Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Tonight we had the first night of the new term at Inform, our young adults' group. We launched into a journey through Paul's letter to the Philippians, and we concentrated on the slippery topic of fellowship.

When you hear the word fellowship, what do you think of? Is it a fuzzy, warm feeling as we have a cup of tea with Christian friends after the service? Just a wee chat at the end of the service, standing in the car park?

For Paul, fellowship is the deeper, harder, challenging idea of partnership. Fellowship is gospel partnership, standing together with other Christians, supporting them and working together to spread the good news of Jesus.

As Don Carson puts it, fellowship is "self-sacrificing conformity to a shared vision." In Philippians, we see the partnership expressed in the financial support Paul received, as well as the visit and help of Epaphroditus. They were standing beside him in his imprisonment as well as in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. Paul, in turn was praying for them, and teaching them to be bold and confident in God.

So how do we build authentic fellowship in our churches? How do we grow together to really encourage and support each other as we spread the gospel? It all comes back to the source of true fellowship: God's grace working in us as individuals and in the community of the church. Standing and serving together. Who's up for some fellowship in the gospel?

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