Summary: What does fellowship look like and how does Church fellowship benefit us?
OPEN: Once upon a time (as all good stories begin), a group of people agreed that they should spend each Sunday in the presence of one another. Many were not satisfied with the 6 or 8 hours each week, but also came together each Saturday for several more hours of fellowship.They did not count the minutes past sixty. Rather, with great conviction they said, "We've come for a purpose and will not leave until it has been accomplished - even if it takes all day." Then at the end of the day, they would cheerfully pledge to return next week.
Their commitment was thing of which to marvel, as it was not a passing fancy affected by the weather. They met winter and summer! When the spring rains came and when fall's chill was in the air, other people might be heard to say, "The weather kept me at home; I was unable to be present in my spot," but not the faithful souls of whom I speak.
Their sacrifices often involved more than time. They gave of their money (as the Good Book says), for their hearts were very much involved in the weekly gathering. Not only to buy gasoline - many came from great distances – but they would often part with significant amounts of cold, hard cash for that which seemed worthy of their attention.
Sometimes they would disagree with one another as humans are prone to do. Sometimes they spoke to one another in a less than courteous way, yet they would return week after week, for their purpose for assembling was far greater than their personal likes and dislikes.
Their persistence knew no bounds. Often their numbers were so large that there was not suitable convenient parking and they had to walk along a dangerous roadway.
Their faithfulness was something to write in hopes of inspiring others to heights of dedication. This is truly the stuff of which men and women of greatness are made!
I salute… "Mary's Weekend Swap Meet and Flea Market."
You thought I was talking about a church there for a moment didn’t ya??
And the reason that would have seemed so logical was because that’s how we all know a church is supposed to be. A true church is supposed to be dedicated to fellowshipping with one another. That's why the following words would have struck home for you:
“Many were not satisfied with the 6 or 8 hours each week,
but also came together each Saturday for several more hours of fellowship.”
These folks liked being together.
They liked it so much - that just one day was just not enough.
“Sometimes they spoke to one another in a less than courteous way, yet they would return week after week, for their purpose for assembling was far greater than their personal likes and dislikes.”
Even when they didn’t like other as much as they should they still committed themselves to gathering together because their purpose in gathering far outweighed any personal conflicts they may have had.
They “fellowshipped” and FELLOWSHIP is our word for today.
Fellowship is part of what makes a true church… a church
Because without fellowship you ain’t got much.
As far as God is concerned - fellowship for the church – is essential.
In fact it’s so important that it became part of what made the early church… the church.
Acts 2:42 tells us that after those 3000 folks were baptized into Christ on Pentecost
“… they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and FELLOWSHIP, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
These 4 activities (doctrine, breaking of bread, prayers and fellowship) were so important to God that God TOLD us about it in this passage. And because the early church was so dedicated to Fellowship (and all those other things) they were able to withstand\
* small disagreements
* and even outright persecution and death.
They were held together by their commitment to God… and to each other.
Now the question is – what is Fellowship?
Answer: Fellowship is just hanging out together.
Wanting to be together.
You see, Church is NOT a building.
It’s not a theatre where we come to be entertained.
It’s not a place where we get together to do business.
YOU are the church, not this building.
Church is a family.
This building is just where we get together for “family gatherings”.
ILLUS: Yesterday, the Hurds had folks here at the church to celebrate their 60th anniversary. And all kinds of people showed up – not for the cake and ice cream (although those were good), but just of the joy of being with their friends in fellowship.
ILLUS: And yesterday, the Larimores had the youth group over to swim in their pool. They had a good time together. They fellowshipped.