Lesson 3 - The Fellowship
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
On the first day of the week, the believers came together to break bread. Acts 20:7 Their fellowship helped them grow stronger in the faith, as they used their gifts and resources to encourage and help each other. They worshipped in spirit and in truth. The fruit of their fellowships was the strengthening of their faith.
During his lifetime, Paul wrote fourteen (14) letters called epistles to the Christians, encouraging them to help one another and use their gifts for every good work that will strengthen each other’s faith. He made it clear that faith is essential:
○ It is impossible to please God without faith. Hebrews 11:6
○ We should walk by faith and not by sight. II Corinthians 5:7
○ Faith is our shield against wickedness. Ephesians 6:16
○ Faith is our breastplate against sinfulness. I Thessalonians 5:8
The need for strong faith is the compelling reason that Paul vigorously exhorted the believers not to forsake or miss the assembly meeting. Hebrews 10:25 The lack of faith weakens our shield against wickedness and sinfulness.
We also learn from the scriptures that the common activities during their fellowships are the following:
○ Breaking bread in communion with Christ, commemorating his death for the forgiveness of sins. Acts 2:42
○ Singing: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, with grace in their hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
○ Instructing and admonishing one another Romans 15:13-14
○ Praying, giving thanks for all things, submitting themselves to one another. Ephesians 5:18-21
○ Giving according to purpose in their hearts. II Corinthians 9:7
As Paul reminded that every activity in the assembly should be done decently and in order, the early Christians may have organized their fellowship activities to prevent chaos and confusion. I Corinthians 7:17 | I Corinthians 14:40 We know for sure that there were deacons performing specific tasks, such as helping and feeding the poor.
For the fellowship to function in an organized manner, specific tasks or functions should be assigned to gifted men. Those who can lead, to lead the worship. Those with gifts of preaching should preach. Those who can pray should lead the prayers. Those who can lead the singing to a joyful rhythm should be assigned as song leaders. Others will be assigned to do the collecting of offerings. What is important here is to encourage all Christians to share their gifts.
This is a format for a suggested fellowship order. You may add other activities that suit the needs of the membership,
but make sure that these will not bring confusion to anyone.
A sermon is a lwsson based on a religious truth from the scriptures of the Bible, elaborately treated with a view to persuasion.
As we mature as Christians, a sermon message should be anticipated with gladness. for they convey admonition, exhortation and encouragement. Furthermore, the sermon equips us with spiritual knowledge that we will one day utilize when we teach others.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul reminded him about how to preach the word, and be prepared in season and out of season; correcting, rebuking, and encouraging with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:1-2
The early Christians prayed in thanksgiving for all things. Ephesians 5:18-21 Prayers were likewise made for a Christian's specific request. Take notice that Paul asked the brethren to pray for him, in many occasions.
○ to fearlessly proclaim the Gospel Ephesians 6:19
○ prayer for faith 1 Thessalonians 5:25
○ pray that the Gospel be spread rapidly 2 Thessalonians 3:1
○ pray against wicked and evil men 2 Thessalonians 3:2
The act of requesting a prayer is a manifestation of one's faith that the prayer will be heard by our Lord God with special attention. It also displays a demonstration of humility in acknowledging one's needfulness. Matthew 18:19-20
Prayer links man and God through Jesus Christ, and the oldest expression of man's worship of God.
When you pray, address your prayer to the Father. Pray for thankfulness, petitions and forgiveness, and most importantly, pray from your heart. End each prayer "in the name of Jesus Christ", our intercessor. Matthew 6:9
Singing is another way of expressing adoration and praise toward God, and of edifying and admonishing one another. Meaningful traditional hymns come to mind such as "Count Your Blessings", "Dwelling in Beulah Land" ,etc. These hymns are full of love and encouragement. Listen to these hymns by clicking on this link: Christian Hymns. These hymns will surely teach, inspire, and encourage you.
As we were admonished to sing psalms to one another, everyone must sing. Sing songs that edify one another. Avoid 7-11 songs (songs of 7 words and repeated 11 times!) Sing melodies with joy and thankfulness in your hearts. There is no reference in the New Testament for a public song service.
The Lord's Supper was instituted by Jesus Christ himself, when he commanded his disciples to observe this simple act of partaking of the unleavened bread that represents his body, and the fruit of the vine, which represents his blood. Mathew 26:26-27
The Lord's supper is celebrated every first day of the week. The early Christians broke bread when they came together in fellowship every first day of the week. Acts 20:7
The Lord's Supper is a memorial. We commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross for the following reasons:
○ His death makes the new covenant possible. Hebrews 9:16
○ His blood was shed for the remission of sins. Ephesians 1:7
As the Passover was a memorial commemorating the deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt, through the blood of the lambs on their door posts; the Lord's Supper is a memorial of our Lord's death, which delivered us from the bondage of sin.
The Lord's Supper is a proclamation. We proclaim our faith in the return of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:26 . We look forward with trust in our hearts that when Jesus comes again, he will gather his own.
The Lord's Supper is a communion. We share in the blood of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:16 . His blood continually washes away our sins. As we partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine, we commune with the body of Christ.
The early Christians gave regularly, freely, and with simplicity. God does not need our money, for He owns all the riches in this world. He needs nothing from us. He simply commands that in everything that we do, we must do it for His glory. The early Christians did not observe a law on how much one should give. They were commanded to give in accordance with their ability. Observe the following attitudes of a true giver:
a) Give freely Matthew 10:8
b) Give with simplicity Romans 12:8
c) Give regularly 1 Corinthians 16:2
d) Give cheerfully 2 Corinthians 9:7
e) Give according to ability Acts 11:29
Surely, the Church needs regular giving from its members to fully support its different ministries. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul thankfully praised for their deep concern over his needs, but most of all, Paul pointed out that their act of benevolence would be credited to their account. Philippians 4:17
God will reward your faithful giving. Give and it will be given you in good measure, pressed, shaken and running over. Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
We learn from the scriptures that the early Christians shared a meal after breaking bread together. Acts 20:11 Christians continued in their fellowship as long as time allowed. They were encouraged to show love to one another not only by words but by deeds. Click the links to view the scriptures. Read the passages carefully with understanding.
○ Loving one another fulfills the law. Romans 13:7-9 | I Peter 1:21-23 | I John 3:10-12
○ Accept one another. Romans 15:6-8
○ Greet one another with a holy kiss. Romans 16:15-17
○ Speak the same things. I Corinthians 1:9-11
○ Serving one another in love. Galatians 5:13-14
○ Gifts are to be used for the work of the ministry for edifying the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-15 |I Peter 4:10-11
○ Bear one another, forgiving one another Colossians 3:12-14
○ Encourage one another. I Thessalonians 5:10-12
○ Humility, do not speak evil, do not judge James 4:10-12
○ Younger to submit to elders. I Peter 5:4-6
We conclude this lesson with a reminder that the main purpose of the fellowship is to strengthen the faith of one another. In your fellowships, therefore, make sure that you praise God, in all activities. In all purposes strengthen each other's faith. The following activities should be discouraged.
○ Using the pulpit to to attack or criticize the practices of other religious groups.
○ Using the pulpit to criticize the government.
○ Singing for entertainment and not for admonition.
There are various other activities that are being conducted in a fellowship that have nothing to do with the strengthening of faith. These are activities that waste time, considering that Christians meet only once in a week. We need not list them all here. You are now a Christian and you should be able to discern which is of faith and which is not. If you need wisdom pray for it and gladly will God give it to you. James 1:5
If there is no congregation in your community, start one. Start with your family, then invite your neighbors. It only needs two or three Christians to start a fellowship. Matthew 18:19-20