“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved,” [Acts 2:42-47]
How do you like to spend your time? I have often been amused by a little neighbor girl who likes to come over to our house to play with Mark and Michael. Ira and I are often amused by the things she says and the insights she has –unusual for a kindergartner. When asked if she would like to watch a movie or play video games, her response is often, “No. I just want to play together.” She especially likes to play board games, outside or make-believe. She just wants to fellowship.
Over two years ago, our family “adopted” a dog, Max. I have to admit, it was his character that drew us to him. He’s extremely friendly and very conscious of feelings. He’s an American Mastiff, one of the biggest dogs around, but they are aptly called “gentle giants.” He is the most unusual, sensitive and intelligent dog I have ever met. But what has impressed me the most is that he would rather spend time with us than eat. It doesn’t matter how hungry he is –he would rather have affection than food. He really has a gentle and loving spirit. He loves to fellowship.
Last Wednesday night I laughed harder than I have in a long, long time. As I met for the second time with my Family Group, I really enjoyed the sharing of thoughts, the humor, the laughter, the joy and the kindness that we shared. It’s nice to know that this family is tuning into each of our needs and growing in trust. We are building a special bond that each of us desperately needs. Fellowship is a wonderful thing.
As I read Acts 2, I notice the joy and energy present in the early Church. They loved to fellowship –in fact, they were dedicated to it. It was their love and fellowship for one another that drew more souls into the Church. The power and fellowship of the Holy Spirit, combined with the Message of the Gospel caused amazing transformation in the lives of many in Jerusalem. And it’s no wonder –when fellowship is alive and healthy, a central focus of the Church, then amazing things happen.
There was an amazing fellowship that began over 500 years ago among the “Separatists” of England. They took it upon themselves to found a new colony in a New World, challenged by a wild frontier for a singular purpose: To bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Most modern history books attempt to edit away their intention, but they knew why they came. For their courage and faith, we can be truly thankful to God. They were united and resolute to accomplish their mission: To found a new country under God’s blessing that they might bring the Gospel to the whole earth. But had their fellowship failed, they would have never succeeded. This was the “spirit” of Philadelphia. Jesus told the church at Philadelphia that He has the “key of David” (power of the Kingdom of God) and He put before them an “open door” (a green light to obey the Word in its entirety –to fulfill His mission to the whole world). Though the church at Philadelphia was “weak” by the world’s estimation, their resolve was not. They persisted and patiently endured difficulty with an unwavering determination and faith that the Kingdom of God comes when the faithful believe and act.
The Spirit of Jesus Christ has been powerfully working on all of our hearts. He is strengthening our “koinonia” (fellowship). He is making us more “one.” He is encouraging our hearts to believe and fulfill His mission with His strength. There is a deepening of sincerity and trust. Our enthusiasm is building. We are becoming more resolute to obey the Gospel, even though it may be difficult and cost us dearly. He is working in us to will and work the Kingdom of God through us. We face many challenges but God is the Lord of all challenges. He is the Provider of all things. Jesus is the Faithful and True Witness, the LORD OF ALL CREATION. We can trust in Him. We can also learn to trust one another more as the Spirit enables us. Our devotion is to God and to one another so that God will to do great things among us. He has and He will. He is Faithful and True –and that is exactly how we must fellowship with one another: Faithfully and truthfully. Aren’t we all hungry for good fellowship? In a world that drifts into deeper “disconnects”, let’s draw nearer to one another and obey the Lord in loving one another, that the world might see that we are His disciples.
Happy Thanksgiving –we have much for which we can be thankful. And enjoy the fellowship of family, sensitive to the Spirit’s leading as He may be seeking to draw others into His fellowship and His Kingdom as you celebrate. He has placed before us an open door; therefore go and make disciples.
Love in Jesus,