Planting the Joy of Sweet Fellowship
The following is a post by one of our elders, summarizing the content from this past Sunday's Adult Bible Study Hour. In the class, we are going through eight different aspects of our Planting Joy vision. Consider joining us this Sunday at 9:30am in the sanctuary.
1 Corinthians 9:7, “Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit?”
As Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, his expectation was like that of a hardworking farmer (2 Timothy 2:6) towards harvest. We too look to sweet Christian fellowship as our expectation while we live on this side of Heaven. Our fellowship is defined by our devoted lives to our Christian living and communion with Christ through worship and prayer (Acts 2:42). We live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16), loving as Christ has loved us first. Our loving one another will testify what we know and believe of God and his character. Do we live all in worship of God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth?
As Mark paints the image of a widow giving her last two coins in Mark 12:41-44, Jesus commends her as the one giving of herself fully unto God. She risked everything because she believed and trusted in God, who has now fully paid for our sins, the sin of many, by the Son.
Our motivation of sweet fellowship must be to pursue Christ in the practice of godliness. Paul exhorted Timothy to have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths but to train ourselves for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7-8). Jerry Bridges in his book, The Practice of Godliness, defines godliness as a devotion to God that results in a life that is pleasing to him. The devoted life will display a correct understanding of a) the fear of God, b) the love of God, and c) the desire for God. Therefore, this is godliness: God-centeredness, or devotion to God; and God-likeness, or Christian character. The practice of godliness is both the practice of devotion to God and the practice of a lifestyle that is pleasing to God in reflecting his character to other people.
Our expectation drives our motivation but all are derived as an overflow of our understanding of and desiring of God. As we live our motivation of devoted Christian lives in the joy of sweet fellowship, we get more God. Hence, the expectation of this vision, Planting Joy, will yield the testimony of our God who promised that our joy will be complete in him. This joy is the joy of sweet fellowship that an Ethiopian taxi driver explained to me during one of my visits to Denver. Through his joy and the testimony of their church building program in Denver, we rejoiced in God’s goodness in our brief fellowship.