walk in the word
42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common. — acts 2:42-44
A lot of people don’t realize that fellowship is a spiritual discipline. It’s not just something helpful, but something commanded. Not just something useful, but something needed. And one of the surest barometers of the quality of your Christian life is the quality of your Christian relationships. When that deteriorates, you’re going backwards spiritually as well.
Acts 2:42-44 summarizes the life of the early church by saying, “They devoted (or they continued steadfastly) in the apostles’ teaching (and what?) the fellowship. Now what is fellowship? Fellowship basically means ‘our common life together.’
I kind of grew up thinking that fellowship was something that happened after the service down in the church basement with cherry punch and cheesy conversations. That’s not what made the early church so powerful. They took fellowship to a new level—the level we want to be at!
The Greek word is koinonia. Koinonia is translated in the New Testament partnership or sharing. Sometimes it’s translated communion or fellowship. Fellowship is a relationship between individuals which involves (this is key) active participation in a common interest. And, as a result of our participation in the common interest, we have a residual interest in one another.
Now Harvest meets regularly on six campuses—(can you believe it?)—in sixteen services each weekend. Most members only attend one of them. But we are one church in several locations bound together by a common purpose. And as we engage in that common purpose, the relationships that are the result of that engagement produce fellowship. But the immediate and long-term spin-off effects throughout the community each week can’t be measured. Lives are transformed. These are residual ripples that God brings about as a result of genuine fellowship. Now this is an awesome thing; the power of one church. What holds all of this together is the Spirit of God working through the Word of God and our service to God to bind us together in love toward one another. And that is what fellowship really is; our common life together. Fellowship means the details of our common life together. — James MacDonald
Journal: How does the regularity and intensity of my participation in the local church demonstrate that I understand the discipline of fellowship?
prayer: Heavenly Father, You included fellowship as a key component of the newborn church. Forgive us for dumbing, lightening, and trivializing fellowship. Help us not to be satisfied with counterfeit fellowship but seek You together until the world notices our love for one another that is the genuine common life You intend for Your people. That kind of fellowship will bring You glory and draw others to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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