As we continue on our weekly Bible Study series (The Local Church and Why It Matters), the Lord is helping us to see the difference between fellowship and worship and the importance of both elements in membership at a local church.
Unity within the local church, as intended by the Lord is properly manifested in his children “gathering” together. The local assembly was the place where God’s people gathered or met to fellowship, to hear sound, accurate biblical teachings designed to feed them that they would grow up. The early church gathered to encourage one another while being persecuted by the various religious sects and Roman authorities. They met to ensure all their needs were being met since they couldn’t depend their various homes and communities (Acts 2:44). As outcasts, they felt obligated by the spirit of God to take care of their own brothers and sisters.
Fellowship in the local church is vital to the maturity and spiritual development of us all (Eph. 4:11-16). Fellowship in the local assemblies is what God desires and intended. Yes, they were scattered through persecution and other reasons, but God still wanted them to meet regularly and fellowship with one another.
Worship is one thing and fellowship is another. Worship can be done anywhere and should be done not just in a building or place. But fellowship as ordained by God is and should be done regularly and purposefully (Heb.10:25) in the presence of other like-minded saints. It created an atmosphere of accountability for both the Leaders and Believers (Heb. 13:17). Throughout the development and growth of the early church, the Acts of the Apostles chronicles God’s instructions to local assemblies in Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, Philippi and Titus in Crete and not so-called individuals deliberately detached from the local assembles.
We are encouraged to follow the model of the early church and glorify the Lord our God. It is intended that we look out for the spiritual welfare of our godly family as a means to honor the Lord. As Hebrews 10:25 states, do not adopt the ungodly mindset some had in deliberately not gathering to fellowship.
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus," Phil. 2:1-5