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Our Life Together Series: Foundations and Motivations (Acts 2:42) 

07 Apr

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

2.42Fellowship is second on God’s spiritual ‘hall of fame” items! Only doctrine comes before it, and that makes sense because “fellowship is based upon proper truth.” Fellowship rightfully follows obedience.

Life is not all vertical, any more than it is only horizontal. One writer suggested that “the cross points toward heaven-from earth; it also points to man while on earth.”

What if an observer came to this congregation to make a careful analysis of the church’s life in fellowship. He is a specialist in studying how groups work together, and he intends to compare us as a “community” to other secular groups in our city. When he comes, he will notice how we interact with each other in the worship assembly and in our Bible classes. He will also want to study to see if we really share in a common life outside of this building during the week.

What kind of things will he want to investigate? Group loyalty, our willingness to support each other in time of need, and the amount of time we spend enjoying the company of others. He will also pay attention to how well those who sit by each other during the assembly Sunday after Sunday really know each other.

Those who have put themselves in such a circumstance, and allowed others to come study them, find that the great majority of church members finally admit that they know only a small percentage of the people with whom they have been worshipping week after week. They were essentially an anonymous group of worshipers.

And what could be worse? Many questioned expressed little interest in becoming more involved in the lives of other members. They admitted that they needed to be able to bear the burdens of others and help when difficulties came into their lives…but they also admitted they had done very little of either of the two!

The New Testament exhorts us to care for one another as fellow members of the body of Christ. In fact, the Lord Jesus desires all believers to be functioning effectively as a partner/ members of His body, the church.

Paul has an important word for us on this very important matter in Ephesians 4:15-16: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. {16} From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

If the local church becomes a near-anonymous group of worshippers, we miss an indispensable part of what the Christian faith can do to enrich our lives. (Romans 1:11-12)  “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong– {12} that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

People still need human contact. The church is the glue that keeps us together when we disagree. It is the gasoline that keeps us going during the tough times. It is the guts that enables us to take risks when we need to.  Community … means people who have to learn how to care for each other. One of the greatest expressions of love is simply to notice people and to pay attention to them.

There are some issues within our society that works against fellowship: We are far more mobile and far busier than other generations; It’s tempting to avoid getting involved in the lives of others because they will likely move away and “it hurts too much” to say goodbye; We become so involved with ourselves that we cease to care for others; Some just fail to understand the Biblical teaching regarding this subject. Fellowship involves: relationship, partnership, companionship, and stewardship. The meaning of these two word groups can be boiled down to two main ideas: (1) “To share together, take part together” in the sense of participation and partnership, and (2) “To share with” in the sense of giving to or receiving from others, sharing what we have with one another.

Fellowship Means Relationship.  In the New Testament what is shared in common is shared first of all because of a common relationship that all Christians share together in Christ. The idea of an earthly fellowship founded upon just common interests, or human nature, or physical ties like in a family, or purely physical church affiliation, or merely self-centered interests that sport enthusiasts might share together was completely foreign to the Apostles. In the New Testament, believers can have fellowship on a horizontal plane and share together because they first of all have a vertical relationship with God through His Son, the Lord Jesus, and because they can share together in Christ’s life and hold His purposes in common.  No man should be alone when he opposes Satan. The church and the ministry of the Word were instituted for this purpose, that hands may be joined together and one may help another. If the prayer of one doesn’t help, the prayer of another will.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Our Life Together

 

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