In the book of Acts, the church is started and fellowship is a big part of who the church is and what it does. In the sermon this past Sunday, the preacher shared 10 characteristics of fellowship in the form of an acrostic.
Family Atmosphere - The church is not a business and the decisions it makes are based on the spiritual health of the people, not on making money. In a family, the people are important and come first. In a business, it is all about increasing profits...no matter the cost.
Exciting Environment - The people in Acts were filled with awe of God and what He was doing in the world around them. The were aware that everything happening around them and in them was what God was doing, and it was exciting to them.
Learning Community - All of us have something to learn and it takes humility to recognize that fact. The church in Acts devoted themselves to the apostles' teachings, wanting to learn and grow in the knowledge of Christ. If we are learning, we are growing. Once we stop learning, we cease to grow.
Likeable people - The church in Acts enjoyed the favor of all the people. Not just church people, but all people. When we live like Christ and let our light shine for all to see, people will glorify God.
Overflowing joy - The new church spent much time worshiping and serving with glad hearts. It is in serving the Lord that we find fulfillment, contentment, and joy.
Worshiping the Lord - The people in Acts were focused. They were focused on the Lord and centered their lives around Him. Their decisions and plans were based on the Lord and His ways.
Sharing stuff - No one was in need in the early church. There was a "nothing is mine" mentality. They shared their stuff with people in need. It was not about ownership, but about stewardship.
Happening place - Miracles abounded in the early church. Some say that God doesn't work that way anymore, but if we have eyes to see, we will find God's miracles all around us. God is still at work in this world. You just have to open your eyes, look around, and see God at work.
Increasing number of those being saved - The church is not an exclusive club, but a welcoming family. It reaches across all barriers and welcomes all.
Prayer - The church is devoted to prayer. Church people are a praying people. It draws them close to God and close to each other.
Fellowship is not just something the church does. It is a proclamation of the gospel. It tells of who we are in Jesus. When the church loves one another, the world will know they belong to Jesus. The church and it's fellowship is the best proclamation of Jesus there is.
How are you proclaiming Jesus to the world around you? Are you trying to do it all on your own? Or are you part of a church that loves one another and shows the world what love it?
*Based on the sermon from John Ketchersid, June 15, 2014.