Thursday, 2/28/19 – Discipleship: Fellowship

20190226_164939The best case scenario for a manned expedition to Mars estimates it would take about 300 days to get to Mars from the Earth. Another 500 days would likely be spent on Mars before beginning the 300 day return trip to Earth. N.A.S.A. is understandably very interested in the effects of long-term social isolation and confinement as it relates to space journeys of great distances.

Medically, isolation and loneliness can lead to higher stress hormones, inflammation, heart disease, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. Isolation can increase susceptibility to chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, and even lead to premature death.

adult alone anxious black and white

Mentally, isolation can result in depression, dementia, social anxiety, and low self-esteem. Human beings need social contact to survive. Infants deprived of sufficient physical contact can fail to thrive and die. Prisoners in extensive solitary confinement have experienced hallucinations, insomnia, traumatic stress, PTSD, and demonstrated difficulty telling time.

All of this should come as no surprise to the Christian. Moments after the creation of Adam God announced, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Gen. 2:18). After everything else he had created he said “It is good,” but not so when he created man and man was alone.

men s white button up dress shirt

So it should come as no surprise as well that Christians need to be with other Christians and on a regular basis. The Bible calls this “fellowship.” It is a fellowship with one another, but much more than that: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3). Christian fellowship is yet another foundational component of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:41,42).

Just as God answered Adam’s need for fellowship by creating Eve, so Christ provides for our need of fellowship. The Church — of which your local church is a part — is God’s creation to meet our need for Christian fellowship. He calls her His Bride, “the Bride of Christ.”

group of people raise their hands on stadium

Paul drives this analogy tightly home in his letter to the Ephesians: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:31-32)

Just as a man loves his wife so Christ loves His Church, and both the man and Christ want their bride to be intact… all one piece… not with various parts of it working at cross-purposes to other parts! So Christ desires His Church to be in loving fellowship… in unity with itself and acting as one. You as a believer in Jesus Christ are a part of this Church. It is a Church bigger than your local church, bigger than your community, bigger than all the churches on the Earth today! It is a Church that spans back into time and stretches ahead into the future… a Church of all believers from all places and all times! It is the Church of the Living God!

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

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