Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Have you ever given any thought to the idea of “Happy Hour?” That’s the late afternoon or early evening time when many drinking establishments attempt to draw customers by offering special prices on spirits and appetizers. Think of it! People coming together with nothing in common but a desire to catch a buzz and raise their cholesterol at a discounted rate. They may add to the experience by watching young millionaires playing kid’s games on TV, then yelling about it. Whoopee! Now that’s meaningful fellowship! In fact, if you want to spend a miserable time, try going to one of these gatherings and abstaining from the drink and the food. The joy of hanging around inebriates with wing sauce on their chins wears thin very quickly.
Sadly, many church-world attempts to foment fellowship leave us with the same emptiness as sitting at the end of the bar at the end of the night listening to some lonely, morose drunk assigning blame for the catastrophe that is his life. At least with him, I have something to talk about. He needs what I have, and, in a moment of pigpen awareness, may find a glimmer of eternity. At church gatherings, the fellowship is usually organized around things equally coincidental and meaningless, and not half so much fun. We gather because we are all male or female, old or young, single or married, or some other transient and natural circumstance. These things may or may not promote actual fellowship.
The Bible word for fellowship is “koinonia.” It means to share something in common, finding points of communion. All New Testament fellowship is rooted in the things we have in common as Christians. These things are:
1. The nature of God. We have been born again in the image of God. We have the very same nature that God has. 2 Peter 1:2-4 / 1 John 3:2/ 4:17
2. The Holy Spirit on the inside. We share the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit within. We are marked as His by this presence. The world cannot relate. Philippians 2:1-4 / 2 Corinthians 13:14 / Ephesians 1:13-14
3. The desire to be a blessing to others. We enjoy the fellowship that comes from acting together to help others 2 Co 8:3-5 / Hebrews 13:16 / 2 Corinthians 9:13
4. A common mission. We are all here for no greater reason than sharing the Gospel with those who are hell-bound. Philippians 1:4-6 / Matthew 28:18-20
5. A common passion to walk in light. Our human connection is predicated on our individual fellowship with the Father. If your horizontal fellowship is lacking, check on the vertical. 1 John 1:1-7 / 1 Corinthians 10:14-23 / 2 Corinthians 6:14-15
Luke recorded that the first gatherings of believers were devoted to fellowship just as surely as they were devoted to the Apostle’s teaching. That kind of zeal comes from hunger for God that is fed by interaction with those in whom He dwells. It can never be satisfied by finger food, parties, sporting events, or sewing circles. All these things are entertainment. Entertainment provides a shared circumstance and perhaps a shared emotion. These are not bad things, but they leave the heart still hungry. Communion is based on things eternal.
Somebody Said: “Ever console or scold people hurt in human relationships that satisfaction comes from God alone? Stop. Adam’s fellowship with God was perfect, and God Himself declared Adam needed other humans.” John Ortberg Jr.
Scripture Reading: All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. Acts 2:42 NLT
We are each comprised of three parts: spirit, soul and body. The “Happy Hour” kind of fellowship can only touch the last two. In order to refresh and renew the inner man we need Fellowship, communion that is based in, drawn from, our common communion with God. Shared nature, shared Spirit, shared mission, and shared passion for holiness bring connection on a level much deeper than beer and wings. It takes effort, even devotion, but it pays rich dividends.
Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Watch the full message, Supernatural Fellowship, on YouTube.