How to Live in Harmony With Fellow Believers
What makes for healthy fellowship?
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
The early church learned to love each other in Christ. People who had once been strangers to each other now had a sense of community and of Christ’s life flowing through them. Do you feel more grief than life in your local fellowship? Find out how life can begin to flow through your local fellowship.
Devoted to fellowship
One of the things the young church devoted themselves to was fellowship. Fellowship means holding all things in common — in other words, sharing together. They began to know and to love one another. Here were 3,000 people suddenly added to a little band of 20. Most of them probably were strangers before. Many of them had come from other parts of the world into Jerusalem for that occasion. They did not know each other. But now they were one in Christ, and they began to love each other and started to talk to each other, to find out what each other had been thinking and how each had been reacting, and to share their problems and burdens and needs, to talk about these together and pray together about them. There was a wonderful sense of community, of commonality, of belonging to each other. That is the fellowship which is the intended life for the body of Christ.
There is power in community
God has designed that his life should be manifest through a body. If the body is not operating, then the life is not manifest. That means there is no power, because the life of God is always power. The reason the church has been so powerless lately is that it has been so fragmented and broken. We have estranged ourselves from each other. In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul says, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God...(Ephesians 4:30). Then he lists the things that grieve him: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
This is essential
If that is not happening, then the Spirit of God is grieved. When he is grieved, he does not act. There is no life. The church becomes dull and dead and sterile and mediocre. All this is manifest in an empty ritual, with no vitality in it. God intends that Christians should have fellowship, should share one another's lives and thoughts and problems — bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. It is not an option; it is essential. This is why, when the Holy Spirit of God begins to move in any congregation, or in any assembly of Christians, he starts at this point. He begins to heal the brokenness of their lives and their relationships one with another, to get them to admit to each other their malice and their anger and their frustration and their grudges, and to forgive one another. This is when life begins to flow once again through the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pray this week:
Father, open my heart toward others and toward you. Break down and melt within me the resistance that I erect against others. Make me to be of one heart and one mind with others in the body, generous in giving, glad to participate in anything that advances this marvelous work going on in the midst of a world which is rapidly drifting into darkness and emptiness and coldness. Thank you, Lord, for the warmth of your Spirit, and for your power and your grace among your people.
What is the biblical meaning of 'fellowship'? When the Body of Christ becomes powerless, what remedy is indicated? Are we committed personally to building commonality among those with whom we worship and serve? What aspect of fellowship do you need help with?
Excerpted with permission by Global Media Outreach from Immeasurably More: A Year of Daily Devotions, © 2019, 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved. Please visit RayStedman.org for the complete library of Ray Stedman material.