closely connected Christians are to be to each other. This isn’t about being a part of some silly club or getting 10 books for a dollar. This is about belonging to each other, making the choice to belong to a family.
Church leaders from around the world tell us that it is only in America that we have what we could call “floating believers,” people who go from church to church to church. Christians in the rest of the world, where the Church is growing far faster than it is here, understand this truth – if we want to grow in our walk with God, and if we want to see God at work in our lives, we have got to commit to a local church.
The Bible calls the church the “Body of Christ.” Would you ever say this to your wife – “I love you, but I just can’t stand your body.” If you ever do say that, I imagine you will only say it once. The church is Jesus’ body. If you love Jesus, you will love his body. Becoming a follower of Jesus means not only that you commit yourself to Jesus, but also that you commit yourself to his body, to the church.
The first level of fellowship is membership – choosing to belong. The second level of fellowship is a little bit deeper, when you go a little further into the family of God, and this is learning to share. We might call this “the friendship level.”
The Bible tells us that we were made for relationships. We were made for each other. Life is not a solo act. Some of us are slow to admit it, but the truth is that we need good friends. The Bible says this about the early church in Acts 2:44. “All the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other.” Notice two thing – first, you can’t develop friendships without meeting together. And second, you can’t develop friendships without sharing. Do you ever see some people that have really deep friendships, long-term friendships, 20, 30 years, something like that. And you think, “Wow, how lucky.” But it’s not luck at all, is it? It’s a choice. You choose to develop friendships by making time for them.
The reason some of us are lonely isn’t because people don’t like us. It’s because we don’t make time for friendships. We are too busy doing other things. And until we commit to making fellowship a priority in life, we’re not going to develop any deep friends. They don’t just happen. They happen because you choose to make the time for them. It is not luck. Friendship is a choice.
And you can’t develop friendships without sharing. The Bible says the first Christians “shared everything.” So what are we supposed to share? Well, the Bible is full of instructions on things we’re to share as Christians with each other. Let me just mention three. First, the Bible says we’re to share our experiences. The Bible says people learn from each other “just as iron sharpens iron.” The Bible says this in Proverbs 13:20 – “He who walks with the wise grows wise.” Do you know why it’s wise to learn from the experiences of other people? Because you don’t have time to make all the mistakes yourself. If everything you learn in life you learn personally by trial and error,