There is great spiritual benefit to be derived from having fellowship with other like-minded believers. Therefore, christians are encouraged to not only take time for private prayer, Scripture reading and personal devotions, but for UNITED prayer, UNITED readings of God’s Word, as well as UNITED devotions and fellowship meetings, preferably on a DAILY basis.
Scripture exhorts us to “not forsake the assembling of yourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25), thus we should endeavor to follow the example of the Early Church, whose members “continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Such times of UNITED FELLOWSHIP are not a drudgery or burden; they are enjoyable occasions in which believers come together with the Lord for a time of spiritual refreshment, a time in which those participating are strengthened, encouraged, inspired, edified, instructed and commissioned by the Lord. “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). And “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another” (1 John 1:7). (See also Hebrews 10:25; Psalm 133:1-3.)
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Psalms 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
- It’s WONDERFUL for Christians to be able to FELLOWSHIP together! It’s something that we should really desire, because, after being out amongst the unbelieving World and facing numerous problems all day–or for several days, or all week–we NEED that time together with others who believe as we do, who love the Lord, and are serving Him and living for Him!
- In the World today, living a Christian life is not always an easy task, so it’s a real blessing to get together with other Christians for fellowship, to read and study God’s Word together, to sing and praise the Lord, to unitedly pray for one another and to ask for prayer for our individual problems or needs. It’s also a good time to have Communion together.
- We are told in Hebrews 10:25, “Let us NOT FORSAKE the ASSEMBLING of ourselves TOGETHER, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us ENCOURAGE one another, and all the more as you see the Day (of Jesus’ Return) approaching.” The Lord knew that we needed united fellowship with other Christians for our own inspiration and for spiritual refreshing, and for being strengthened by His Word. Also, as the above verse says, meeting together is a time to ENCOURAGE one another. There is also great POWER in UNITY, and there’s just something about UNITED prayer and fellowship that really brings down the Lord’s BLESSING!–See Acts 4:32-33.
- It’s important to understand, however, that meeting together for fellowship and spiritual renewing–whether it is done in a church building, a great Cathedral, a private home or a thatched hut–is NOT our “SERVICE” for the Lord. The reason we mention this is because, especially in many of the more formal churches, the fellowship meeting is called the “SERVICE”. This has given many people the mistaken impression that by merely going to CHURCH and giving an offering, they have FULFILLED their obligation to God.–That all they are required to do as Christians is to attend the “service” in order to please God.
- Obviously this is not all, because a Christian’s obligation, as Jesus COMMANDED us, is to “PREACH the GOSPEL to every person”!–Mark 16:15. Our actual WORK and SERVICE for the Lord is in our everyday LIVING for Him, in our WITNESSING to others, showing them love and pointing them towards Salvation. THIS is our service to God!–And it’s genuine WORK and requires DEDICATION and a measure of SELF-SACRIFICE. Meeting together for an hour or two for FELLOWSHIP, by comparison, should be a genuine PLEASURE and RELAXATION! It should be a time to be renewed, re-inspired and fueled up for the work and restrengthened for the battles in the days ahead!
- In Mark 6:7-13, Jesus sent His disciples out to minister to the people. It was a great deal of work, and when they’d FINISHED their SERVICE, verses 30-31 say: “And the Apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus. And He said unto them, ‘Come ASIDE into a QUIET place, and REST a while.'” Likewise today, there is a great difference between our SERVICE for the Lord and our “gathering ourselves together unto Jesus”, and “coming aside to REST” to be re-inspired!
(Excerpts from the letter The Church–The Body of Believers!)
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