READING 1 â€“ Matt 9 18-31
There are two parts to what I wanted to say today, but they are linked. This first section was from when I first started thinking about what I was going to say today ages ago I thought about the role that HELP plays in deepening Christian fellowship. At the time we were without a kitchen for about a month, and the washing was piling up. Lots of people are great at offering help, and that is great we were offered help, but your immediate is â€œI donâ€™t want to people out or your busyâ€?. I wanted to get over this, so we asked various people do our washing. It was good for me to have to ask, to show that I needed help, to make myself vulnerable. So I asked different people if they would help us with the washing. Now I am able to report of the quality of the washing machines and services offered, Meurig and Heather, are definite contenders for best service, we do iron BUT HEATHER does, and it came back dried and ironed. Warwick and Carol, Colin and Ali, are good because we got fed whilst we did the washing, but Warwicks machine does spin as well as Colins so the washing was slightly wetter. Annie and Mark, being the eco warriors they are led me down to the river and showed me the large stone to rub the clothes on, no not really but they have separate spinner which is very old but very efficient and your clothes are almost dry when finished.
I asked – they all helped, but more than that â€“ they were happy to help. BUT the process got me thinking that maybe the sign of a deeper fellowship is not about the numbers of offers of help, as I think we are good all pretty good at that, but actually deeper fellowship is about being in place where you are happy to ask for help or take people up on the help that is offered.
Turn to person behind you and answer these questions?
Which is more difficult – to ask for help or to offer it and why?
How does asking for help or taking up an offer of help enable others on their journey with God?
Can anyone remember what Warwick talked about last week?
BEWARE Iâ€™ll make sure whoever is speaking next week will test you on what I am about to say!
The second part I wanted to explore today links into the idea of help, and builds on Last week when Warwick talked about the TRINITY and how the church family should reflect the relationship of the Godhead drawing on 2 Corinthians 13 v 14 May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
At the very heart of the trinity is love, Father Son and Spirit three persons but one, who for all eternity the one God has been involved in the concrete activity of giving receiving and sharing love amongst one another Father Son and Spirit, – so when we say God is Love or when the bible says God is love (1 John 4 v 8) it not simply saying God has loving feelings towards his people but God is constantly involved in the concrete activity of love. God is a fellowship of love.
Our theme is deepening Christian fellowship â€“so if we are to do this in our fellowship, what ways can we deepen fellowship or to put it another way-
how do we exhibit this love, – Well Warwick again gave us a key verse when he discussed, 2 Corinthians 13 v 14 May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Here we see the love part is mentioned and the trinity talked about BUT the critical factor I want to draw your attention to is – GRACE â€“ Notice how precedes the mention trinity and love at the very start. You see without grace we will have schisms or factions, etc that Paul was warning about, because we are human, we do think different things, even Paul suggest we question things, and we have different callings, I am sure that NOT many of you would want to come out the street with me at 10.30 to talk to the skaters hanging out at lidls car park, and with no offence the last I want to do is go on the trip with rendezvous to Powerham castle.
In our reading we heard about 3 of the miracles of Jesus, and three common threads in them was that the people asked for Jesus help,
â€œcome and heal my daughterâ€?
the woman from bleeding asked in an active way by reaching out to touch the cloak and
the blind men, chased him up the road shouting heal us.
We see countless times the onus is on the person to ask Jesus to act and then Jesus responds to those specific requests, even if it may not be the best thing for Jesus personally as was the case with the blind men, which was why he probably told the blind men NOT to tell anyone.
If are going to take God the trinity seriously as our model, we have to recognise as well as in the trinity being love there is the dna of the trinity – Mission
The primary way God choose to reveal himself was through Jesus. A missionary move. John 20v 21 Jesus said â€œas the father sent me I am sending youâ€? The missiologist John Bosch reminds us, that Father sends the son, and the father and son send the spirit and this can be extended seeing the father, son and spirit sending the church. So if we are to be church we must be missional in our dna.
Yet mission is messy and messy particularly when is comes to church because as mentioned my mission field is not the same as yours, but we should all be striving for the same goal. So what can we learn from this verse to help us in our fellowship with one another.
Well firstly they were different with different roles Father Son and Holy Spirit but One. it must have been difficult for the father and spirit when jesus died on the cross but they were still unifed because God is love, so jesus was still in this loving relationship. Jesus time on earth his time distanced from the father andspirit was a concrete embodiment of love, it was love that took Jesus to earth and love that enabled the Father to give his Son to death on the cross.
Therefore deepening fellowship is about living with tension that enable each of us to fulfil the calling of mission placed on us by God whilst remaining unified by love and grace.
We may do different things and express our faith in different ways, and the mission may take us in different directions but so long as we have examined ourselves as Paul mentioned in 2 Cor 13 and we act in good faith, Godâ€™s grace and love can hold us together.
You know it is difficult to ask for help, and at times it takes grace to ask for help and it takes grace to give help, but if we are going to move into a deeper fellowship we do need to embrace the tension that helping others move on in their journey of faith may create for us, personally or as a church.
Sometimes we confuse unity with uniformity, particularly if think about church before mission. The churches in the New Testament were different because they arose out of different missionary contexts, the idea that unity is about us meeting together perhaps on a Sunday morning or at other times, is a false one. Real unity is one that springs from the triune God, different but the same,
real unity is not a unity that is about us all doing the same thing, but a unity rooted in the deep grace and love of God that enables the church to flourish by enabling itâ€™s people to follow its calling to be the bride of Christ to hurting and broken world regardless of the cost to us.