Summary: We have been looking at what a healthy church should look like. We decided a couple weeks ago that we would us e the model of the early church that is recorded for us in Acts chapter two. We noted that the early church was a healthy one and we could tell
The Healthy Church
Ways to know your church is unfriendly.
When the sign out front says – For members only
When the parking lot has a sign that says – unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owners expense.
When the church lobby has a sign that says – no loitering
When you say “Praise the Lord” and the guy behind you says – we don’t do that here.
When they pass the plate – twice
When, at fellowship, coffee is $1.50 and donuts are $1.00 – limit one.
When the church’s motto is – We’re getting smaller but purer.
We have been looking at what a healthy church should look like. We decided a couple weeks ago that we would us e the model of the early church that is recorded for us in Acts chapter two. We noted that the early church was a healthy one and we could tell because, God was working in the church. The people were unified in purpose, They were praising God because He was working in the church, and the most obvious sign, God was adding to their numbers daily that needed to be saved. The early church was like Walmart,"The Saving Place". Last week we began to look at what the church was doing that may have contributed to God blessing that church. We saw what the church was doing recorded for us in verse 42 of Acts 2. Let's read that verse again. "42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Last week we looked at what was meant by continuing steadfastly in the apostles doctrine. It means simply to continually be desiring God's word. To be a student constantly growing. This week we will look at that next word following the apostles doctrine and in "Fellowship". What exactly is meant by fellowship? We think of the meals we share together, but is that all Luke is speaking of here? I think the idea of fellowship goes beyond that, and that is what we are going to look at this morning.
First, let's define the word Fellowship. I hate to dissapoint but according to dictionary.com there is no mention of food, the definition has to do with community, companionship, communion, association. Fellowship has a lot to do with people and nothing to do with food. The word that is translated for us as fellowship is the greek word Koinonia which means community, communion, joint participation. Now I know that the next phrase says and in the breaking of bread and this has to do with the act of communion, not sitting down to share a meal. We will look at that aspect next week, but for now let's concentrate on this idea of fellowship. I would like for you to look at Acts 2 and read with me verses 42-47...
"42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
I think in this passage we have a picture of what true fellowship is. Did you see it? It has to do with two things...
They toook care of one another. It says all that believed were together. We talk about families being unified. We sing about glad we're a part of the family of God. I believe that song says " When one has a heartache, we all share the tears, And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear." Families do't let each other go through thing alone. It says that they went from house to house to break bread, and eating meat. They went visiting. They shared in the Lord's Supper and they ate together. They were actively involved in each others lives. I have question for you, Do you love your family? Your spouse, your children, moms, dads, brothers, sisters? What would you do for them? What wouldn't you do for them? Now, how about yoour church family? Do you love them? We should, shouldn't we? When family is need, you help if you're able, right? How about with your church family? If you don't hear from your brother for a while and you usually talk every week, will you pick up the phone? If mom needs a ride to the doctors office and you have time to take her, don't you? There are so many things that we can do to show someone we care, and Jesus says whatsoever you have done to the least of these, you have done so to me! A phone call, a note, an email. Stop by and visit. Sincerely ask how someone is doing and listen to their response. An offer of help goes a long way! Let me say also, this not for you to point at someone else and say, Yes, you need to do that better. It is for us to examine ourselves. Ypu do not know what limitations someone else may have. You don't know how full or empty their schedule is, but we know our own limitations and schedule, don't we? Caring for each other leads us to another part of being like the early church in...