Meet Together

 In my 20 years as a believer, quite a few people have told me that they do not need to be a member of a church body.  This goes against everything God’s Word tells us.  Fellowship with other believers encourages us, challenges us, and helps us stay accountable.  Fellowship also shows obedience to God and His word.  

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 Ecclesiastes 4

When we are in fellowship with other Christians, we are able to encourage each other.  We do this by comforting one another during hardships, working together, sharing meals, offering help during sickness, etc.

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2 Corinthians 6

When we are only in fellowship with nonbelievers, the ways of the world begin to rub off on us.  Have you noticed how when you wear a white blouse or shirt that it is virtually impossible to not get a speck of “the world” on you?  Dust/dirt from my car, food unintentionally left on a table or chair by the previous occupant, or even a small spill from a drink always seems to find a way on my white blouses!  When we are out of fellowship with other believers, we lose that accountability and we can easily become accustomed to sin.

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Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5 contains instructions on how Christians should live. Light always exposes darkness — we use flashlights, lamps, and even car headlights to help us see better and to reveal the things that are hidden in the darkness.  Verse 11 commands us to “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of the darkness”.   Stay in fellowship with other Christians who will help keep you away from the fruitless deeds of darkness.

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 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:11-18 (NIV)

 

The shepherds would lie down at the gate to the sheep pen — outside the sheep pen there were animals that could kill them. There is protection only inside the sheepfold: sheep are not very smart, they are not very fast animals, and they can not defend themselves. They need a shepherd — they recognize the voice of their shepherd and will stay near him.

Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and has appointed pastors/elders to guide the local flocks. Just as the sheep outside of the sheepfold are vulnerable, so is the lone Christian who refuses to attend church.

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

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