When Christian Fellowship Becomes Life Changing and Contagious…
Interestingly we may go to meetings because we want to see some spectacular things happen. We even will go to a meeting where we hope to get something specific from it. But how often do we go to meet with people and expect God to use it to bring change in our life?
Question: When is the last time you went to church or a similar meeting, that when you left you knew God used the people there to influence you to change some things in your life?
When we were born again, God design for each of us to be placed in a body of people called the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5; 1Corinthians 12:12-14). This connection is contagious, one that can greatly used to influence one another, and allows us to watch the process of change take place in each of us. It also is an eternal connection, one that will not be broken and therefore one that should display our unity now and in eternity.
Question: What are some of the ways the world try to show they are connected or bonded together, and how do they make this unity?
We have come to realize in FCAP that people with the healthiest spiritual life at work are people that have connected themselves with other Christians. Instead of them moaning, “Woe is me, I am alone.” They have connected with other Christians and see the joy that comes out of this. We will consider some reasons in the book of Ephesians that will help us understand better why God has designed for us fellowship with one another in order to bring a contagious change in our lives. I must tell you at the outset that when we talk about fellowship, I am primarily applying it to our workplace, and not in the church. Most people have little difficulty understanding what fellowship means in church. But many people have little comprehension what fellowship among Christians has to do with our work.
Please Read: Ephesian 2 :1-22
The first few verses in this chapter describes how disconnected we were with one another at one time. In verse 1-3 it tells us how we were driven by the influence of the world, by spiritual forces and even by the desires of our flesh. All of us had this in common, and yet the results did not unify us, but rather built walls between division between us (vv.11-16). It was through the work that Christ did for us on the cross that reconciled us to God and therefore to one another. This change starts when we receive God gracious offer to come to Him and receive freely the salvation he provided through Christ (vv.4-9), this will have an effect on us now (v.10) and for all eternity (v.7). But let us talk for a moment about what this means for us right now, and how it should effect our lives everyday.
LIKE FAMILY IN EVERYPLACE
When we look at verse 19 we are told that “we are no longer strangers and aliens”. The “we” here obviously refers to those who have had the salvation spoken about in the previous verses (vv.4-9), applied to their life. When Christians who love the Lord meet each other for the first time it does not take but a few moments to feel like you have known this person for years. It was my first trip to India, Barney Brogan and I were going to conduct the FCAP training with airline Christians in India. Upon arrival and going through customs we truly felt like total strangers in a foreign place, it was also obvious that we were being looked upon as stranger. Then all of sudden as we passed through customs there across the way were these two very familiar faces to us in FCAP, Mark Fernandes and Brian Lopez. It seemed from one moment to the next our whole outlook change. Though we entered India with no rights or privileges, yet when we meet Mark, Brian and other Christians we felt like we were right at home among family.
God is telling us in these verses that where ever and whenever Christians meet together they are not longer strangers to one another, but right at home together.
Question: Can you say that about the Christians you know in your workplace, that all of you are “no longer strangers” to one another? Why or Why not?
If this is not happening it may be that some of the Christians there are not walking with God. In 1John 1:7-9 we are told that we need to walk in God’s light, meaning the truth He has revealed to us in His word, so that we can have true fellowship with one another. Many times Christians in the workplace are out of fellowship with God. If this is the case then Christian fellowship with God’s people would not so meaningful to them. Of course then there are those Christians who want to walk with God but out of ignorance think that God has little or nothing to do with there workplace and they miss out. God wants each of us to experience the joy of Him in our workplace, and experience the satisfaction of being at home with Christians there.
SEEING HOW WE FIT TOGETHER- TO GROW
We are not quite finished with Ephesian 2 as of yet. Now the Holy Spirit through the writing of Paul wants to make a profound point at the end of this chapter. As fellows believers we now have our identity built on the same person the cornerstone- Jesus Christ (v.20), and because of this we are now “being fitted together” so that we can grow together. That same idea is picked up in Ephesian 4:15-16, where it describes our growth as being interdependent with other Christians. Now let me stop and say something here. So far there is no mention of going to a place to do this or having a certain number needed for this to happen. The fact is the connection has been made already when we were born again. However now we need to take the steps to experience it. We do not need to sing or pray for God to bind us together, what we need is to take steps to connect together in fellowship so that we can experience it and show we have this unity. That is what the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:2-4, make every effort to keep or preserve the unity that we already have in the bond of peace.
A SPECIAL DWELLING OF GOD
Finally there is this incredible analogy made here in verse 21 and 22. It infers that when Christians make and effort to show this unity, wherever and whenever, they become like God’s holy temple and like a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit (v.22). The word used here for dwelling is the same word that was used to describe the tabernacle in the Old Testament. The tabernacle was a movable tent that God gave the blueprint for Israel to make so that His presence would dwell there and lead them as they moved through the wilderness. In the daytime you could see God’s presence likened to a cloud of smoke over the tabernacle and at night it was seen as a pillar of fire. Both the temple and tabernacle of the Old Testament was a place to show God’s presence. The Apostle Paul is saying that when Christians make a point to connect and fellowship together there will be evidences of God’s presence being there. Not through smoke and fire like the temple and tabernacle, but through our lives together.
CONCLUSIONS: THINK ABOUT IT…
One of the main and very obvious ways God has chosen to change people’s lives is through their connecting with others people who walk in fellowship with God. Secondly, we must shed ourselves of the idea that there is only one real connecting point and it exists on Sunday morning at church. We must make an effort at work to connect and meet with other Christians so we can experience spiritual growth in our work and more fully display the presence of God there. These meeting are not to be like conducting church. The local church should have an important part in each of our lives. However, God wants us to experience true fellowship so His glory can shine beyond our churches and into everyplace (2Corinthians 2:14).