Monday, 08 July 2013 14:31

Why Church? 7 Essential Benefits of Fellowship

Written by  Carmen Falcione
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The writer of Hebrews 10:24-25 states: “…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 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.” (NASB)

 

The Greek word episunagoge literally means “the gathering or assembling together.”  The word church derives from the Greek word ekklesia, which means “the called out ones.”  Every born again, blood-bought child of God is part of and belongs to the ‘Church.’  It is a family, a flock, and a group of individuals who are diverse, but united in Christ.  Biblical unity is strength, and continued gatherings beget and foster love and give good opportunities to stimulate or provoke one another to good deeds. It is essential for believers to be a part of a local congregation in obedience to Jesus and the Word.

 

Here are some of the reasons or benefits:

 

 

(1) Corporate Prayer & Worship

A wise child of God continually meets privately with the Lord in prayer, praise and intimacy, BUT it must be balanced out with corporate times of worship and praying with other saints. Scripture is replete, both in the Old and New Testaments, with the nation of Israel and the saints of the church continuing to gather together.  The disciples and followers of Jesus were always gathering “someplace’ together especially in ‘upper rooms.’ (Luke 22:12 and John 20:19-25) 

 

In Acts 1:13-14 the disciples, the woman who followed Jesus, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were all gathered together, with one mind, devoting themselves to prayer and worship.  This is also found in Acts 2:42-43, where they were continually devoting themselves to teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. 

 

 

(2)  Body Health

I Corinthians 12:18-21, 25 says, “For the body is not one member, but many.   But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.  If they were all one member, where would the body be?  But now there are many members, but one body.  And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’...so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”    

 

 

(3)  Giving and Receiving 

The Trinity has given to the church gifts that are intended to be used corporately and specifically to bless and edify others.  The results are to give glory to God!  In Romans 12:3-8, God the Father gave a measure of faith, grace and gifts to each individual believer.  Everyone has been given the exact amount that God has intended to fulfill their ministry and destiny.  The gifts given in Roman 12 are to bless others as we experience joy in exercising them when it comes to the body of Christ.  It is always “other centered.” 

 

Paul also states in Ephesians 4:7-13, that Jesus gave ‘some’ as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers…for the preparing, equipping, and perfecting of the saints, to do the work of service until we all attain to the unity of the body and the knowledge of the Son of God.” 

 

Then in I Corinthians 12, Paul says that the Holy Spirit gives to each one the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the ‘common good.’  Therefore, when you are a part of a local congregation all these gifts are given so you can both give and receive, which is very pleasing to God.

 

 

 (4)  Observance of the Ordinances

Two major ordinances of the body are communion and baptism.  These were instituted and ordained by Jesus Himself and strongly recommended to generally be celebrated corporately.  Luke says in Acts 2:42, they were continually breaking bread together daily.  In I Corinthians 11:24-26, Paul shares about the Lord’s Supper setting the time frame as often as you do it, do it in remembrance of Him

 

There is one more element that I believe is health to the believers, which is to examine oneself  before receiving communion.  Just imagine how healthy, physically and spiritually, the body of Christ would be if we did this more consistently and properly.

 

It is also a joy when a new believer obeys the Lord’s example and gets baptized.  As the believer identifies himself with Christ publicly, it becomes a wonderful event the whole family of faith gets to witness and celebrate

 

 

(5) Protection

The body of Christ is akin to a family or flock.  The ideal for every family is to have Godly headship, covering, and sanctified authority.  It is not only health for the family, but protection from outside sources.  It is the same for a flock.  Jesus is the one who calls us sheep, and He is the Chief Shepherd.  One of the duties of a shepherd is to protect the sheep from animals of prey.  One of the tactics of these animals of prey is to cull out of the flock the weak and the independent. 

 

Our enemy, Satan, also loves to cull out the children of God into isolation away from other believers.  In fact a few of the reasons that some believers choose not to be a part of the local congregation are that they have been wounded by under shepherds (pastors), elders, deacons, or other sheep.  Yes, we pastors found out that sheep bite and so do some shepherds.  BUT, there is no perfect local congregation because they are comprised of imperfect saints.  Many of the saints who have such negative feelings are flawed and deceived by thinking that they are more highly esteemed than others. (Romans. 12:3)  They are in a position for the enemy to pick them off. 

 

Ignatius said, “When ye frequently, and in numbers meet together, the powers of Satan are over thrown, and his mischief is neutralized by your like mindedness in the faith.”  Jesus says in John 10:10, “The enemy comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  The Chief Shepherd is continually interceding for you day and night, but He wants you to use wisdom and stay connected to the family/flock. 

 

 

6) Discipleship

Discipleship is succinctly described as an adherence to a teacher’s faith.  If you are a true disciple of The Mentor, Jesus, then you want to receive, embrace and walk in His teachings aided by the power of grace.  Discipleship has a connotation of addition and multiplication.  Freely we have received; freely we should pass it on!  In Acts 2:47 Luke says, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  You’ll notice it says the Lord did it, not the saints.  Adding numbers is not the goal.  It is the product of the sovereignty of God.  We share. He produces.  Luke makes another math observation in Acts 6:7, when he says: “And the Word of God increased, and the numbers of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly.”  Thankfully and gratefully this has continued for 2000 years.

 

 

7) Pleases the Lord

David expresses his heart in Psalm 41:11-12, “By this I know that you are pleased with me, because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.  As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and You set me in Your presence forever.”  Desiring to please the Lord at all times is a noble goal for a child of God.

 

One of the greatest ways to honor and please Him is to be a part of the answer that Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:21, “That we all would be one.”  Our fragmentation and our dividedness is a hindrance to the Kingdom.  If you are not active in a local congregation I encourage you to seek the Lord and ask Him where He would want to plant you so that you would freely give and receive.  You will never regret it!

 

 

Rev. Carmen Falcione is the founder and director of The Gathering, an interracial and interdenominational ministry committed to foster unity in the body of Christ. He is a member of the International

 

Reconciliation Coalition. He is also the leader of John 17 Pastors Fellowship and associate director of  the Montgomery House of Prayer. He is also a host of the “Praise the Lord” program on TBN, Channel 45. Carmen and his wife, Elaine, reside in Montgomery with their children and grandchildren.  Visit www.thegathering.ws.

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 08 July 2013 14:36
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