42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42 – 47)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Because of the pandemic, some of us are relying more heavily on small groups and technology for fellowship. As we close out our discussion on the Discipline of Fellowship, I want to make a plug for small groups. Small groups increase the potential for deeper relationships. Whether there is a pandemic or not, God wants us to stay connected, and His love provides a much stronger signal than any wifi network!
To illustrate some of the benefits of fellowship in small groups, I’ll share a personal story. I am currently considering post-retirement options and I want to be sure that my decisions are aligned with God’s mission. Over the last few weeks, I have had two important decisions to make that required advice. On both occasions I knew exactly who in my Men’s small group I could consult with and get sound advice. Knowing who to consult with was easy because our small group is an ideal place to get to know others and be known by others.
The Biblical precedent for fellowshipping in small groups is captured for me in our passage today.
Please read the passage above and answer the questions below.
Why did the fellowship of the early believers contribute to such an effective witness?
March 12, 2021 at 10:19 am
1 John 4:19 NIV
 We love because he first loved us.
(In fact read from verses 7 to 21)
We love in response to God’s love for us. So our experience of God’s love is fundamental. And I think our experience of God’s love is severely limited if we do not have loving relationships in our lives, where we can be completely transparent, if we do not experience His love via Christian brothers and sisters, encouraging us, building us up (our previous verses, Hebrews 10:24-25), loving us well with the difficult discussions, and in spite of ourselves, etc. Equally, we walk in our purpose when we love others that way, unleashing the inevitable joy of ‘functioning as we were intended to’.
And this is the point really, or rather the answer to the question above… walking in our purpose, one with another, exhibits God in us, and amongst us, and how humanity was intended to live, against a backdrop of fallen humanity, and all of its experiences of brokenness. How could anything hope to be more effective?
March 12, 2021 at 12:15 pm
Their is strength and boldness when you have the support of others. The early believers fed off each other’s increase in faith. My faith is strengthened when I hear how God is working out His purpose in the lives of fellow believers during my times of waiting or no.
March 12, 2021 at 3:31 pm
The interaction between the larger group and the many small groups made it possible for everyone in the rapidly growing early church community to be conspicuous, for needs to be known, gifts to be identified and utilized and people cared for. In fact, it could hardly have been better summarized than the way statement made but our facilitator “Small groups increase the potential for deeper relationships. Whether there is a pandemic or not. God wants us to stay connected, and His love provides a much stronger signal than any wifi network!” Thank you. That statement is powerful indeed. I have missed the fellowship and benefits of the small group over the past year.
March 12, 2021 at 8:12 pm
The early believers were effective in their witness because of their close fellowship, their devotion to the Word and godly instruction (‘the apostles’ teachings), fellowshiping at one another’s homes and ‘breaking bread together’ at one another’s homes (sharing a meal or “breaking bread” symbolizing fellowship), and praying, Additionally, miracles were perfomed, signs and wonders took place, there was unity, sharing of financial resources with believers who were in need, demonstrated sincerity, and the unbelievers saw that there were no “schisms,” snobbery, selfishness, prejudices and disunity where the have nots or the needy were shunned, talked about, disdained or ostracised because of classism or other ‘isms.’ Neither were the wealthy indicted by the poor or others as everybody’s interests were taken care of. Simply stated, the early believers shone their lights before people so that others saw their good works and were led to glorify their Father in heaven. They reflected Christ so they were not maligned, but rather, acted as a strong spiritual magnetic field to attract others to Christ.
March 12, 2021 at 9:04 pm
The fellowship of the early believers contributed to such an effective witness because of its devotion to Christ’s teachings and its love for one another. They showed they loved Jesus and lived in fellowship with each other. When the world sees this in action, they will see the true love of Jesus and perhaps find themselves attracted to Christ too.
March 12, 2021 at 10:31 pm
Thank you all for your comments! They bring to mind John 13:35 – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
March 13, 2021 at 10:21 pm
I miss the group I was part of even though it was not small.No zoom class can replace.