Thursday, December 01, 2011



After all is said and done, there is more said than done! Now, what are the action steps that must be taken in light of the fellowship principle? I believe there are three questions that must be answered-four decisions that must be made-in order to activate the fellowship principle.

First, ARE YOU IN? The phrase "in Christ" occurs approximately 167 times in the New Testament. It's a technical term that speaks of your relationship with Jesus. Just as you put something into an envelope and it envelops that something, so you have been placed "in Christ" and are completely enveloped by Him. When God looks upon you, He sees Jesus. This is why it is said that "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). Being "in Christ" means that you have a personal, faith relationship with Jesus, the Christ-you have placed all that you know that you are into all that you know that He is.

Why is being "in Christ" so important? Well, in addition to all of the salvation issues that are available through Jesus, there is another reason. Being "in Christ" places you on a different elevation-a spiritual perspective on life, because all is not as it seems in this world. When you are "in Christ", you learn to move to a different drumbeat than the world system around you-walking, thinking, loving and talking like Jesus. You become one with the greatest revolutionary ever! Then, you are in a position to really make a difference in your world!

Second, ARE YOU IN FAR? Being "in Christ" is an interesting dynamic. It's a relationship and therefore must be cultivated. Many believers in Jesus are content to stop at being "in Christ" and not progress any further. The result is that most believers are content to sit, soak and sour in the pew. Once you become "in Christ" you begin a meaningful, spiritual journey. This journey is all about fleshing out the person of Jesus into your lifestyle. Every day you walk, think, love and talk like Jesus, you allow Jesus to be seen and experienced one more day by those around you.

Being "in far" requires that you don't attempt to grow it alone. It requires that you gather other believers around you as partners who become your support system, encouraging and exhorting you in growing your personal relationship with Jesus. Being "in far" is your relationship with the people of Jesus.

But why is "being in far" so important? It is so important because there is a war going on out there in the universe between good and evil-between God and the Evil One. You cannot fight this war alone, but must have the strength of a small group of believers who stand with you-a covenant community.

A community of believers is galvanized by making covenants to one another. It is amazing how simple agreements and commitments to one another provide a bonding power among the participants. These covenants may be agreements to pray for certain things for a certain time period, going on a mission trip together, producing an event, or agreements to go through a study together. This is the fellowship principle!

I have been grappling with how to apply this multiplication strategy in my own life-purpose. So, in the spirit of the fellowship I asked 3 other men to come alongside me to be with me and to turn the fellowship into an active verb. As we came together, we (and our wives) we entered into a 45 day prayer covenant. We have entered into a covenant with one another to be faithful to the following:

1. To embrace the principles of Jesus as a lifestyle. 2. To mentor men and women in the Jesus lifestyle. 3. To believe God for the raising up of leadership world-wide. 4. To empower the youth of our world. 5. To restore the broken, poor, fallen, abused and addicted. 6. To serve everyone everywhere.

This small community of believers must answer two functional questions: First, are you willing to minister to anyone God brings your way? This may not be as easy as it seems. When God brings a drug dealer your way, are willing to minister to him? When a porn addict shows up on your doorstep, are you willing? What about the druggie, the drunk, the communist, the terrorist; are you willing to minister to anyone God brings your way? You may be the answer to someone's prayers.

Second, are you willing to be ministered to by anyone around you? This is even a more difficult question. Most people find it easier to minister to someone in need than to be ministered to by anyone around you. Years ago, I had it set up in a Sunday morning Easter service for the ushers to come forward bringing wash basins. I announced that we were going to experience the washing of one another's feet. The shock was incredible! Most had no problem with washing someone else's feet, but were very resistant in allowing someone to wash their feet. That was just too much! Someone you don't even know may be the answer to your prayers.

Third, ARE YOU INVITING OTHERS IN? At the end of each of the Gospels and at the beginning of the book of Acts Jesus commissioned His followers to do one thing-MAKE DISCIPLES! His command is still as relevant to us today. We are to be making disciples-inviting others into a personal relationship with Jesus. He gave 3 action-steps to do this:

First, make disciples by going. This is the principle of initiation. We as the fellowship are to pray for God to attract others to the light-to raise up laborers for the harvest. We are to actively set our hearts toward that end.

Go in the fellowship of Jesus (Are you in?). Go with the fellowship of Jesus (Are you in far?). Go tell of the fellowship in Jesus (Are you inviting others in?).

Second, make disciples by baptizing. This is the principle of identification. As the fellowship we are to identify the people God raises up as disciples of Jesus. The identification process will mean inviting them into the fellowship.

Third, make disciples by teaching. This is the principle of instruction. As the fellowship we are to teach all of the principles of Jesus to the ones who have been identified as disciples. As we continue to teach disciples of the principles of Jesus the cycle starts all over again for each new disciple and the fellowship grows like a mustard seed grows. You have a vital role to play in this great war! Are you in? Are you in far? Are you inviting others in? Who are the "others" we must be inviting in?

We have identified 5 groups of people that God brings our way. 1) The Enquirers who are actively seeking answers to life. They show up by the process of elimination-nothing else works. 2) The Restless who are on empty, lost, compensating and coping. They are caught up in the rat race of life, but somehow know that even if they win they will still only be a rat. 3) The Religious who have a heart to do right, but are burdened-down with religiosity! 4) The Stuck whose life and/or relationships are out of control. Life is not working. 5) The Wounded who are broken, poor, fallen, abused or addicted. Most often, the wounded will be found among the enquirers, the restless, the religious and the stuck. Remember, Jesus came to seek and to save the sick and wounded!

All of the above are the prisoners in the great war between good and evil-between God and the Evil One. The fellowship principle is all about setting prisoners free!

When you come together, be aware of the needs of everyone around you-believer and non-believer alike. The prophet Isaiah speaks of the Messiah's mission when he writes: "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to comfort all who mourn, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified" (Isaiah 61:1-3). If you are to be a follower of Jesus Christ (the Messiah), you must follow His mission.

Jesus told the Twelve: "And as you go, proclaim, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 'Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons" (Matthew 10:7-8).

If you aren't in a fellowship today, pray for that experience for yourself. Then, PRACTICE BEING IN A FELLOWSHIP with one another!