By: Bro. Sunday Eyanrin (Evangelist)
Definition of Words:
Brethren, it has become necessary that we define two key words on our heading, for a proper understanding of this discussion.
What Is Fellowship?
Fellowship: can be simply defined as, the companionship or partnership, and communion with others on the basis of something held in common. E.G. Christians coming together for fellowship – Acts 2:42.
What Is Disfellowship?
Disfellowship: as the name implies, is a term that simply refers to putting away. In other words, it is an act of putting one out of the fellowship of the Saints due to Sin. Another term for Disfellowship, is Withdrawal of fellowship.
Brethren, our topic for discussion today is an important question that must be given the desired answer. But before we do that, it is absolutely necessary to note here that, there cannot be disfellowship, without first being in fellowship.
God’s plan for his people coming together for worship, must enjoy fellowship with one another before a withdrawal of fellowship will have its desired meaning and effect.
Every local congregation should strive hard to create an environment of a very active fellowship among members of the local church. It must be where brethren make friends more of God’s children. Fellowship must be seen and experienced in the local church.
“FELLOWSHIP” IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH – HOW DOES IT BEGAN
At the inception of the New Testament Church on Pentecost, in the city of Jerusalem, in Acts 2:42, the Church Fellowshipped and Worship.
THE WORSHIP OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH AS ORDAINED BY GOD
The Worship of the New Testament Church is rooted and sustained in the laid down examples and principle of the Apostles who themselves were under the strict guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Worship of the New Testament Church is in Spirit and Truth. Acts 2:42, John 4:23-24.
THE SCRIPTURAL ITEMS OF WORSHIP IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
The Church Prays
1 Thess 5:17-18 – pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. NKJV
The Church Sings
Singing in the New Testament Church is vocal music, not accompanied with instrument of music. Eph 5:19 – speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, NKJV. Heb. 13:15-16 – Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. NKJV.
The Church Edifies Her Members
Edification is another important aspect of the Christian Worship. In Matt.18:20, Jesus declared; Matt. 28:20 – teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. NKJV. 2 Tim 2: 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. NKJV
Collection For The Saints
God’s plan for raising fund in the New Testament Church to meet her financial obligations is spelt out in the New Testament. No payment of Tithe, but free will offering by the Saints. Apostle Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit declared in1Corinthians.16:1-2 and 2 Corinthians.9:6-8. 1 Corinthians 16:1-22 Corinthians. 9:6-8
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. NKJV.
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. NKJV
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion is the only feast Instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ for Christians in memory of His death. Mathew 26:26-29, 1 Corinthians 11:23-39, Acts.20:7.Matthew. 26:26-29 – And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.“ NKJV. 1 Corinthians.11:23-26 – 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. NKJV.
CHRISTIANS AND SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP
It is important to note that the Christian fellowship does not end in our spiritual worship, but also embraces our social lives as Christians.It will interest us to note that at the inception of the New Testament Church, brethren make friends more of God’s children, thereby enjoy social fellowship one with another as revealed in – Acts 2:42-46. Acts 2:44-46 – Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart. NKJVJohn 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” NKJV. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. NKJV
IF A BROTHER OR SISTER SIN AGAINST YOU: WHAT HAPPENS?
If a Brother or Sister Sin against you and continues in the act, Matt. 18.15- 17 – should be applied.
Matt 18:15-17 – “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. NKJV
WHEN A BROTHER OR SISTER IS GUILTY OF SIN
When a Christian brother or sister is guilty of an act of sin, the brother, or sister has sinned against God, and if it comes to the knowledge of the Church, the following scriptures should be applied for disciplinary action.
- 1 Corinthians 5:1 – 13
- 2 Thessalonians 3:6 &14 – 15
1 Corinthians 5:1-13 – It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles — that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” NKJV
2 Thessalonians. 3:6, &14-15
6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. . 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Church Discipline, is the Disciplinary action from God to the local Congregation for earring Brethren. It is absolutely necessary to note that the following Disciplinary commands to a earring Brother or Sister must be strictly implemented by the Church and Individual Brethren as required by God.
A CAREFUL LOOK AT 1 CORINTHIAN 5
- Take him away from among you vs. 2
- Deliver such a one to Satan for the for the destruction of the flesh vs.5
- The reason for this action – a little leaven leavens the whole lump vs. 6
- Not to keep company with such people vs.9 & 11
- Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person vs.13
A CAREFUL LOOK AT 2 THESSALONIANS 3
- Withdraw from every Brother who walks disorderly vs. 6
- Do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed vs. 14
- Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a Brother vs. 15
WHAT FELLOWSHIP HAS THE DISFELLOWSHIP WITH GOD?
Brethren, we have come to the cross of the matter. When a Brother or Sister is disfellowshipped, he or she has severed relationship with God. Therefore separated from God. Thereby have no fellowship God. Isaiah 59:1-3, 2 John 9.
Isaiah 59:1-3 – Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity. NKJV
2 John 9 – Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. NKJV
WHAT FELLOWSHIP HAS THE DISFELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST?
When a Brother or a Sister is disfellowshipped, his or her Spiritual relationship and fellowship with Christ is immediately severed. 1 Corinthians 5:4-5, 2 John 9, James 4.4
WHAT FELLOWSHIP HAS THE DISFELLOWSHIP WITH THE CHURCH?
When a Brother or Sister is put away, such a one has no dealings with the Church any longer. Because, the Church must not keep company with such a one. 2 Corinthians 6:14- 17.
DO WE REALLY FELLOWSHIP WITH A DISFELLOWSHIP BROTHER OR SISTER?
The answer is yes, and by this act, we disobey the Lords command. Not to keep company with them. The point is this, when a disfellowship Brother or Sister comes to assemble with the Saints, dose he or she sing, say Amen after prayer, put money in the collection bag? If this done, what then is fellowship?
Philippians 4:8-9 – 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. NKJV