OQ. To what things, the first century Christians devoted themselves to? Apostles teaching / Fellowship / Breaking of Bread / Prayer.
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Q. When do we have fellowship with one another in the church?
In the Sunday service / In Midweek meetings / On other days also.
Fellowship is very important in our lives. Without that, we will be just like a coal taken out of fire.
Paul had understood all these facts clearly. He was a man of high education, experience and status. Let us look at Paulís convictions about this in his letter to Timothy, which was written towards the end of his life.
2 Timothy 4:9-18
9 Do your best to come to me quickly,
10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.
15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.
17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth.
18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Let us think about 3 points in this scripture
V-9. Q. What dose he say in verse 9? - Do your best to come to me quickly.
Q. Where was Paul at that time? - In prison. Some have already left him.
Paul invites Timothy whom he loves very much to come to him.
Q. What do we see here? -The importance of fellowship and friendship.
Everybody needs someone to love and to encourage.
When we have health, status and money, we will be surrounded by many friends.
But when we lose these things, the friends also desert us.
Q. What kind of friends are they? -Not real friends.
Q. What kind of a friend are you?
Instead of thinking that ĎOthers must love me, help me and care for meí, why donít you think that ĎIíll love others, speak to others, care for others and help othersí?
(2) Reread verse 11.
Get Mark and bring him with you because he is helpful to me in the ministry.
Once Paul had refused to take Mark with him because he did not think it wise at that time.
but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.
It doesnít mean that he was a good for nothing fellow.
He was not suitable for the special ministry Paul had intended.
He might have been very efficient in some other areas.
Now Paul accepts him and invites him to come and help in his ministry.
Q What is your attitude towards a person whom you thought was not suitable to work with once?
(3). Reread verses 16-17.
This happened at the time of Paulís trial that he expected that at least some that knew the truth would openly say it. But everyone deserted him.
Q. Who stood at his side? - The Lord.
We may not get help from other people as we expect
Q. What did Paul do to them?
It is a very good example for us to follow. Paul trusted in the grace of God who stood at his side, even when all the others deserted him.
Put our trust in the grace of God. He will not desert us at any time.
Love and treat kindly a person who has deserted you once at the time of need.