Fellowship: the core of a local church

Fellowship hall, fellowship time, fellowship church, fellowship app, academic fellowship, fellowship college, right hand of fellowship ….

Just what is Fellowship?IMG_1634

With the help of the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary and Merriam Webster I would define fellowship as:

  • Joining in membership with a local church
  • Communion together at the Lord’s Supper 
  • Giving of tithes and offerings
  • Ministering to the saints
  • Suffering together

 


Join in membership with a local church [Hebrews 10:24-25]

First let me qualify that my look at fellowship is only from the view of a church member. With that in mind, I think everyone needs to join a local church to enjoy the fellowship of a church. Thom Rainer outlined very well what it means to be a church member in his great little book I Am A Church Member. Thom says a healthy church member will:

  • Be a functioning church member

By studying God’s word, praying, eating, serving, sacrificing, giving, sharing, and ministering with other church members.

  • Seek unity in my church
  • Not let my church be about my preferences and desires
  • Pray for my church leaders
  • Lead my family to be healthy church members
  • Treasure church membership as a gift

 

Communion together at the Lord’s Supper [1Corinthians 10:16-17]

To take the Lord’s Supper you need to have professed faith in Jesus. So for those who take the supper together; we are saying to one another that we have accepted the same gift of life eternal through the sacrifice of Jesus, have given our life to the service of Jesus, and are together in observing the sacrifice He made for me.

 

Giving of tithes and offerings [2Corinthians 9:6-15]

God says we should give generously. The Old Testament gave the guideline 10% of our first fruits (earnings) are to be given back to Him. The New Testament says to be a generous cheerful giver. Does that mean only 10% – no I say 10% is only a starting point. Give to make God pleased, as much and as often as you can.

 

Ministering to the saints [Hebrews 6:10-12]

Who else in this world will come to the aide of Christians – only other Christians. It is our duty to love and help our fellow brothers and sisters. We need to minister to Christians by listening to them, helping them financially, mentally and spiritually, and praying for them.

We should be ministering not only to the other members in our church, but should be lifting up other churches. There again – who will help a failing church … only another church. We should also be ministering to the missionaries who go and who live to spread the Gospel in places other than their local community.

 

Suffering together [Philippians 3:7-11]

Are we going to suffer here on earth – you bet. Jesus suffered … why would we avoid such? When we suffer we need fellow Christians surrounding us to listen and guide. When you are the one suffering you know it makes things easier if we have a friend to share the burden with. Our burdens range from being uncomfortable all the way to the point of death.

Where should we come along and share a burden with a friend – whenever you feel led that they need support. I don’t know about you, but the problem I have with that is that I need to be more in tune with God to be able to listen when He says go and suffer with someone.

Part of praying to God is to listen, and by listening I can be directed to go suffer with someone.

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