#19.

There is Strength and Power in True Fellowship
Isaiah 40:28–31 — Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. This is one of many passages that talks about the provision of strength and power by God to His people (see also Psalm 29:11, Psalm 68:35). It is certainly true that God's children can become spiritually weak and weary in their service of the Lord. Remember Elijah immediately after his encounter with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. He was exhausted and dejected, but the Lord sent an angel to minister to him, and gave him rest, food and shelter (1 Kings 19:1-8). It is also true that the spiritual strength and power God supplies come to His children by the work of the Holy Spirit within them, as a provision of grace. It necessarily follows, then, that the means of grace (including fellowship) can be made means to supply us with spiritual strength and power when we are in need of them. Is this mere logical speculation, though, or are there passages in the Bible that confirm to us that we may find strength and power through true fellowship? In point of fact, it is the experience of God's people throughout the Bible that they find encouragement, strength and refreshment of soul as they meet together. By way of example, Saul's son, Jonathan, encouraged and strengthened David in the Lord at Horesh (1 Sam 23:16). Paul speaks of the restorative refreshment that he expected to have when in company with the church at Rome (Romans 15:32) and expects his heart to be refreshed through the hospitality and ministry of Philemon, as other saints have been before him (Philemon 7, 20). It is clear from all this, then, that although the Lord can and does meet with His children individually to supply them with strength and power through the means of grace, He also uses the fellowship of believers as a means to the same end. It is something we should look for, even expect, when we gather in fellowship with our brothers and sisters. But it won't come from merely meeting together - we must be about encouraging one another in the Lord and ministering the fruits and gifts He has given us to that end. The question is, do we look to times of fellowship to be to us the times of spiritual refreshment, strengthening and empowering that they certainly may be? If we experienced more of these times of soul-refreshment as we met with our brothers and sisters (which is certainly possible) wouldn't we soon learn to desire fellowship, and to seek it out at every opportunity?

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