Monday, March 5, 2018

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)
A church that honors God with its worship is a great place to attend.  But a church whose people honor God in their relationships with one another is a special place to belong.  What are the qualities that make a church a special place to be and belong?  Peter sums it all up in these words directed to the church as a whole.  As you read these words, don’t just consider how others respond to you in the church but also how you bless others.
The People are Harmonious.
harmony - a: pleasing or congruent arrangement of parts  b: sense of accord c: internal calm or tranquility
This oneness in attitude and spirit is the very basis of fellowship.  Harmony is playing in the same key but not in unison.  It is a variety of notes based on the same chord.  We are not one in makeup, experience, need, background, or gifts...but we are one in Christ!  An orchestra’s capability grows dramatically with addition of each new instrument.  An orchestra of only tubas would never be capable of what a symphonic orchestra can do.  Each one we add to the fellowship who will play in harmony does not change the song but the dynamics and power of the music. 
The mission of the church is dependent on unity and the unity is dependent on both agreement and diversity.  Unity does not mean uniformity; it means cooperation in the midst of diversity. The members of the body work together in unity, even though they are all different. Christians may differ on how things are to be done, but they must agree on what is to be done and why.
Our individuality expresses the spectrum of God in His calling.  While some attempt to make this a call to a form of "Christian cloning", where everyone acts and talks the same, the major emphasis is not on actions as much as the attitude. The word in the Greek language of the New Testament means to be like-minded. 
The opposite of this is, of course, discord or disharmony.  When differences become more pronounced than unity, the ability of the church to be the church is lost. There must be room to disagree in faith and to accept Christ's unique work in each of our lives.  Taking advantage of a position in the church to push a point can lead to the loss of overall relationship with the body.  There is a need to develop a spirit that magnifies our common concern of message above minute variations of method.
Remember…Satan’s joy, if he cannot devise a scheme to keep men from following Christ, is
to create ways to divide sincere men to keep them from serving Christ.
Listen for the harmony in church.  It is beautiful to hear.

Scripture to Claim

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.  (Romans 15:5-7)

Devotional Archive