I had no idea in 1996 when I kneeled at that altar of grace and ask Jesus to save my soul, what a package deal it was. Jesus not only became the best friend that I could ever have, He gave me a flock of friends that I didn’t even know! As I read Philippians 4 this morning, I identified with Paul from the standpoint that I long for the fellowship of His people, because they’re my people. I’m in awe sometimes when I realize the depth of friendships that are unexplainable. It’s not until I lose one, and realize the very deep hole in my life, that I understand the angst in Paul’s writing in 2 Timothy 4:10 when he said “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;” While he Philemon 1:24 he had written that Demas was a “fellowlabourer.”
Church fellows are special…
Fellowship defined is a group of people sharing and pursuing the same passion and interest. I wouldn’t say that in any church everyone is in fellowship. There are those who attend church for reasons other than spiritual edification… I don’t get it, but I know it’s true. It’s my prayer that they will eventually get it. Until then I’ll continue to love and pray for them. But it’s not them that have my heart stirred this morning, it’s the church fellows. The ones I labor with and long for. They’re a special lot that only a child of God can have the privilege of knowing.
The church worker. Society would call it “volunteerism,” God says it’s our job. We’re not left down here to take up valuable pew space, nor are we left here to be entertained by the Pastor. It’s not his job to spoon feed me my daily victuals of the Word of God, nor is it his job to take care of everyone in the church. It’s his job to train and lead folks how to serve God and to encourage them. He too is a fellowlabourer in Christ. He’s just got more responsibility and accountability.
Paul tells the people of Philippi in Philippians Chapter 1, many of whom he had no doubt won to the Lord, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Stand fast! You’re jewels in my crown and you are loved! That’s how I feel about the people that I serve with in Victory Baptist Church, and those that the Lord has given me through other avenues of the faith. They bring such joy to my heart! I know that we are laboring for the same cause and I long for their fellowship. Even for those I’ve yet to meet face to face! That’s the unexplainable… that you know them because of the Spirit of God in them and in you.
Paul, at the writing of the book of Philippians, was in prison and yet had joy. His joy was not likely contributed to his stellar living conditions, but rather to his stellar friends. Even in the worst of days the people of Victory Baptist Church and my other friends of faith bring joy to my life because they encourage me and they have a genuine burden for me when I have struggles in life. Paul’s friends weren’t Sunday saints. They were seven day a week, we’re in it to win it fellowprisoners with Paul. He may have been behind bars but they were behind him in prayer and provision. Glory to God! Is that not what we should be to one another? I’m blessed with that in my life…
Paul’s friends weren’t perfect, they evidently had issues like we Baptists, else why would he say in verse 2 “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” Evidently they’re minds had not always been the same, a division was there. And let me tell you who loves division… that’s Satan’s playground. He’ll play on that merry-go-round forever if he’s allowed. He’s on those monkeybars in my life right now. Division comes when people get their minds off the purpose of Christ which is to get people in a relationship with Him. So what if we have an opinion… was it Christ’s opinion? And did that opinion help you serve the Lord or did it hinder the service of the Lord because you were wrapped up in it? We’re not here to serve ourselves. I praise God for a church and pastor that preaches servitude in our community!
Church fellows are special people, not to be taken for granted. Paul mentioned by name those who he cared for… in verses three and four he laid the charge to his “true” yokefellows, those that believed as he did – And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Although I love and live to serve every fellow in the church, that’s not what makes me rejoice. What makes me rejoice is when their name is written in the book of life, it’s written upon the hand of Jesus and then He inscribes their watch care to me and mine to them through the Holy Spirit. Paul’s people took care of him, take care of your people. They’re special…
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