Pine Park Baptist Church was especially blessed last night to have as our guest, Gladys Rojas, of Peru. A good friend, Mrs. Barbara Payne, had gone to Peru last year on a short-term mission trip and had met Sis. Gladys who served as an interpreter for the missions group. As it worked out for her to visit the U.S., we had the opportunity for her to come and share her testimony with our church.
What a blessing it was.
She testified of how missionaries had led her to Christ and how she was now witnessing for the Lord herself. God had also provided, through missionaries, for her healing from a deadly parasite.
Her love for the Lord was obvious and her gracious spirit was captivating. It was such a blessing to see actual results, “in the flesh”, of the resources and efforts that are placed in missions.
Thank you so much Sis. Gladys and Sis. Barbara for sharing this opportunity with us.
Fellowship begins with God. In I John 1:3, John refers to His previous experiences with Christ. He states that his message in this epistle was based upon the time he had spent with Jesus.
Notice what John did NOT do. He did not let time spent with Jesus cause him to become proud or hyper-spiritual. Sitting at the feet of Jesus should always produce genuine humility in us. Neither did John allow himself to become isolated from others for the sake of “following Christ”. While there are times when we need to be alone with Christ, we are never commanded to avoid the company of others on a continual basis so that we can be alone with the Lord.
John wanted us to know the same things about Christ that he knew. He wanted us to be able to share the same experiences with Jesus that he had. Why? He wanted to lead us to fellowship with other believers with the Father and the Son simultaneously. It is possible to enjoy fellowship with Christ in the company of believers.
Notice a progression in this text.
1. Worship–time spent with Jesus
2. Fellowship–time spent with Jesus and other believers
3. Discipleship–bringing other believers into closer fellowship with God
We know we are experiencing koinonia when our fellowship is driven by the worship of Jesus, and believers are being drawn into a closer relationship with God as a result of it. If we are not personally growing in our relationship with Christ, we will never be able to draw others closer to Him through the blessing of fellowship.
Is your fellowship expanding? Time spent with Jesus should never cause us to shun others, but to seek to draw them closer to Him as well. When this occurs, we can enjoy what Adrian Rogers called, “The sweetest fellowship this side of heaven”.
So many times I hear people say, “I would love to witness to someone about Christ, if only I knew what to say”. They have the idea that only a preacher or someone with a significant amount of biblical training is qualified to tell others the Gospel.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;…declare we unto you. I John 1:1-3a
The Apostle John had heard much of the teaching of Christ. He had been an eyewitness to many of Christ’s miracles. He had both watched and carefully analyzed the works of the Savior. In short, HE HAD EXPERIENCED LIFE WITH CHRIST.
In essence, what John is saying here as a testimony to the reality of Christ is, “I know Christ personally, let me tell you what I have learned about Him.”
What better testimony is there than that?
No, we don’t have the luxury of physically walking and talking with Jesus as did John. But we do have the Holy Spirit to guide us through the truth of God’s Word. We can hear from Him as directly through this source as if He were sitting right next to us.
We can certainly bear witness to the saving power of His grace. We can share with others how salvation is transforming our lives. Do you realize that there are others who have walked the same path in life as you? There are people in your community who are living in despair because of their circumstances, your testimony to grace can be a ray of hope that can lead them faith.
You don’t have to have a doctorate of theology to be a witness, you only have to know what Jesus has done for you.
What do you have to say?
God is great. He is certainly capable of helping His people overcome great obstacles to accomplish His work.
Last week our church held Vacation Bible School. Any of you who are involved in such endeavors know that there are inherent challenges to such a ministry. It seems that from the beginning of our planning for this week, Satan continually fought. Literature costs exceeded our estimated budget. An eventually resolved, but initially bitter division between some of the leaders arose. During the week itself, several of our staff became ill. One of our workers was involved in a car wreck. On and on I could go of the unforeseen challenges that came against us, but God prevailed.
We saw the largest attendance we had ever had in the history of the church. We made some wonderful contacts with several families who are unchurched. Several of our newest converts and members got heavily involved in this ministry. Most importantly, we saw eight precious souls receive Christ as their Savior.
God really gave us a shot in the arm with this wonderful week. We are all physically tired, but yesterday was one of the best services we have had in several months. The Spirit of God really worked among His people and drew us all closer to Him and one another.
Thanks be to God who has given us the victory!