The notes this week really caused me to think about fellowship. Referencing Phillippians 2:1, the notes point out that the Holy Spirit is a person who comes to dwell within a christian with whom we can have fellowship. From a visual image standpoint, when I think of God the Father, I think of a person. I see the image of a father and of a king. When I think of Jesus, I think of a person. I see a brother, a Lord, a Judge, a king. But, when I think of the Holy Spirit, I think of, well, a spirit. I picture a mist upon the water. I picture a flame, like the burning bush or the tongues of flame at pentecost. I think of the wind. But I wouldn’t have visually thought of the Holy Spirit as a person.
But it is an amazing visual image to have and it provides even greater light on the changes that are noted in Acts 2 in regard to the 3000 converts.
Let me back up just a little, first. As we look at John 17 we see the prayer of Jesus at the conclusion of the last supper, immediately before he leaves to the grove to be betrayed and arrested and to be put to death. This prayer is very revealing in terms of what God wishes for us and from us. Jesus prayers for fellowship (aka, unity). He prays it for His disciples to have with each other, for all future believers and for all of them (the church) to have with Him. What God desires for and with us is a relationship. He already loves us. He already rules over us. He already knows everything about us. What He wants, in love, is fellowship with us. He concludes the prayer with the following: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Now, with this in mind, look at what the 3000 did:
- Fellowship with the apostles, devotion to their teaching (Acts 2:42)
- Fellowship with other christians, breaking bread together, praying and just being together in unity (Acts 2:42-44, 46)
- Fellowship with those in need (Acts 2: 45)
- Fellowship in praise to God (Acts 2:47)
What an amazing example to us and what a clear fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus at the last supper. Immediately upon receiving the Holy Spirit at pentecost, where the Apostles entered a new fellowship with God through the indwelling of the person of the Holy Spirit, they stand up together and 3000 people are added to the fellowship. In Acts 2:47 we see that it doesn’t end there, but the fellowship continues to grow.
It is clear that fellowship is critical to our christian walk and it is clearly important in BSF. This is not only a bible study, although it is a great one, but the fulfillment of the value of BSF is in the fellowship. You’ve got to show up – not just to get the notes, but to share your life with other believers, other struggling and developing christians and with God. Is this the only place this happens? Absolutely not. This is what church is all about. It is what we should be doing in our workplaces, schools and every other aspect of our lives. But, as we see in the example of the earliest converts to the new church on the day of pentecost, it is easiest to do in a situation where we are focused together on the teaching of the Word.
So, if I see the visualization of the Father as a father image and king and the visualization of Christ as brother, Lord, judge and friend, how do I now visualize the person of the Holy Spirit? I see the faces of the men and children I share fellowship with in bible study at BSF.