Friday, April 4, 2014

The Joy of Being a Christian - part 2

The next several posts will be focusing on joy from the book of Philippians.  

Christians can have extraordinary joy because of our fellow Christians. 

Philippians 1:3-6 “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

I can have joy because of Christian fellowship.  The togetherness that should be a part of the Lord’s body brings great joy.  Sometimes we have a misunderstanding when we hear the word fellowship.  Fellowship does not just mean that once-a-month potluck after morning worship.  Normally, we are so busy setting up, eating and cleaning up that there isn’t much time for real fellowship! Fellowship means a joint participation, an association.  We all know people everywhere we go.  My family makes fun of me because I am on first name bases with Kevin & Jeff in the produce department, or Henry at the post office, who held my hand on 9-11.  I am acquainted with these people.  In our years in our community, I have associates in many places – the school systems, doctors’ offices, through my business but I am not related to them by blood like I am related to my fellow Christians.  I am related to Christians by blood, that blood of Jesus Christ.  You see, Christians are a family and Christians have fellowship because of that blood. 

Paul had joy just thinking about the Philippian brethren.  Christians should want to be together – it should not be a burden to be in each other’s company.  However, many assume that punching the time clock of church attendance satisfies all requirements and those who take that mindset, lose out on the joy that comes from Christian fellowship.
Fellowship can be found by doing a variety of activities together.  Working together brings joy – having a project, like this ladies day, causes us to spend more time with each other and helps us to draw closer towards each other.  It is a joy to see a project begin and grow and see positive results.  Fellowship should be happening in our homes also.  Brother Tom Holland said about fellowship “I want to get to know the people better that I will be spending eternity with!”  Shouldn’t that be the case?

Another area of seeing joy is the spiritual growth and fruitfulness in each other.  Perhaps it’s in your children or someone you taught in Bible class or in a private study.  Perhaps it’s in your spouse.  Seeing the change and growth in others causes great joy.   

We can also have that joy of Christian fellowship through prayers.  Prayer lists are not just to have your name up in front of a congregation for recognition.  We are to bear one another’s burdens, and the only way we know those burdens are to share them with each other.  Paul would pray for his fellow Christians with joy and he knew that the Philippian Christians were praying for his deliverance from prison!  This brought him great comfort and joy.  How wonderful to know that our fellow Christians are bringing our names and concerns in front of God on our behalf! 

Joy can be found in our fellow Christians.

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