Forsake the failed fellowship

In the last two posts we have learned that there is more to the phrase “forsake not the fellowship” then a simple incrimination of those who do not attend church.  We have discovered that scriptural fellowship is when two or at times three are gathered together.  We have also learned that the Father will move heaven and earth to answer the prayers of that small fellowship.  It isn’t the purpose of scripture to place the small gathering of believers under scrutiny of the local church.  Instead we find scripture admonishing the small group to do and be what Christ has called us to be and do.  So we can quit looking down on those who fellowship in smaller circles.

We have learned it is more than a head count.  It isn’t a simple role call of attendance, there is something for every believer to be accountable to, if we are going to qualify any group as fellowshipping.  Scripture teaches that in order to qualify as fellowship, every believer is to encourage one another.  We are to encourage each other to be obedient and strengthen each other with the word of God and hope of His return.

So with the size (two or three) and the responsibilities (everyone) laid out in biblical fellowship, lets look at the purpose of this fellowship.  Scripture is looking for the end result of this fellowship.  There is something that God wants to happen in His people as a result of fellowship.  Remember this result needs to come through the encouragement of every believer in each others lives when we get together.

Right on the heals of the responsibilities of all believers we have scripture teaching we need to quit deliberately sinning.  This is the goal of what the Lord wants to do in our fellowships.  He wants us to mature in all things and in righteousness.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approachingIf we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.[1]

Why should this purpose of our fellowship be strange to us?  It shouldn’t, since we have scripture in another place letting us know that the spiritually immature are not acquainted with righteousness.  So again the goal of our fellowshipping one with another, whether in a large group of small, is holiness in the life of the believer.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.[2]

If your fellowship with other believers is not helping you to mature and train yourself to live righteously then you are immature. If you have received the knowledge of the truth and do not train yourselves to leave deliberate sin, then you who have received the truth have no more sacrifice for sins left.  God help us all.  We all need to participate in real fellowship for our own sakes and that of those we call brothers and sisters in the Lord, no matter where we find ourselves.  We need to recognize it is all of us who have forsaken the fellowship or we will suffer for our arrogance and pride.

We can not sit back and point the finger at those who worship in very small gatherings rather than the local body.  If you in the local body are not nurturing the environment where every individual is encouraged to strengthen his brothers in the Lord, then your fellowship has failed. If you in the local body do have members encouraging members, yet it does not produce mature believers who live righteously before the Lord, then again your fellowship had failed.  If all your local body has is a role call when they assemble together, then your fellowship has failed, you are not obeying scripture that teaches us to not forsake the fellowship.  If your fellowship has failed and you want true biblical fellowship, then maybe you should leave the local body and seek out a small group of practicing believers of the word and not those who spout quotes only.

[1] Hebrews 10:25-27

[2] Hebrews 5:13-14

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