19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20, New International Version)
Theme: Rejoicing and Thanksgiving
Yesterday we considered how rejoicing and thanksgiving results from the fellowship of believers working together to advance God’s kingdom. Today we focus on the essential ingredient for joy filled fellowship. To do this, we will consider a current event that has been very topical.
Recent events at Asbury University have prompted many discussions about revival with varying opinions. We will not enter into a debate about the varying opinions. Instead, we will focus on two quotes from the students and staff that were central to the Asbury experience. These quotes address the topics of fellowship, and rejoicing and thanksgiving. Quote #1: “No celebrities except Jesus.” Quote # 2: “We experienced joy.” Putting these two quotes together we get a clear message – the essential ingredient for rejoicing and thanksgiving in Christian fellowship is Jesus.
Our passage of Scripture today describes a memorable occasion after Jesus’ resurrection when He physically entered a room to meet with his fearful disciples. In His presence, the scene changes dramatically. In what seemed like a hopeless moment, Jesus became the central focus of the fellowship of His disciples, and their despair turned to joy.
Please study the passage and consider the question below.
What are some of the major obstacles to Jesus being the central focus of Christian fellowship?
Please leave a comment. We would love to hear from you.
March 17, 2023 at 6:27 am
Unfortunately, our sinful nature gets in the way of Jesus being the central focus of our fellowship. For example, such things as the decor, location, food choices among other factors are all important for a fellowship, but we sometimes place more importance on these aspects than the true purpose and intent of the fellowship. I would suggest that we be intentional in the purpose of the fellowship with the hope that lives are changed by ensuring Jesus is at the center.
March 17, 2023 at 7:49 am
In my opinion Jesus has been put on the back burner ___ as to live and survive in this world one thinks He or She has to be politically correct.
Also we ,so James said and I agree tend to focus on all the distractions.
Another reason is our need for inclusion so we drift into discussing other things.
Personally I do not like to hear any pastors opinion on politics etc.
March 17, 2023 at 8:02 am
Another major issue for Christ not being central is “Self” we place so much emphasis on our own abilities and accomplishments needs and wants, that the focus becomes us and no place for Him.
March 17, 2023 at 9:57 am
Idolatry is the main obstacle to Jesus being the central focus. The love of money, fame and power. The bible says you cannot worship God and mammon. In my experience often times the focus in fellowship is on the pastor, worship leader or money. Some church leaders go on to become celebrities and accumulate wealth because of the various enterprises their brand and captive audience enable them to achieve. There is an excitement people can experience in some of these services due to the entertaining way the service is conducted. But excitement is not joy.
March 17, 2023 at 12:40 pm
The biggest obstacle for me is myself. I can sometimes be easily distracted by my thoughts, by my surroundings, by my circumstances. That is enough before I factor in external influences. 🙂 It requires intentionality on my part to gain focus and remain focused during worship.
March 17, 2023 at 3:15 pm
Being in a bible study group where I have to read the bible almost daily, meditate on what is read & answer the questions in the study guid, applying the learnings to my life. Also worshiping together, listening to gospel songs and praying together, have significantly contributed to a deeper God centered life. The more I learn about God, the more I want to know, the clearer it has become how much I can’t do without God., daily,. 24/7. Like daily physical food I need & go after daily spiritual food. So if I did not spend time in God’s Word, worshiping, fellowshipping, Jesus would not be the central.focus.
March 18, 2023 at 1:47 am
I agree with all your comments. I must say I can relate with Bridget and Karen’s comments. Sometimes being focused too much on oneself, or relying more on yourself rather on trusting God cam be an obstacle in keeping Jesus the focus in Christian fellowship. We can only realize we’re not on the right track with God if we acknowledge our sinful nature, repent and restore fellowship with the Lord.