enjoyed by others and when it is said that , "love seeketh not her own," we should understand it as, love does not seek her own private happiness or love does not seek a good which she limits only and exclusively to herself." Let me take Jonathan Edwards and put him into a modern context. Jonathan Edwards is saying in his, Trieste "Charity and it's Fruit" When we love each other, when we are seeking to obey 1 Corinthians 13: 5 and we come to this passage that says, "Love does not seek its own", Jonathan Edwards statement is, When we read that, that love does not seek its own, we should not understand that there is no joy or no happiness in it for us, but simply that when we engage in the Biblical act of love, what we're seeking to do is absolutely defined our happiness not in our own exclusive benefit or blessing but that we're trying to find our happiness in the happiness of all those who call upon the name of Christ and if you actually read 1 Corinthians 13 carefully it says that. Paul begins by saying, " what do gain if I do these things" and he talks about being a clanging cymbal, giving his body up to be burned, and doing all this sort of stuff and having all wisdom, he says, "if I do all these things without love " he concludes, " then I gain nothing." Which means that even Paul when he's trying to define the idea of love Biblically he does so from an understanding that you the person engaging in love, when you do it biblically will receive something back out of it. Perhaps the best illustration I ever heard on this idea comes from Dr. John Piper. Dr. Piper uses the illustration of a man giving his wife flowers, men you have wives, you can relate. Wives, you have men, you can relate. How often does a man come in on Valentine’s day no doubt and says here you go flowers! I did it! And he drops them there, “Happy Valentine’s day!" Now you like that cause it's nice and he actually remembered for once right? but how sweet would it be indeed how much sweeter would it be if he were to come to you on some other day, than a mass marketed holiday like Valentine’s day, just some random day of the year and on his way home from work he stopped in and he was thinking, 'I'm going to go home and see my wife tonight, and it's going to wonderful, we're going to have dinner, it's going to be a great time." and he stops in at the super market or wherever, flower shop and he bought a bouquet of flowers and he surprised you and he said here are some flowers. Now undoubtedly you would much, much rather the gift coming unexpectedly as a surprise simply because he wanted to see you smile. He comes home on Valentine’s Day because it's the thing that all the dads are doing, all the husbands are doing. He's like, " Oh I'm going to buy these flowers" and he gets them and he comes home and he's like, " Here you go oh and here's some chocolates too." Now you will eat the chocolates lady don't get me wrong, you know you will. But You’re going to be like, "mmhmm" and you're just going to eat those chocolates and you're just going to give him the beady eyed look like, 'I know you're doing this out of obligation not because I'm truly the joy of your heart.'
There's a huge difference there. One says you make me happy and I want to make you happy, the other says you know good husbands do this; therefore I ought to do this. But you ask any wife who's on the receiving end and you ask any husband, same applies for husbands here as well from their wives, you ask any husband or any wife who's on the receiving end of the first part where it's done simply as obligation. Any husband who sits down to dinner and the wife just comes out with the plate of food and just like chuck's it down and is like, " there you go did my job ~latter!" you know it's like well yah I'm going to eat it, it's food it's delicious but I would of rathered she would have came in and was more nice about it and that she actually enjoyed me and that we would sit down and have company and that we would share together. The same is true here. When Acts 2: 42 says that they gave themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, they gave themselves to the apostles teaching and to a common life. How do you live life together as a church if you're not doing it from a desire to seek your joy in the joy of those around you? Church is one of those places where people from all walks of life from every type of back ground, from every type of culture come together. We all have a lot of different ideas about things. You try and put a group of people together and live life in a close proximity to each other and guess what's going to happen?; Friction. It will happen every time, it happens in every church don't care what church, you've been a part of, which church you've grown up in or even this church, every church, any church will experience friction, will experience tension as a result of relationship, as a result of people living in close proximity to each other. How do we live in a way that loves each other, beyond those moments of friction? How do we share life together in a way that Christ is glorified if we do so, simply from obligation and not from the possibility of love. What I'm telling you this morning is if you would devote yourself to the fellowship to the common life of the church, you need to do so with the expectation that when you make friends with people they're going to make you happy and if you enter into these conversations, this fellowship you gather around the potluck meal that we're about to have downstairs in a few minutes and you think, "I'm just here because the pastor just preached a sermon on fellowship and I know he's watching so I got to show up for this thing," Don't be surprised if you go home feeling like you may have just wasted the last hour of your life but whew I'm so glad that that is over! and don't be surprised if you go to bed tonight night thinking, “oh I wonder when the next time we're going to have one of these silly fellowship and I'm going to have to go to these things to fulfill my Christian obligation.” You see it becomes a burden but now you sit down to dinner with a man and you say you know what God has redeemed this person, God has saved his soul and he is different than me, with different experiences and he's unique and he's loved by God so there's something wonderful about him. Could I enter into this conversation that I would be surprised with happiness at what this man might share with me? You enter into a conversation like that, you enter into a meal like that and don't be surprised that you're still talking when myself and Pastor Ryan start stacking chairs and cleaning off tables. Don't be surprised at the conclusion if you enter into it with a heart that says, I will be blessed, I will find joy I will find happiness in this room, this afternoon, eating a meal with these people don't be surprised if it seems to end quickly. Don't be surprised if it seems to just flown right by and all of the sudden their ushering you out and flipping off the lights and telling you it's time to go home and you're wondering where the time went, and you're wondering when can I come back again? One of those individuals understands the fellowship, and another one of those individuals does not. Now as we enter into fellowship, I just want to give you a few suggestions for doing it well, that all pertain to listening. Fellowship is not, 'Hey how’s it going let's talk about the weather, did you notice that The Minnesota Vikings lost last night?" That's for my friend Ryan. You know we can talk about those things and we do Ryan will tell you, but it's more than that. It's about hearing each other's hearts, sure we can trade about the weather, we can trade about what's going on with city council, the Santa Claus parade that was held yesterday, the fact that The Vikings aren't doing so well this year (although you might rather we not talk about those things) but there's more to discuss if we would hear each other’s hearts and if we would find that happiness which is promised to us in The Scriptures, we have to be good listeners. Good listing number 1 is an act of love, it's a kind of listening that happens, there’s a kind of listening that can often times happen with only half an ear where you presume already to know the answer to the question that you've asked as the person begins to speak and therefore you're not really thinking about what the person is saying your thinking already about the answer you're going to give. So many of us we enter into a conversation and we say this has to be a smooth flowing conversation with no awkward pauses or silences and so we enter into those conversations and we think as the person speaking, "Oh what am I going to say to this" and we're not actually listening we're just thinking about what we are going to say in response. Now that's me to a T always, I want to be quick, I want to be witty, I want to be funny I want the conversation to go smooth and flow and often I miss the point. So good listening has to slow down and it has to listen instead of thinking about what you're going to say in response, just listen. Number 2 you have to be a good listener because good listing is an act of love. Half hearted listening doesn't truly care for the person who's talking. Half hearted listening just wants to fill the space, with its own ideas. So just as love for God begins with listening to His Word, love for each other is going to begin with listening to each other. Number 3, good listening asks perceptive questions. This council is all over the book of Proverbs. " The fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in exercising his own opinion," Proverbs 18: 2, " The fool gives and answer before he fully hears," Proverbs 18: 13, and of course the wise person is described as an individual who's willing to listen carefully, who's willing to draw out the deeper meaning behind any given statement. Proverbs 20: 5, “The purposes" or the motives “ of a man's heart is like deep waters but a man of understanding will draw it out." good listening asks perceptive questions. Good listening is ministry. Is there a brother or sister among us today that will join us fort lunch in just a few minutes who's hurting but smiling none the less? Is there a brother or sister here today who's going through family tragedy or disease or heartache? And yet they don't feel comfortable fully sharing with us? And so they wear a mask, they put on a smile? How do we share love with that person, who may not be comfortable sharing their truest fears with us? Dismissing them and casually talking about the weather is probably the worst thing we can do. Just listening, if they share wonderful and if not you still listen, but last and most of all fellowship here within this family of believers it is a reflection of our fellowship with God. The apostle John in 1st John says, " If we do not love our brother whom we can see, then we do not love God whom we cannot see." and as we fellowship and as we strive to listen to each other if we have an inability to listen to our brothers and sisters as their talking, that's truly how we are, then it could be a symptom of something far worse. We may have a chatty spirit that is so preoccupied with ourselves that not only are we drowning out our brothers and sisters who are trying to talk to us, but our chatty spirit could also be drowning out Christ who's trying to speak to us. As we go downstairs here in just a few moments, I want it to be a time of joy, I want it to be a time of fellowship, I want us above all thing to remember that as a church entering in to the Christmas holidays, that we hold together a common life, the life of Christ who binds us together as one body and the good news is we don't all half to cram into a bathroom with one ticket, with that let's pray and thank The Lord for what He's done.
"Father we thank-you for sending Your Son to die on the cross in order to forgive us of our sins, in order to redeem us and adopt us into your family, in order to make us sons and daughters of the most high and we recognize God that as a part of Your family we're family with each other that means friendship but it also means so much more, it means fellowship, the deepest possible friendship. God I pray that you would make us friends, I pray Lord that you would fill us with laughter, I pray Lord that You would help us to be there, to listen to each other and to find joy in each other. Father we have declared the gospel to the world because they need it but I pray Oh Lord that You would work in our hearts to drive out of us this legalistic sense of duty and obligation that we would share the gospel not from a heart of needing to check it off of our to do list but from the possibility oh Lord that we would find friends in the harvest, friends that we love who love us friends that would make us happy. God we pray that You, that You would be exalted here at First Baptist Church, we pray these things in Christ name~ Amen.