“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9
Do not walk alone in dangerous places! How many times have you heard that, over and over again? Always stay in a group, we hear; there is safety in numbers. How often have individuals walked to their car alone in parking garages at night, or even broad daylight, to their own grave endangerment? Or been accosted as they walked down a lonely street in a “bad part of town? There is a clear analogy of physical safety with spiritual safety revealed in Scripture as it addresses the spiritual protection of believers in a fallen world; a world where Satan prowls with specific purpose in mind of devouring whichever believer he finds in a weak condition. We have all experienced being in “weak situations spiritually; and too often when we are the most vulnerable to attack we do not seek the assistance of fellow believers, but attempt to “go it alone to our own detriment.
The Psalmist tells us that God places the lonely or solitary person in a family, and that family may not always be his or her biological family. It may well be the family of God apart from biological family. God has designed and created the church as His family, the body of His Son, a fellowship of disciples and followers of the Lamb. The Bible expresses the benefits of this fellowship as a vital necessity to your encouragement, transparency, support, instruction, supply of need, a host of personal examples; your protection! The benefits spoken of in Scripture are numerous, beyond what immediately comes to mind. All of this God can provide by Himself to every believer separately, and you have experienced His comfort and care for you directly and alone. However, He lovingly designed the community of the people of God to be a limitless treasure for each and every believer. Remember, God saved a PEOPLE for Himself, not just you alone; He desires you to be an integral part of the body of Christ and to mature within that body.
The added incentive for you to be an active participant in the community of faith is that the prowling lion is less able to pounce on the straggling lamb that finds itself separated from the community. The danger is eminently real. It is not something to carelessly ignore, even as you think God is strong enough to protect ME; I do not need the body! He has purposed for you to live in the fellowship of the saints; and He has provided the community of faith, the church, as a refuge of protection in a dangerous world. Oh, it is still possible to be in danger, to even stumble and fall among your fellow believers, especially when your relationships within the body are superficial and do not exemplify the fruit of the Spirit. There are still wolves in sheep’s clothing; there are still weeds sown with the wheat. None of that precludes the necessity of you being a vibrant part of the community of faith for your own protection, and the protection of those you hold dear. As the book of Hebrews warns us even as we approach the Day coming upon the world, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(Hebrews 10:23)
There is safety in numbers. Take full advantage of it by being fully enmeshed within the community of faith!
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