Praise the Lord church family! God is so great, and I love Him with all my heart! Before I begin and share what is on my heart this month, I again want to say how blessed I am because of all of you, and know that you are what makes Shepherd’s Gate Church so unique!!! Its all because of you!!!
What is on my heart this month? Well actually a word, and that word is fellowship! It’s a word that has rose up in my spirit these past several weeks, and with the challenges of Covid19, fellowship has been hard. But it something that all Christian’s need, greatly! So for this month I want to continue on into a teaching about what fellowship is, and the value of maintaining it in your life as a believer.
Question: So what is fellowship and why do I need it?
For review...fellowship comes from the Greek word, KOINONIA, which means “to share in common.” Christian fellowship is more than attending Church — it is “assimilating” into the body of believers, becoming “one” in worshipping, loving, caring and sharing.
So far we have learned...fellowship is…
The Practice of Loving the Brethren
The Celebration of Family
A Safe Place to Release Your Burdens
But there is also one important truth and a warning...
Rejecting Fellowship Leads away from God!
How much love do you have for your brethren? The Bible says that we’re supposed to be ready to lay down our life for our brothers. But do you suppose you would really lay down your life for them if you’re not willing to even come together with them a few times a week for worship? “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).
Jesus expressed that we must be committed to the love of the brethren in the same way that He was. He stated that this love toward the brethren was the necessary evidence to prove our authenticity as Christians to the world. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
It is essential for every believer to be an active part of a Christian fellowship. Willful rejection of fellowship is evidence of not walking in the light. A famous preacher once said “show me a professing Christian who seldom attends Church, and I’ll show you a backslider who needs to get their heart right before God.”
All through the New Testament, Jesus shows us that He takes personally, how we relate to His body. Our love, expressions of kindness, and ministry to any of our brothers and sisters in Christ are received as though they were done unto the Lord, Himself. “...inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40). Therefore, would we refuse to gather with Jesus when the opportunity is given? If we refuse to gather with our brethren, we have, in reality, refused to gather with Jesus. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
Fellowship with the body of Christ is not just an option, but is critical to our continued survival as Christians. We need the preaching and teaching from God’s Word, the atmosphere of worship and praise, the encouragement which we draw from our brethren, the opportunities of Christian service, and we need the opportunity to practice love toward other Christians.
Get involved and stay in faithful fellowship with the body of Christ! If you alienate yourself from fellowship, you will restrict the life-giving blood flow of the body of Christ, and will be regressing down a path that leads away from God.
Now let me be a little bold...for some of you reading this lesson today….you have been away for a year. March 13, 2020, was the day we had to leave the church, one of the hardest days I have ever experienced. But 13 weeks later we were able to return, and by the grace of God, we have been there every Sunday. So let me ask you, “What is keeping you away?” “Why are you no longer coming to church?” “If Jesus asked you...what would you tell Him?”
Know that you are missed, and Jesus loves you, and so do I!
~ Pastor Doug