Sunday, July 15, 2018

Key points:

  • Participation is essential for growth.
  • It is the preaching of the gospel and presence of the Spirit that unite everyone in fellowship.
  • Fellowship is not just limited to contact or intimacy; fellowship implies equality.
  • Fellowship is hard work, and it is a work that the Spirit alone can do.

  • Barnabas vs. Ananias and Sapphira
  • Barnabas owned a land, sold it and gave the money to the apostles (Acts 4:37) while Ananias and Sapphira did the same but kept a portion for themselves. 
  • Why did they die? Because they lied to the Holy Spirit. It can be inferred from the passage that they had promised to give the entire portion  of the sale to the church but they did not keep their promise and kept a portion for themselves.
  • The people were not forced to commit the entire proceeds to the church the choice was solely theirs.
"Deceit and dishonesty threaten the foundation of fellowship. It was Satan's deceit and dishonesty in heaven that resulted in a third of the angels rebelling against God."

1. What could authentic fellowship look like in the twenty-first century?

Authentic fellowship can mean honesty and transparency among the members. In the twenty-first century it can be the reality of people coming together to study the Word of God, share what they have, pray together and confess struggles with one another. Today, fellowship usually means having a potluck session. Each contributes what he has for the benefit of all.

2. Why is integrity so important to the fellowship of believers?

Integrity is vital to the health, growth and sustainability of the church. We said that true fellowship brings equality. Equality can be sustained only by integrity. The Holy Spirit that brings us together in fellowship must take hold of our lives and hold us accountable. We submit everything to the Holy Spirit, including our will and our integrity.

3. What are some ways the church could authentically represent itself to the world?

Luke  decided to remain true to the events of history instead of just omitting the story of Ananias and Sapphira. He shows us what it's like to be led by the Holy Spirit and also how it is when the Spirit is forgone and own interests are pursued. The church can authentically represent itself to the world by being transparent. It starts with a church member admitting faults, acknowledging struggles, telling their testimony even if it's messy. The church would be able to showcase that God can still use and redeem people and institutions that mess up. By admitting we are not perfect, we send a message across the world that it is only by God's grace and love that we can be made whole and pure.

This blog post is based on Mark Anthony Reid's article on Collegiate Quarterly.

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