Summary: Fellowship was such an important part of the first century church and was part of the reason for its exponential growth. We too need to be doevted to fellowship.
“Are You Devoted to Fellowship”
Three pastors met and were talking over conditions at their churches.
The first pastor said, "You know, since summer started, I’ve been having trouble with mice in my church. I’ve tried everything----noise, spray, cats---nothing seems to scare them away."
The second pastor said, "Yeah, my church too. There are hundreds living in the basement of the church. I’ve set traps and even called an expert to get rid of them but nothing has worked so far."
The third pastor said, "I had the same problem, so I baptized all mine and made them members of the church... haven’t seen one since.
The last time I preached I preached a sermon entitled “are you devoted to the Apostle’s Teaching”. For the next few weeks I said we would be looking at different aspects of what the early church was devoted to. I want to this morning to look at the devotion of the early church to fellowshipping with one another and the importance of fellowship in our lives today.
We have our fellowship hall, our fellowship dinners, our fellowship meetings. But what exactly is fellowship? What does it mean?
Is fellowship a potluck dinner? – It could be.
Is fellowship a S.S. class? – It could be.
Is fellowship joining the church? - It could be.
Is fellowship becoming a Christian? – It could be.
The dictionary defines “fellowship” as: - Companionship, friendly association – Mutual sharing as of experiences, of activities, of interests – A group of people with the same interests, brotherhood.
The Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia”, and it comes from a root meaning common or shared. So fellowship means common participation in something either by giving what you have to the other person or receiving what he or she has.
The early church was devoted to fellowship. The early Christians met day by day in the temple, and were eating meals in each others homes daily.
I believe that in order for us to have the exponential growth that the early church did, we must again devote ourselves to fellowshipping with one another.
Text: Acts 2:42
I. Fellowship Builds Faith
I believe that we can see clearly from scripture the importance of fellowship with our brothers and sisters and how it builds our faith. I honestly believe that we cannot stay strong in our faith without contact with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Fellowship is not simply going to a baseball game, or eating a fellowship meal, fellowship takes place when Christians talk about the Lord. I think that when the early church met together they talked a lot about the Lord. There is nothing wrong with talking about the big games, there is nothing wrong with talking about cars or other things of that nature, but we need to spend more time talking about the Lord when we are with out brothers and sisters in Christ because that is when our faith is built up.
Christianity is a unique religion in that it is not an completely individualized religion. In Christianity we lean on other people called by the same name to help us to grow and to mature in our individual faith. I think it is great that just by talking about our Lord with each other you can grow in faith. Perhaps you have an experience like that. Maybe one time you sat around fro hours with a friend talking about the Lord and you leave feeling so strong. That is the nature of fellowship; it builds up our fait when we are together.
a. Builds Accountability
One reason why we should be devoted to fellowshipping is because it builds accountability. I really think that this is important for our faith. I suggest that you find a friend who is a Christian outside of your family that you can talk to about things that you are struggling with in your faith, and ask them to check up on you and to encourage you. As you begin to be around more Christians and fellowship more then you begin to meet more people and those people will help you to grow in faith. I believe that fellowship builds accountability.
b. Builds Unity
A comedian once said that there can be union without unity. – Just tie two cats’ tails together and throw them over a clothesline.
The church is called to be united. I feel that many times in the church though there is union, we meet together, but there is not unity. Unity is being as the first century church was having everything in common and being of the same mind. This does not mean that we will disagree this just means we will not speak in matter of opinion.
The church is called the family of God and we as the church are all one body and each member I important. That is why it hurts the whole body when someone skips church. When someone skips church it is as if a part of the body is not present. We cannot be fully functional as the church if members of the body are not worshipping with the rest of the body. Fellowship builds unity, it did in the early church and it does now.