Partnering for the Gospel
This morning we will be looking at the importance of partnering for the Gospel. Pastor Norman and I will be team teaching as we try to exemplify partnering together for the sake of the Gospel. There are several things that come to my mind as we consider this topic. The Gospel is something that we are all influenced by, initially in salvation and discipleship, and then in the sharing of the Good News with others. When I think of the word partnering I have several word pictures that come to mind. My wife is a wonderful partner, she compliments who I am, there is a combining of strengths, and there is fruitfulness and productivity. There is partnership in business activities, sports, and at school. Here is a list of words that complement the idea of partnering together:
Agree, collaborate, contribute, coordinate, help, participate, unite, uphold, advance, befriend, combine, befriend, combine, concur, back up, chip in, go along with, join forces, lend a hand, pitch in, play ball, pool resources, pull together, show willingness, share, side with, stick together, take part, work side by side, work together with…
There are some key passages of Scripture that also speak of partnering together in the Gospel.
Jesus and his disciples partnered together forming a fellowship who communed as one while partaking and contributing in spreading the Gospel. Paul states in Phil 1:3-6 - 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
1 Cor 3:9-11 – Pastor Norman
The key passage that we will be looking at this morning is found in 1 Cor 3:9-11. Let’s turn in our bibles to this passage and begin to see what the Scriptures say about partnering for the Gospel. Pastor Norman is going to highlight and speak to 1 Cor 3:9-11 - 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Advantages of Partnering together – Pastor Larry
As I was praying about the benefits several thoughts came to my mind.
· One of the first verses I looked at what Eccl 4:9 - Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work… Synergy or working together and the combining of strengths and resources is significant as we partner for the sake of Jesus.
Here is a great illustration of working together. “One of the largest, strongest horses in the world is the Belgian draft horse. Competitions are held to see which horse can pull the most and one Belgian can pull 8,000 pounds. The weird thing is if you put two Belgian horses in the harness who are strangers to each other, together they can pull 20,000 – 24,000 pounds. Two can pull not twice as much as one but three times as much as one. This example represents the power of synergy. However, if the two horses are raised and trained together they learn to pull and think as one. The trained, and therefore unified, pair can pull 30,000 – 32,000 pounds, almost four times as much as a single horse.” How important it is for believers in Jesus to “pull together” with their strengths and talents and spiritual gifts.
· The Body of Christ as seen in 1 Cor 12:12-31 is a perfect example of partnering together. Our bodies have various parts, limbs, organs and cells, but no matter how many parts we identify we are still one body. In other words, who I am is a healthy functioning or partnering of many parts. The same is true of the Body of Christ. Partnering in the Body of Christ integrates all the gifts and talents so that they function well. No one part can exalt itself over another. There is a healthy respect and trust towards each other. There is a commitment to communicate well. All of this is so that God is glorified in his Body. Jesus is worthy as the Lamb who was slain for our sins, defeated the devil, brought us into relationship with God and his family and who unites us as one force partnering and proclaiming this Good News.
Warnings of 1 Cor 3 – Pastor Larry
Just as there are benefits of being united as partners for the Gospel, Paul warns the church in Corinth about some of the hindrances before them. The church was struggling with several things. Firstly, there was jealousy or envy. This is like the opposite of godly zeal to get the job done; it is resentments, anger issues, suspicion. Paul warns them to be careful in how they partner and build together. Secondly, jealousy leads to quarrelling which does not help promote the team spirit that is so important. Paul tells them that jealousy and quarrelling are just symptoms of being worldly; like when one takes sides with Apollos or Paul as examples.
Let me ask you a question… Are you a good honker? There is another lesson we can learn from creation involving geese.
It is our hope and prayer that we take advantage of the benefits of partnering together and avoid those hindrances that can weaken us.
In Conclusion – Pastor Norman
Pastor Norman will close the service.