Do you value the time God has given you to spend with your church family? With the way many Christians treat fellowship it can make one wonder. God has placed each believer in His Church, no matter if they are connected to a local church or not. The capital “C” Church is invisible, the lower case “c” church is visible.
How important is it for you to active in the local church?
Now of course, as you can imagine, it is my position that it is extremely important to be active in the fellowship. By active I mean that you are faithful and consistent in meeting with the church (the fellowship) for worship on Sundays, that you are involved in a Sunday School or small group, that you get together for fun on your own and that you pitch in and help during outreaches and activities. That shouldn’t surprise you that a church planting missionary should feel that way…it’s like, duh, of course missionaries feel this way!
But why do I feel that way? Why is it so important? If not being connected will not separate us from God once we’ve been reborn, if I can worship God anytime on my own and I can even study the Bible on my own…why is it so important to be truly connected to a local fellowship of believers?
The first reason is the “cause I said so” that your dad used to tell you and that you tell your kids. God flat out says that He wants us to be faithful to a local fellowship, back in the Bible days they met DAILY…so most churches weekly schedule isn’t excessive. God simply commands that we are not to “give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 NIV
Certainly we are to meet for worship on Sunday’s; God has commanded that we honor the Sabbath and that we are to keep it Holy.
So, is it like a thing that you just come, put up with some guy's talk and go home? Is it about attendance only? Not at all! Not only is it not about attendance only, it’s not about attendance in that sense at all! God wants us to be connecting as brothers and sisters. There are simply too many scriptures to cite to show this…just open the Bible and read over and over how God refers to us as His children and how we are to refer to each other as brother and sister. That demands relationship, friendship and companionship. A local church fellowship is a family, plain and simple.
It is important to be connected because we need each other. If you are struggling you need encouragement. You need a friend who can help you or at least can pray with you. If you are disconnected or are inconsistent in “showing up” it is just not realistic to assume that you’ll have close relationships with your brothers and sisters within a local body of believers. Everybody is busy with work, home, kids and all the rest. We all have to make the effort and take the time an initiative to get and stay connected. There’s just no two ways about it. It’s great having people that can not only help you work on your car…heck, you don’t have to be a Christian to work on a car, your neighbor can help you with that… but it’s nice to also have a friend who can pray that God will help you buy the parts!
Read this passage slowly and really take time to think about what it’s saying…
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
It’s nice to have a friend that knows the Lord and can help pick you up. That’s why it’s important to be involved in a local fellowship, to have a brother or sister to help pick you up when you fall or when you are in need. It takes more than just showing up three or four times a month on Sunday, it takes no less than that...but it takes more, much more.
Do you realize that there are people that you can help pick up? Have you ever thought about that? There are people here at your local church that could really benefit from your friendship, your help, your advice, your kindness, your abilities and your prayers. What are you saying to those people when they hardly see you?
Think about the people here at the local church you would call "home". How many people in that church family do you really know? Maybe you’re new, maybe you’re not. Are you one of those people who will wait for someone else to break the ice? Of course calling someone on the phone or talking to them after a small group or Sunday School about coming over for dinner might not be the easiest thing in the world for some people. But again, just because something is not easy does not mean it is impossible. You can be the one to break the ice and invite someone over for lunch or out for coffee. Try it once, invite a family in your local fellowship over for lunch next Saturday.
Wouldn’t it be a shame if God's people only got together when it was an official "church" gathering? Some families are like that and it is sad. Do you have people in your own family who only show up for the “big” holidays…and even at that they only swing by and leave after the bare minimum of time has passed? That is upsetting isn’t it? Don’t let your local fellowship be like that to you. Try to come for worship 15 minutes early, just so you say “hi” to everybody and just to be together. Don’t run off when the last amen is said…hang out, heck, especially for those of us with no kids, find out if anybody would like to go to Applebee’s or go out for coffee or something. Go to Sunday School or your small group, it’s not a waste of time. Sometimes that value of our such small groups can be very subtle… it might not be screamingly obvious. We get together, hang out, pray and have study, it’s not always the most thrilling thing in the world. The subtle value is in just meeting with a group of people and keeping up with one another, week after week...year after year. Because when those times of storm come, having a close group of people that you are already comfortable with and are already your good friends… well, it is of incredible worth. Call people up and invite one another over for lunch on a Saturday, out to eat next Friday, watch the Browns games before or after worship on Sundays, make plans to go to the park with the other stay at home mom(s) with all the kids…be together. Be in the family, not just a casual church “attender”. Be the family of God. Don’t be a stranger; make being together for worship, study and for fun a priority in your life. This is a significant part of Gods will for you and your family.
Years from now you will not regret your time with your spiritual family, your fellowship, your church.
Read the following passages and then spend time praying that God will give you an even greater appreciation for your spiritual family.
And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 1 Samuel 23:16 NIV
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. Matthew 23:8 NIV
This is my command: Love each other. John 15:17 NIV
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10 NIV
Monday, September 11, 2006