Summary: The message defines fellowship as 1. Christ centered 2.Common Among Believers 3. Constructive 4. A Commitment
Fellowship - United in Christ
"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
We are looking at the meaning of fellowship. For many, it means getting together and sharing a meal or special night of games or activity. But the word fellowship in the Bible carries a meaning of relationship. It implies a close intimate relationship with another person.
Last week we looked at Fellowship as union with God through Jesus Christ His Son. When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and enter into the relationship with Him we become the adopted children of almighty God. He becomes our Father in heaven.
If you look out over this congregation you are going to see different people. By different people I mean people from different backgrounds, economic levels, cultural backgrounds, and ethnic backgrounds. We are a church of different people and no two are alike. We have this morning at least five distinct cultural and ethnic backgrounds represented. So what is it that draws this mixed bag, some might say mixed bag of nuts together this morning?
1. Fellowship is Christ Centered
Who was the "they" that scripture speaks of in this verse? "They" were the 3000 that had received Jesus as Lord and had been baptized. They were the growing New Testament church in Jerusalem.
They came from different walks of life but the one thing that they had in common was Jesus Christ. They were drawn together into this union with one another because of their decision to follow Him.
Our fellowship is no different from the "They". We gather together, different as we are, because of Jesus Christ our Lord. We are the "they". We are all different but have we do have one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
We have been called out by Christ to fellowship with one another. We are all related because of Him. He is the tie that binds us together.
Why do problems arise in churches? People follow egos, pride, and other distractions instead of following Jesus Christ. Some one wants their way or preference instead of honoring our Lord. Fellowship is Christ centered.
2. Fellowship is Common Among Believers
We all need fellowship with one another. When God created all things in the beginning he said "It was good". He had even created man, Adam. Adam had been working to "name the animals" as the Lord had instructed. But the LORD looked at the situation in the garden and said
"It is not good for man to be alone". Genesis
We are created, built, for relationships. It is not good to be alone. We are instructed in scripture to meet together. We are a part of a family, the family of God. Why do we need to gather together as believers?
1. We live in a world that is contrary to the will of God. We live in a world and society that beats us down daily. We need reminding of what God’s word says to us so we can live successful lives in Christ.
2. We meet to worship and praise as a body. Corporate worship has always been a part of God’s plan for our life.
3. We need to meet to be loved by our family. The Lord never, I repeat never, created lone ranger believers. We meet to get encouraged and loved.
3. Fellowship is Constructive
The Word gives us one word for life in the church, encouragement. We are to encourage, built up, be constructive, toward one another. The church is the place you come to be built up, edified, to do the work that you have been called out to do. Hebrews 10:24-25 says,
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching
It is a place to...
1. Build life long friendships in Christ
2. Build one’s faith in safety
3. Build one another up to become what God intended and to
4. Use one’s gifts for works of service
All of these tasks are ours because of the great command. We do them because we love the Lord our God and we love one another. It is what we were created for in the beginning.
Why do most churches struggle continually? There body parts are missing. The scriptures depict believers as a body, the body of Christ. We are a very important part of the body and need to be present for the body to be complete. Imagine for a moment if you lived without your eyes, your hands, or your big toe. You would not be able to function as well. That is one reason we meet, to complete the body.