The Gospel in our FellowshipWhen we think of the gospel, we usually think of evangelism and non-Christians receiving salvation. Thereafter, we do not associate it with any other part of the Christian life.
Unfortunately, that is a huge mistake because the gospel continues to apply to every part of our walk in Christ. In my last sermon on the letter to the Colossians, I said that we must prioritise the gospel in our prayers, witness and ministry endeavours. It must lead us in all that we do because it is God's tool for the salvation of sinful Man.
The gospel also leads our fellowship. Often we think that the basis for true Christian fellowship is love, based on the commandment to love one another (John 13:34). But it is actually the gospel because the full context of Jesus' command to his disciples to love one another is given in the next line: "Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another" (emphasis added).
Jesus loves us and counts us worthy enough to give his life for us, and all this despite our sinfulness. That is the way that he has loved us. That must also be the way we love one another.
When I look how Christians engage in fellowship, I suspect that we do so in a carnal way. It is easy enough to see the carnality when we consider the amount and extent of conflict that Christians are engaged with one another. We have attacked and refused to forgive one another. By our actions, we betray our belief that Jesus was wrong to have laid his life down for our partners in conflict.
I dare say that the gospel may not necessarily feature in fellowship with the people we get along with either. We may like a person for his wit, character, wealth, good looks or mutual interests. All it takes is a disagreement between us to expose the absence of the gospel in that relationship.
Essentially, then, will we treat a Christian brother or sister as one for whom Christ has died and therefore worthy of our love, acceptance and forgiveness? Prioritising the gospel in our fellowship means that we will love one another as Christ loved us. Let us go to God and repent together. Let us daily yield to Jesus and remember what he has done for us. In this way, we can be re-minded to relate with our fellow Christians with increasing unconditional love and selflessness.
Let us do better to safeguard the glory of the gospel.
Ps Shin Hoe
Day Camp for Children 2014
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