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Friday, July 3, 2015

#35. What shall we do on the Sabbath? Part 13 - Enjoy Fellowship

Hebrews 10:23–25 — Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

The writer to the Hebrews understood well the benefits and blessings that are available to the members of a church by having true fellowship.  This does not mean talking about the latest bargain they obtained, or the results from a recent sporting event - things that unbelievers are well able to discuss. True fellowship is an outworking among believers of their shared participation in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of their union with Him, they are also joined to one another and fellowship is a realization and an expression of that fact.  We often talk about a "time of fellowship", as though fellowship is turned on at the beginning and turned off at the end of those periods.  The truth is, though, that fellowship necessarily exists between true believers but we need to meet together to create opportunities to experience it and to cultivate our appreciation of its extent and its richness. We saw this more fully in our series on reasons to enjoy fellowship.

As believers, we are too often content to imitate the level of relationship that is typical of those who do not know Christ, rather than pressing on to experience the spiritual dimensions, the blessings and the benefits of fellowship in Christ.

It goes without saying that it is not possible in any meaningful sense to experience fellowship if we all stay within the confines of our individual homes and never actually spend time together.  So our best opportunity for fellowship will happen when we gather together as a church on the Lord's Day.

The writer tells us that not meeting together can become a habit - and that is certainly true.  It can also be a habit when we do meet together to do anything other than fellowship with our brothers and sisters.  Fellowship is of such potential power in the church that it is always going to seem awkward and difficult to do - to share some of the blessings we have experienced with others who have the same Lord.  We may also expose the fact that we are struggling in our walk, and that is uncomfortable.  Yet it is only when we begin to function at this level that we can really behave as a body should, with each part ministering to the others, "encouraging one another" as the writer says above.

Next Lord's Day, commit before the Lord to fellowship truly with your brothers and sisters - it is God's will for us in Christ as the passage makes clear, and it is also a great way to spend time on the Sabbath!