Church Fellowship

by David and Stephen Olford

Text: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship"  (Acts 2:42)

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

Thought: There can be no healthy Christian life in isolation. Anyone who is deprived of the privileges of fellowship will doubtless receive special grace, but the deliberate neglect of this means of growth in the Christian life will inevitably lead to spiritual coldness and uselessness. How important it is, therefore, that we should continue steadfastly in the fellowship. Consider:

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

The Membership of the Fellowship: "They continued steadfastly in thefellowship" (v. 42). W. Griffith Thomas used to say that "the church is a society of saved sinners."  That beautifully sums up the exclusive character of this Christian fellowship (v. 41).  The church has always been weakest when this condition of fellowship has not been observed. It is also inclusive in composition (v. 39). John in his vision describes men "redeemedout of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9).

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

The Maintenance of the Fellowship: "They continued steadfastly in the fellowship" (v. 42). From a study of the regular habits of the early church, it is evident that Christian fellowship was maintained by a fellowship of meeting (1 Cor. 5:4).  From 1 Cor. 12:14 you will observe that the gatherings referred to were not so much for public witness to the world outside, but rather for the coming together of believers for fellowship in the Word, in prayer, and in sharing. There was also the fellowship of serving. Look through Paul's letters to the Philippians, and you will find the fellowship of the gospel (chapter 1), the fellowship of the Spirit (chapter 2), the fellowship of suffering (chapter 3), and the fellowship of giving (chapter 4). 

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

The Manifestations of the Fellowship: "They continued steadfastly in thefellowshipand fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles" (vv.42,43). A study of Acts 2:42-47 outlines some of the manifestations of true Christian fellowship. What a picture of oneness, joyfulness, and usefulness is revealed here! Indeed, a careful examination makes it evident that the expression of social life, as described in these verses, was the outworking of the Sermon on the Mount. This is God's pattern for the local church. 

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

Thrust: "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with the Son of Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3).

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad