1st-Century Secrets for Church Growth - Fellowship
Text: Acts 2:42-47
Thesis: To stress that fellowship is a key ingredient for church growth.
(1) After we reach someone else with the gospel, too often we fail to develop the family atmosphere.
(2) The early church lived as the family of God.
I. The Bible demands that we fellowship
A. The church is a community.
1. “The church is a community of people on a journey to God” (L. Crabb, The Safest Place on Earth 21).
2. We are to be in fellowship (i.e., koinonia).
a. Fellowship may be defined as a “community” (Thayer’s 352).
b. C.H. Dodd defines fellowship as “persons who hold property in common, partners or shareholders in a common concern.”
B. “One Another” passages –
1. Love one another (1 Pet. 1:22; John 13:34; Rom. 13:8; 1 John 3:1)
2. Live in peace with each other (1 Thess. 5:13; 1 Pet. 3:8; Rom. 12:16)
3. Be kind to one another, forgive one another (Eph. 4:32; 1 Thess. 5:15)
4. Greet one another (Rom. 16:16; 1 Pet. 5:14)
5. Confess sins and pray for one another (James 5:16)
6. Care for one another (1 Cor. 12:24-25)
7. Bear one another’s burden (Gal. 6:2)
8. Encourage and build up one another (1 Thess. 5:11; Heb. 3:13; Heb. 10:24)
9. Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21)
10. Bear with each other and forgive (Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:13)
11. Admonish one another (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19)
12. Hospitality to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
13. Humility to one another (1 Pet. 5:5)
14. Instruct one another (Rom. 15:14)
15. Accept one another (Rom. 15:7)
16. Serve one another in love (Gal. 5:13)
17. Be devoted to one another … honor one another (Rom. 12:10)
18. Agree with one another (1 Cor. 1:10)
II. The Bible illustrates the basics of fellowship
A. “Community must have more to do with our relationships that with our programs; more to do with our values, purpose, and reason for living than with our numbers and dollars” (Wagner and Halliday, The Church You’ve Always Wanted 222).
B. Note the 4 relational activities from Acts 2:
1. They ate together
2. They prayed together
3. They shared their material possessions
4. They praised God together
(1) In 19th century British History, two figures loomed large on the landscape: William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. It was said that when you dined with Gladstone, you thought that you were with the most interesting, brilliant, and dazzling conversationalist. And it was said that when you dined with Disraeli – an equally charismatic figure – you felt that you were the most interesting, brilliant, and dazzling conversationalist. Which are you most like?
(2) Song – God’s Family