Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church
Message for Sunday:
‘The Three Rewards of Faith: Grace, Love and Fellowship’
© August 6, 2017, by Steve Mickelson
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer
Opening Hymn #67: Fairest Lord Jesus; Choruses
Tithing and Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers
Responsive Reading #640 (Redemption in Christ – Romans 5)
Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘ The Three Rewards of Faith: Grace, Love, and Fellowship
Let us pray…
Welcome to BLCF’s Praise and Worship Service, on this the first Sunday of August, a communion Sunday. For our lesson today, we will examine: ‘The Three Rewards of Faith: Grace, Love, and Fellowship’ .
But what is faith and how could we explain its presence? I found an interesting posting on the topic on the Web site, bibleinoneyear.org:
John Paton (1824–1907), a Scot, had travelled to the New Hebrides (a group of islands in the south-west Pacific) determined to tell the tribal people about Jesus, but he struggled to find the right word for ‘faith’. One day, when his indigenous servant came in, Paton raised both feet off the floor, sat back in his chair and asked, ‘What am I doing now?’ In reply, the servant used a word that means, ‘to lean your whole weight upon’. This became the expression that Paton used. Faith is leaning our whole weight upon Jesus.
So we have a good working definition of faith, but what about the three rewards of faith that are the focus of today’s lesson: grace, love, and fellowship?
In 2 Timothy 2:1-7, e have a good description of grace, which is the first reward of our faith:
2 Timothy 2:1-7 (ESV) A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus
2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men and women, who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
While there are three examples of the rewards of faith in everyday life, valid both today as well as in the time of Christ: a dedicated soldier, a winning athlete’s crown, and a productive farmer’s first share of the harvest.
In the same regard, as apostles or messengers of the Gospel of Christ, we are expected to bear witness of Jesus, so that others may become messengers and teachers of the Way of the Lord.
But how does one best share the Gospel of Christ? Just as God gave us His only Son, Jesus, who demonstrated his love for humanity by surrendering his own life as the final sacrifice for the sins of the world, the best way to share the message of the Gospel is to share the love that God and His Son Jesus, demonstrated to us:
John 13:35 (ESV)
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
While we may take comfort in the unconditional love of our Father and His Son that we receive as our reward to faith, as a body of believers in the message of the Gospel of Christ we enjoy a fellowship with the Lord and each other, by way of the Holy Spirit, another gift which Jesus gives us as a reward to our faith and trust.
1 John 1:3 (ESV)
3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
The gift of the Holy Spirit, an expression of God’s love is not only a reward for our faith, His love is intertwined in the message of the Gospel of Christ, Jesus:
John 3:16-21 (ESV) For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Footnotes: a. John 3:16 Or For this is how God loved the world
We may conclude that grace, love, and fellowship are the three rewards of faith in the message of the Gospel of Christ, there is another reward to our receiving and sharing God’s New Covenant made manefest by His Son Christ, Jesus is the complete joy found in the fellowship we enjoy with our Father, His son and each other:
1 John 1:1-4 (ESV) The Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete.
Footnotes: a. 1 John 1:4 Some manuscripts your
Let us pray…
Communion – An Act of Fellowship and Demonstration of Our Faith:
Communion began on the annual celebration of Passover Supper, when Jesus told his disciples to remember his sacrifice as they ate the bread and drank the wine.
Just as Israel celebrates the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, when the angel of death passed over their homes, so believers in Jesus celebrate and remember his sacrifice for the judgment of all of our sins, when he died on the cross.
Holy Communion uses bread as a symbol of his body and juice as a symbol of his blood. The act of taking communion does not save us, it is an act of worship and remembrance our Lord, who instructed his followers to continue, until the day he returns.
Luke 22:14-20 (ESV) Institution of the Lord’s Supper
14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it[a] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[b]
Footnotes: a. Luke 22:16 Some manuscripts never eat it again b. Luke 22:20 Some manuscripts omit, in whole or in part, verses 19b-20 (which is given… in my blood)
Closing Hymn #81: All Praise to Him Who Reigns Above
Benediction – (2 Corinthians 13:14):
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.