Fellowship with other Christians
The definition of a team is working together to achieve a common goal. Fellowship in Christ is the ultimate act of achievement with eternal rewards.
Reading the Bible, praying, growing in faith and worshiping God do not require anyone but the individual. We can have a relationship with God alone on an island or by ourselves in the middle of a large city. On the other hand, fellowship with other Christians can bring many added benefits and rewarding experiences.
When we communicate with other Christians, we have the opportunity to learn new ideas and gain new perspectives about God, the Bible and life in general. Christian fellowship is mutually beneficial to all involved.
“That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.”
Fellow Christians are good influences morally and socially for each other in a world that can bring trouble and even danger in countless ways. When we make bad decisions, a fellow Christian can bring the best advice. On the occasions when we are surrounded by bad influences and counter-productive options in life, Christians can help direct us away from mistakes and unforeseen pitfalls.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” - Proverbs 27:17
In difficult times, life can bring unexpected crisis and obstacles that can seem insurmountable. There may be periods during our lives when there doesn't seem to be any purpose or reason. Sometimes finding God’s plan for our lives can seem like a mystery. This is when encouragement or advice from a fellow believer at an opportune moment can often make a decisive difference.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Life will provide challenges that we may not be able to overcome by ourselves, or at least as easily without the aid of others. Fellowship and help from other Christians can give us the strength to overcome a wide range of issues throughout life. From addictions to personal relationships, from financial problems to career decisions, good advice from an honest Christian friend can make the difference between success and disaster.
“Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” - Galatians 6:2
During the periods in life when we do hit rock-bottom, our Christian friends can be there to help pick up the pieces because the message of Christ is based on loving one another as ourselves.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls
and has not another to lift him up!” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Christian fellowship will also help to understand and reinforce God's Word found in the Bible. Everyone has their own perspective about the scriptures they read and when we communicate our separate views and interpretations we discover God’s word in ways that we could not perceive from our own singular perspective.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20
When Christians congregate, the Lord’s presence increases and the Holy Spirit’s influence can be amplified. Known as the day of Pentecost, this actuality is exemplified in a miraculous event that occurred a few weeks after Christ’s resurrection. In chapter 2 of the book of Acts it says:
"When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." - Acts 2:1-4
BELONGING TO A CHURCH
One of the amazing aspects among the members of the typical church is that it brings a wide variety of believers together in the name of Christ that would normally never associate. Most churches are made up of a combination of individuals across the societal spectrum in regards to age, occupation, social status and education. Our diversity is our strength in regards to our spiritual growth, doing the Lord's work and helping others within the church community.
Christian fellowship for children and young adults can be crucial for the development of character, communication skills, as well as the divine guidance in the fulfillment of goals later on in life.
When I was a child, I had to be told to go to church. At a very young age, I took the fellowship and church experiences for granted. But as I started to get older, I started to enjoy and appreciate the many experiences I was encountering. When I eventually became an adult, I grew to understand and appreciate the many blessings I had received. I now appreciate the rich amount of experiences that helped me develop into the person that I am today.
I remembered all of the relationship building experiences, the spiritual growth, and the fun I had with the many friends who I consider to be reliable and honest. I realized that I learned how to act and respond in a myriad of situations. Other elders taught me many lessons just like a loving parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle would have done. I now realize that all of these varied experiences brought enjoyment to these elders too, as I represented a child, grandchild or nephew.
As I grew in understanding, I realized that I became a brother, a cousin and eventually an uncle or a parent-like figure to those in need that were younger than I. Not only do I appreciate the role models that influenced me as I grew up, but I also became a role model to others young and old.
This realization became one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Without this fellowship from growing up and belonging to a church, my life would simply not be the same. When I look back at my childhood, I am extremely grateful that my parents required that I go to church when I was young. They set the ultimate example for me!
In the book of Matthew Jesus once said:
“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
The apostle Paul also said:
“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father,
younger men as brothers, older women as mothers,
younger women as sisters, in all purity.” - 1 Timothy 5:1-2
In reflecting from my own personal experiences, I understand that Christians are united in a bond that is enabled by God’s grace. As the Bible says we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and with guidance from the Holy Spirit, it allows us to see life in a similar frame of mind. This bond is nothing short of miraculous and beyond words!
Today, I truly understand that fellowship with other Christians is a privilege. It pains me to think that many souls will unfortunately never experience this reality. Whether you spend time in fellowship with Christian friends, a Bible study group or a church congregation, the experiences, rewards and benefits are undeniable. In time one will realize they are a better person from the relationships that were acquired, wisdom that was gained and the lessons that were learned from our interactions with fellow believers. Most importantly, our Christian fellowship teaches us about the true art of loving one another for the glory of God.
The Bible refers to this form of love as being perfected. Perfected love is the love of God expressing itself in our love for each other.
If we love God and those around us, we will surely want to make a public profession of our faith. The best way to do this is through the symbolic act of Baptism.
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