The Nature of Fellowship (life together under the word):
Community with each other
1. Acts 2:42-47
1. Keep up meeting together
2. Keep up ministering to each other
3. Keep up serving each other
The symbol of fellowship, 1 Corinthians 10
The Lord’s Supper
The danger to fellowship, 1 Corinthians 5
The responsibility in fellowship, Romans 12:5-21
The ministry of serving
The ministry of holding one’s tongue
The ministry of meekness
The ministry of listening
The ministry of helping
The ministry of bearing with each other
The ministry of proclaiming
“…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
(1 John 1:3 ESV)
1. The people have been empowered with the Holy Spirit to do the mission of Acts 1:8
(Note the nature of Acts as built on Acts 1:8 as descriptive of the mission being fulfilled by the church as Acts of the Spirit)
2. The empowered people came together in community / fellowship
3. The people began to collide with culture
What did their community / fellowship look like?
Something to keep in mind: this is not a “how to” on putting together a church service.
This is basic building blocks for Christian discipleship.
In other words, this is what “life together under the word” can look like at the “life together” level of fellowship on a daily basis.
What is described here is how the young church at Jerusalem began to do fellowship after they were in communion with God.
By the way, this is a great way to function in connect groups!
I would argue that connect groups is where “life together under the word” will happen at its finest.
Chad Lewis told me this week that at Sojourn Church in Louisville, KY they had to get small to get big.
Life together under the word happens not in the large church service but in the daily interaction with and service to one another with all the multi-faceted gifts that has been sovereignly distributed among us by the Spirit to grow us into the head of Chief Shepherd Jesus.
What did this band of new Christians do as they were empowered for the mission? They came into community / fellowship! What did that fellowship look like?
1. Devoted to the Apostle’s Teaching (life together under the word)
(An interesting note is that verse 42, in the Greek text, is included in the paragraph concluding the Pentecost narrative)
In keeping with Jesus’ teaching to them (chap. 1), this would have included such subjects as his resurrection, the Old Testament Scriptures, the Christian witness, and surely their own reminiscences of Jesus’ earthly ministry and teachings.1
2. Devoted to the Fellowship (life together under the word)
The meaning would then be that they devoted themselves to a fellowship that was expressed in their mutual meals and in their prayer life together.2
A. The breaking of bread
This is probably talking about more than the regular eating of meals together. The regular observance of what came to be called the Lord’s Supper seems to be in view. While the observance appears to have formed part of an ordinary meal, the emphasis on breaking bread shows this to be a significant part of the fellowship.3
1. They were together
2. They shared meals together
B. The prayers
The presence of the article in the Greek text before prayers has led some interpreters to see this as a reference to their keeping the formal prayer hours of Judaism in the temple.4
This is probably referring to the Jewish organization of prayer times at the temple. Particularly since 3:1 tells us that Peter and John were going to the temple at the hour of prayer (the 9th hour).
There seems to be an evangelistic nature as well as a devotion to the Lord in these prayers. They were public, among God-fearers who were not yet Christians, and they were regular.
1. The fellowship was not private alone but public in their
2. The fellowship practiced the faith publicly
3. Results of the Fellowship
A. Awe at the supernatural nature of the fellowship
B. Sharing with any in need
C. Public and private gathering
E. Favor with all the people (which would lead to eventual conflict)
4. Take action!
When you gather in connect groups or gather just doing life together:
1. Don’t ignore the Scriptures, immerse yourself in them!
2. Do life together under the word
a. Gather as often as you can
b. Sometimes eat
c. Sometimes remember the Lord’s death and resurrection with the
d. Sometimes make your gathering indigenous to your context to
engage your context:
What is our context?
1. We are a culture of nominal God-fearers and nominal non-church goers
2. We are a culture of multi-church attenders who do not commit to much
spiritual unless there is something in the attendance for the attendee
3. We are a culture who has a form of godliness without the power
4. We are tribal in nature (territory by school)
5. We are segregated racially
6. We have a significant population of low-income and a significant
high income population with a smaller middle class leading to some drastic
issues such as drug production / selling / use in lower-income levels leading to
the propagation of all kinds of social challenges such as the need for foster care
and adoption etc…
7. We have Native American heritage here with the spiritual darkness that comes
with that history in the past particularly when the government forced the closure of missions work among the Cherokee and marched them out west to Arkansas and Oklahoma
6. We are still jacked up about the civil war and Sherman’s march and, therefore, fiercely independent
7. We are totally skeptical
8. We are skeptical of outsiders
9. We are a place that chews up pastors and spits them out
10. Sin among pastorate and scandal among the spiritual leaders has
11. Everybody has been “saved”. Bad evangelism or no evangelism contributes
to the above
e. Take time to revel in the supernatural work of the Lord among you
f. Take care of each other’s needs
g. Gather publicly some in addition to gathering privately
h. Pray and tell of the greatness of the Lord
i. Look for ways to be salt and light to surrounding people / communities
by leaving a good taste in the public’s mouth with our behavior