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Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Sun, Jul 21, 2019

Divine Elevation of the Church III

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The early Christians were devoted to the fellowship. Acts 2:42 notes, "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." The New Testament word for "fellowship," koinonia, expresses the idea of being together for mutual benefit.
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The early Christians were devoted to the fellowship. Acts 2:42 notes, "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." The New Testament word for "fellowship," koinonia, expresses the idea of being together for mutual benefit. Christian fellowship is wrought by the Spirit of God and this makes it to mean more than the association existing in secular groups such as civic clubs and community bodies. There is a vast difference between community participation and spiritual participation.

Community participation is based upon neighbourly association. Spiritual participation is based upon a spiritual union wrought by the Spirit of God. The distinctiveness is this: The Holy Spirit is within the Christian believer. The Holy Spirit creates a spiritual union by melting and moulding the heart of the Christian believer to the hearts of other believers. He attaches the life of one believer to the lives of other believers. Through the Spirit of God, believers become one in life and purpose.

They have a joint life sharing their blessings and needs and gifts together. But why is Christian fellowship important? Though many believers today do not recognize the importance of fellowship or local church involvement, Christian fellowship is essential to spiritual growth. Many aspects of our spiritual lives depend on being together with other believers to encourage, teach, serve, and share life together. According to Rick Warren, "The entire Bible is the story of God building a family who will love Him, honor Him, and reign with Him forever."

As a child, you needed your family to help you grow. You needed a mother to nurture you, a dad to show you how to ride your bike without falling down. As a believer, you need mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ, to teach you how to love as God loves. Those family members may be older Christians who can teach you what it means to be a Christian, or they may be newcomers to the faith, who need a guiding hand from you. Or they may simply be your peers, sailors in the same boat, figuring out life together.

Two other reasons why fellowship with other believers is important are because it helps express love to one another and it encourages good works. A fourth important reason for Christian fellowship is its impact on unbelievers. Jesus told His disciples, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). The love Christians have for one another can influence others toward faith in Jesus Christ. Still another important reason for Christian fellowship is the ability to pray together. Early believers were committed to prayer, both individually and in groups.

In James 5:14-16, elders were called together to pray for the sick as well as for those who had sinned. This required being together. Christian fellowship is also important for church decision-making. In both Acts 6 and Acts 15, the early church gathered together to make important decisions about the future direction of the church. These required community, prayer, and close discussion. Christian fellowship is required for baptism. A new Christian cannot baptize himself or herself because it is not a public profession of faith.

Christians gather together to celebrate a person's baptism and serve as witnesses of the person's commitment to a new life in Jesus Christ. Christian fellowship is required for communion, or the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper doesn't quite work the same for an online church. This church ordinance requires time together with other believers to remember the blood and body of Christ. But where can you find Christian Fellowship? If you live in a community with many churches, you are likely to find that companionship. Most churches offer some kind of small group experience that you can become a part of.

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