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November 13, 2021 2:00 am
"Fellowship"! How many times have you heard that word since you've been a Christian? But do we use it in the right sense and do we practice it in the right way? Let's take a topical tour of this word in the context in which it appears here in Acts. We discover that not only was the first church a learning church; it was a caring church. This is one of the strongest factors for your own personal spiritual growth, so let's see how it's to be done.
This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
To fail to participate in the life of a local church is to disregard a direct command of Scripture. Some of you wait a minute way way way way way way Skip God is everywhere, and of God is everywhere.
I meet with God anywhere answer course you can. Did you know that there is a special place special building with God uniquely meets with his people today here in Québec was good.
We can division skip.
Isaac continues her series church who needs reminding us that fellowship is an important part of a believer's life, your pastor, one set of his parish that they need to meet in the 18th for some churches that may be the definition of fellowship. But what is the biblical definition of fellowship and what role should apply in the growth of the Christian Skip will explore these questions are.
Today strategic but before we get started today. Here's what we have for you this month in the connect was Skip resource or listen to what Sean McDowell said about the tactics is waiting for. I enthusiastically recommend tactics Skip right thing to comment on how diseases still count for truth we might think that Jesus never raised his voice that he would never call anybody out. However, there was a side of Jesus that was contentious.
The Jesus that took tables in the temple, and overturned them and took out a web and throw people out of the temple that Jesus went to defend the gospel and guard against false teachings with plaintiff. The house six message series to the continued with skip.
I think this teaching series on CD and get to keep this Bible teaching ministry on $35 or more today send you a book by Gregory Coble called tactics your game plan for communicating the truth about Christianity with confidence and grace to give this a connect the skip.com or call 892 chapter 2 is where were tapping out again for this message on your mark get set grow. Part two. So open your Bibles there as we do will join Skip Heitzig started today's study in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile. Isolating and alienating for Christians and out of you seen the news lately, but I see it in a palpable form where the demarcation between Christian and non-Christian is very marked and the hostility is going up in such a world Christian Fellowship is the antidote. It's the antidote is the reason I believe the church will never be outdated, ever, ever, ever, will always be needful as long as it stays biblical know if it doesn't stay biblical and become just another social club like thousands of other institutions out there, it will become irrelevant if it's true, to the apostles doctrine and true fellowship. It will never be outdated because in our culture were people move a lot were very mobile in our society that is very technological. It is producing a whole lot of very lonely isolated individuals in God's solution is to place them in families Psalm 68 God sets the solitary in families and in the Christian family. There's growth and acceptance of forgiveness and love and accountability and worldly institutions will not provide that and computers will not provide that of something that is gonna sound very obvious but needs to be stated. Fellowship is not the kind of activity you can do alone. Using skip. You have a keen night for the obvious, but it needs to be stated stated, you can't say I'm in a go alone and have fellowship. Know you're not dealt with God, but not with anybody else but yourself and muster schizophrenic and I can have other people with you, and it can't be done by a podcast or watching television or computer. As great as those things are. You can't download Fellowship 6.0 or acceptance.
It requires human beings, proximity, flesh and blood life and life as a Jewish proverb and ancient one that says a friendless man is like a left-hand bereft of the right hand and I would say that an isolated Christian is like a left-hand bereft of the writing.
You know the Scripture Proverbs 18 a man who isolates himself seeks his own desire. He rages against all wise judgment.
I was reading an account of Adolf Hitler, who was a very isolated man was via a friend of his, if he had a friend named Albert Speer who said I was adult Hitler's closest friend.
If it can even be said that he had a friend that would've been me since. But he said out of Hitler repelled friends repelled intimacy would not allow closeness and he was a hollow and empty man. I think there is a connection between isolation and oppression at any level more isolated. A person becomes, the more oppressive that individual you in a family or in a culture become.
Here's my point. You need a family.
We all need a family. We need other people to share the life of Jesus with.
If we want to grow it will take that Donald joy you may have heard of that author's name is a relationship Guru believer and he wrote a terrific book. Several of them. He believes that every one of us need support from four different people groups for different people groups and he illustrates it by a trampoline. Your four sides of a trampoline. You need a group of people on all four sides because you bounce up and down in life lose direction don't know where you're going to need support for groups of people. The one you need close family was her parents or spouse or children number two you need relatives, uncles, grandparents, etc. third, you need friends and he calls these lifelong collection of friends who are still active in your life. Number four Associates people you work with to the gym with go to church with these four groups represent a support system so the question he asked and I asked all of us this morning is how many people can you count that are holding your trampoline. Research shows that a healthy system has at least 12 or more, holding your trampling at least 12 or more, and most of them know each other says joy on neurotic system on neurotic system has between 10 and 12 people and less than 1/3 of them know each other a psychotic system has between four and five. You might think well don't need anybody else. I married have my spouse. I have my children all that I need. You are so wrong. In fact, I'll say this way as a pastor with a little experience some of the loneliest people I've ever met our married people who are in the same house who sleep in the same bad but they feel very alone a few years ago on a Sunday morning instead of saying get up and say hi to somebody before the message I said stand up and hug the person next to you.
Well I got a note in the agape box that Sunday dear Skip my husband did as you suggested and hugged the person next to him would be her. We sleep in the same bed but until this morning. We had no physical contact for three months, three months now. I will guarantee you that had that couple had authentic Christian fellowship and this kind of a support system where there's people in close proximity, who know them and can read the body language etc. that scenario would be much less likely to ever happen. Third question is, how is it done. How is fellowship done.
Are there any clues in the text on how fellowship is to be structured. While there are verse 44 know all who believed were together and had all things in common.
They sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. Look at verse 46 so continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house. How is it done was a twofold structure in the large group. The temple and in the small group from house to house when it says the temple would mean Solomon's porch.
The court of the Gentiles of 35 acres of the stone courtyard where people could gather saying disciple, teach, discuss in the early church could have thousands of people gathering in Solomon's porch periodically was more for formal meetings of public prayer instruction inspiration and then house to house that's informal that's communication and interaction were the principles taught in the temple could be worked out in the home in the first structure the temple that says the preacher, the apostle has something important to say the home conveys this message, you have something important to say you have something important to share the first structure of the temple conveys the message God is most high.
The home conveys the message God is most nigh.
He's close he's intimate in this relationship is worked out. The temple public gathering house to house were intimate moment, let me just give him a plug for a moment to home fellowships and why I believe in them. There's nothing like the four walls of the home better than a restaurant better than a coffee shop because in the four walls of a home.
That's where the family dwells.
That's where business is done in a home you have more freedom to emote to be real to be prayed for. It is no distraction of a waiter or waitress or barista you have a warmth and intimacy that is conveyed in a homelike nowhere else okay there's two unmistakable facts. I don't want you to miss her.
The church in Jerusalem was large. It was a large group of people as they had to meet in the temple courts. Many scholars believe that the church is growing so fast in Jerusalem that at this time there was upwards of 25,000 people much bigger than this fellowship 25,000 people in the church in Jerusalem. That's fact number one factor number two. They all had point in the they got their personal needs met. Now how is that possible. How is it possible to be so large of a church and yet experience intimacy in the cornea only if you break up the temple, gathering and house to house The only way it can be done, you can achieve it in the temple you can achieve it from house to house now.
That said, I just need to get this out because I have heard for years at different places here and many other places that I visited people think well I gotta leave and find a smaller church where I know everyone wanted to say something about that. If you do find a church where you know everyone you better pray hard that that new church never grows to start praying runabout. Please don't let anybody else, ever. You can see why as if it starts growing and you go from 20 to 3200 or 200 400 to 600 knocking to know everybody.
In fact, it doesn't matter if there's 200 people or 20,000 people. You can't personally intimately connect with 200 people anymore than you can do it with 20,000 people.
You can only in your life have a meaningful collection of people around you holding your trampoline holding you accountable in expressing intimate connection in the early church was large and they were able to do that as well. Fourth and finally, we conclude with this. When does it happen. Is there any indication in the text of time or frequency of their fellowship will look at verse 46 so continuing daily to tell you that word jumped off the page at me this week. They continued daily. I understand the context was such where there was persecution. Life is hard and they needed to get through life by being connected often with one another in that setting but here's the principle frequently is a whole lot better than infrequently consistently is a whole lot better than doing it inconsistently being regular meeting with each other is a whole lot better and healthier than irregularly meeting together.
Fact is, the book of acts continues.
We see a pattern developed in acts 20 verse seven on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread so there pattern was.
They started meeting on Sundays because that represent the resurrection rather than the Saturday Sabbath and became the regular pattern as well as meeting in homes throughout the week.
All that to say, to fail to participate in the life of the local church is to disregard a direct command of Scripture. Some of you music now wait a minute way way way way way way Skip God is everywhere. And if God is everywhere. Can I meet with God anywhere answer, of course, you can course, you can be in the in the parking lot in your car alone and God is there plot did you know that there is a special place a special building were God uniquely meets with his people were know that is turn with me will close here in Ephesians chapter 2 Ephesians chapter 2 tells us about the Special Pl., God meets with his people. Ephesians 2 verse 19 now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitly or fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the spirit now.
Here Paul views the church collectively as the temple.
It's up to picture. He uses a lot in his writings. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Here's what I want you to understand he's speaking corporately, not individually, and I hear people apply this a lot to will I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. When Paul uses. That is not saying individually of the temple individually or the temples.
He got a bunch little independent temples running around out there, but as we gather to gather God uniquely meets with his people and works with his people and dwells among his people, so that the visible assembly of believers is the temple of God on the years. That's the idea we gather and when we gather we constitute the temple of God in a very unique way or God is moving. Jesus illustrated the principal. He spoke about church discipline. In Matthew 18 same wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst. So we gather with the goal we gather with the goal Hebrews 1024 to 25 when the most famous passages tells us, let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. When we meet each other before the teaching or after the teaching or we meet in small groups during the week you stimulate me, and I stimulate you to love and good works. I grow because of we grow because of somebody said that every Christian is like a battery when we join with other believers, we corporately increase the church's output. I like that. I think it's a good analogy. So when you take a test in your own heart.
Those first two characteristics, apostles doctrine and fellowship are devoted are you to the first. I know a bunch of you and I know that you are thing I want you to ask yourself today is are you devoting yourself constantly to fellowship. Are you a spectator here. You float in and float out or are you pressing in to have authentic fellowship when you get around other people disregard go up to the walls go up your protect yourself. You want to stay safe say the right things never let anybody really know who you are, you will live your life rattling around in that castle without any satisfaction of being loved for who you are by anyone else is a pastor who visited a man rarely attended church and they were sitting before a fire. The pastor said friend I don't see you at church on the Lord's day you only come when it's convenient. I wish you come more often but that was to come all the time just in the past to reach the tongs in the fire and remove the coals, isolating them from one another and as they watched those coals burned out and died in the pastor pointed to that fire and said friend that's what's happening to you.
When you isolate yourself you die, the fire goes out so we we need each other.
Granted we needle each other, but we need each other can be messy and frankly a lot of people just don't want to mess they will.
A lot of people want. They want nice clean, well mannered, modest people to hang around with nobody else fact, I've been approached by people saying notice are some people who come here who are well mannered warrant modest and they're pretty messy and pastor you need to say something about that but I want to know. I have been saying something about that that this week I've been talking to God about that but I want you to know what I've been talking to God about my personal prayer this week is been this God send us more messy people more messy people send us the drug addicted the prostitutes, the people that are cast out by society. There know what to do with them and they can't fix them, but within the confines of Christian fellowship.
We can love them to wholeness is not easy. God send us more messy Christian fellowship and help restore sugar hurting people come to your church to find help in healing, not knowing what can you do to help change needs with the church as let's make sure were ready and available to share with what I thought will go to verse 30 today. Here's another reminder of the great offer we have for you this month to connect Skip God, here's what Norm Geisler said about the tactics, there is no better block to include Christians to think clearly on the need to engage in spiritual warfare. You'll never fight God's battles, so you'll never contend what really matters.
Just cruise and interlacing boiled. You have to decide to get as part of the house and join the fight become a contender for treatment to house six message series the computer escape. I think these teaching theories on the ring and guard against teaching thanks to connect more people to the truth of God's word and means you give $35 and more today will also send text by Gregory Coble to speak the truth about Christianity with confidence and grace, and hundred and 19 to report, connect, skip.com if you'd like to order a copy of her teaching today on your mark get set grow. Part two it's available on CD for just four dollars plus shipping. You can call us at 1-800-922-1888, or just visit, connect, skip.com and join us next time. As we continue to explore with the church is supposed to be about our series church) was Skip weekend division presentation of connection so you guys never changing and ever-changing time