Be with People

Freshwater Staff   -  

In Genesis 2:18, God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs because, as He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

We’ve been talking about “A New Way of Living” over the last three weeks as we’ve explored what it means to be a disciple of Christ in this modern age. This past Sunday, Jamey Codding covered the third of our four core values of discipleship:

  1. Be with Jesus
  2. Be Transformed
  3. Be with People
  4. Be on Mission

Two weeks ago, we said that we are each created for relationship, but authentic relationship is impossible without active presence. This is true in our relationship with Jesus, and it’s true in our earthly relationships: We can’t “be with people” if we don’t prioritize time with people.

Unfortunately, our tendencies and personalities make community an afterthought, while our screens and social media channels work overtime to not only convince us that relationship without presence is possible, but even desirable. But discipleship to Christ means reorienting our lives around following Him so we can learn His countercultural way of life, and what Jesus says about community is radically different than what the world says.

In Acts 2:42-47, we see the first church body of Christ living as a community – devoted to teaching and learning, and devoted to one another in fellowship. It was precisely how Jesus taught them to live.

The disciples walked thousands of miles together while following Jesus during his three years of ministry. They traveled together. They ate together. They took care of each another. They shared life with one another.

Jesus trained them for what He knew they were about to face: not just opposition to His message, not just persecution or even imprisonment, but death.

As He said in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble.” We face trouble in this world as well, so the picture of the early church in Acts 2 is a blueprint for us.

The Greek word for “fellowship” is “koinonia,” which means communion with someone else, joint participation, partnership, sharing, companionship. So when Acts 2 says this community “devoted themselves…to fellowship,” it’s saying they were partners, sharers and companions in the faith. They were committed to one another in a deep, holy and covenantal relationship that was built around humanity’s single greatest and most transformative commonality: Jesus Christ.

We too are united under the blood of Christ. As we walk the difficult road of discipleship, we must first be committed to “koinonia” with Jesus – devoting time to being with Him so He can continue to transform us into His image – but also to deep, holy and covenantal relationships with fellow believers. In those relationships, we find the support, encouragement and mutual accountability that is crucial to ongoing spiritual formation.

Sadly, too many of us cut ourselves off from community. Instead, we should be looking “downstream” for wisdom and guidance from people who may be a step or two ahead of us in their faith while passing on the things Jesus has taught us “upstream” to someone who might be a step or two behind us.

Following Jesus is difficult, and it’s infinitely more dangerous if we try to do it alone. But when we devote ourselves to fellowship the way the Acts 2 community did, we become a church of loving, compassionate, generous, hospitable, sacrificial, forgiving, authentic, healthy disciples making loving, compassionate, generous, hospitable, sacrificial, forgiving, authentic, healthy disciples.

Which means we look more like Jesus.

Reflection Questions
  1. Consider the image of “koinonia,” or deep fellowship within community. Are you experiencing this kind of authentic community in your life? If not, what is keeping you from deep, transformative fellowship?
  2. How do you balance the need for solitude and time with Jesus against the call to be actively engaged in community? Is there an area where you feel you need to make adjustments?
  3. How do you think confession within trustworthy community can impact your relationship with God and with others?
  4. Are you currently engaged in any accountability relationships? If so, how do they impact your spiritual growth? If not, who is someone with whom you could seek mutual accountability?
  5. Consider the balance between giving and receiving in upstream and downstream discipleship. How can you ensure that you’re both investing in those who are behind you in their faith and remaining open to learning from those who are ahead of you?
Watch the Message
Worship Songs from May 5
  • “My Testimony”
  • “Homecoming”
  • “Made for More”