Monday, June 26, 2017, 8:07 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “In Truth.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read selected scriptures (in the NASB) on the subject of biblical spiritual fellowship.
What is Christian Fellowship?
From my own experience, I have found that this word “fellowship,” in many Christian circles here in America, is used often more in a secular sense rather than in a biblical sense. For instance, it is called “fellowship” when a group of people, who are connected via profession of faith in Jesus, or via participation with a local church organization, gather together for a social get-together which may or may not be affiliated with or sponsored by that local church organization. This social gathering may involve eating tons of food together, watching TV or movies together, playing games, shopping for non-necessities, or attending a sporting event, etc., and the name of Jesus may or may not even come up at all. Yet, they call it “Christian fellowship.”
So, to begin with I want to look at the definition of biblical (Christian and spiritual) “fellowship” (koinónia). It means “participation, communion, partnership, sharing in, communion; what is shared in common as the basis of fellowship (partnership, community)” (1). “Koinonia is being in agreement with one another, being united in purpose, and serving alongside each other. Our koinonia with each other is based on our common koinonia with Jesus Christ” (2). And, that last sentence here really is key to understanding true biblical (spiritual and Christian) fellowship.
Fellowship with Christ (1 Co. 1:9; Phil. 3:10)
“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…”
So, if we are called into fellowship with Jesus Christ, and to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, what does that look like? It means we participate with Christ in death to sin and in being resurrected with him to newness of life in Christ Jesus, in the Spirit of God, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:24). It means we partner with Jesus Christ, that we are in agreement with him, that we are united with him in his purpose for our lives, and that we serve him faithfully. This means that we turn away from our sinful lifestyles, forsake our idols, and we turn to follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives. We also accept the fact that following Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives means we will be hated, rejected, persecuted and abandoned, just like he was.
Fellowship of the Spirit (Phil. 2:1-4)
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
When we trust Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives, and we become his servants, bond-slaves to him and to his righteousness, his Holy Spirit comes to live within us, to empower, strengthen, counsel, teach and guide us in the way that we should go, so that we can live holy lives, pleasing to God. His will is the will of the Father and that of the Son, and that is that we live holy lives, set apart (unlike, different) from the world of sin because we are being made into the image of Christ. So, to be in fellowship with the Spirit is to agree with God, and to be united with him in his purpose for our lives, which is that we die with Christ to sin and that we live with Christ to his righteousness.
So, when we are united with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – likeminded in heart, mind and purpose, which is to walk in obedience to our Lord and to do his will, and to no longer walk according to our sinful flesh, then we can also be likeminded, united in purpose, and having the same (agape) love as other believers in Jesus who are also united with God in heart, mind and purpose. And, this should result in us not living to please ourselves, but God, and in us serving one another unselfishly. We should put others’ true needs above our own, and we should look out for what is in the best interest of others, i.e. regarding what they truly need, not necessarily regarding what they want. And, this involves laying our lives down in order to see others go free from slavery to sin, and to walk in holiness, righteousness and godliness, even if it means we are hated, persecuted and rejected in return.
Fellowship with One Another (Acts 2:42-47)
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 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. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
These believers in Jesus Christ, when they got together, continually devoted themselves to the teaching of the Word of God, and to remembering what Jesus Christ did for them in dying for their sins, and in rising from the dead. They were devoted to sharing meals together, and to prayer (talking with and listening to their Lord). They witnessed many miracles of God in their midst, and they shared with one another as they had need. Day by day they met together, continuing with one mind, which was the mind of Christ, and giving thanks to God/Jesus and praising Him, and the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Their fellowship was based in Jesus Christ, not in the flesh of humans, and it was centered on God’s will for their lives, learning from him, and sharing his love and grace with others. And, the result was that many came to faith in Jesus Christ. It was not about being entertained, but it was about sharing in Jesus Christ and in his saving grace to us, loving him, and loving others.
Fellowship with Darkness (2 Co. 6:14)
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
It is not Christian fellowship if we are united with, in agreement with, in partnership with or we participate with those who are walking in darkness (sin, wickedness) in their wicked (sinful) deeds. It is also not Christian fellowship if we unite (agree with) the world (worldliness) via ungodly activities we participate in, sinful attitudes and behaviors we adopt as part of our lives, or via unholy and wicked scenarios we regularly feed into our minds via TV, movies, the internet, books, magazines, and the like. In other words, don’t call it Christian fellowship if Christ has no part in it, if he is opposed to what we are doing, and if what we are doing stands in opposition to his will for our lives or his teachings (or those of the NT apostles).
For example, if when we gather together for what we call “Christian fellowship,” but Jesus Christ is not even included in what we do, nor would he want to be, then it isn’t “Christian fellowship,” but it is worldly, fleshly and/or it is darkness – unrighteousness and ungodliness. And, that has no communion (no fellowship or partnership) with what is light (truth, righteousness, holiness, godliness, etc.). So, we are not to participate in what is darkness, but we are to have fellowship with what is light. For, the two do not mix. And, we should not try to mix them, either. True fellowship begins with God, with being likeminded with him in following his will and his ways, and it is based in Jesus, and in the Word of God, and not in the will of humans or in the passions and desires of our sinful flesh.
Fellowship with God (1 Jn. 1:5-7)
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
And, here is the crux of the matter. If we say we have fellowship (agreement, like-mindedness, and unity of purpose) with God, but we conduct (live) our lives to please our sinful flesh, instead, we are liars. If we call what we do with others “Christian fellowship” but everything we do with them has nothing to do with Christ or his eternal kingdom, but everything to do with selfish pleasure and entertainment, we are liars, or we are fooling ourselves. True fellowship with Christ or true Christian fellowship with others is about walking in the light (truth, righteousness), pleasing God, serving others, and it is about following Christ and his Word, and sharing it with others so they can come to know Jesus Christ and his salvation, too.
So, if we want to have true fellowship with Christ and with others, we need to walk (conduct our lives) in the light (truth, righteousness). And, we need to no longer live to gratify our sinful cravings and passions. It is important that we realize that God’s grace to us is not solely for the purpose to deliver us from hell and to promise us heaven when we leave this earth. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. God’s grace is not free license to continue in willful sin against God. But his grace instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.
(See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Jn. 6:35-66; Acts 26:16-18; Gal. 5:19-21; & Tit. 2:11-14).
In Truth / An Original Work / January 10, 2012
Fellowshipping with my Lord, Savior, King.
He is Lord of all; Lord of ev’rything.
He is with me through ev’ry hour of day,
List’ning to me speak, as I humbly pray.
He cares for my needs,
and He intercedes for me,
‘cause He loves me in ev’ry way.
Obey His commands, and do all He says.
Sitting at His feet, daily in His word,
Let His word speak to me in ev’ry way,
Giving comfort and healing through each day.
Oh, how Jesus loves,
And He cares for you,
Which is why He died for our sins, in truth.
Love our Lord God, Savior, and King of kings.
Worship Him in truth, for He reigns supreme.
He created us with a plan in mind
For us to be His servants, and Him mind.
Follow Him in truth;
Go where’er He leads.
Share His love with others, and their needs meet.
Others: their needs meet.