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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Barriers to and blessings of Christian fellowship (Philippians 1:3-6)

Sadly, there are many barriers to fellowship and many of them are erected by believers themselves. An obvious one is spiritual selfishness whereby we keep our spiritual discoveries to ourselves and don’t share them with other believers. Another barrier is spiritual self-sufficiency which assumes that one does not need the input of other believers. A third barrier is spiritual selectivity in which we grade Christians and share our blessings with those we deem suitable. A fourth barrier is spiritual stiffness, which is afraid of spiritual intimacy and informality. A fifth barrier is spiritual sourness, which holds something against other believers, even although the offence was committed many years previously. A sixth barrier is spiritual shyness or reticence, in which we are afraid to reveal what we have discovered about God or what we need from God. A seventh barrier is spiritual slothfulness, which really comes down to ‘I can’t be bothered.’

Yet there are also many blessings connected to Christian fellowship. One is that we get to know God better, whether it be the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit. Each of the divine persons becomes more real to our souls. We discover the fullness of particular stores of grace that each of them has for the people of God.

Another blessing is that we share one another’s burdens and bring them to the throne of grace. It is good to pray by ourselves, but it is also good to have others pray for us. The laws of spiritual arithmetic reveal that God is more likely to answer quickly shared prayers than single prayers.

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