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Summary: What can we do to strengthen our life together, enhance the fellowship we enjoy in Christ? We will take a look at various acts of worship that we do in our public assemblies, which are designed to build and improve our fellowship in Christ.

ENHANCING OUR FELLOWSHIP - PART 4 OF 5

1. INTRODUCTION

1. So far we have looked at the doctrinal basis of Our Life Together by:

a. Noticing the intimacy and interdependency of our fellowship in the local church

b. Examining acceptance and freedom in Christ

c. Reviewing what is said about the limitations of our fellowship

2. In this week’s message, we’ll look at the application of our studies to fellowship in our church:

a. What can we do to strengthen our life together?

b. What sort of things enhance the fellowship we enjoy in Christ?

3. Let’s take a look at various acts of worship that we do in our public assemblies, which are designed to build and improve our fellowship in Christ

2. IMPROVING FELLOWSHIP THROUGH PRAYER AND WORSHIP

Let’s start by examining two acts of worship that we engage in at every service.

A. CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE OF THE EARLY CHURCH

1. They were quick to join themselves together in prayer

a) They continued steadfastly in prayer - Acts 2:42

b) Especially in the face of persecution - Acts 4:18-23; 29-33; 12:1-12

2. They had fellowship in worship:

a) While enduring imprisonment - Acts 16:25

b) Note the connection of worship with praying

B. HOW PRAYER AND WORSHIP IMPROVES FELLOWSHIP...

1. Through the benefits of prayer, especially collective praying

a) Prayer is a wonderful source of strength and peace - Phil 4:6,7

b) But there is also a special value when Christians pray together

* Jesus taught the value of collective prayer - Mat 18:19,20

* James taught the value of the prayer of a righteous man; how much more the value of many righteous people praying - James 5:16

2. Through the benefits of worship, especially collective worship

a) Worship can certainly be an individual expression of praise - James 5:13

b) When done together, it also helps us build up one another - Col 3:16

c) This can lead to increased blessings, for such collective worship can:

* Nurture a heart of thankfulness to God - Col 3:16

* Help us be “filled with the Spirit” - Eph 5:18,19

3. ENHANCING FELLOWSHIP THROUGH THE LORD’S SUPPER

The early church certainly took advantage of the full blessings to be found in prayer and worship; they not only prayed and worshipped as individuals, but collectively as well. This helped to strengthen the fellowship they enjoyed in Christ. What about us today? Do we allow prayer and worship to strengthen our fellowship in the body of Christ? Do we see the value in devoting much of our service to prayer and worship? Let’s now take a look at an act of worship we engage in – ‘Communion’, or the ‘Lord’s Supper’.

A, THERE ARE SEVERAL IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF COMMUNION

1. It is a memorial - 1 Cor 11:23-25

a) Instituted by the Lord Himself

b) To commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins - Mat 26:26-28

2. It is a proclamation - 1 Cor 11:26

a) In which we proclaim our faith in the effectiveness of Jesus’ death in our behalf

b) To be done until He comes again (so it is also a proclamation of our faith in His Second Coming)

3. It is to be a period of extreme reverence - 1 Cor 11:27,29

a) It is to be observed in a worthy manner

b) Out of respect for the supreme price Jesus paid for our sins

4. It is a time for self-examination - 1 Cor 11:28

a) Where we can reflect on our own spiritual condition in relation to the sacrifice of Christ

b) We can check if we’re living in a manner that makes His sacrifice worthwhile?

5. It is a communion (sharing, fellowship) - 1 Cor 10:16

a) With the blood and body of Christ

b) And in a vertical relationship and fellowship with Christ and the Father by the Holy Spirit

B. THERE IS ALSO THE ELEMENT OF FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHERS

1. It also has something to do with our oneness in the body of Christ.

a) Though many, we are one bread and one body - 1 Cor 10:17

b) Why? “for we all share of that one bread”

c) There are at least two possible ways to view this...

* Sharing of the one bread together reminds us of our oneness, i.e., our fellowship

* Sharing of the one bread together strengthens our oneness, or fellowship

Both views are right, and both are accomplished.

d) In this way the Supper is an act of worship in which there is both:

* A vertical fellowship - communion with the Lord’s body and blood

* A horizontal fellowship - communion with one another

2. This helps us to see some implications in several passages

a) e.g., Acts 20:7 - “...when the disciples came together to break bread...”

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