It is a story that we seldom think of when we think of fellowship, but I believe that a careful look at the bond that two men had with each other speaks volumes about what true Christian fellowship should be like. It is the story of two close friends walking together to the temple for prayer as recorded in Acts 3:1-4:4. The friends are Peter and John, and how this whole walk to the temple goes down tells us a great deal about the relationship that they had.
First of all, a relationship like theirs had a lot of history. As disciples of Jesus, they had just spent the last three years together learning under the Messiah Himself. Really very little of this time together is documented, but even from the things that we do know it is easy to see that they experienced some incredible times together. A close friendship is knit together through the close experiences that we have with one another. Therefore the first clue at developing strong Christian fellowship is to seek out opportunities to participate in activities together. Build memories with other Christians by taking the time to do things with them.
The second thing that I notice about these two men is how they made Christ the center of their relationship with each other. We see this happening in two ways. First of all, they were walking to the temple together for their regular time of prayer. Basically, they participated together in Christ-centered events. Then while on their way to the temple, they came across a lame beggar. While they did not have money to give them, they took their lead from their Rabbi. They actively practiced giving the gift of healing to this lame beggar. So, not only is participating in Christ-centered events together important, but actively DOING God’s work and using the gifts that He has given you is also important. This type of Christian service rarely finds itself at the center of what we consider Christian fellowship today. However, sharing a Christ-centered life is still one of the best ways to create a strong bond. Scripture states that where two or more are gathered in His name, He is in their midst, but also states that a cord of three strings (the two in fellowship and Christ) is not easily broken.
The third key to Peter’s and John’s close fellowship comes through their attitudes and actions towards each other. Later in this story they are confronted about what had happened with this lame beggar. The text starts out talking about how Peter had responded to the crowd. Later on, the text then states that they were BOTH talking to the people. At some point in the conversations, John decided that he had to get Peter’s back, and stand up to make the statement with him. When John saw an opportunity to take a stand with his friend, he did it. He refused to let people come up against his friend while he just stood by and watched. This spirit of brotherhood is another important part of Christian fellowship, and we should all be motivated to stand up together.
True Christian fellowship should be the kind of friendship that makes the rest of the world look at us and envy what we have with each other. This requires a commitment to other people that is rarely seem in society today. Often people are motivated by selfish motives, like “what’s in it for me” when it comes to spending time with other people. Rather our desire to fellowship should be motivated out of Kingdom motives, and a desire to see God move not only in our lives, but also in the lives of our Christian brothers, and in the hearts of the unbelievers who could be touched by our Christ-like love for each other.
Note: Written for weekly writing contest [Fellowship (among believers)] at www.faithwriters.com.