We all have significant dates along our journey. We all reflect on them, the people we shared them with, the things we did, together. We do lots of things together. Some significant, some not so much, but together we travel along the road of life. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I saw a sign the other day; “We Are in This Together”. I thought, really? I’m sure there are shared experiences and common challenges but are we really together? You see, for me, the word together implies a choice. We choose who and what to be together in. Just because we are in the same place, doing the same thing doesn’t mean we are together.
I think of sports teams. I’ve seen some “teams” that weren’t together. You know what I mean, not everyone on the same page pulling for a common goal. There are some that just seem to be tuned in to a different frequency. The most successful teams are the ones that have the most members on the same wavelength.
So how do we get together on something? Commitment; we all have to understand and make a commitment to work toward the same goal. The more committed we are the better our chances are of attaining the desired result. You cannot be together in something if you haven’t made a commitment to be.
This week we will welcome someone into our membership. They will transition from participating to being committed. There is a significance to making that commitment. Again, just because we are in the same place doesn’t mean we are together. It is necessary to join together and share the responsibility.
On the subject of commitment, or should I say level of commitment. What is our level of commitment? Is it all or nothing? It was for the early church. Either we are willing to lay down our life to achieve the prize or we are not. I think it is safe to say many lack this level of commitment. Paul helps us understand;
Philippians 3:7-8; NLT; I once thought these things (worldly status) were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
Paul explains that all the things in life he had committed to attain were worthless when compared to being together with Christ. In fact, he laid down his life to be together with Christ.
Philippians 3:13-14; NLT; No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
A significant event happened shortly after Jesus ascended into Heaven to return to the Father; Pentecost. Pentecost marks the day when the promised gift of the Holy Spirit arrived and empowered those who were “together” with Christ, committed, to spread the Good News. The Holy Spirit found them together, in one place, praying.
The presence of the Holy Spirit altered the goals of the followers of Christ. They decided to do things a little different.
Acts 2:42-47; NLT; All the believers (over 3,000) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
The Holy Spirit united them and they were together. They united in doing things in a way that honored God. The result was unexpected.
The shared meals together, they shared the Lord’s Supper together, they studied together, they shared their time together, they experienced miracles together, they shared their money and possessions together and with those who had need, they praised God together, and they worshipped together.
The result; they found favor with and enjoyed the goodwill of all people and the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
That’s a lot of togetherness, but without it there is division, faction, envy, anger, discord, jealousy, and all kinds of selfish behavior. Kind of makes me think of the world we live in. We have forgotten what it means to come together and lift up the name of the Lord. We should be encouraged to join together as likeminded believers and change the community around us.
This world resembles the result of separation, isolation and independent thinking. We are not an island. We were not created that way. We were created to be together.
Galatians 5:19-26; NLT; When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.