HANDOUT FOR SERMON: UNDERSTANDING GOD’S TEACHING ON FELLOWSHIP. April 24th, 2022, Manchester, TN 9:30 a.m.
Introduction: Together in Christ: 1 Corinthians 6:17, Galatians 3:27-28, Romans 6:3-6 & 13:14, Colossians 1:1-3.
In Acts chapter 2 we learn about the first conversions to Christ and how God added the saved to His Church. We also learn what that meant and how it affected the way they lived. What did the Christians do? Read Acts 2:42-47. From this passage I have selected the topic for our study today: “Fellowship.” God’s people were now in a community of believers, and they are in fellowship. The definition of fellowship is easy to define!!! But is not easy for me to understand!
You hear of 2 extremes:
Anything good that God’s people wanted or enjoyed doing together.
It is only spiritual nothing physical, eternal, related only to worship things.
What does the Bible truly say? What was fellowship in the NT?? Which of these is correct? Maybe neither?
Disclaimer: This is not a sermon about Church issues or practices, not about individual and collective action, not about Church collection verses personal funds nor the proper use of the Church building or questionable use of the building. This lesson is to help ME and hopefully YOU understand truly what God has said about “fellowship.”
1.IT IS A SHARED SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WE HAVE WITH JESUS AND OTHERS. 1 JOHN 1:1-7 It is spiritual, eternal, and invisible (not a tangible form).
I have fellowship with you, not just because we are in the same room. It is a spiritual, invisible connection (blood of Jesus Christ). As we all walk in the light as He is the light, we have fellowship.
Fellowship is like FAITH! It is spiritual, eternal, and invisible. Faith is spiritual, eternal, and invisible. What does God say about faith? Faith is proven or demonstrated through visible action! James 2:24-26
I suggest to you that: Fellowship without works is DEAD! What dose fellowship LOOK LIKE?!?
2.TRUE FELLOLWSHIP- INVOLVED IN WORSHIP ACTIVITIES. ACTS 2:42-47, Acts 4 Because they were busy doing these things correctly there were probable many new people showing up to learn what all this was about!
INVOLVED IN WORSHIP ACTIVITIES – not just check a box that I showed up! Involved in what? Study, break bread, prayer (Acts 2:42) and singing (1 Cor. 14:15). At least 4 things they gathered together to do.
Acts 4:23-24 The Christians under threat and in difficult times would gather to worship and encourage each other. They would find believers, pray and praise God together. They would naturally worship together because of their fellowship with one another.
Hebrews 10:22-25 Believers long to find fellow believers to sing, pray and study together!
Acts 2:42 “in the temple!” Not all worship activities have to be in our Church building!
TRUE FELLOWSHIP- PHYSICAL PROVISIONS, ACTS 2:44-45, ACTS 4:32-37
Due to our fellowship, giving and helping grows out of that fellowship! Christians are to be taken care of! Acts 6:1 Widows overlooked in the feeding to the needy saints. James 2:14-16 example of faith without works: if we only pray for the need but do nothing to feed or help the needy brother, God says our faith is dead! The same can be said of our spiritual fellowship with each other, God’s way is our fellowship demonstrated in action!
They immediately started gathering money for the local Christians, the ones that were in their lives! There are 8 NT examples of gathering funds to take care of physical needs of others!
2 Corinthians 8:1-5 Fellowship used in a literal way when saints are sending money to needy saints or evangelists to spread the Gospel! The funds proved the “fellowship” was REAL! Genuine.
Philippians 4:15-16 Fellowship is used for the spreading of the Gospel. The needs of the evangelist!
1 Peter 4.8-10 (topic of the suffering of Christians). We are to minister to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. We use our “gifts” to prove the fellowship we share due to Christ Jesus.
TRUE FELLOWSHIP SOCIAL INTERACTION. ACTS 2:46-47
When you hear the words “social interaction” in a study about fellowship, I have no idea what “alarms” go off in your head, but I promise you this lesson is not about Church work and buildings! We learn in the New Testament when people became Christians, they wanted to spend a lot of time together! Be together, fellowship together! Social interact and meals is all over the New Testament. Think about how much time the disciples spent with Jesus. Was it only when they conducted some kind of worship activity?
The Bible is filled with passages of believers spending much time together interacting in social interactions! Fellowship is not limited to a Church building! Our spiritual fellowship is the reason for our sitting down and eating together, in sitting down and sharing our faith and talking about our spiritual walk. Fellowship has always happened around the dinner table! To sit round a table with someone is a powerful way to grow and it has always been this way. I am not saying this is to be a funded activity of the Church, or to build a place to do it! But if we decide to take the social interaction away for fear of something then we are only harming ourselves. You do not understand HOW FELLOWSHIP “lives” and matures among us?
Acts 2:46 “Breaking bread from house to house!” A powerful way to connect and grow!
Acts 4:23-24 It is not about food. Peter & John under threat. This wasn’t an official worship service but they were worshipping.
The First thing v.23- went to the people and told them, reported things to them, they talked. The Second thing-v.24 lifted their voices- singing most likely. (not a traditional worship) Application: Social interaction- what about the time before the worship and the time after worship. Is that incidental?? Absolutely NOT – it is because of our fellowship we are in the same place at the same time. We sometimes even keep talking/visiting/sharing and use up 5-10 mins. of time designated for worship or Bible study!
Acts 20:7-11 The only actual worship service recorded as it happened! Gathered to worship, in worship they broke bread and teaching was done. Verse 11 shared in the Lords supper and ate together.
Note all of our points in today’s lesson are mentioned in this passage: Fellowship = devoted to one another!
Please read: Romans 12:10-21 Devoted to one another. THIS PASSAGE IS ALL ABOUT FELLOWSHIP.
There is a danger we do not truly understand the power and significance of NT fellowship.
A danger that we come be in fellowship during worship and yet choose not be hospitable, not spend time together, not truly see each other, or hear each other or help each other.
This is not what God intended!
We are all to go to worship but that is the beginning of fellowship there is so much more!
Jesus came and died so you can be saved, forgiven and have hope of eternal life.
God then adds you to a marvelous group of people called the Church which Jesus built.
A boundless, special, spiritual, and eternal family.
Who you can gather with once a week or more, together as oft as we can.
If you have any problems and challenges and needs – we will instantly do whatever we can to help.
So, let us do as the first century Christians: we will continue to gather for worship and grow in our knowledge and commitment to Christ and in addition to that we will open up our homes so we can gather around tables to talk and encourage and support one another and grow in our faith in the Lord because of the invisible bond of fellowship that connects.