Monday, 11 November 2013

Thoughts on Fellowship (2)

In Acts 2:42ff, Luke describes the fellowship that marked the early church in Jerusalem in the weeks following that Day of Pentecost. It was obviously a striking feature of its congregational life. In verse 42, Luke says that fellowship was one of the activities to which these early Christians devoted themselves; in verse 44 he summarises the fellowship and in verses 45 to 47 he specifies particular features of it.

In his summary Luke says that believers were together and had all things in common. These two details point to the basic meaning of Christian fellowship –there has to be a relationship (the believers were together) and there has to be sharing (had all things in common). There cannot be realistic fellowship without these aspects. I will make some comments about the sharing next week, but here are some remarks on the relationship that existed among them.

With regard to the relationship, two essential details should be mentioned. First, they had this relationship because each of them had faith in Jesus Christ. On the Day of Pentecost, each one of them had listened to the gospel and had trusted in him as their Saviour from sin. We are not told anything about their life apart from this – they had discovered that Jesus Christ had come into the world to save sinners. On being informed of the willingness of Jesus to save them, these thousands of sinners had embraced him from their hearts. Their faith was an expression of their dependence on Jesus Christ, delight in him and dedication to him. So a fundamental aspect of their relationship with one another was the fact that they were now believers in Jesus Christ.

The second feature of their relationship is that they had become members of the family of God. Prior to their conversions on the Day of Pentecost, they had a relationship with one another as Jews, a relationship that was both religious and racial. This relationship had separated them from all others in the world. On the Day of Pentecost, they discovered that they were brothers in a far higher sense – they now belonged to the family of God. Despite their sinful pasts, they had not only been forgiven; in addition, they had been adopted into God’s own family. He was now their Father and all his people were now their brothers and sisters.

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