A Fellowship in the Gospel

September 3, 2013

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to his favorite church we hear him express his definition of a church.  According to Paul, the church is “a fellowship of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:5; 27)  He agrees with Luke who describes the church the same way in his history of the church as quoted above.

According to Luke the fingerprints of the church are as follows: the thumbprint is evangelism.  The people he is describing would not be there if they had not been reached by the evangelistic sermon of Peter on the Day of Pentecost.  The index fingerprint is teaching.  The middle fingerprint is fellowship.  The ring fingerprint is worship and the little fingerprint is prayer.

Just as your thumb naturally touches your four fingers, the teaching, fellowship, worship and prayer of the church are meant to lead to evangelism.  These four functions of the church equip, edify, inspire and empower the church to reach out and bring lost people to salvation in Christ.

Our churches can often be described as a group of people sitting in a circle with their chairs facing in.  According to Paul and Luke we should turn our chairs back to back and face out in a fellowship of the gospel.  I have visited the Dead Sea which without an outlet is stagnant and dead and earns it its name.  Also the Sea of Galilee which is filled with life because it has an outlet.

So it is with our churches.  When we face out and reach out we have an outlet that fills our church with the young life of new believers.  Is your church a fellowship in the gospel?


A Fellowship in the Gospel

May 4, 2012

“… your fellowship in the Gospel…”  (Philippians 1:5)

When you read the first words of Paul’s letter to his favorite church they show you the passion of Paul and the heart of this church he loved.  The bonds that made them so remarkably one in heart are expressed in the repetition of one word: “Gospel.”  Paul writes that the things he has experienced have fallen out to the furtherance of the Gospel.  And that he has them in his heart because in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel they all are partakers of God’s grace.

As Paul continues to repeat the word “Gospel” he expresses his heart’s passion when he describes what he calls “the faith of the Gospel.”  He precedes that with the concept of behavior that becomes the Gospel.  Paul is describing the purpose and function of a church when he calls their church “a fellowship of the Gospel.” The context in which the Gospel is to be believed is that fellowship of the Gospel.

Paul is in prison when he writes these words and he doesn’t know if he will be released.  In verse 27 he writes his ideal for his ideal church.  His great Gospel prescription is: “I want to hear that every member of your church is a Christian; every Christian is Christian and Christians are Christian together in a way that results in other people believing the Gospel!”

Paul’s plan for filling this prescription for his ideal spiritual community is to “Stand fast in one Spirit with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel!” (1:27) That Church in Philippi is to act as if they have one mind among them because in fact because they do.

It is the mind of Christ.