Summary: Fellowship is a commitment to Christ and to one another.
Our Purpose: Fellowship
Text: Acts 2:42; Phil. 1:5; Eph. 4:2-3
1. Read Acts 2:42
2. Illustration: When Pliny was governor of Bithynia, he wrote a most interesting letter to the Roman Emperor Trajan, asking why Christians were being exterminated, and added: "I have been trying to get all the information I could regarding them. I have even hired spies to profess to be Christians and become baptized in order that they might get into the Christian services without suspicion. "Contrary to what I had supposed, I find that the Christians meet at dead of night or at early morn, that they sing a hymn to Christ as God, that they read from their own sacred writings and partake of a very simple meal consisting of bread and wine and water (the water added to the wine to dilute it in order that there might be enough for all). "This is all that I can find out, except that they exhort each other to be subject to the government and to pray for all men."
3. Over the past several Sunday’s we have been talking about the purpose of the church. We have said that the purpose of the church is to:
4. Today we are going to talk about fellowship. Now most of us when we hear the word fellowship we says "Let’s Eat!"
Propostion: Fellowship is a commitment to Christ and to one another.
Transition: First of all...
I. Fellowship Requires Commitment (Acts 2:42)
A. Devoted Themselves
1. Luke tells us that the early church "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
2. The phrase "continued steadfastly" means to "continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of despite difficulty - ’to devote oneself to, to keep on, to persist in." —Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
3. One of the things that they continued to devote themselves to was fellowship.
a. It was more than just getting together.
b. It was a partnership in the purposes of the Church and a sharing of the message and the work (Horton, 65).
4. 1 Jn. 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
5. The fellowship wrought by the Spirit of God means more than the association existing in secular groups such as civic clubs and community bodies.
a. There is a vast difference between community participation and spiritual participation. Community participation is based upon neighborly association.
b. Spiritual participation is based upon a spiritual union wrought by the Spirit of God.
6. The distinctiveness is this: the Holy Spirit is within the Christian believer.
a. The Holy Spirit creates a spiritual union by melting and molding the heart of the Christian believer to the hearts of other believers.
b. He attaches the life of one believer to the lives of other believers.
c. Through the Spirit of God, believers become one in life and purpose.
d. They have a joint life sharing their blessings and needs and gifts together.
B. Devotion to Christ and One Another
1. Illustration: Arthur Blessitt of North Fort Myers, FL, has walked 31,416 miles in more than 27 years since December 25, 1969. He has been to all seven continents, including Antarctica, carrying a 12-foot cross and preaching throughout his walk.
2. That man showed the depth of his devotion. Fellowship is all about devotion.
a. It is about devotion to Christ.
b. It is about devotion to his church.
3. How far are you willing to walk for Christ?
a. Are you only willing to walk down the road?
b. Are you willing to walk around the world?
4. How far are you willing to walk for His church?
a. Are you only willing to walk as far as you are required?
b. Are you willing to walk the extra mile?
5. Matt. 5:41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
Transition: Another thing that fellowship requires is...
II. Fellowship Requires Partnership (Phil. 1:3-5)
A. Fellowship In the Gospel
1. Here Paul tells his friends in Philippi "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,"
a. What a nice thing for Paul to say to them.
b. What a nice thing for anyone to say about someone.
c. There isn’t a nicer thing that anyone can say to you than "I thank God for you!"
2. But listen to why Paul thanks God for them "For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now."