Friday, September 18, 2015

Qualities of a Powerful Fellowship

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9

The People are Humble and Forgiving
Real humility is found in honest awareness of who we really are in relation to God and others.  Paul encouraged the Philippians to Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-8 
God’s people should be humble.  The very nature of Christ in us is that of a servant who has given up all rights and position for the privilege of serving the Master and His purpose.  In a world focused on individual rights and privileges, it is the Christian who stands out serving others in a spirit of humility.
It is also humility that opens our lives for receiving ministry "from" others, as well as giving "to" others.  Many are willing to give but have a hard problem receiving.  Their pride blocks the provision of God through others and creates a wedge between themselves and others who want the joy of giving.  We are never above need and therefore never above receiving in humility and gratitude for God’s provision through His people. 
It is the spirit of humility that makes possible the next attribute of a quality fellowship...not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead.  This is certainly something that Jesus spoke of repeatedly in teaching His disciples.  It was not just what Christ taught but what He exampled.  Look at these words from 1 Peter 2:21-24.  This is the kind of life you've been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing.
In the church, the act of forgiveness is the evidence of God’s grace, mercy and love in the lives of believers.  It flows from the hearts of a people who have experienced the fullness of God’s gift of salvation and humbled themselves to the purpose and ministry of Christ. 
Christ’s words from the cross are the pinnacle of living out forgiveness.  But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34  In the face of His accusers and even torturers He made a decision; He would forgive and ask His Father to do the same.
Why would a believer seek these qualities in his/her life?  Peter clearly states, for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.  Why?  To be blessed.
May God bless you today by making you a blessing.  May God place you in a fellowship of believers who value these qualities and seek to live them out in a community of faith.
Scripture to Claim

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28

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