Summary: Think ’fellowshipping’ is just Christian socializing? Think again!
Church 101: A Beginners Guide To Church
Part 6 - Fellowship and Church
“42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
What makes Christian Fellowship different from other types of fellowship?
Is it merely a social thing?
Fellowship - The condition of sharing similar interests, ideals, or experiences, as by reason of profession, religion, or nationality (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)
Friendship - Affection arising from mutual esteem and good will (Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary)
When most people think of the word “fellowship” in a church context they think of going out to dinner after church
Or hanging out in the lobby
Or going to a baseball game
Or something else in the activities realm
But there is more to it than that
Fellowship takes a person from outside and slowly incorporates them into the church over a period of time
It is part of the maturing process
Without solid Christian fellowship, the Christian will not mature properly
Rather he or she will remain immature
1 Cor 13:11 - When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Like music, giving, baptism, and communion,
Fellowship, real fellowship is an act of worship
It is about developing relationships that build us up
It is about allowing God’s people to influence how we live our lives and how we understand our faith
1. The Primary Purpose of Christian Fellowship
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
- Not an advocacy of Communism
- Emphasis on meeting needs as they arise
- This came from the belief of the early church that Jesus owned them and all their stuff as well
- Ac 4:32, 34-35 - All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had… There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
- Modern fellowship doesn’t dictate selling all our stuff
- But we must meet others needs
- The purpose of fellowship is to meet others needs
- Put others first
- This is basic to kingdom living
- Mark 9:35 - Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
2. The Peculiar Parts of Christian Fellowship
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles…46a Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
- Christian Fellowship is different from social life in following areas (from text)
- Devotion to the apostles’ teaching
- Recognition of God’s chosen teachers
- Eph. 4:11-13 - 11 It was he [The Holy Spirit] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, (12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ).
- KJV says “continued steadfastly”
- TLB “regular attendance”
- The idea is one of habitually hearing and putting into practice the teaching of the apostles
- Emphasis on putting into practice
- This is singular to Christian fellowship
- It is an inclusion of God in social life
- Seeks God’s guidance and approval
- Seeks his will
- Meeting together
- Going to church
- Being with God’s people
- More centered on intimate sharing than other social settings