“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42
We study and teach “disfellowship” without preaching and practicing fellowship. Many brethren have been “churched” who are never accepted. The Bible teaches the validity of fellowship. Of all places this must be in adult classes! Our mistake and neglect is in fellowship. Brethren do not attend classes; they come in late to worship and leave early without speaking to anyone. They float here to there refusing to identify and get involved. Most brethren “in fellowship” actually have “no fellowship.”
You don’t have a man until he is in fellowship. This solves a problems in evangelism. We convert people in personal work – they never come to worship. They are never taught “the body” and “fellowship.” Someone says, “Catch a man the first time he misses.” This is too late! He has already dropped out of the fellowship.” Don’t scheme brethren back; love them back. Graduating seniors leave the church – but they never participated in youth affairs. They were never in practical fellowship.
We MUST RESTORE fellowship to the church. The place to begin – adult classes. We must stress and practice fellowship. Doctrine becomes our only interest. We split and re-split over every new issue. Issues are made. Our factions speak louder than our words. Adult classes become “butcher shops.” Fellowship becomes a “peeve” rather than a family. Brethren are “frozen out.” Cliques destroy congregations. Fellowship is listed second in “Heaven’s Hall of Fame” (Acts 2:42) How many brethren do you know? How many brethren are you learning to know and love? Happy Christians are the ones with a profound fellowship.
Fellowship has always been discredited! Buildings can be built for doctrine but not fellowship. Brethren are starved for love. We attend worship only to sit, stare and look sour. The crux of exciting worship is fellowship. Many times a few good meals eaten together would have accomplished more than good than a debate. Even brethren who admit a need for fellowship limit it to the teens and young adults. We have the sneaking suspicion “good Christians” will outgrow it.
FELLOWSHIP IS A RELATIONSHIP. Having the right vertical attitude relationship with God we have the right horizontal relationship with brethren. Acts 2:42 is in sequence. We proceed from doctrine to family to deep worship then lastly profound prayer! This must happen in adult Bible classes . . . the sooner, the better.
Charles Hodge touches on something that we need much work on in the church today. Many of us come to church at the last possible minute; and leave right after, or even before, the last amen. Some of us are very private, and don’t open up to anyone, because we don’t want anyone to know our business. If we have friends in the church, it is usually the same ones, and we only eat with or fellowship with them. There are those in the church that try to break through these “barriers,” and if you are a new Christian, it is even harder to break through these to really have biblical fellowship.
One of the things that should NEVER happen in the church is that we become so closed to others that we do not know their problems or difficulties. WE NEED ONE ANOTHER IN THE CHURCH, to encourage, exhort and lift us up.
What about the young mother who is taking care of young children, and needs a break. Have we offered to help her, or take her out to eat while someone else is watching her children? How can she have fellowship taking care of children all of the time?
What about the new convert, or the “babe” in Christ? Do we open up to them and become their friend?
What about the older woman or man who has lost a mate – they may need companionship of some kind to help them through the loneliness of the hours. Do we love enough to help them in their loss?
When, besides the church’s Sunday Bible classes, morning and evening worship, Wednesday bible studies and gospel meetings, and ladies bible classes, do we meet with others to study Scripture? To challenge one another to growth?
When was the last Time YOU said hello to a visitor, or invited someone you have not spent time with, out to eat? When was the last time you had fellowship with someone you don’t know well?
BELOVED, IT IS TIME THAT WE WORK AT HAVING BIBLICAL FELLOWSHIP ONCE AGAIN!