The Fellowship of Jesus

Audio clip and bulletin notes for a sermon preached at Morden Mennonite on Jan. 15, 2017, in a series called “Jesus: Our Church’s One Foundation.”

In this first message in the series we meet Gaia, a fictional Christian woman in first century Corinth. Through her we learn of the church in Corinth and hear the opening words of the Apostle Paul’s letter to this fractured Christian community (1 Corinthians 1:1-9).

Audio: “The Fellowship of Jesus”

Pastor’s Notes:

Temple of Apollo, Corinth (Holy Land Photos)

Temple of Apollo, Corinth (Holy Land Photos)

  • The church in Corinth was a church divided over sexuality and marriage, spirituality and worship. There were factions within the church, each with its favourite theology and preferred leaders. Underneath all this were questions over how to faithfully follow Jesus within a diverse and changing culture. These realities are true for many churches today, and this makes 1 Corinthians one of the most relevant biblical books for us to study.
  • Throughout 1 Corinthians Paul turns the Corinthians’ focus to Jesus, crucified Messiah and risen Lord. He is our gospel, the foundation of our faith, the ground of our salvation, the source of our wisdom, and the basis of our unity (1 Cor 1:17-25; 3:11; 8:6; 15:1-5).
  • In 1 Cor 1:9 Paul says, “you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Contrary to our popular use, “fellowship” is not something we do but something we have, even something we are: we are together “the fellowship of Jesus,” the community of those gathered around Jesus, God’s new society structured around Jesus.

Questions to Ponder:

  • In what ways do I see the problems and questions of the Corinthian church in the wider church today? in our church?
  • What are some things that potentially distract me (or us) from focusing on Jesus in my life (or in our church life)?
  • What difference might it make if we understand “fellowship” not so much as something we do but as something we are, “the fellowship of Jesus,” the “Jesus community”?
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