I am a church man. I love the church. Church life, church fellowship, and church family has had such an important place in my life. The church is God’s own institution and plan for families to grow together in our faith and in healthy relationships. Jesus referred to the church as a corporate body of believers where each individual is a part of God’s building. (I Corinthians 3:9-11) He also refers to the church as a collective group of believers who gather together in a community called a local church. (Matthew 18:17)
The purpose of God for the church both corporately and collectively is for Christ-centered fellowship with other believers in Christ. “….and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”
There are some biblical conditions of fellowship with one another that work successfully when we commit to them.
1. A basic commitment to one another. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
2. A commitment to “Agape” love. Agape is a one-way love, which loves “in spite of” not “because of.” The people’s behavior does not affect our commitment to love. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so love one another.” (John 13:34) Since there are no perfect people in the church we should be able to unconditionally love each other.
What is the purpose of fellowship and family in the church? When we unite together we are “mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Romans 1:11, 12)
We are devoted to serving one another in the faith. “The first converts in Achaia of the household of Stephanas devoted themselves to the service of the saints.” (I Corinthians 16:15) We can all be engaged in loving ministry to others. So many people get help and encouragement from others who serve in the local church.
When we study the results of the early church in the book of Acts, we discover the pure unity of heart and soul among the believers. They physically expressed their commonness by sharing with anyone who had need. (Acts 2:44, 45)
*They had a healthy “fear of God.” (Acts 2:43)
*They were “full of joy” and had “favor with the people.” (Acts 2:47)
*“New believers were added daily.” (2:27)
*“All needs were supplied.” (Philippians 4:19)
*Leadership emerged from within. (I Corinthians 16:15, 16)
I’m so proud to be part of a thriving healthy local church!