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Today, perhaps more than ever before, it is increasingly easy for Christians to lead isolated, individualized lives. It is not only the tendency of our nature, but the encouragement of the culture, to live on our own terms, often to the exclusion of deep and meaningful relationships with others.
Scripture, however, is clear about the need to gather in regular fellowship with one another—indeed, fellowship is one of God’s wonderful (and necessary) means of grace on earth.
Gathering with other believers offers God’s children a sweet and intimate opportunity to respond to the exhortation we see in the book of Hebrews, to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24–25). God has called believers into a life of unified worship; by coming together, believers can exercise the opportunity to sharpen one another (Proverbs 27:17) in a unified effort to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29) and stimulate one another to walk in a manner increasingly pleasing to God.
God has further decreed that the fight against sin and striving towards personal holiness is to be accomplished together. If believers are not connected to the body of Christ, they are forsaking a God-given means of grace. James teaches that fellowship is necessary for victory over sin, calling believers to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). God has designed that a functional, grace-empowered Christian life is to be carried out in fellowship with one another, and we forfeit that opportunity unless we put ourselves in close proximity to believers whom we’ve grown to love and trust.
Home Bible studies are all about this life-on-life fellowship and accountability. The idea that believers are to go to church once a week, on Sunday, to get ‘charged up’—so they can engage in ‘lone missions’ and ‘fight for Christ’ all on their own during the week—is completely foreign to the teaching of the New Testament. Paul was either with believers or longing to be with them. Each epistle is addressed either to a body of believers or to a leader in the church. The body is meant to function together.
We invite you to stop by the Member Center after today’s service and ask for a list of home Bible studies by region, or reach out to someone in your fellowship group about ways to get further connected. We know you’ll be blessed and encouraged as you experience the riches of this God-given means of grace.
For more information about home Bible studies, visit gracechurch.org/biblestudies.