The Fellowship
By Norman Watson

Today’s Bible Teaching and the song is an encouragement and the importance of coming together in fellowship. First off, I would like to encourage you to continue to be in fellowship with other sincere followers of Jesus especially during this time of the Pandemic and all the other crazy things that are going on. Proverbs 27:17 says, ” Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

I understand being cautious and wanting to distance because of the Covid-19 virus but don’t let Satan deceive you, instead “submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7, Ecclesiastes 4:10 give us a warning “For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” which leads us to the importance of continuing to fellowship with other sincere followers of Jesus. Many “Christians” are not going to a “church” but are staying home out of fear or some other reason and they are watching the church live stream or recorded Bible teachings. The problem with this is that it is too easy to get distracted and before you know it you have distanced yourself from the virtual fellowship. When you do that Satan then will take advantage of that and give you excuses on why you are ok with not watching the church live  stream or recorded Bible teachings, once you do that you have walked into spiritual quicksand and will slowly sink to your spiritual death. Hebrews 10:25 tells us “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss said “Being disconnected from the local church, for whatever reason, is a dangerous way to live. Not only do these “ lone rangers” miss out on the blessings of functioning within the context of the body of Christ, but like lone sheep away from the safety of the flock and the watchful care of the shepherd, they are vulnerable to predators of every sort.”

In This House
(Sung by  Wesley Nilsen, Melanie Tierce & Kaden Slay)

Verse 1
In this house there is freedom
In this house love will reign
In this house we will shed all shame

Verse 2
In this house there is mercy
In this house we are safe
In this house overflowing praise

Chorus 1
(And) We will dwell in the house of the Lord
Our Maker
(And) We will hide in the hands of the Lord
Our God
You’ve taught us well to return to the Lord
Our Savior here and now (here and now)

Verse 3
In this house no more anger
In this house no selfish gain
In this house hope and love will remain

(Bridge)
Sing with the angels sing with the heavens
Sing in the presence of our God
Sing of His kindness mercy that binds us
Making us one

(Ending)
In this house we share burdens
In this house we loosen chains
In this house hearts stay open
Lives are changed

A Fellowship with God’s People
By Dr. Robert Jeffress

It is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart. Philippians 1:7

If we want to maintain outrageous joy in life, we must be connected with God’s people. Look at how Paul expressed his close connection and relationship with the Christians in Philippi: “It is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:7-8).

Writing this love letter from his prison cell in Rome, Paul was saying that even though he was separated from the congregation in Philippi by eight hundred miles, Paul had them on his heart. Paul was using a great Old Testament picture in this passage. In Exodus 28, God instructed the high priest to wear a garment called an ephod over his heart, and on the ephod were twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Each time the high priest entered the temple, he wore these twelve stones over his heart, symbolizing that he was representing the people to God. So Paul was saying to the Philippian Christians, “Even though I’m in prison, I have you in my heart. And it gives me joy to know I’m also in your hearts. That helps me maintain my joy.”

Similarly, we will never be able to maintain consistent joy without being connected to a group of other believers in a local church. It was Paul’s connection to the Philippian Christians in their church that kept his joy alive. And it’s the same way with us. Satan’s favorite tactic is to isolate you from other Christians and then attack. As a pastor, I’ve seen it over and over. For some reason Christians get disconnected from a church. They don’t like what the pastor did or said. Or somebody in the church upset them. Or they just flit here and there, never really connecting to a local group. Satan isolates these Christians and then he unloads on them. And they have no support system to help them when adversity comes into their lives. There is a strength that comes from fellowship with other believers that helps us maintain our joy despite difficult circumstances.

Recently, we had a wonderful family in our church who suffered a tremendous tragedy. Is that family grieving? Of course they are. But I watched as hundreds of our members surrounded them, prayed for them, comforted them, and provided for them. One of those family members said to me, “Pastor, I just don’t know how people make it without a church like this.” The answer is they don’t. Believers get mowed down by the enemy when they don’t have other Christians to strengthen them. We all need the fellowship and connection that comes from other believers. That’s what kept Paul’s joy alive.