Summary: Today, I will be speaking on the topic of fellowship...
The Habit of Fellowship - Participating in God's Family
Why Don't We fellowship?
Fellowship is one of the five purposes for the church, however, there is an obvious failure on many in the body of Christ to fellowship. Why then do we not fellowship?
One reason is that the isolation habits of the world have made inroads into the church.
David Watson, author of Called & Committed, writes, "We find it safer to maintain an image, to put on a mask, to hide our real selves. This explains why many churches never demonstrate the quality of community life that Jesus wants us to experience, and why there are so few (if any) real disciples."
Keith Miller who wrote the book, The Taste of New Wine, described the predicament like this; "Our churches are filled with people who outwardly look contented and at peace but inwardly are crying out for someone to love them...just as they are--confused, frustrated, often frightened, guilty and often unable to communicate even with their own families. But the other people in the church look so happy and content that one seldom has the courage to admit his own deep needs before such a self-sufficient group as the average church meeting appears to be.".
David Watson, Called & Committed, (Wheaton, Illinois, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1982) p. 31 Quoting Keith Miller, The Taste of New Wine (Word Books, 1965), p. 22
Many in the church do not fellowship because they find it safer to maintain an image, to put on a mask and to hide the real self.
Another reason why we don't fellowship is that society has duped us into thinking that fellowship is synonymous with the isolationism of a cult. You know the picture: A young person is drawn into a group that steals his or her freedom and identity. The parents, who are at their wits end, hire a deprogrammer to liberate their loved one.
Did you know that in the first century Christianity was considered a cult by the Jews and Romans? According to the Bible members of the early church ate meals together, worshipped together, shared their possessions with one another, met each other's needs, and aggressively spread the Gospel message. They were even held accountable for how they lived.
Today, many would label a group of people with these characteristics as a "cult." This is because the Devil is the master of combining truth and error. He has taken the positive characteristics of the church and combined it with an improper hermeneutic. He has taken what God has deemed good and laced it with spiritual arsenic so when people are exposed to a semblance of Christian community, they become suspicious.
When Christians come together on a regular basis to serve one another, to pray for one another and to share with one another when it is no longer the norm, one's mind can't help but to think of the likes of Jim Jones, David Koresh and others who dared to experience fellowship and community without Christ.
As a result, the contemporary church is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In order to avoid being found to belong to a cult, or at the very least, being labeled as a cult member, we keep ourselves at "arms length" from one another. We refuse to allow ourselves to become drawn into a situation where we feel we might become entrapped.
This reminds me of the Borg. The Borg is a species of aliens featured in the Star Trek series. The Borg, an enemy of the Federation and the rest of the universe is a collective of part machine and humanoid entities. They are linked together by the common purpose of going around and invading other species and assimilating the captives into their collective. They go around and steal your identity and force you to become part of the collective. The Borg’s catch-phrase is “We are the Borg, we are one.”
The worst thing that can happen to someone is to be captured by the Borg and assimilated.
* No one wants to feel confined. We want to come and go as we please.
* We do not want to be accountable to anyone and we don’t want anyone to be accountable to us.
* We want the freedom to go where we want, with whom we want, to do what we want and to say what we want—without anyone looking over our shoulders and breathing down our necks.
* We do not want to have to exercise commitment and responsibility.
* We do not want to depend on anyone or to have anyone to depend on us.
Many in the church are afraid of being assimilated. As a result, they disobey the Scriptural exhortations to:
* Bear one another's burdens
* Be devoted to one another