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November 6, 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
There's probably no more overused and undervalued word in the Christian vocabulary than the word fellowship. It's as if we have believed that we contact that word onto any activity and suddenly it's a sanctified activity and constitutes real New Testament fellowship welcome to critically Skip weekend edition today we continue the series church only with another question you member Peter Pan. You never want to grow up.
What a concept is been pretty appealing to children and unfortunately too many Christians there really is a good thing for them for the church that of today's broadcast best escape explains why it's important for Christians to grow up. Once they were seen as a great new resource for you this month.
I connectwithskip.com is what Norm Geisler said about the tactics, there is no better block to include Christians to think clearly deerskin type thing on the need to engage in active spiritual warfare. Joe never fight God's battles for myself, you'll never contend what really matters. Just cruise and interlacing boiled have to decide to get out as part of the house and join the fight become a contender for biblical truth with the House ethics message series through the continued escape. I think this teaching series on CD equipped in the ring to defend the gospel and guard against teaching and our thanks get to connect more people to the truth of God's word and means you get $35 or more today will also send you the tactics by Gregory couple you speak the truth about Christianity with confidence and grace, and hundred 19 to 28 to get support connectwithskip.com as you open your Bible is the wax chapter 2 skip. Isaac starts that her studies, we examine why fellowship at church is so important is because the Skip church lives or dies by its people. The church lives.
It's because people who are part of it are themselves alive and vital and active, and if the church dies. It's not because the carpet gets old, or the building wears out, but because the people whether an die themselves.
It was a young minister who went to a church in Oklahoma to take it over with the small and diminishing congregation, but he thought, by the grace of God that he could turn it around to no avail.
It didn't work. So his last ditch effort as he went to the local newspaper took out an article that said the church has officially died, and tomorrow, Sunday afternoon will have a funeral service to finally bury it and invited the community well come Sunday afternoon. The church was packed for the first time in years, people were just interested what kind of stunt this was. I mean, people were standing up looking out side looking through the windows to the inside pastor set up, gave a eulogy about how great this church had been, but now it's dead.
The coffin was brought in. Flowers were arranged and then the coffin was open and the pastor said now would you stand up and single file walk by and pay your respects to the departed, and perhaps will all understand why the church is died in there as they walked by the casket was a mirror positioned in such a way so this people walk by, they saw their own reflection and everybody walked past it very embarrassed. A group is only as strong as the individuals that comprise that group and the church is only as strong as the individual members. So in a church of 14,000 people, like ours, how strong are the individuals within it. This is part two of a study that were calling on your mark get set grow the taxes acts 242 before ingredients that were the mission statement of the early church and were moving slow in this verse we want to probe very deeply to make application. The first characteristic we saw last week of the early church as they devoted themselves consistently or continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine. The second is fellowship in the second characteristic balances the first characteristic. It shows us that the early church wasn't just a school. It was a family. They were just about preaching. They were about partnering together fellowship with each other will put it to you this way. I think we see here God's New Testament solution to an Old Testament principle, one of the earliest principles.
God ever stated in Genesis chapter 2 God said it is not good that man should be what alone. That's true of humanity in general and it's true of the church in particular versus 42 is their devotion to fellowship. Verse 43 through 47 is the description of that fellowship.
We rented last week, we will read it again today and they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers and then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together and had all things in common and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people in the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
My first encounter with real fellowship was in a Christian commune and then a mortuary 90 to explain that statement in the early days of Calvary out in Southern California. We had communes house ministries and people were brought in off the streets are drug addicts, hippies, wanderers brought together one to Christ and discipled in these houses and then on weekends. Depending on where these houses were, they would gather together for corporate worship, sort of like this structure house to house, and then the temple well where we were at.
We decided to get all of the houses together and meet on Sunday in a rented mortuary because after all they were using the chapel on Sunday so we rented it we got together and we had a worship band and Bible teaching and we got to meet people and grow. It was a wonderful time in the mortuary. Of course we had a lot of wisecracks about how this place really came alive on Sunday and this is a church people are dying to come to a knowledge that palaver, but I learned to connect with people today would you look at fellowship. The fellowship of the first church in Jerusalem. What it means.
Why it was needed. How it's done and when it happens. Let's first consider what it means to draw your attention to verse 42, the word fellowship. Now that is a well-known word.
Every Christian knows the word fellowship. In fact, it's so well-known. I bet a lot of you know it in its original language, the word what some of you got it Kleiner Neah coin in the end, a very famous word Kleiner Neah, but what you may not know is it's put in more of the formal construction in Greek. It's K coin Enea the fellowship when he tell you what it's not. And then what it is there's probably no more overused and undervalued word in the Christian vocabulary than the word fellowship. It's as if we have believed that we contact that word onto any activity and suddenly it's a sanctified activity and it constitutes real New Testament fellowship so you have the vintage car fellowship. The weightlifters fellowship. The left-handed bat mitten players fellowship just tack it on anything and you have fellowship it well.
It means a whole lot more than just hanging out in Jesus name or eating a meal in Jesus name or coffee and gossip which a lot of fellowship can become means more than that, the word coin Enea means communion or distribution or I like this word best partnership partnership essentially means sharing the life of Jesus Christ that we have in common with each other, sharing the life of Jesus Christ with each other. It is not just a social gathering.
It's a spiritual gathering that we get social and were together, but were being social over spiritual matters spiritual issues that's fellowship Howard Snyder wrote these words. I brought the book out early this morning and reviewed it. The church today is suffering a fellowship crisis. One seldom finds in the institutionalized church today.
The winsome intimacy among people or masks are dropped.
Honesty prevails and there is that sense of communication and community beyond the human. There is literally the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, our churches are filled with people who outwardly look contented and at peace but inwardly are crying out for someone to love them just as they are fellowship in the New Testament is gathering together for a goal and the goal is to encourage to build up to stimulate to love and good works. Spiritual growth will tell you where it's best seen in the Bible fellowship is best seen in a phrase that is repeated 60 times the phrase one another one another. Whenever you find that phrase. It's good to look at it and read what is going on one with another, because it tells us that when we get together. These are the things were to be doing and that's true Christian fellowship now in your bulletin this morning. I've given you a smattering of those are take that out. If you don't mind in and look at it with me.
I didn't put 60 in there. I think I put 13 of them just to give you a little bit of a smattering of Christian fellowship.
So let's just look at these verses Romans 12 verse 10 be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love and honor giving preference to one another.
In other words, think of ways to show genuine affection to people go out of their way to encourage them. Romans 1216 B of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.
Do not be wise in your own opinion, that is. Don't get stuck often only hang out with the select few. Your click delete. But all Christians Romans 13 verse 802 no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves one another has fulfilled the law. You can never love too much because you can never pay off the debt of God's love to you. Romans 14 verse 19. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace. The things by which we may edify one another.
So use your energy to build people up, not tear them down. Romans 15 verse five now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another. According to Christ Jesus, that is, we can all agree on life's most important activity that is glorifying God get along with each other because Jesus gets along with all of us is the idea. Romans 15 verse seven therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us to the glory of God put it this way tear down walls that divide you drain your moats that divide you build bridges to connect Romans 15 verse 14. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness filled with all knowledge able also to admonish one another. A very important text word admonish is the Greek word new tips that all which means to reprove teach or warn what it's saying is that we as the body of Christ have all that we need to counsel each other. You don't have to go to the outside world. You can get it all done within the confines of Christian fellowship. Romans 16 verse 16. Greet one another with a holy kiss churches of Christ greet you. So I expect to be a whole lot of holy kissing afterwards lives, put it in a more modern context, don't be afraid of a hug, a warm display of Christian affection just for the record, when he say when you shake somebody's hand shake and don't put out the cold fish.
Not good. Grandpa hand hearty handshake bearhug. I know what I'm getting after church. No doubt. Ephesians 42 with all loneliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love. Make allowances for each other's faults.
Put it this way.
Being a racer not an indelible marker Ephesians 425. Therefore, putting away lying that each of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are all members of one another. Be honest. Be open. Be real.
Don't flatter, don't lie were on the same team. Ephesians 432 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you, or be nice, be polite, that a spoonful of honey to your communication. Ephesians 519 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord is what we did a few minutes ago practicing the joyful activity of singing truth filled songs and if you go will I don't have a good voice. I don't like the saying notice.
It also says in the verse speaking to one another to speak those words. Next time. Ephesians 521 submitting to one another in the fear of God that is empty yourself of pride and the need to control other people.
Mutual submission unless it's a smattering there are others like James five.
Confess your sins to one another. Colossians 3. Give one another. Galatians 6 bear one another's burdens. Now that is real Christian fellowship and I long for that. Don't you all that's real stuff that's real community, but I want to warn you. True authentic Christian fellowship is messy.
It's messy. You know why because were all broken people. When you get real with another person. It's messy and it's dangerous because it means you have to open yourself up to another person and be real and a lot of people that I have met do not want to do that here is why they been hurt before they been burned before in relationships and so when they get around people walls go up, defenses go up. Everything's Carsten very, very carefully displayed because of that pain that they carry so like a medieval castle.
The walls are high and there very very alone. It's messy.
Have you ever considered the group that Jesus came to redeem member his words in Luke chapter 4 a read them to you. Jesus said the spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed notice to group poor, brokenhearted captive lined oppressed at the messy bunch of folks and real Christian fellowship will be messy. It's not safe. It's not benign.
It's not easy can be tough but it's good you now to the second point why it's needed. Why is it needed when they tell you why it was needed. 2000 years ago here and say why it is needed. If you go back to verse 12 of chapter 2. You'll notice with me. Something they that is the unbelieving Jerusalem lights were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another. Whatever could this mean others mocking said, they are full of new wine and people were mocking Christians for their outward display of love and worship and here was the speaking in tongues in Jerusalem. Chapter 4 begins a notable period of persecution against the church so that eventually Christians were losing their jobs because they were Christians and being alienated from the society around them because they were Christians. So now the church was their new family, the church was their new family. So let's apply that to us in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile. Isolating and alienating toward Christians and I don't know if you've 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 this 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 is something that is in a sound very obvious but needs to be stated. Fellowship is not the kind of activity you can do alone. Using Skype you have a keen I for the obvious, but it needs to be sated stated you can save by me to go alone and have fellowship. Know you're not yet with God, but not with anybody else but yourself and it was her schizophrenic and I can have other people with you, and it can't be done via podcast or watching television or computer. As great as those things are. You can't download Fellowship 6.0 or acceptance. 3.2. 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 right. You know the Scripture Proverbs 18 man who isolates himself seeks his own desire rages against all wise judgment ownership with other believers is a key element of our growth as a Christian for several reasons. Explore more of those reasons. Next time, her series church needs that you'd like to order a copy or two of today's teaching. Just call 1-800-922-1884. Visit connectwithskip.com.
Each copy is available for just four dollars for shipping will have more to talk about what it comes to our growth and maturity is Christian, so be sure to join us next hearing connect with Skip weekend division of presentation of connection communication. God is never changing and ever changing time