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Fellowship: It’s On You and You and You…

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 POHS: Part III

A Blogger’s Ramble on Fellowship

My following thoughts and concerns are fairly fluid and ever changing so do not expect to make much sense out of them, lol.

I could easily craft this post around the principle that real Christians go to church but I won’t because I simply do not believe that. On the contrary, I believe that since real Christians are the Church, we need to rethink what fellowship is according to the Lord Jesus Christ and according to the Scriptures.

The New Testament is clear on the importance of being connected to other believers. Not only is this a matter of ministering to one another (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35; Phil 2:2-5) but also of maintaining accountability in the faith (Heb 10:24-25). In other words, spiritual formation is worked out here daily as we sharpen one another in the faith to obey the commands of Christ and preach the Gospel. That is the heart of the Great Commission itself (Matt. 28:18-20).

The “Stay Away Saint? syndrome where believers Spiritual formation cannot take place apart from maintaining fellowship with other saints. What is changing is the views of some about whether the worship gathering (i.e. church service) ought to be considered the central point of the week. It is clear, however, that there was no either/or mentality when it came to worship gatherings. Believers continued to meet regularly in the temple/synagogue for public worship (Acts 2:46, 4:1, 5:12, 5:17-21, 5:42) but they also met in homes (Acts 2:46-47; 12:12; 18:7).

There are a number of reasons why folks want to stay home. From my own struggles some Sundays, I have found myself bored by the gatherings. Others complain about the routine of the service or the length of the service as being “too long.? Some did not like the music sang. Whatever the reason, I am convinced that skipping corporate worship gatherings is NOT the answer.

A Christ-follower who has been baptized into the body of Christ can no more try to disengage from corporate fellowship with other saints than I can change my DNA and try to get new parents. In addition, the very nature of the body analogy that Paul makes underscores the complexities of trying to function apart from the corporate fellowship of believers.

True, the building is not the church. The actual worship gathering is not the church. The church is the people and those who you meet on your job or in your neighborhood who are Christ-followers. But if Scripture is to be the rule of faith for the Church, I cannot justify ignoring corporate gatherings. The early church didn’t. In fact as we’ve seen, they had both temple gatherings as well as home gatherings. We are the body and the Holy Spirit works through us individually (via the gifts of the Spirit distributed to each one) to edify the whole body of Christ as well as to make disciples of all nations and peoples.

The fact is that we need each other, especially today with all the technological advances that are cropping up daily. Blogging and instant messaging are fast becoming the cheapest ways to talk to others without having face-to-face contact with them. And there is nothing wrong with that. After all, how many folks who read Paul’s epistles ever met him personally? But the big issue here is that blogging and instant messaging ought not become substitutes or excuses for skipping corporate gatherings where believers come together to worship Christ and honor the sacraments of baptism and communion.

There is nothing like being in the presence of live people who serve the same God and who are supposed to be fulfilling the same mission: the GREAT COMMISSION. More importantly, we are commanded to meet together in the first place (Heb. 10:24-25). We are like restless and helpless babes in the wild if we disengage from some form of gathering because our “needs? are not being met.

Frankly, I had to examine whether or not I was being selfish when I flirted with the “Stayaway? issue. I had to examine if my attitude was so focused on what I could “get out of? the exercise of going to church that I had lost focus of the primary purpose of corporate worship in the first place: WORSHIPING GOD. I believed that I had and decided to repent and change my attitude regardless of where I was worshiping.

I also had to come to the understanding that when I attend a worship gathering, I might be able to encourage and admonish other Christ-followers and receive the same. I definitely believe that, especially after my mom went home to be with the Lord very unexpectedly at 52 in January 2004. I’m not sure I would have survived without the local fellowship I was a part of or without the godly men and women through whom the Holy Spirit ministered to me.

And here is where the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is so important. Because He has baptized us into the body of Christ and because He has distributed spiritual gifts for the edification of the body, our unity and connection is all the more important. I can tell people that I have the gift of teaching or prophecy all day long but if I am never meeting with other saints to allow the Holy Spirit to use those gifts for the edification of others, then it means NOTHING.

Fellowship is a matter of the Holy Spirit working through our connection and communion to do the will of God in the earth. How is the Holy Spirit to operate and draw sinners to Christ through a collection of disjointed body parts asserting their right to “be alone?? There are far too many verses that speak to the power of biblical community and unity to give up on corporate gatherings (Act. 4:32; Rom. 12:5; 1Cor. 1:10, 1Cor. 12:12, 25-27; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4:3-6; Phi. 1:27;2:1-5; Col. 3:11-14; 1Pet. 3:8,9).

This should not, however, be an excuse to ignore some of the reasons why folks are having problems with today’s version of “church.? Corporate gatherings and house gatherings are not an either/or but both/and for me personally. I bet we don’t have this issue when it comes to the sports gatherings. LOL!

The Church must be the fluid, organic body she was called to be so that we effectively
represent Jesus to a sinful world who desperately needs Him.

Solo Christo

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Written by missional girl

November 4, 2005 at 5:07 pm

Posted in Ecclesiology

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