Fellowship

What makes us come here every Sunday, and meet here in this room and listen to the words of God together and worship Christ as a church? Can we not do the same at home alone by ourselves?

I’ll tell you why, because of our Fellowship. In Christ’s own words, and in a prayer to God, the father, he gives us a clue to the joy we experience in fellowship found in John 17:23, Jesus states, I in them, and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 

The word Fellowship is translated from the Greek word, koinonia, meaning Partnership. The Oxford dictionary defines the word fellowship as friendly association, especially with people who shares one’s interest.

Fellowship as we come to understand is the partnership, we each have, sharing our belief in God with each other, as one, for God’s glory and our joy.

To be in fellowship, is a gift from God, Sharing in the body of Christ. All in the agreement that God is our creator and our father in heaven. Yet, we only have this fellowship available to us because of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross for us.

1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 9 explains this in scripture, God is faithful, by whom you were called into fellowship of his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

As a result, God through the spirit allows a relationship with us, between himself and mankind.

Fellowship has been important to Christians and can be traced back to Genesis, where God, created woman for man in the garden to the time of Christ where we witness, the disciples of Jesus, always gathered around and listening to his teachings.

The importance of Christian fellowship and attending church, is as such cemented in our faith, highlighted to us in the scriptures with the desire and need of early Christians to meet, together, in partnership of their faith in Christ. This is witnessed in Acts 2:42 and they devoted themselves to the apostles’, teachings and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers.

Since Christ death, fellow Christians have been meeting together, listening to the word of Christs and praying together.

It is truly amazing to think we today, as still participating in this practice and fellowship that was started as a result of Jesus Christ! Truly, Jesus is same yesterday and today and forever, as read in Hebrews 13:8.

In exploring fellowship, we also find in the book of Hebrews, chapter 10, that participating in fellowship is the way we stir up one another to love and do good works for each other and our neighbours. It encourages us in our faith to meet up together and not neglect each other or the teachings of the love, grace and hope, that Christ promises. 

Another reason we need to participate in fellowship, is as 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.

Our meeting in fellowship and the joy, love and kindness witnessed by our actions to others and our neighbours is a way to shine the light in a dark world and attract others to explore and find peace and joy in Jesus Christ.

Fellowship is also there to guide us, and be our discipline. In fellowship we can pray openly and also be guided by the spirit in decisions and directions that ourselves and our church is required to undertake.

Christian fellowship is not a term you should use loosely. In fact, our Christian fellowship is essential to our spiritual growth, both personally and as a church.

As well, it is the source of our encouragement and our hope, in a world where suffering and sinfulness is becoming accepted and socially normal. By maintaining our fellowship, we are able to teach, serve and share our life together, keeping our focus on Christ and to do his works.

As we delve deeper, we understand part of fellowship is attending church. When we see the church as the bride of Christ, we can start to fully appreciate the importance God holds out to church and in turn of Church and our fellowship.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, compares us, as Christians to a body. The body of Christ. He explains to us that every Christian is a part of this body, with every part needing others and every part needing to be concerned about the other and where they are. Paul identified to us, that no part of the body, and in turn member of Christ, can function without the other.

As such, our local church has been chosen for each of us to be a part of, and as such we have a responsibility to live together in this church as a cohesive body. Attending church is for this reason important to us and our Christian faith and health.

I can’t stress enough the importance of recovering alcoholics and there attending AA meetings. The meetings are a permanent reminder of the disease they are battling daily in their sobriety. Their meetings play a huge role in their staying sober, and strength to maintain belief, not just in themselves and each other, but of God, who they hand their lives over too. Just like us as Christians and our daily battle with sin.

Like an athlete, needing to train their body, daily, with routine, to get stronger and better. We too as Christians need to train ourselves and our wisdom, to enable us to understand more, trust more and strengthen our faith for trials that will come and ensure our faith is cemented in Christ as our faith in Christ is the only way we are saved and can enter the kingdom of heaven.

There is no rule stating we must attend church as part of our faith. However, it needs to be appreciated that by staying away from church and skipping church for other human concerns can be dangerous. As by staying away from church and fellowship, we are more open to the snares of the devil and the influences of and temptations of sin. We forget the teachings of Christ so easily.

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus, remind us of the foolish way our minds can think and start to doubt and forget the love and peace Christ offers us without him in our life.

Remembering Gods word through his teachings and scripture is better done through fellowship. Fellowship is such an important and saving aspect of our faith and one that should not be ignored.

I know personally, when I miss Sunday services because of work commitments, it has a flow on affect.  I feel like I’m more irritable, more prone to give in to temptations like swearing or rudeness. I feel like I have lost a closeness to God.

We should use these moments to stop and reflect in prayer, asking for God’s guidance and help. to seek his fellowship. As with Jesus as our focus, we can be sure, he will keep our paths straight.

As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, two are better than one. If either of them falls, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Fellowship is the answer here and also the answer in the Good Samaritan story, showing pity to the one who fell and who had no one to pick him up. The Samaritan, showing Gods love and grace, fellowship to his neighbour.

Christ though our fellowship, works though us for his will and glory. Enjoy that and all that God offers you.

Embrace your fellowship with each other, just as a husband and wife embraces the fellowship with each other and as Christ embraces the fellowship of his church, us.

Enjoy this gift of fellowship we have and share here together and allow that, to increase the thirst for Christ in your life.

As we prepare to leave here today and embark on a busy few day in the lead up to Christmas, think on the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 verse, 7, The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way.

That means each and every one of you. You are all special and important to Gods Church and his glory, and our fellowship.

Take comfort that you each play a role in fellowship, not just for each other, here in our church, but the universal church and beyond. It is a gift you have been given and one you are to share with the world.

We’ll end with the words of Matthew, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.”

Let this guide you in the partnership of fellowship, we all share in.