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In the classic book, Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes that times of fellowship are crucial because we are instruments of God to encourage others (and be encouraged by others) with His Word:

When one person is struck by the Word, he speaks it to others. God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a brother, in the mouth of man. Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him.

He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ.

The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure (22-23).

This is mores than listening to a sermon or sitting in a Bible study. This means that in our gatherings, the Holy Spirit may use us to encourage or gently rebuke another follower of Jesus; or we may be encouraged or rebuked by another. Bonhoeffer also implies humility on our part because our brother or sister in Jesus may have a Word from the Lord that we desperately need to hear.

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