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Social Interaction With God's People
Bible study on social fellowship.

We are blessed to have a congregation of people who love to spend time together, realizing the importance of social interaction with Christians. Recently, we've had opportunities for young people and adults to socialize together in large groups, which is as important as socializing in small groups.

Recreation and Social Interaction: Not A Work Of The Church
Recreation and social interaction aren't works of the church. There's no authority for the church to engage in recreation, or for the elders to oversee such work.

Social interaction is a work of each individual Christian. We are commanded to do good, sharing the things we have, which we partially accomplish through social interact (Gal. 6:9-10; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 6:18).

Jesus' Social Interaction
Jesus socially interacted with people throughout his ministry, which started at a wedding in Cana. Later he fed thousands of people on two occasions, and dined with disciples and sinners alike while teaching the gospel.

Perhaps Jesus' personal interaction with people is best seen in his reaction to Lazarus' death. The Bible says, "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept" (Jn. 11:33-35).

Just as Jesus had close personal relationships upon the earth, so we too, as His disciples have close personal relationships with people of like faith.

Brethren in Jerusalem
Christians in Jerusalem spent time together socially (outside of the assembly).

Luke says, "Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people" (Acts 2:46-47).

When we look at the New Testament model of Christianity, it includes spending time with Christians outside of the assembly. It's not a work of the church, but a work of individual Christians.

Paul's Friends
Paul had brethren whom he considered friends. These are people who helped him with things he needed and desired (Acts 24:23).

On his journey to Rome as a prisoner, a centurion named Julius allowed Paul to "go to his friends and receive care" at Sidon (Acts 27:3).

Like Jesus, Paul had close personal relationships with people while working in the Lord's kingdom.

Social Interaction With Christians Is Important
God created us to be social people who have companions (Acts 13:13; 19:29; Phil. 4:3). Some people are more social than others, but we're all social to some degree.

Our companions shouldn't be evil, and we shouldn't be bound with unbelievers (1 Cor. 15:33; 2 Cor. 6:14). Besides, friendship with the world is hostility with God (Jas. 4:4).

So, who makes the best companions? Christians.

It's important for us to socially interact with Christians, and not just people of the world. Christians make the best companions and friends.

The benefit of spending time with other Christians is obvious. It gives us an opportunity to have fun and recreate, without the sinful pressures of the world.

When we spend time together in real-world situations, outside of church, we are good examples to one another. We are positive influences for people of every age, teaching important lessons about everyday life.

Sometimes, young people remark to Beth and I that they learn more by witnessing our interaction as a family, than just hearing about it at church. When they see God's word in action, it reinforces and explains the lessons we teach in Bible class and from the pulpit.

Make Opportunities: It Takes Work
Since recreation isn't a work of the church, individual Christians must make opportunities to socialize with other Christians.

We have to think of ways to spend time together, then we have to make all the arrangements. Someone must take the initiative to come up with an idea, make the preparations, be the host, and get others involved.

Parents especially, in my humble opinion, have a responsibility to make opportunities for their children to interact with young people of like faith. Then as their children grow, they must teach them how to make their own opportunities.

Too often, parents lose their children to the world because they failed to make opportunities for them to socialize with Christians. In essence, they throw their children to the wolves, and expect them to somehow come through it all on their own.

Social interaction with God's people is important for every Christian. It's up to each of us to make opportunities to spend time together outside our of assembly, and to take advantage of such situations. If we do, we'll be stronger, and our lives will be more fulfilling.