Summary: Christ-like fellowship is far more than a social get-together or a shared meal. It symbolizes the cultural security, personal and Divine protection, Christian tradition, as well as an experiential reflection/ memory of Jesus' Last Supper.
WHAT A FELLOWSHIP
Beloved friends and family, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are upon us and the center of these celebratory days are the moments in which we gather around the table and “feast”/eat together. For Thanksgiving, countless hours will be spent preparing a version of the turkey, dressing, giblet gravy and cranberry sauce. For Christmas it is the dinner or breakfast which rivals the traditional opening of presents. And within the African American tradition, New Year’s Day would not be New Year’s Day without a serving of black eyed peas and rice, a some type of pork (chitterling, pork bones, or pork chops)…which has been said is for “good luck”. And as delectable as those menus may seem, I am led to submit to you that the miracle, message, and memory are not in the meal but are rather in the assemblage, in the togetherness, or as believers of Christ we call it… the fellowship. There is something special about getting together, fellowshipping, which can make any time of the year miraculous. There is special about fellowshipping, which transforms any food or drink item into a meaningful and momentous time whereas the assemblage sends a subliminal message of relationship…which can warm the hearts of friends. And consequently as a result of the fellowship we remember it and talk about it, we cherish it and look forward to it, and we crave for the opportunity to fellowship again. And one great Day when the Lord return we will be caught up to meet Him together with all of our believing loved ones and believing friends. And we all will be in the literal Presence of God Himself…. and Sabbath will have no end. What a fellowship!
I. Old Testament Reflection: In the OT, Fellowship was the method in which the followers of God miraculously found their initial security.
Beloved, although our scripture today found in Acts 2: 39-47 talks about the disciples and converts communing, fellowshipping together, fellowship has always been a significant characteristic amongst God and God’s people…in the OT and in the NT.
A. When God sent Moses to the deliver the Israelites from the suppression of Pharoah, he told Moses to tell the families to come together in each’s house. And the bible said that they ate unleavened bread. And so, this is where the actions of fellowship coined koinónia (Greek) began. They broke bread together.
B. And God told Moses to tell the Israelites that I will send an Angel of death to punish Pharoah, and I want you to sprinkle the blood of a young lamb over your doorposts. When I see the blood, I will Passover you. And sure enough, when the Angel of Death roamed throughout the Egyptian Land and punished Pharaoh, because of the blood of the Lamb sprinkled over the Israelites’ doorpost, this danger miraculously Passed Over them.
Beloved, just as there was security in the miraculous Passover fellowships. Jesus became that Lamb who provided his Blood, and when harm danger has come our way, God has miraculously allowed it to Passover us….who are members of the fellowship. Why? God yet provides miraculous security within fellowship of Believers.
II. Then this memory of the Passover (fellowship) became a momentous tradition from the OT to the NT…and even unto today.
A. This yearly fellowship was a time in which the Jews from around their world (at that time) came together to offer sacrifices for their sin at the Temple in Jerusalem.
B. Not only was this international fellowship important for the Jews, the Roman government used it as a method of census to count each one in a family…for future taxation purposes.
C. And so consequently, at this yearly fellowship, in the gates of the Temple, the money-changers defrauded the poor people’s gifts for their sacrificial offerings. And when Jesus came and saw this, he turned over the tables “And said unto them, It is written, my house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matt. 21:13).
But despite the enemies attempt to use the believers’ place of fellowship, gatherings of fellowship, and nowadays holidays of fellowship, thanks be unto God by Jesus’ work on the cross and through the dispensation of the Holy Ghost, God’s use of fellowship is no longer tied to place, no longer moderated by a specific person, and no longer enacted at an exclusive to a time.
D. Matthew, 18:19-20. Jesus said, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.