1. And to exhort us to mold ourselves into a genuine model, of those early saints who "continued steadfastly in fellowship. A CALL TO FELLOWSHIP

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1 A CALL TO FELLOWSHIP Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine & fellowship, in the breaking of bread, & in prayers. Notice the beauty & simplicity of the NT church. Vincent s Word Studies Fellowship is a relation between individuals which involves A common interest & A mutual, active participation in that interest & in each other. A. In Acts 2, the fellowship referred to was the sharing of their material things with Christians who had need (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32). 1. But NT fellowship is not limited to benevolence; it entails the cooperative effort of each member in a local church. B. The purpose of our lesson is to understand the nature of fellowship. 1. And to exhort us to mold ourselves into a genuine model, of those early saints who "continued steadfastly in fellowship. [Let us begin by pointing out certain obstacles to proper fellowship between Christians] I. GETTING IN THE WAY OF FELLOWSHIP A. Formality. 1. We come together to worship & to consider matters of eternal importance. 2. We arrive in our Sunday best, dignified & serious about the things we will do. 3. But do can lose sight of the fact that we are to be a close-knit family at all times. 1

2 4. We should allow our concern for one another to shine through the formality of our assemblies. a. So when we miss services consistently it possible for us to lose touch with the true identity of this local church. 5. That s one good thing that can come from visiting after services. a. We have an opportunity to get beyond the formality of the hour, & get down to where we live & how we might help each other. B. Poor attendance (Heb 10:25). 1. The more opportunities that we take to build a relationship with each other, then the closer & more productive will be our fellowship. 2. The teaching we do here is designed to give every member a full understanding of what this congregation stands for. b. To prevent that from happening, we should view Sunday evening services as an extension of Sunday morning; and our Bible classes we should view as an opportunity for the family to come together for a spiritual meal so as to strengthen not only their spiritual man, but their spiritual bond with each other as well. [Another obstacle to proper fellowship ] C. A Lack Of Care For Each Member. 1 Cor 12:24-26 But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism [split or gap] in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 2

3 1. This tells us a few things about fellowship in the Lord s church. a. God knows each member & what he/she is capable of doing, & He places them together to make a healthy body. b. He greatly honors members who are usually given very little honor; & He bestows that honor upon them through the service of other members (see 1 Cor 12:26). c. However, He expects ALL members to have the same care for one another. d. Even if you are the one being served, you can have the same care for those who are serving you as they have for you. 2. When this kind of concern between members is lacking, then fellowship will suffer. [Another obstacle to proper fellowship ] D. Personality Clashes. 1. Anytime you have a personality conflict with a brother or sister, try to remember that this person is a child of your Father & is just as important to Him as you are. 2. Yes, there are times when the person we have become need to be realigned with the person we ought to be; that s why we study God s Word. 3. But when fellowship is disturbed by personality clashes then a worldly wisdom has taken over our fellowship, which will weaken it. James 3:13-18 Who is wise & understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy & self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast & lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from 3

4 above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy & self-seeking exist, confusion & every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy & good fruits, without partiality & without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. {Those who seek peace will sow the fruit of righteousness} [Another obstacle to proper fellowship ] 3. There can only be a conflict, or a disturbing of fellowship, when Christians pursue ambitions that are outside the boundaries of God s will. a. We live in troublesome times, when many Christians are allowing the world to formulate the goals for their lives. E. Varying Goals. 1. This is seen when members are going through the motions of religious service in a public assembly, but they simply don t have the same goals in life. 2. The Christian life is such that each Christian ought to understand the goals of every other Christian. [The bottom line is that we can become so selfabsorbed that we can allow things to interfere with the kind of fellowship that God expects in His family. He is observing us at all times. How does He see us relating to one another? Would He be satisfied with what He sees? The purpose of a lesson on fellowship is to help us drive away selfishness, & to show us how beautiful & helpful God intended fellowship in Christ to be.] a. Because God has specified our goals (Titus 2:1-10; Rom 12:1-2). II. THE WAY OF FELLOWSHIP 4

5 A. Fervent Love & Hospitality. 1. We all are teachers when it comes to singing. 1 Peter 4:7-9 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious & watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. B. The same care for one another (1 Cor 12:24-26), including our shut-ins. C. Pray for & restore one another. Jas 5:16, 19, 20 Confess your trespasses to one another, & pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, & someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death & cover a multitude of sins. a. We all sing to one another. b. Our ladies teach our children through song. c. When song requests are made, we know what is on a person s heart. E. Serve one another in love. Gal 5:13-14 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Phil 2:4-5 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.. D. Teach & admonish one another. Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching & admonishing one another in psalms & hymns & spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. CLOSING 5

6 A. The strength of our fellowship with one another is a good indicator of the strength of our fellowship with our Father in heaven. 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another {with God}, & the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. Fellowship is the fruit of righteousness sown in peace by those who make peace (Jas 3:18). Fellowship is a spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3) It is a reward to those who are in Christ (Gal 3:27). The Gospel Plan of Salvation B. There are some practical things we can do to enhance proper fellowship. Hear the gospel Jesus Christ: Acts 2; 3; 13; 17; Rom 10:17 Believe the gospel: Acts 2:36; John 3:16; 8:24; 20:30-31; Acts 4:12; Titus 1:4 Repent, change mind: Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 2 Pet 3:9 1. Learn the names of EVERY member. 2. Take notice of the joys, sorrows & needs. 3. Pray about those things, & act in a constructive way when you can. Confess faith in Christ: Matt 10:32-33; Acts 8:37; Rom 10:9-10 Baptized for the forgiveness of sins: Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27; 1 Pet 3:21 Obedience to Christ: Titus 2:11-12; Heb 5:9; 2 John 9; Rev 2:10; John 12:48 4. Allow yourself to be: "Approachable" (people feel comfortable in your presence). "Transparent" (others to see the real you). 6

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