The Fellowship

The Fellowship

As I think about the “fellowship” theme of Acts 2:42, I ask myself the following questions: ‘What made these new believers so passionate in their meeting together?’ ‘What would cause them to have all things in common?’ ‘What would motivate them to sell their possessions and distribute the proceeds to all, according to need?’ (Acts 2:44-45)  

The more I ponder the Word, I become convinced they had a sense of community. Notice the last five letters of the word spells “unity”. That unity caused them to be dynamic, “on fire”, and devoted to ingesting the apostles teaching, celebrating the Lord’s table and praying corporately.   

I believe the real meaning of Biblical fellowship is absent in the modern church, especially in the western hemisphere and in most pronounced in America, the land of wealth. Most fellowship in mainline churches is more social than spiritual. I am so thankful that at Harvest we strive to implement the principles of the first century church we read about in the book of Acts.  

Let’s consider what made these first century believers so powerful in their times of fellowship. They exercised their spiritual gifts to encourage, edify and meet the needs of those who lacked. They were consistent in meeting together, not allowing anyone to become disconnected.

The enemy can cause much upheaval if he can isolate us from the body. He likes to employ the military strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ whenever possible. There’s a story about the enemy during World War Two conducting an experiment to find the most effective type of punishment to elicit information from prisoners. They found that solitary confinement was most effective. After a few days of solitary confinement, most men would tell all. Let us then make this application to the spiritual battles in this life.  Without the bond of fellowship and the strength of the body, the potential to become prey to temptation and even to abandon our values is greater.

Another characteristic of strong fellowship is the love and joy we exhibit for each other.

“And day by day, attending the temple [corporate worship] together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47, brackets mine).

Consider these verses in Romans 12:

12:9, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection, outdo one another in showing honor.”

12:11, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”

12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

12:13, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”

12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

What the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome is just as pertinent and applicable for us today.  These are not easy instructions to follow, so shouldn’t you and I seek the Holy Spirit to empower us to practice these as part of the discipleship process?

Isn’t this the mark of real fellowship in the church which honors and glorifies the Lord Jesus?

Another characteristic of biblical fellowship is our desire to spend time with the saints. This is not limited to just serving, but also includes having the heart of a servant, as Paul instructed the church at Philippi in chapter 2:1-4:

“So, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”

Let me close with a story. It’s probably drawn from tradition, but it contains very important principles for us to consider:

“After many months of waiting, a Russian girl finally obtained a visa to visit her relatives in Canada for three months. She arrived in Canada and was shown around the various attractions, amusements, and entertainments. The young Russian seemed immensely impressed by the number of things that people were wrapped up with. As the three months drew to a close, everyone expected her to defect and seek political asylum in Canada. She surprised them all by expressing a desire to return to her family in Russia and the small group of believers to which they belonged. She exclaimed that in North America everyone seems wrapped up in ‘things’ and doesn’t have time for people. In Russia, they don’t have as many material possessions and consequently they need each other, where fellowship is important.”


To consider …

  • If given the same circumstances, would you make the same decision that that young Russian girl made? Why? Why not?
  • Are you a good steward of your time, the most precious commodity we possess? Is Jesus prompting you to use it differently during this season of Lent?
  • Hold your own life as a member of the fellowship of believers up against the standard of Romans 12:9-15.

Is your love genuine?

Do you abhor what is evil and hold fast to what is good?

Do you love your brothers and sisters with “brotherly affection”?

Are you zealous for the things of God?  Fervent in spirit?

Do you serve the Lord?

Trust in God rejoicing, even in times of tribulation?

Are you “constant in prayer”?

Do you “contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality”?

Can you honestly “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them”?

Can you honestly say you “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”?

  • Is there something you need to talk with God about?


  1. My dad, with whom we lived until I was 8 or 9, was not a big believer in holding down a job. He had earned his degree in broadcasting and then he worked his way up in the television or radio station to the highest position he could and then quit to start over somewhere else. (At least that’s the story I was given) So I learned at a very early age that my community was my mom, my brother, and my sister. I never really tried to make friends because we were just going to leave anyway. But I was really close to my family. Then, when I got married, I married a soldier. We got transferred every year or two so why make friends? But it just occurred to me that it was very important to me to start a family right away. Lindsay was born 10 months after our wedding and Adam, 17 months later…(And probably that long because Jeff went to Germany about 6 months ahead of us) And when my kids started growing up and Adam left home, my response was to adopt more children…expand my community by expanding my family. I find it very difficult to trust myself to people who can just…go away. The fact that my dad left us when I was young probably cemented that fear into my young heart. And while all of this seems kind of sad and pathetic it really does illustrate another principle. Your family is the group of people that you live with and can count on to be there. To trust with your day-to-day. So yeah, your church should be your family…not just the people you see on Sunday morning…or Easter and Christmas. Or even if you do see them all the time, they should be the people who know you and you know them. You know what they laugh and cry about. You know if they only have a loaf of bread and some ramen in their whole kitchen. You know if they are terrified to be in a room full of people and what it takes to help them through it. You know if their kid is giving them grief and can talk them through it. You know because they’re your FAMILY and you love them and they can show you their personal stuff because families have learned to circle the wagons. You and me against the world. I can say that, just now, since we have started our new way of connecting in our church, I’m finally starting to see that ya’ll are my family. And starting to open up…a little at a time…

  2. Anne Brassard : March 6, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Love you so much sister! What an encouragement you are with your courage and your sweet spirit! and I love the way God has woven our lives together! Amen!

  3. I am so thankful for the time to celebrate our connection in HIM with a meal upstairs after celebrating His table. What a gift it is to linger a little longer so we can rejoice, reconnect and encourage each other at the onset of a new month. What an honor it is to then go out into a love-starved world and be a conduit of His grace and truth.

  4. Lisa K. Spear : March 9, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Pastor Dave, your analogy to the WWII soldier in isolation is one that is going to stick with me for a long time. I am sure it will be coming up again and again as the need for Christians to be in fellowship with a local assembly seems to be a regular topic of conversation in my life lately. Thanks!

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