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The Desire for Christian Fellowship

ROM. 15:23-29


NKJV 23 But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you,

24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while.

25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things. 28 Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain.

29 But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. NKJV


NASB (23) but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you

{24} whenever I go to Spain-- for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while-- {25} but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. {26} For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

{27} Yes, they were pleased <to do so>,and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. {28} Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain. {29} And I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fulness of the blessing of Christ. NASB


Introduction






1.       Is a Desire for . . Company.    v 23-24

          2.       Is a Desire for . . Contributions.       v 25-27

                    3.       Is a Desire for . . Completion. v 28-29




1.       The Desire for Christian Fellowship

          Is a Desire for . . Company.                         v 23-24

 

Introduction  Does Anybody Ask About My Arthritis?

Mamie made frequent trips to the branch post office. One day she confronted a long line of people who were waiting for service from the postal clerks. Mamie only needed stamps, so a helpful observer asked, “Why don’t you use the stamp machine? You can get all the stamps you need and you won’t have to stand in line.” Mamie said, “I know, but the machine can’t ask me about my arthritis.” People still need human contact. Source unknown

 

A.        The . . LONGING for company.                  15:23

                        1.         The longing of a . . Leader.    v 23a

            23 But now no longer having a place in these parts,. . .”


                        2.         The longing of a . . Longtime. v 23b

“. . . and having a great desire these many years to come to you,


                        

B.        The . . Limitations for company.      15:24

                        1.         A . . Passing visit. v 24a

            24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For

I hope to see you on my journey,. . .”


                        2.         A . . Participating visit. v 24b

            “. . . and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy

            your company for a while.



ILLUSTRATION: Big Hugs

In the fall of the year, Linda, a young woman, was traveling alone up the rutted and rugged highway from Alberta to the Yukon. Linda didn’t know you don’t travel to Whitehorse alone in a rundown Honda Civic, so she set off where only four-wheel drives normally venture. The first evening she found a room in the mountains near a summit and asked for a 5 A.M. wakeup call so she could get an early start. She couldn’t understand why the clerk looked surprised at that request, but as she awoke to early-morning fog shrouding the mountain tops, she understood.


Not wanting to look foolish, she got up and went to breakfast. Two truckers invited Linda to join them, and since the place was so small, she felt obliged. “Where are you headed?” one of the truckers asked.

Whitehorse’ “In that little Civic? No way! This pass is DANGEROUS in weather like this.” “Well, I’m determined to try,” was Linda’s gutsy, if not very informed, response. “Then I guess we’re just going to have to hug you,” the trucker suggested.


Linda drew back. “There’s no way I’m going to let you touch me!” “Not like THAT!” the truckers chuckled. “We’ll put one truck in front of you and one in the rear. In that way, we’ll get you through the mountains.” All that foggy morning Linda followed the two red dots in front of her and had the reassurance of a big escort behind as they made their way safely through the mountains. Caught in the fog in our dangerous passage through life, we need to be “hugged.” With fellow Christians who know the way and can lead safely ahead of us, and with others behind, gently encouraging us along, we, too, can pass safely. - Don Graham Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 286

APPLICATION:


The Desire for Christian Fellowship Is a Desire for . . Company. 



 

2.       The Desire for Christian Fellowship Is a Desire for . . Contributions. 13:25-27

 

Introduction              Annual Check-up

When you go to a doctor for your annual check-up, he or she will often begin to poke, prod, and press various places, all the while asking, “Does this hurt? How about this?” If you cry out in pain, one of two things has happened. Either the doctor has pushed too hard, without the right sensitivity. Or, more likely, there’s something wrong, and the doctor will say, “We’d better do some more tests. It’s not supposed to hurt there!”


So it is when pastors preach on financial responsibility, and certain members cry out in discomfort, criticizing the message and the messenger. Either the pastor has pushed too hard. Or perhaps there’s something wrong. In that case, I say, “My friend, we’re in need of the Great Physician because it’s not supposed to hurt there.”      - Ben Rogers


A.        A . . PLEASURE to make contributions. v 25-26

                        1.         A pleasure because of . . Service. v 25

{25} but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.

                        2.         A pleasure because of . . Saints. v 26

                                    {26} For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution

                                    for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.


B.        A . . PREREQUISITE to make contributions. v 27

                        1.         Because of sharing in the . . Ministry.            v 27 a

                                    {27} Yes, they were pleased <to do so>,and they are indebted to them.

                                    For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things,

                                                a.         Spiritual Matters.

                        2.         Because of sharing in the . . Material.            v 27 b

                                    “. . . they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.

                                                a.         Secular matters. 

 

ILLUSTRATION:                Cheerful Givers

A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church. “Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself,” she told the girl. When they were coming out of church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given. “Well,” said the little girl, “I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did.”            Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, p. 23


Application


The Desire for Christian Fellowship

          Is a Desire for . . Contributions. 13:25-27

3.       The Desire for Christian Fellowship Is a Desire for . . Completion. 13:28-29


A.        Complete in . . FRUITFULNESS.  v 28

                        1.         The . . Appearance of the fruit. v 28a

            28 Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, . . .”

                        2.         The . . Approval of the fruit. v 28b

“. . . and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain.


B.        Complete in . . FULNESS.   v 29

                        1.         A Fullness for The . . People.  v 29a

            29 And I know that when I come to you,

                        2.         A fulness for . . Paul. v 29b

            “. . . I will come in the fulness of the blessing of Christ.


 

Illustration:               Black Skies

The time was the 19th of May, 1780. The place was Hartford, Connecticut. The day has gone down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of Judgment Day. For at noon the skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down and others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, one Colonel Davenport, came to his feet. He silenced them and said these words: “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought.”

Winning the New Civil War, Robert P. Dugan, Jr., p. 183


Application:


The Desire for Christian Fellowship

          Is a Desire for . . Completion. 13:28-29