A glorious church
In my examination of the theme, “A glorious church revived to possess the nations,” I couldn’t go without noticing the description of one such glorious church in Acts 2:42-47. This is a church I would have loved to be a part of—a church full of miracles; one in which there was no need at all as people would sell their possessions to give to the poor; a church to which God was daily adding to their numbers. But they did not just arrive at this point—they devoted themselves to certain practices that led them to this point. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, prayer, breaking of bread, and fellowship.
What is Christian fellowship?
Fellowship is an important character we need to cultivate if we want to build a glorious church. Fellowship as translated here comes from a Greek word which means sharing something in common. It is also related to a concept about relationship. We should be related in one way or the other. It also has the notion of partnership. How are we related? When God created man he desired that man would have continuous fellowship with him before sin entered the world and cut man off from fellowship with the father. Jesus came to the earth with one purpose—to reconnect us to the father.
1 John 1:3 says we proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us and our fellowship is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ. Each of us here is connected to the fellowship of the father. Just as in a school you find all the students dressed in one uniform, so are all of us here identified with Christ.
When God called us he gave us diverse gifts so we can draw on each other’s gifts. In a partnership you come together as a group to achieve a common aim by drawing on the strengths of one another so I define Christian fellowship as the coming together of a people who share a common relationship with the father and the son through the Holy Spirit drawing on each other’s spiritual gifts for the singular purpose of manifesting the glory of God. So, what we share is not physical—it is divine.
Why is fellowship so important?
1. It is the evidence of our walk with God. (1 John 1:7)
2. It creates an atmosphere for the demonstration of the power of the Holy Ghost
3. It is the avenue for discovering, developing, and using the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7)
4. It attracts unbelievers.
5. it serves as a ground for discipleship and mentorship.
Fellowship is practical
Fellowship is not just words. It is not just in the books nor in our hearts. It is practical. In the New Testament, the Bible is replete with examples of us getting involved with one another. In James 5:15 the Bible says to pray for one another and care for one another. Hebrews 10:25 says to encourage one another and to be kind to one another. We are also to confess our sins to one another. And all of these come from the big one—that we are to love one another.
A benefit of fellowship
I remember before my wedding in 2013, a member of my cell asked me to come to his house and when I got there, he showed me a fleet of cars and asked me to choose one for my wedding. I was surprised because I had not asked him for a car but he insisted. After the wedding we took the car back to him but he asked us to take it for our honeymoon. We protested but he insisted. He told us that it was a privilege for him to have the opportunity to be kind to a member of the household of God.
Avenues for fellowship
The church has structures for fellowship. Chief among them are the ministries of the church. There are also the home cells, Bible study groups, professional guilds, and various small groups. Don’t say there is nowhere to belong or play a role. We are partners. Partners always draw on what they have to move ahead.
There are also the home cell and Bible study groups. Consider the church an extended family. The home cell then becomes your nuclear family. It is the place where you can put your spiritual gifts at the disposal of others. Do you know your cell leader? Do you know your shepherd? It is our own effort at trying to fellowship that will bring us together.
Barriers to fellowship
1. Sin—since our fellowship with each other stems from our fellowship with God, hindrances to our fellowship with the father will hinder our fellowship with each other
2. Pride—thinking of yourself as more important than everyone else can hinder fellowship (Philippians 2:3-4)
4. Fear—the fear of being hurt
We have been called to fellowship from different backgrounds but we each have a role to play. We need to fellowship better to become that glorious church. Fellowship is a must. It will demonstrate to the outside world that we are indeed saved and are followers of Christ. Hence, make yourself available for fellowship and put every God-given ability you have at the disposal of the church for our fellowship is the evidence that we indeed have fellowship with the father.
Acts 2:42-47, 1 John 1:3, Philippians 2:3-4