Summary: This is the 3rd sermon in the "Changing Your Spiritual Appetite" series.
Series: Changing Your Spiritual Appetite [#3]
BE DEVOTED TO FELLOWSHIP
This is the 3rd week of our series, “Changing Your Spiritual Appetite”. I pray that this series begins a transformation not just in Bel Aire; but more importantly in each of our individual lives. We have made Christianity all about making people feel good about themselves, instead of Christianity being about Jesus changing lives. As we talked about last week, the Church needs to strip away all of the stuff and be like the Acts 2 Church.
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached to people from all over. When he finished, 3,000 people were saved. Just that quickly, the Church began. Suddenly, 3,000 people who may have had little else in common, were thrown together as a Church. Things could have been chaotic; but instead, “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Among the 4 things to which they devoted themselves to, 1 of them was fellowship. Fellowship immediately became an important part of their reasons for meeting together. What is fellowship? We talk about fellowship, and we often tell one another that what we need is more fellowship. However, our modern ideas of fellowship may have become so watered-down that the word no longer carries the same meaning that it did for the Early Church.
It is not a surprise that the Early Church devoted itself to prayer and Bible study because it was important for their growth; but fellowship was just as important. They didn’t just go through the motions of being with each other; they devoted themselves to it. This means that fellowship was a priority. We often view fellowship as what we do. We have casual conversations and common activities. This is not wrong and can contribute to fellowship; but it falls far short of fellowship according to the Bible.
1 John 1:1-3 (NIV)
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
1. We have something in common.
Christians may have nothing in common except 1 thing: A relationship with Jesus. We can have fellowship and share with each other because we have a relationship with Christ; we share Him in common. We were all individuals with little in common until the Father's calling separated us from everyone else in this world, and we became part of Christ's body through His Spirit. True Christian fellowship is primarily a relationship rather than an activity.
In Acts 2:42, the young Church was not merely devoting itself to common activities but to a vital, spiritual relationship. It was this relationship that produced an active sharing in other ways. Many of us have gotten this backwards- That the activities produce the relationship. Not so. The relationship comes 1st, then the common activities follow.
It is so important that we grasp this. Fellowship means that we belong to each other in a relationship because we share with one another the common life and grace of Jesus Christ. From this, flows additional sharing of our time, experiences, wisdom, and many other things.
2. We share together.
The Greek words for fellowship is koinônia and metochos. They both mean "to share together" in the sense of a partnership. As sharers together with Christ, we are automatically copartners with Him and with our brothers and sisters in God’s work. His work is our work. A business partnership is always formed in order to attain a known objective, such as providing a service to the public at a profit for the partners. In the same way, the concept of a spiritual partnership implies that it is created with godly objectives- The most important 1 being glorifying God. Just as we are united in a relationship, so we are all united in a partnership formed to glorify God by completing His work.