And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship…
Americans are less connected than ever. Thanks to social media we appear to be connected. Facebook and snapchat give the veneer of social connectedness. Ironically, however, our almost constant access via social media has actually worked toward an increasing sense of alienation. It is a counterfeit fellowship. It is isolation masquerading as and then replacing genuine connection. How sad then that some churches happily promote “online campuses,” ways of “going to church” without ever leaving your armchair. Such innovations may make it possible to watch a live-streamed band and preacher. The only thing that is lost is the church itself.
J.I. Packer has written:
We should not…think of fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, an optional addition to the exercises of private devotion. We should recognize rather that such fellowship is a spiritual necessity; for God has made us in such a way that our fellowship with himself is fed by our fellowship with fellow-Christians, and requires to be so fed constantly for its own deepening and enrichment.
What is described at the end of Acts 2 is a fellowship. It is a uniquely Christian reality. The church is a communion of believers united to one another through Christ. The saving power of the Lord Jesus, his Word, his people, and his priorities lie at the heart of the church’s fellowship.
This fellowship will often be challenging given the fact that we are all still works in progress struggling against our own sin. We will disappoint one another. We will fail from time to time. Some of those failures will be significant. And yet this has always been the case with the church’s fellowship. Nevertheless, it has pleased God to make the fellowship of his people a means by which he draws unbelievers to himself. Luke concludes his brief description of the church in Jerusalem by pointing to the fruit of their fellowship:
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (2:46-47).