G & F Episode 5: Christ-Centered Fellowship
Welcome to the #GoodandFaithful Movement! We inspire, educate, and train God’s people to leverage ALL that He has given us to bless the nations and advance His Kingdom!
This week we’re discussing Christ-centered fellowship. Our Lord prayed to the Father that we would be one, even as He and the Father are one. And so we will, because we ARE the Good and Faithful!
Before we begin, let me encourage you to go and read John 17. This prayer is often referred to as Christ’s High Priestly Prayer. Personally, if there is any prayer in Scripture that deserves the title “the Lord’s Prayer,” I would say it’s this one.
Assuming you did, I want to highlight a portion that I believe really captures what this episode is meant to help us walk in:
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved me.” John 17:20-23 ESV
Unity in the Body was the heart cry of our Lord before going to the cross. Having the opportunity to ask for anything from the Father, the Lord Jesus asked Him to preserve the people who would come to believe in Him. To keep us as one even as He and the Father are one.
Now, it doesn’t take much to see the disunity among believers in the United States. So, we won’t belabor that point here. Instead, let us focus on something useful. How can we part of answering our Lord’s prayer?
The first thing we have to realize is that small groups, worship services, and Jesus’ conferences are not the same as Christ-centered fellowship. They are part of the experience, sure. But they are not synonymous. Christ-centered fellowship goes beyond that. It is in fact participating in all facets of life with fellow believers, having Christ at the center of it all.
Let me share my own experience to help you see how that definition is more specific than what you might be used to.
Before my family and I moved to Texas, we spent about a year and a half with the Martins, a beautiful family in North Carolina who loved the Lord. We spent several days of the week together. We would have dinner at each other’s house, have game nights randomly during the week, meet up on weekends. We spent A LOT of time together. They came to know our hearts for our family and us for theirs. We trusted them to watch our kids, they trusted us with theirs. The husband and I had tough conversations and our wives could count on each other for honest and loving rebukes as well as encouragement. It was so genuine.
When we got our orders to move to Texas, we made it a point to spend every single day of our last week in NC together. Every day. Our kids got sick after the first or second day. But we still linked up the next day and the next day. Some days before breakfast had been cooked, we were in each other’s homes. It was truly like a little slice of heaven on earth. Would you be surprised if I told you that outside of our mutual love for Christ, we had little in common?
We didn’t attend the same church. In fact, they disliked a lot about our church, and we weren’t crazy about theirs. We attended one small group together maybe twice. When I would invite Mr. Martin to attend a small group with me, he would rarely show. When it came to parenting, we definitely had our own unique views. Our marriages were far from similar. We didn’t pray the same. We were all at different levels in our knowledge of Scripture. We grew up in different cultures and it was obvious in the way we communicated. And yet, the relationship we experienced with them and continue to experience with them has become a modern template for my family of what Christ-centered fellowship looks like. In our time with the Martins we experienced the two greatest commandments in action: love for God, and love for our neighbors.
The big question though is “how?” How did we do it and how did we replicate that here in Texas. We enjoy similar intimacy here with our little church family in Texas. How did that happen? Yes, Jesus. But specifically, it was what His Word showed us about what it takes to be humble and unified.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Phil 2:1-7
Our ability to be “of the same mind, having the same love” came from the tremendous amount of encouragement we had in Christ. We came to be humbled more and more as we looked at the tremendous humility He displayed. The King of kings used His position of authority to take on sinful flesh in order that we may come close to the Father. Who in the world were we to be unwilling to do the same for each other?
But even if we’re willing to be humble enough for unity, how do we find time to spend with people? We’re all so busy! Well, when you realize that one of God’s greatest priorities is people, making time for them becomes a little more important. It’s obvious when I think about it now, but it seems to escape a lot of us. Jesus came to save people. He died for people. He made people in His image. He is building a Kingdom of people. What can be more important in my own life than loving the people whom He died to save?
Additionally, we must understand that Christian fellowship is not about showing off how Christian we are. In fact, quite the opposite. It is about showing each other how much we need each other to be an extension of Christ in our lives. No, we don’t embrace sin or affirm each other’s weaknesses. We affirm the sufficiency of Jesus and His grace to help each and every one of us to run our race with endurance.
In the end, it is the desire of our Lord that we would be unified in His name. In fact, it was His dying wish. The Good and Faithful servant prioritizes what his or her master prioritizes. So, let us be humble as He. Let us find our encouragement in Him, experience comfort in love, and participate in the Spirit. Let us learn to be the Good and Faithful together.
This is only a brief summary of what you’ll find in the episode. Thank you for joining us today! For more on Christ-centered fellowship, check out the full episode! You can also check out the FB Group or follow us on Instagram.
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