BASIC 4: Fellowship-Francis Chan
Acts 2:42-47, Ephesians 2 & 1 Corinthians 12
What are some ideas that come to mind when we think of fellowship? Often we think of a meal, or a time of being with other Christians, and although those answers are not wrong, there is so much more to fellowship. Fellowship is at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Christ, and fellowship is its own responsibility and reward.
For many of us our Christian lives have been thought about in an individualistic sort of way. We speak of a personal relationship with Christ, which it is, but is also to be lived out corporately in fellowship with other Christians. We are a part of something much bigger than any one individual. We are a part of the people of God and need other Christians in our lives. The idea is not independence for the sake of the individual, but rather interdependence for our good and His glory.
Jesus died to bring together those that were once separated and make them one new man from the two, He reconciled us to God in one body, and He killed the enmity. If Jesus wants us to be united with other Christians so badly that He sacrificed Himself in order to make it happen, then who are we to say that working together with other Christians really doesn’t matter?
The church is a house made up of individual people who are miraculously joined together by the death of Christ to be the place where God dwells on earth. It’s not about me as an individual; it’s about the group of people whom God has re-created to be something bigger than any one individual.
You will not experience true fellowship until you begin to love the people around you and understand at a fundamental level that you need them in your life. You may not have chosen the other Christians in your life. But there is great comfort in knowing that God chose them and placed them in your life.
God has shaped us into the people we are, not so that we can fulfill our own purposes, but so that we can minister on His behalf to the people around us. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul said that the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in the life of every Christian. These manifestations are referred to as “spiritual gifts”. Paul said, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
Our Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation. God designed us to be Christians in the context of a community of believers who share their lives and serve one another, and the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in our lives in special ways so that we can do this to a supernatural degree!
When Christians begin to use God’s blessings for the benefit of the people around them, the level of fellowship intensifies. This type of fellowship is healthy. An individual Christian only makes sense in the context of a larger body: “The body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Corinthians 12:14). Paul’s illustration of the church as a body only works if the Spirit is binding the individual believers together. God has given gifts for the edification of the body and to meet needs both within the body and in the community.
Keep in mind that the response of the Christians around you is not the point of Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 12. He is trying to convince us to change the way we look at the church. It’s not a place to get our needs meet in a consumerist way. It’s a body, a thriving community. It’s not about what I can get, it’s about who I can serve. It’s true that we need the other members of the body, but if our minds are set on serving the people around us, we will be too focused on the common good to be concerned about not having our needs met. And as the Spirit supernaturally empowers us to serve the other members of the body, we can trust Him to create the close fellowship that we long for.
Fellowship: The Making of a People
1 Peter 2:9-10
1 Corinthians 1:10
2 Corinthians 13:11