Discover the Book - Aug. 11, 2008
What Do We Lose
When We FAKE IT by JUST Playing Church?
Part 2 continued from August 10th
Follow along as I read these verses.
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (Gk. koinonia) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion (Gk. koinonia) of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. NKJV
Before we partake in the symbol of connection to Christ called communion—carefully decide whether you are really all here, really engaged to Christ, really emptied of self, really filled with the Holy Spirit—and truly committed to investing your life in Christ's Church. Before we even start lets offer a personal prayer of renewal to Jesus.
As a born again believer you are part of the most powerful group of people that could ever gather on Earth. Why is that? Because when we were born into Christ's family, we became a part of the Church of the Living God.
Since we have the same Lord, the same Book, the same Spirit as the early believers had, how can we also so fully serve the Lord?
Perhaps we need to simplify our understanding. We have so much truth, so much information, so many facts all swirling around inside our heads. How about looking at what people who did not have their own written copy of God's Word—understood what Paul and the other apostles had taught them? It can all be distilled down to one word—koinonia our sacred partnership or fellowship.
We think it is optional, they knew it was essential. We have many avenues of encouragement and support, they had only one and that was each other.
Sometimes we speak of the early church in such nostalgic, glowing terms. We hear and talk about their fervency, their focus, the love that they expressed and displayed before a hostile world. Then we sit back and think that we can’t be like that. It is impossible and unattainable…or is it?
Have we forgotten that they were just playing by the rules? Do we forget that what they did is just living out what Christ and His apostles taught? Do we forget that it is the same Lord, the same Word, and the same power that we all share?
One of the greatest dangers we face in Christ's church today is just playing church. It is the danger of just coming to a place, going through the expected motions and then escaping back to our real world. Faking it in Christ's church is when we find this gathering for communion something we often don’t fit into, don’t really get into. Faking it is coming to Church and leaving un-satisfied by the all sufficient Christ; un-edified by the all sufficient Word; and un-mortified by the all sufficient Spirit.
The New Testament describes fellowship as the spiritual duty of believers. It means that all who belong to Jesus Christ are engaging in active involvement in the lives of other believers.
Often the joy that comes through fellowship with other believers is frequently lost because of our sinful neglect of our sacred duties. The Bible never describes the Christian life as one lived apart from other believers. Each of the members of the universal church, Christ's Body, are to be actively and intimately involved in the lives of other believers gathered in local assemblies.
This spiritual fellowship, this sacred partnership or communion that stimulates others to holiness and faithfulness is most specifically expressed through the "one anothers” of the New Testament. 
The New Testament contains over 30 positive and negative “one anothers”. But most frequently appearing is that call 15 times repeated to love each other The one command that seems to sum up all of the others is that we as believers must love each other. In one of Paul’s earliest epistles, we see that loving each other was one of the basics of the Christian life.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
There are three common Greek words for love. But only one is the constant command of Christ for us to exercise towards each other.
· Usually eros is the love that takes. A person who exhibits eros often loves someone for what they can get out of that person. It’s the love typical of the world—sexual and lustful with a bent toward self-gratification.
· Often phileo is the love of give and take. In other words, I love you because of what I get from you and what I can give to you. It’s the give and take of friendship.
· But always, agape is the love that sacrificially gives. There’s no taking involved. It is completely unselfish. It seeks the highest good for another no matter what the cost, demonstrated supremely by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.
Can you imagine what would happen if most believers actually lived out Christ's love? We would certainly see entire cities and states overwhelmed by the same power as swept the Roman world of the early church.
Love should be cultivated as a debt we owe. When we owe a debt to someone, every time we see them we think of it—so may we look on this world with God’s love (Romans 13:8).
Love changes our definition of who our neighbor truly is. Christ's story teaches us that our neighbor may be someone not like us, but whom God puts in our path for us to help! (Luke 10:25-37)
Love gives us urgency. We know the time is far spent, and that today is the day of salvation. We live knowing that it is—“later than it has ever been before.” (Romans 13:11-14) 
What are duties of partnership? For a moment think back in life--have you ever been asked to stand and hold onto the bottom of a ladder while someone climbed up? How about to watch their bags while they stepped away for a moment? How about at camp when you went to the water front and were assigned a buddy that you always were to keep your eye on so that no one got out t deep in the water?
All of these are partnerships. Each has an agreed upon duty that needs to be fulfilled.
· If that duty of partnership is unfulfilled the ladder may slip and they will fall and injure themselves.
· If that duty of partnership is unfulfilled the bags may be stolen and their entire trip ruined by loss of all their vital gear.
· If that duty of partnership is unfulfilled the swimming buddy may get out over their head and nearly drown.
What do the sacred duties of our partnership look like? A survey of the New Testament gives us a good picture. Jesus Christ has commanded us to watch out for our buddies, for the fellow members of His family.
The longest list of our duties as believers in the New Testament is often called the one another statements. These are areas that we have a sacred duty to uphold for our fellow member of Christ's Church. Let me trace them again for you so you can mark down in your Bible what Jesus Christ rewards, and what He is going to use as the standard for which He judges our investment of our 40 million minutes of our lifetime.
Here are the major duties from the 30 New Testament commands to share the sacred partnership of fellowship.
- We have entered into a sacred partnership to: edify each other (Rom. 14:19).
Romans 14:19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
2. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: counsel each other (Rom. 15:14).
Romans 15:14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
3. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: serve each other (Gal. 5:13).
Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
4. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: bear each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2).
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
5. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: submit to each other (Eph. 5:21).
Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
6. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: bear with each other (Col. 3:12-13a)
Colossians 3:12-13a Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;13 bearing with one another…
7. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: forgive each other (Col. 3:13b).
Colossians 3:13b … and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
8. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: teach and admonish each other (Col. 3:16). We gather to share experiences for the mutual benefit of all; our testimony may prevent someone else from making a similar error and suffering as we have done in our ignorance.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
9. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: comfort each other (1 Thes. 4:18).
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
10. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: encourage each other to do good (Heb. 10:24–25). We gather to strengthen other family members--even if we do not need help (or just think we don’t) fellowship was our responsibility left us by our Lord. We owe it to other family members to give fellowship to them; as we obey, we too are blessed.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
11. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: confess our trespasses to each other (James 5:16a).
James 5:16a Confess your trespasses to one another…
12. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: pray for each other (James 5:16).
James 5:1b6 … and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
13. We have entered into a sacred partnership to: be hospitable to each other (1 Peter 4:9–10).
1 Peter 4:9-10 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
How do we best fulfill our calling as Christ's church? By our partnership with Christ and each other! We are connected in life by marriages, by family ties, by shared schools, shared work, shared communities where we live, by cell phones, email, postal mail, radio, TV, and shared experiences.
But what makes us really closer than any other association? It is what we celebrate. Christ's death made us one with Him and each other. The only need is for us to live out the reality of what we have.
Christ died to make us—ONE. We are to be united and share the fellowship that He bought and paid for.
This message will be continued tomorrow August 12th.
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.
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