Acts 2:42-43 ESV - And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
koinonia meta Theos - koinonia met allelon: fellowship with God - fellowship with one another
In the early church, devotion to the fellowship of Christ could result in the loss of one’s job, one’s family, one’s social standing, one’s freedom, or one’s life. How do you think the constant reality of suffering for one’s faith in Jesus impacted the level of closeness of the early church members?
James 5:15-16 ESV - And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
How active are you in praying for those who are sick? Are you trustworthy and mature enough that you could listen to the confession of a fellow Christian who is suffering as a result of some sin he’s committed? Compassion, forgiveness, and restoration are motivations that are connected to someone who has suffered or who has caused suffering. Without condoning sin, will you confront sins and spiritual sicknesses within your circle of fellowship? Who can compassionately confront you in your state of spiritual sickness?
Galatians 6:1-2 ESV - Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulﬁll the law of Christ.
We are saved by grace and are not under the Old Testament Law given to Israel through Moses. Yet, “the law of Christ” is something we are to fulﬁll as we bear one another’s burdens. What does that indicate in terms of others suffering under temptation or sin or some other spiritual weight (burden)? How is this a way in which we can act like Jesus Christ?
Romans 12:13-15 NLT - When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
How ready and willing are you to help when God’s people are suffering a need - whether around the world or in the local church? How many look to you to suffer with them or along side them during their time of grief? Does it take the pressure off you when you know that you can simply suffer with those in pain rather than having to ﬁx, counsel, or encourage them? Do you see how valuable the ministry of empathy can be in the church?
1 Corinthians 12:25-27 NLT - This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
Do you view yourself as intricately interconnected to the church in such a way as to suffer with others in true fellowship or do you view fellowship more from enjoyment you receive? Who is the last fellow disciple of Jesus that you did the hard but rewarding fellowship of sharing their life in a time of suffering? How do you think it affected their love for (and trust) in you?
For more on “allelon” see, http://www.smallgroupchurches.com/the-59-one-anothers-of-the-bible/