Fellowship Is Imperative (1 Thess. 4:17; Heb. 10:24, 25)
Being part of any community takes a lot of work. The temptation is to stay away from the community to avoid the drama. But, especially as the second coming of Christ approaches, it is imperative that we come together in fellowship. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:24, 25). According to this passage, Paul understands the necessity of banding together here on earth as a prerequisite to being “caught up together . . . to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17).
Being part of any community takes a lot of work.
This necessity for humanity to connect can be found throughout the Bible, as part of God’s original design. It is sin that has caused separation from God and division from each other. As God brings spiritual healing into our lives, we will draw closer together in relationship with one another. We might rightly ask, if we are not drawing closer to one another, are we truly being transformed by God?
Fellowship Is Inevitable (John 13:34, 35; 15:9, 12)
Drawing closer to others as we draw closer to God is not just a function of obedience to God’s injunction to assemble together. Rather, it is a natural outflow of the love that God places in our hearts. As we experience God’s unfathomable love and forgiveness, it inspires love and forgiveness in our hearts toward others. Beholding the love of Jesus, we are transformed into His likeness, and we become loving Christians ourselves (2 Cor. 3:18).
Moreover, we were originally designed to live in community. When God created humanity, He created two beings who could relate to each other but were altogether different from each other. Together, Adam and Eve were the image of God, who Himself exists as the Godhead, three Beings yet one God.
Made from the image of God, three and one, it is unnatural for humans to live divided. At the foundation of this division can be found the deteriorating influence of fear. Examining the lives of Adam and Eve, we can see that through indulged disobedience, they ran from the sound of God’s voice and, sadly, from each other. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they looked to cast blame elsewhere, abandoning the foundation of their relationship— cleaving to become one. However, their fears are relieved by the promised defeat of the serpent, the very source that instigated their separation.
Jesus being the fulfillment of this promise, crushing the head of the serpent, comforts His followers, “Let not your heart be troubled. . . . Where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1–3). This brings hope to the hearts of those who follow Him and opens the doors for proper connection to exist among one another.
Hope is the single most powerful weapon against fear!
Fellowship Is Intuitive (Acts 2:1)
After Christ’s ascension, the disciples gathered in the upper room to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. As they focused their minds on Christ’s teachings, the walls of jealousy and evil surmising began to break down, and they joined together in unity. Being in the same room together, they had the opportunity to resolve their differences right there and then. While they may very well have realized their need for reconciliation even if they were praying in separate locations, being in the same location gave them the opportunity to act on their conviction immediately.
Banding together is essential to facilitate proper relationships among one another. We need to come together physically to see the needs of others and meet those needs right away. Even if we are individually convicted on the importance of ministering to the downtrodden, we may not act on that conviction unless we come into physical contact with said people. For anyone who wants to minister as Christ ministered, physically coming into contact with other people is intuitive.
The disciples, in Acts 2, are together in one place, in one accord, ready to receive the power that will enable them to preach the gospel to the world. They understood that connection with each other and God was key in fulfilling the command Jesus gave in Matthew 28:19: go to all the world.
Going back to Hebrews 10:24, 25, Paul exhorts the people of God not to forsake the assembling of themselves as they see the day approaching. What day? The second coming of Christ! The blessed hope is that one day you and I, together, will be able to enjoy the presence of the Lord for all eternity. Nonetheless, before that day comes, we must enjoy the sweet fellowship that comes with banding together. As we grow in wisdom and stature, let us never forget to grow in favor with both God and those whom we come in contact with every day!