Summary: This is a revamp of a sermon I did a couple of years ago. It deals with fellowship. Inspired by Bob Russell’s book, "When God Builds A Church."
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.
Today as we continue looking at the subject of “When God Builds a Church”, we are going to look at the importance of the principle of fellowship.
When a church is lacking in fellowship, the church’s growth will be stunted. We will all miss out on the joy of growing in Christ together. We will cheat ourselves and others out of great joy.
Is fellowship basket dinners at church, it is just doing things together or is it something more?
Fellowship does not happen on its own; it takes time and effort to happen. I want us to examine what fellowship is, why we need it and how we can encourage it in our church.
I. WHAT IS FELLOWSHIP?
1. Fellowship defined- Participation, a joint-sharing, to have in common. (See Acts 2:41-47 for an example.
READ ACTS 2:41-47
The early church was devoted to fellowship (42). Verse 44 says that all those who believed were together and had all things in common.
Verse 45 tells us they began selling their possessions and sharing with any other believers who had need.
Verse 46 says they were also of one mind in the temple (place of worship), they were going from house, taking their meals together with gladness.
Verse 47 says they were praising God together and the Lord added to their number DAILY!
These people were not just eating together; they were sharing, learning, and growing together. Later they would also suffer together.
Fellowship happens when we have something that ties us together as one. Jesus is the source of the fellowship for the Christian.
There should be a bond that takes place when we are with other Christians!
Bob Russell states on page 196 of his book, “When God Builds A Church”; “Despite the diversity among God’s people, they enjoy the richest fellowship imaginable because it is based on a common commitment to Jesus Christ.”
For true fellowship to happen there must be something that ties us together with others. Going to the mall and being around a lot of people does not mean we have fellowship with them. We may all be doing the same activity, shopping, but that may be all we share in common with the other shoppers.
Does having a basket dinner mean we have fellowship? It can if we share some common things we will look at. If we do not share these things in common, we are just eating together.
Jesus is what ties one Christian to another in Christian Fellowship. John writes about the strength of our bond of fellowship in Christ in
2. What MUST we have in common to have real fellowship? I John 1:1-7
If we are going to have a real connection to one another, if we are going to experience true fellowship, we must have these items in common. In 1 John 1:1-7 we find some things we must have in common in order to experience real fellowship.
• SLIDE #4
A common SAVIOR. (1) (Concerning the Word of Life)
• 1 John 1:1 (NASB) 1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—
A common Savior is the first thing we must share in common to have true fellowship. This means I cannot have true fellowship with a Muslim because we do not share a common Savior.
I cannot have fellowship with someone who is not a Christian because of this same thing.
2CO 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
What would happen if two of us want to go into business together? I want to run a computer company and you want to run a clothing store? Those two things will not work to well together.
A common MESSAGE. (3-5)
What John had seen and heard was being proclaimed to us so that we could have fellowship with them and with Jesus!
We will not always agree on every point of doctrine, but we need to be of one mind when it comes to who God is, who Jesus is, what has been done for us so that we can have salvation among other things.