When was the last time you tried to do something on your own and failed at it? Would it have gone differently if you had asked someone to help you? Very few things in life are certain (cue the playback of the old adage about death and taxes in your head), but what is certain is that we are humans are not designed to be alone. Of course I’m speaking in a broad general sense here, but the Bible tells us that we are created in God’s image, and God is a relational God.
Yet it baffles me that so many Christians think that they can be a follower of Jesus in isolation from other believers. This is an indefensible position from a scriptural standpoint.
Sure, there are times when it is “easier” to journey alone with Christ, and certainly there are times when it is less messy. But when you journey alone, who is there to correct you or pick you up when you fall down, or cheer you on when you feel like quitting.
Of course, the “spiritual” answer to those questions is “God is walking with me and he is everything I need.” True, God is all we need…if that were how he chose to work in the lives of believers. But it’s not. He chooses to use the church, the local fellowship of the saints. It is God’s plan that we journey together in fellowship with other followers of Jesus.
Principles of following (so far):
1) Jesus is the only one worth following. 2) Following is essential to believing, just as believing is essential to following. 3) following means being a doulos (slave) to Jesus. 4) following means expecting Jesus to interfere with your life. 5) A follower knows Jesus intimately.
Sermon Big Idea:
While we are called to an intimate relationship with Jesus, that relationship is not intended to be an exclusive relationship. We are followers of Jesus in community with other followers.
- John 10:1-6 Jesus calls his followers sheep, this is not an accident!
- Sheep are flock animals, they do not do well on their own.
- We make the mistake of thinking that our intimate relationship with Jesus is an exclusive relationship with Jesus. It is not.
- The New Testament teaches that our faith journey with Jesus is never intended to be something we do alone, but in community, in fellowship with other believers. (2 Peter 2:9-10, Hebrews 10:24-25).
- Acts 2:44-45: the early church devoted themselves to: 1) the Apostles teaching (the Word); 2) breaking of bread and fellowship (each other); 3) prayer (relationship with God).
- Some Christians strongly affirm #1 & #3 above but neglect #2
- Not just fellowship on Sunday mornings! The early Christians shared life together.
- A fan thinks that their faith is personal, a follower shares their faith in fellowship with other followers.
- What happens when we fellowship: 1) we help one another; 2) we meet Jesus; 3) sympathy, support and acceptance; 4) we find family
Do you share your faith journey with other people? Do you pray for people and let people pray for you? Do you share life with other Christans? If no, why not?
Questions for families with young children:
Take a moment to talk to your children about their best friend. Then ask them how they got to be such good friends with that person. Then take time to talk about what it means to share that friendship with other people, to extend it’s benefits and blessings to someone else. That is what it means to be in a community of Christ-followers.