We don’t really understand the concept of fellowship as earlyChristians did. We talk about “fellowship meals” and “a fellowship hall;” however, just
eating together is not the only aspect of Christian fellowship. Just being together in the same place at the same time does not necessarily constitute
fellowship. The word “fellowship” originates from a Greek word that indicates a joint participation and having something in common. The early Christians understood this in a special sense.
The first time the word is mentioned after the death of our Lord is in Acts 2:42. There Luke records that the disciples continued in “fellowship,
breaking of the bread and prayers.” When we considerthat the church in the first century had no sign in front of their building, fellowship takes on a
different meaning. When we note that early Christians went through persecution from certain groups, fellowship becomes more beautiful. When
we look at earlyChristiansrelying and depending on one another, we see the depth of real fellowship.
Today, many of us don’t know the other members of the congregations of where we attend. We don’t know where they live. We don’t participate in
events with them. Our Sunday and Wednesday gatherings are often the only time we meet other Christians. Let us become more like the church of the New Testament. Let us reach out more to others. Let us be more willing to share our lives with those we love. Let us rediscover the beauty and joy of fellowship as the New Testament church did. Why not visit someone this week and get to know them better? You will get a great blessing and
understand better the joy of real fellowship.
Many people would obviously give many different answers to that question. In the book of John, Jesus gives seven “I am the” statements. In these, not only do I see what Jesus is, but what He is to me.
* “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35) - Jesus is my satisfaction. He fills my life with His love and blessings. If I crave spiritual growth, He
makes sure I find it. If I desire peace, He will grant it. He will never leave me hungry.
* “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) - Jesus is my enlightenment. When I go to His word for advice, He always show the
right way. I am ever finding great words of truth and wisdom as I search the Scriptures. He will never darken my life.
* “I am the door.” (John 10:9) - Jesus is my passageway. He is the doorway from death to life – the transport from uselessness to
usefulness. As long as I remain faithful to Him, He will never shut me out of heaven’s blessings.
* “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:14) - Jesus is my protector. He watches over my soul and shields me from that which would cause
eternal harm. He will never let Satan the wolf get to me if I do not want him to.
* “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) - Jesus is my life force. - He is the one who created me, saved me, and continues to
sustain me. He will never let death rule over me.
* “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) - Jesus is my path to righteousness. He desires what is best for me, and I can find all
truth and goodness in Him. He will never steer me wrong.
* “I am the vine” (John 15:5) - Jesus is my support. He holds me up when I am weak. He strengthens me when I need it. He gives me power to succeed. He will never let me down. Jesus is my everything. Without Him I am nothing. With Him I have everything. It is as the song states: “He is my everything, He is my all; He is my everything, both great and small; He gave His live for me, made everything new; He is my everything, now how about you?”
I want to tell you about our lukewarm members. I’ll not call them by name. I am afraid I would miss somebody! But I’ll draw you a picture.
He looks like this:
1. He attends fairly regularly. Oh, he will miss on some occasions. For instance, if one of the children gets sick, and the entire family can’t worship,
he’ll stay home too. Or, if company comes he’ll miss the morning service, because he can go at night and take the Lord’s Supper. Or, if he is a little
“under the weather” he finds it easy to miss. But generally, he is at the services.
2. He attends quite often on Sunday night, but he will miss the evening service a little easier, a little more often, then he will miss the morning
service. The weather can get too cold and the roads too bad to come back at night, especially if he was present that morning. And he comes some on Wednesday nights, but he misses them even more often than he does the
Sunday night service.
3. He worships in the proper form—in fact, he may even be insistent that certain traditions are followed. He sings - if he is in the mood for it, and
if it is a song he knows and likes. Otherwise he will look around, observingly, at the other worshipers and make mental memos ofsome of the
sour notes he hears. He takes the Lord’s Supper - nearly every Sunday - but he seldom
really thinks of the cross when he does. He gives when he is present, however, he sometimes finds it convenient to cut his contribution to
accommodate the monthly bills which seem to get bigger and bigger each time. Too, he sometimes sends his contribution to other places because “I don’t like some of the things that go on here.”
4. He prays in private - but only in times of distress or when he feels a special need.
5. He reads the Bible, but only occasionally. However, he intends to form the habit of daily Bible reading soon. He has started a few times in the past, only to get side tracked within a few days.
6. He makes a few visits in the interest of the church - but most of his invitations are general, and indefinite, then he makes excuses for his friends.
7. He is ALWAYS dissatisfied with the zeal of others, and complains at the shortcomings of the church. But he is happy - at least not critical - of his own
8. He is quick to blame the church for any of his own shortcomings - it is the fault of the church if his children lose interest, if he does not grow spiritually himself, etc. Apparently, he takes no account of the spiritual growth of others who hear the same sermons and attend the same Bible classes! He fails to reason that if they can grow, he can too.