Fellowship and Accountability
What do we mean by the Kingdom of God, and how does it relate to the Church?
What is our identity, our place, and our part in the Church?
We can understand what the Kingdom of God is and how it relates to the Church by exploring the following;
The Kingdom of God is manifested and established through the Church that Jesus Christ builds (Matthew 16:18).
Jesus said, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” God’s purpose for the Church is found in Ephesians 3:10: “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the CHURCH to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places”.
Defining the Church
Our Global Disciples definition of the Church is the “Church” is a growing community of disciples centered in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and focused on mission. The evidence of such a community is seen in its devotion to God’s Word, the quality and depth of fellowship, and a joyful sharing of lives celebrated in worship, communion, baptism, and prayer.
The word fellowship comes from the Greek word koinonia which means to share in common. A Christian fellowship means assimilating into the body of believers, becoming “one” in worshipping, loving, caring, and sharing. Fellowship is not an optional matter for followers of Jesus—it is mandatory. We need one another as much as the eye needs the hand and the head needs the feet. All of us need our brothers and sisters in the faith if we are to fulfill our mission of multiplying disciples and fellowships of believers in least-reached areas.
The first century Church was known by its fellowship with God and one another (Acts 2:42-47). They studied the Word together, ate together, and prayed together DAILY. They believed who they were in Christ and, as a result, the Word spread like wildfire. There are benefits in our fellowship with one another.
As disciples, we are all members of one family called the “Body of Christ.” We need one another for mutual encouragement and to help each other grow in our relationship with the Lord. That is why fellowship is so important. Our interaction with others also can and should encourage us to be accountable for our actions, words, and lifestyle so that we are living a godly life before the world (Hebrews 10:24-25). Proverbs 27:17 talks about how iron sharpens iron. We help each other stay sharp through the Word of God. Matthew 18:19 talks about how important it is to expect great results when we pray together with another believer. There are a lot of blessings when we are in a heart-to-heart fellowship with others (Psalm 133). There is nothing like spending time with people who love God and believe in who they are in Christ.
Fellowship with God = Fellowship with Others
Our relationship with Jesus Christ is obviously the basis for the forgiveness of our sins, but the Bible indicates that we cannot have a proper fellowship with God if we do not have proper fellowship with one another (1 John 1:5-7). Matthew 5:23-24 indicates that our worship to God is unacceptable unless we make things right with our brethren. This shows that there is a strong, inseparable relationship between “fellowship” and “loving one another.” Some Christians do not understand the benefit of fellowship. They wish to seek the Lord and pray by themselves, they want to do everything on their own; they want to be not only a mouth but also ears, to be hands as well as feet. It is not so with those who truly know how God intends for His Church to function because they know that they need fellowship. In fellowship, we acknowledge that we are limited and insufficient apart from others. Through fellowship, we gladly receive what we need and give what others need.
Love affirms salvation
Many passages of the Bible confirm that loving one another is an affirmation of our salvation (1 John 3:14). We are able to see our fellowship with God from the reflection of our fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 4:20); our relationship with one another is the barometer that measures our spiritual temperature. Our degree of love toward one another is the gauge that shows our love for God (1 John 4:12). When we can remain loving and steadfast—even if others say negative things about us, let us down, or do something that offends us—our love is being perfected. We’re growing up as disciples and becoming more like Christ!
Jesus commanded us to love one another in the same way that He loves us. He stated that this love toward others was the necessary evidence to prove our faithful discipleship to the world (John 13:34-35). How much love do we have for one another? The Bible says that we’re supposed to be ready to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). How do we really lay down our lives for them if we are not willing to meet with them a few times a week for fellowship?
We can’t do it alone
It is very important for every believer to be an active part of a Christian fellowship. Willful rejection of fellowship is evidence of not walking in the light (1 John 1:6). All through the New Testament, Jesus shows us that He takes personally how we relate to His body. Our love, expressions of kindness, and ministry to any of our brothers and sisters in Christ are received as though they were done to the Lord (Matthew 25:40). Is it right to refuse to fellowship with one another when the opportunity is given? If we refuse to fellowship with one another, we are refusing to fellowship with Christ (Matthew 18:20).
Fellowship within the Body of Christ is crucial to our continued growth as disciples. We need the preaching and teaching from God’s Word, the encouragement that draws us close to our brothers and sisters, the opportunities of Christian ministry for growth, and the opportunity to practice loving other Christians well.
Each part of the Church is equal before God and equally accountable to both God and every other part of the body. In practice, this means that each part must both give and receive accountability. God designed the Church to function best when its members are there for each other in ways that encourage one another and hold them responsible to the commitment they have made to follow Christ. Every believer is accountable to the local Church leadership in the community of believers where he/she is ministering and, at the same time, is also accountable to the Lord. As soon as we made the commitment to believe in Jesus and what He did for us, God adopted us to be His children. This means that we are all accountable to God and to one another.
What are some of the benefits of fellowshipping with other believers?
Global Disciples Canada is a Christian mission organization that trains local leaders living near least-reached communities to multiply disciples for Christ. One-third of our world hasn’t heard the Good News of Jesus. Yet. Global Disciples refers to these as “least-reached” people, and fewer than 10% of all missionaries work among these groups. We live in a time where many of these people are within reach of a local church. Through our simple and effective strategy of training and coaching, believers share the Gospel in their own nations and cultures. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and we’re committed to doing just that. If you are looking for a Christian mission organization to partner with to become a better disciple and help make disciples, connect with us today!
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