East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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October 27, 2013
Acts 2:42

Intro: Sermon series from Acts 2, answers question: "What are the necessary actions, minimum requirements, of the Church being the Church?" So far, discussed devotion to Lord's Supper, and to Apostle's teaching! Today, discussing "devoted to fellowship."

Re: Devoted! Regularity, willingness! Desire, not duty! Early Christians wanted to gather together. Not have to, but want to! Joyful expectation, anticipation, excitement!

Fellowship ! Not shaking hands and polite conversation after the church service! Infinitely deeper! Gk: Koinonia ! LJ: "It means "a deep association," "a true communion," "a close relationship of which the highest example is marriage."...True fellowship is never anything superficial. It is deep. It is vital. It becomes the main thing in life. When people become Christians they become one. They enter into this community. They are in a family together. They are united by certain bonds that are indissoluble." Sharing, more than food, talk, or money! Sharing in life together!

Fellowship is not Natural! When you hear what fellowship is, realize how rare, how impossible it is! Human condition! Countless ways we divide from each other! Divided by gender, within families, between families, between cities, communities, races, nations, politics. Even closest couples, families, have disagreements, disunion at times. Lot of division in world! But where does fellowship, unity come from?

Fellowship is supernatural in origin! (Read I John 1:1-4.) Fellowship requires a shared life! John presents Jesus' arrival on earth as the arrival of Life itself. Through faith in Christ's life, death and resurrection, a sinner's relationship with God is repaired. We share in life with God! We are in a deep, true, eternal relationship with Almighty God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Astonishment; ("truly" in KJV's 1:3! Also, I John 3:1.) Fellowship requires a shared life! We will have no fellowship or unity with other humans, until we have begun to share in the life of God Himself! But when God's life captures your heart, watch out! When God connects hearts, nothing can separate them!

Fellowship requires a shared truth! (Read I John 1:5-7.) Few weeks ago, saw that becoming a Christian requires separation from world and sin, and separation to God. But those separations only occur as people encounter and accept God's perfect Word. (Last week: "Apostle's teaching!") Practical application: Those who deny God's Word are incapable of fellowship. Can't "fellowship" with other religions. Both ABC, DOC are ecumenical, (define!) but must be careful! No true fellowship with people who say, "I'm a Christian, but I refuse to believe the Bible..." At very least, a serious misunderstanding of Christianity. Fellowship requires a shared truth! Not united by vague, sentimental, optimistic view of humanity. No! God spoke! We heard and responded in faith! In this shared truth we stand together! When God connects hearts, nothing can separate them!

Fellowship expresses itself in a shared love! (Read I John 3:14.) We have received God's love through Christ. That love transforms our relationship with Him, and with each other. John provides practical application of this shared life; (read I John 3:14-18.) But beyond providing for each other's physical needs, the church is to be a place of grace, trust, honesty, openness, vulnerability. Joy, patience, kindness, humility, peace, gentleness. Sounds a lot like heaven? In a sense, it is. Our shared future has begun to break into our present! Practical application: How do you feel about spending time with other Christians? Chore, duty, agony? Or joy, delight, pleasure? God plants within the heart of a true Christian a desire to spend time with other Christians, to enjoy, support, encourage, laugh, cry together. When God connects hearts, nothing can separate them!

Application : Maybe you realize you've not been "sharing in the life of God." Like to start? Pray; ask God to send His Holy Spirit to birth faith in Jesus Christ in your heart.

Maybe you're a Christian, but have settled for something less than true fellowship with other Christians. Carried sinful behavior into church; maybe seen it modeled here! Brothers and sisters, listen to me now: Jealousy, gossip, pride, fear, bitterness, selfish anger, don't belong here! Confess, repent! Go to your brother, sister in Christ, and ask, "Can we talk?" Prepare to be amazed at how God works! When God connects hearts, nothing can separate them! (Can come forward to receive prayer for any reason.)

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© East Side Church, 2013