KEY TEXT: Rev. 2:4 (1-7) 4. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first
INTRODUCTION REAL LOVE cannot be considered without some element of PASSION spicing it up. The 2014 Theme: REMEMBER YOUR FIRST LOVE is therefore pregnant with a lot of passion.
Comments from the National President on the theme were, not surprisingly, passionate. We should make use of this passion to turn things around.
NATIONAL PRESIDENT Our fellowship today suffers deep complacency, weariness, indifference, and wide divergence from the original vision. Chapters are weak and dying, attendance is low, passion for lost souls has diminished, and meetings cannot be differentiated from 'church'. All this is in spite of the most intensive run of training ever, and motivational operational themes that were meant to spur us on to higher heights.
The 2014 theme should cause our fellowship to return to basics. In rolling out this 2014 theme a complete change in approach to leadership and chapter orientation is called for. Our chapters shall be training grounds for manifesting the vision, besides being havens for prayer and loving fellowship.
The Holy Spirit must lead once more. The difference between us and church today is blurred, not because church imitates what we do, but because we have stopped doing what God actually called us to do. The Lord says: -...consider how far you have fallen! (Rev.2:5) IT IS TIME WE: we got back on track, in readiness for probably the last wave of revival before our Lord Jesus returns.
W.O. AMOAH It fits the present predicament of the entire fellowship... I hope as leaders, we should take time to evaluate 2013 activities and our personal involvements/contributions; we would see that we all fall short The theme should be part of our everyday lifestyle and practices. GOD BE MERCIFUL TO FGBMFI INTERNATIONAL, GOD HAVE MERCY FOR FGBMFI GHANA.
KEY ISSUES TO CONSIDER: 1. BIBLICAL PURPOSE The purpose of the whole book of Revelation is: TO BLESS the one who reads its words and also those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it.
REASON FOR THE BLESSING: The time of the fulfillment of it's predictions is near HEARING & KEEPING BRINGS Faith and stabilizing hope, while facing the trials and persecutions, in view of the triumph of Christ and the ultimate triumph of His Church.
2. BIBLICAL SEQUENCE THE SEVEN SEVENS OF THE APOCALYPSE 3. BIBLICAL PRIORITY THE FIRST of the sevens is the message to the Churches THE FIRST of the Churches is Ephesus THE FIRST of the issues is THE FIRST LOVE
LOVE IS IN THE CENTRE OF ALL OF GOD'S REDEMPTIVE PLANS John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 1 Cor. 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
4. BIBLICAL CONTEXT Revelation 2:1 To the Church in Ephesus To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
NOTES: LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE ANGEL (MESSENGER) OF THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS. THE WORDS STARS AND LAMP-STANDS ARE THE LUMINARIES OF THIS DARK AGE! THEY ARE SYMBOLS OF GOD'S PEOPLE WHO ARE TO REFLECT THE ONE WHO IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. (Mt. 5:14; Jn. 8:12; Eph. 5:8; Phili. 2:5)
SEVEN CHURCHES - with peculiar strengths and weaknesses EPHESUS - THE LOVELESS CHURCH SMYRNA - THE PERSECUTED CHURCH PERGAMOS - THE COMPROMISING CHURCH THYATIRA - THE CORRUPT CHURCH SARDIS - THE DEAD CHURCH PHILADELPHIA - THE FAITHFUL CHURCH LAODICEA - THE LUKEWARM CHURCH
CRITICAL QUESTIONS: WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY - if He sent a letter to the fellowship (TO OUR NATIONAL PRESIDENT), as He did to Seven Churches in Asia Minor? WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO YOU THE INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR? WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO YOU THE NATIONAL DIRECTOR? WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO YOU THE FIELD REPRESENTATIVE? WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO YOU THE CHAPTER PRESIDENT? WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO YOU THE CHAPTER EXECUTIVE; COMMITTEE MEMBER; MEMBER?
Message:- "... You have left your first love!" EPHESIANS hated evil, BUT :- no longer gave God first place in their lives and did not reflect God's Love to others as they should.
THE CHURCH – Some called it THE ULTIMATE "NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH THEIR WORLD OF EPHESUS FEELS REMARKABLY LIKE OUR OWN: N.T. RECORDS ON THE CHURCH ILLUSTRATES WHAT IT TAKES TO LIVE OUT THE GOSPEL IN A CHALLENGING, WORLD-CLASS MARKETPLACE. BUT IF LOVE IS MISSING, THEN THE GREATEST MOTIVATOR IS MISSING! IF LOVE IS MISSING, THEN THE GREATEST ASSET IS MISSING!
ONE CAN RISE TO THE ULTIMATE IF LOVE IS CENTRAL IN THE MATTER! THEN GO ON IN ENDURANCE, PERSISTENCE, PASSION, CONSISTENCE... AND SING ABOUT IT! WE HAVE DONE IT BEFORE – CANT WE GO BACK?
IT PRODUCES: DEVOTION, COMMITMENT, LOYALTY, DEDICATION, FOCUS... PROACTIVENESS, CREATIVITY, INNOVATION... SACRIFICE, SELFLESSNESS, HUMILITY, SERVICE, THE STAMINA TO GO THE EXTRA MILE...
Rev. 2:2 (Paraphrased) Nevertheless, despite your other excellencies, I have this against you that you have abandoned, by imperceptibly quitting, your first love. (The spontaneous affection you had for me at the first) SPONTANEOUS LOVE FOR THE LORD IS THE HEIGHT OF TRUE SPIRITUALITY. TO LEAVE IT IS THE FIRST STEP TO A VERY SERIOUS FALL!!!
SPONTANEOUS LOVE RESPONDS TO CAUTION. Rev. 2:5c – REPENT ! – CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE AND DO THE FIRST WORKS!!! AS PROOF OF GENUINESS OF THEIR LOVE THE ALTERNATIVE IS FORFEITURE OF TESTIMONY...
KEY QUESTIONS: HOW DO WE REMEMBER OUR FIRST LOVE - AND GO BACK TO IT? HOW DO WE REBUILD THE BROKEN WALLS? HOW DO WE REVIVE "REACHING MEN FOR CHRIST"? HOW DO WE RETAIN THE SOULS WON? HOW DO WE SUSTAIN COMMITMENT AND CHAPTER GROWTH?
LEARN FROM AND APPLY THE PRINCIPLES OF THE MODEL NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. - THE CORE ISSUES SERVICE (MINISTRY) TO GOD MINISTRY TO ONE ANOTHER CARRYING OUT THE GREAT COMMISSION
THE PRINCIPLES OF THE N.T. CHURCH THEY ESTABLISHED A THREE-TIER "BIBLICAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS 1. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS 2. FINANCIAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS 3. SPIRITUAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS THEY FOLLOWED THIS EXAMPLE CHRIST SET WHEN HE USED THESE SYSTEMS TO REACH OUT IN LOVE TO MINISTER TO HIS PEOPLE. - JESUS WORSHIPS THE FATHER IN HEAVEN THROUGH US - JESUS SERVES THE MEMBERS OF HIS BODY THROUGH US - JESUS COMFORTS HURTING PEOPLE BY USING OUR ARMS TO EMBRACE THEM.
THEIR PRIORITIES MEMBERS MINISTERED TO THE LORD (Acts 2:41,46,47) WORSHIP, THANKFULNESS, PRAISING GOD MEMBERS MINISTERED TO ONE ANOTHER (Acts 2:44- 46) SHARED NEEDS, NO ONE LEFT HUNGRY OR HOMELESS. THEIR MINISTRY TO THE WORLD DEVELOPED FROM FIRST TWO FROM THEIR MINISTRY TO GOD AND EACH OTHER CAME THEIR WITNESS TO THE WORLD, THE RESULT : - MANY NEW BELIEVERS WERE ADDED! SOULS, SOULS, SOULS - DISCIPLES, DISCIPLES, DISCIPLES!!!
1. THE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT-SYSTEM FIRST SUPPORT-SYSTEM IN OUR MINISTRY TO ONE ANOTHER OUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS ARE MET THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS IT IS NOT GOOD FOR MAN TO BE ALONE (Gen. 1:26; 2:18) WE ARE MADE FOR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND ONE ANOTHER * Many secretly lonely souls have QUIETLY come into our midst desperately searching for just that - FELLOWSHIP GK. WORD FOR FELLOWSHIP IS "KOINONIA" Meaning :- a) SHARING LIFE TOGETHER - His Life in us b) AROUND A COMMON INTEREST - Jesus is our common interest!
PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY * Koinonia - very practical IN THE RESULTS IT PRODUCES * Christian Fellowship (Koinonia) MEETS THE DEEPEST NEEDS AND DESIRES NOTES:- Term used in marriage contracts of the Gk. People. Gk. Word for "community" - a group of people united around a common interest. JESUS' LOVE IS WITHOUT CONDITION, THUS HAS POWER TO FORGIVE, HELP & RESTORE!!! THIS KIND OF LOVE ENCOURAGES BELIEVERS TO:- 1) CONFESS THEIR FAULTS AND HONESTLY OPEN UP TO SHARE THEIR PROBLEMS. 2) MAKE PEOPLE COME TO SEEK REFUGE, LOVING ACCEPTANCE AND UNDERSTANDING.
WHEN WE HAVE: WE NEED TO BE: 1] FAILED FORGIVEN 2] STUMBLED SUPPORTED 3] BEEN HURT HEALED 4] BEEN BOUND RELEASED 5] BEEN WRONG CORRECTED 6] LOST OUR WAY DIRECTED 7] BEEN AFRAID PROTECTED 8] BEEN REJECTED ACCEPTED 9] BEEN BITTER SWEETLY COMFORTED 10] BEEN HATED LOVED WHAT AN EFFECTIVE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT-SYSTEM CAN DO!
PENTECOST SUNDAY - 3,000 SOULS, WITHIN TWO YEARS 30,000 - 40,000 NORTH KOREAN UNDERGROUND CHURCH PASTOR - JAILED FOR TWO YEARS FOR HIS FAITH - CAME BACK HIS CHURCH HAD GROWN 300% IN HIS ABSENCE, AND AN ADDITIONAL 20,203 SOULS HAD JOINED THE "KOINONIA" OF PERSECUTED SAINTS THE SAME YEAR HE RETURNED! "IT IS A SECURE FEELING TO KNOW WE ARE SUPPORTED BY MOTHERS AND FATHERS AND BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE FAMILY OF GOD. IT IS A FELLOWSHIP IN WHICH OUR ABILITIES AND DIVINE GIFTS ARE NEEDED AND WANTED!"
2. THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT-SYSTEM 2 nd WAY THE N.T. TEACHES US TO MINISTER TO ONE ANOTHER, NOT ONLY IN MONEY BUT OTHER WITH MATERIAL THINGS AND PRACTICAL SERVICES (Acts 2:44,45; 4:34,35) OUR ATTITUDE ABOUT OUR POSSESSIONS REVEAL OUR REAL NATURE WATCH FOR THE ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA KIND (Acts 4:36 - 5:11)
PRINCIPLES - NEVER ENOUGH MONEY TO HELP EVERYONE - PRIORITIES OF WHERE AND WHEN WE GIVE SUPPORT IS TO BE FOLLOWED - REQUESTS FOR HELP WERE SCREENED (1 Tim. 5:3) - PEOPLE & ISSUES CONSIDERED : -Aged or infirm (1 Tim. 5:9) Work if you can (2 Thess. 3:10-12) Relatives must be responsible (1 Tim. 5:4,8) Must be worthy (1 Tim. 5:9,10) Jerusalem Church example (Acts 2:5-12)
- NOBODY WAS FORCED TO GIVE - HONEST LEADERSHIP WAS FULLY REQUIRED - HELPING PEOPLE CAME FIRST - ACCORDING TO EACH ONE'S NEEDS - BEWARE OF THE SELF-APPOINTED MINISTER NOTE:- RELATIONSHIP - THE KEY TO SUPPORT-SYSTEMS SUCCESS
3. THE SPIRITUAL SUPPORT-SYSTEM 3 rd WAY THE N.T. TEACHES US TO MINISTER TO ONE ANOTHER THE JERUSALEM CHURCH ALSO USED THIS SUPPORT-SYSTEM HOW WAS THE SPIRITUAL SUPPORT-SYSTEM RUN? THROUGH SPIRITUAL SUPPORT IN SMALL GROUP (FELLOWSHIP) MEETINGS. KNOWN AS THE HOUSE CHURCH.
FGBMFI – A TYPE 0F HOUSE CHURCH A. THE HOUSE CHURCH: BEST PLACE TO GROW THE BEST PLACE FOR A FRUIT TREE TO GROW IS IN AN ORCHARD: A PLACE WHERE A TREE IS PROTECTED FROM OUTSIDE DANGERS BY A FENCE! ROOTS GROW DEEP INTO WELL-WATERED AND FERTILIZED SOIL BRANCHES ARE TRIMMED AND PRUNED => FINE FRUITS TREE DISEASES AND PESTS ARE TREATED AT ONCE! SETTINGS ARE CAREFULLY PLANNED THAT EACH TREE MAY BECOME AS FRUITFUL AS POSSIBLE.
B. THE HOUSE CHURCH: BEST PLACE TO LEARN BY TRYING AND MAKIN MISTAKES - WALKING IN THE SPIRIT - BEING WISELY CORRECTED, DOUBTS DEALT WITH, MISTAKES ACCOMMODATED. - LEARN TO USE THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS (2 Cor. 14:31) - IN THE N.T. CHURCH, NEW BELIEVERS WERE SHOWN HOW TO MOVE IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - THE FRUIT AND GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT WOULD BE KEPT IN BALANCE, THEREFORE NEW BELIEVERS COULD GROW IN:- *CHARACTER *CALLING
CONCLUSION GOD HAS WISELY GIVEN US DIVINE PRINCIPLES AND PATTERNS, BY THEM HIS WILL FOR THIS END-TIME ERA CAN BE DONE THROUGH HIS PEOPLE.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? 1. EVERY MEMBER IS A PRIEST - Leaders to equip and prepare them 2. EVERY MEMBER HAS A MINISTRY - Can be discovered and developed within the fellowship. 3. SMALL GROUP FELLOWSHIPS ARE IMPORTANT. HERE WE CAN SAFELY LEARN TO:- a) Worship God together b) Minister in the gifts of the Spirit together c) Go forth and witness to the world 4. LEADERS MUST PROVIDE:- a) Emotional Support-Systems b) Financial Support-Systems c) Spiritual Support- Systems
IF WE DO THESE THINGS CAREFULLY AND PRAYERFULLY, THE LORD WILL ADD AND RETAIN IN OUR FELLOWSHIP NEW BELIEVERS! GOD BLESS YOU !