Summary: In order for the church to grow in number and in depth true Biblical fellowship is a key.
Principles to Build Upon: Fellowship
In Romania, and in many Eastern European countries, there are so many orphans being put into institutions that there isn’t enough food or medical supplies or staff members to take care of them. The babies, often past toddler age, are still kept in diapers and placed in cribs because there’s no other way to take care of them. They are lifted out to be fed and they infrequently have their diapers changed. There is no real physical contact with other humans – no cuddling, no holding, hardly touched. They end up in semi-catatonic states and often die from a lack of human contact. This condition is called “failure to thrive syndrome.”
This “failure to thrive syndrome” can happen in our spiritual lives and we desperately need the fellowship of one another to make it through. We must learn and understand that there is no “lone ranger” Christians. The bottom line is that we need fellowship. So often people seclude themselves and stay off to themselves and the problem with that is that they miss out on the fellowship of the saints.
I might suggest to you this morning that one of the most important elements that we need to build the church upon is fellowship with one another.
I believe that we were made to be in fellowship. We were made to be in fellowship with God and with one another. When you understand fellowship in that light, then perhaps the concept of Biblical fellowship becomes one of the most important aspects of our lives. We have a part of us that loves being around others and when we are not we become miserable.
For those of you who play golf, do you like to play alone, or is it better when you have others with you to make fun of you or awe at your great shot? The game is more fun when playing it with others.
I think women understand the concept of doing things together; they make a trip to the bathroom a group social event.
We as the church understand some about fellowship. We have our fellowship hall, our fellowship dinners, and our fellowship meetings. But what exactly is fellowship? What does it mean?
Is fellowship a potluck dinner? – It could be.
Is fellowship a Sunday school class? – It could be.
Is fellowship simply coming to church? –It could be.
Is fellowship just hanging out with one another? - It could be.
Is fellowship becoming a Christian? – It could be.
The dictionary defines “fellowship” as: - Companionship, friendly association – Mutual sharing as of experiences, of activities, of interests – A group of people with the same interests, brotherhood.
The Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia”, and it comes from a root meaning common or shared. So fellowship means common participation in something either by giving what you have to the other person or receiving what he or she has. We indeed have a common bond in Christ and it is that bond that makes the fellowship within the church special.
I believe that in order for us to have the exponential growth that the early church did, we must again devote ourselves to fellowshipping with one another. Fellowship was not just a small part of their lives. It was not just a compartment of their lives consisting of something they did only once a week, it was a lifestyle. So often people reduce fellowship to the time we spend within the walls of this building a few times a week, but I believe fellowship is so much more than that. The early church was devoted to fellowship. The early Christians met day by day in the temple, and were eating meals in each other’s homes daily. There is no doubt that the church in its infancy experienced such great success in part because of their commitment to fellowship.
Text: Acts 2:42-47
I. True Fellowship Is A Discipleship Tool
I have to believe that one of the reason that the church has so many lukewarm members who never move beyond a casual Sunday only Christianity is because of a lack of true fellowship. Fellowship really can be a tool to lead someone into discipleship. By discipleship I mean becoming more like our master. You might be thinking how can fellowship make us more like Christ? As we fellowship with one another we are helping each other mature in our faith, serve more readily, and to live a godlier life.
When you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in a "V" formation, you might be interested in knowing that science has discovered why they fly that way. Re-search has revealed that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately behind it. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone. It quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.