Bruce Collins. I am an evangelist and teacher of the Bible. I
became a child of God by faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus
Christ on November 24, 1963 and have tried to serve the Lord in various
capacities since then. I am presently an itinerant minister of
the Gospel. I do not work for an organization but I try to
serve the Lord in the best way that I can wherever He leads. That
means that my wife and I have our financial needs met by the Lord as we do
not have a salary from any church or organization. We believe
that the Gospel is free so we have never made a charge for our services.
am available for Bible studies, conferences, Gospel meetings, children's meetings
and camp work. I have traveled throughout much of the United States
and Canada in my service for the Lord. My wife helps me, and
we attend the Bethany Bible Chapel in Cedar Falls, Iowa. They have encouraged us
by commending us for this work.
wife, Geneva and I live in Waterloo, Iowa. We have four children.
One of them is married and has provided us with two grandchildren.
web site has a weekly meditation that I hope will encourage you. It
has links to literature and organizations that I think are helpful.
You can also listen to my weekly radio program here.
because of Calvary,
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is Christian Fellowship?
they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in
the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42 NKJV)
our congregation we have a gathering to celebrate the Lord's Supper and
then we break for a time of "fellowship".
I often hear that we are going to have "fellowship" at
a social function. Now I am
all for these activities, but as I have been studying the Biblical
concept of fellowship, I think we are selling the concept short. Since I
believe that the apostles' doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and
prayers are four fundamental pillars found in every new testament
gathering that identifies as a local church, I have often wondered if
coffee and donuts is one of those pillars.
is defined as a friendly association, mutual sharing, acting as though
we are one in Christ, partnership, agreement, and/or communion.
It is certainly should be experienced in all of the functions of
the church but the word seems to be used in a different way in Acts
2:42. Some have suggested
that the verse should be translated and they continued steadfastly in
THE fellowship even though the definite article is implied and is not
actually included. I
understand that in the Greek language it is possible for a passage that
might be translated with the indefinite article to be translated with
the definite article because it is implied (that is, it makes sense).
So in this case “a fellowship” could be translated “the
fellowship”. I think that
makes sense in this case. When
the early Christians were saved and identified with the Lord in baptism
they became a known group. They
were of “this way.” They
were called the sect of the Nazarenes.
They were called Christians.
But they were a distinct people and those who were saved did not
try to hide their associations. They
continued steadfastly in the fellowship.
They were no longer a part of the world, they were a part of this
new thing called the church and they did everything that they could to
identify with and be faithful to that group.
Some have said fellowship is really people in a ship.
They have to work together to make the ship go.
In the ship is safety. Outside
of the ship is a watery grave.
the Word is used in the New Testament
I have looked at the usage of this word in the new testament, eating
together is implied in some cases but the primary focus is on being in
agreement, working together, worshiping together, and praying together.
In Philippians 1:5, the word describes a financial gift given to
Paul. In 2Corinthians 6:14,
we are to separate ourselves from unbelievers because light and darkness
cannot have fellowship or communion, that is, they can't coexist.
Sometimes the word is used to explain the support given to the
work of the Lord in terms of prayer and perhaps in a commendation to
those who might not know the workers.
Usually the implication is that those who give others “the
right and of fellowship” are in total agreement with the work that
they are doing. (See
tend to limit our concept of fellowship to social interactions that
usually involve a meal but that is not the primary way we express our
fellowship. We express it by
being in agreement and by being loyal to the church that God is building
in the broad sense and by supporting the local church that we are called
to support in our local community. That
means that when we can we support all the meetings of the church and all
of the work of the church.
we “In Fellowship?”
early church lived in a communal way where every member of the church
had their practical needs met. Some
have pointed out that Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5 proved that communal
living didn't work. But all
it proved is that Ananias and Saphira were hypocrites.
They were not under obligation to sell land and give it all
the church as Barnabas had done. But
the fact that people took care of each other, proved beyond a shadow of
a doubt that the people who were continuing steadfastly in fellowship
were really in fellowship. I
don't suppose that there will ever be a time when Christians again
continue steadfastly in fellowship the way the early church did.
never intended for Christians to survive apart from Christian
fellowship. We are sheep,
not lone wolves. However, we need to
ask ourselves, are we attending church or are we continuing steadfastly
in the fellowship of our local congregations?
for the week of September 16, 2018
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