by Travis Lauterbach
The core of a church’s gathering together is to hear and learn the Gospel, the good news that Jesus died for the sins of the world and whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.
St. Luke says that this is one of the reasons the church meats together in Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers.”
The second reason Christians gather together, as Luke states, is fellowship. Jesus doesn’t want His Church to be loners.
Paul says to the Church in Corinth, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) This is true of all believers.
What this means is that all believers in Christ have a relationship to one another. Paul also says, “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I’m not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body… The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” (1 Corinthians 12:14-15, 21)
What this means is that “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)
So the Church gathers for this fellowship and has a role to play toward each other. Scripture in various places talks about believers comforting and encouraging one another with God’s promises and forgiveness. It mentions building one another up with God’s Word. It encourages praying for one another and supporting each other. This is a big part of churchly fellowship.
Now of course, as sinners, Christians may often tear each other down rather than build each other up. This weakens the body like an illness. But with the help of God, these sad occasions may become opportunities for confession and forgiveness. This strengthens the body as through a healing medicine.