What is fellowship?
Fellowship is very desirable. But why is fellowship necessary?
“But if weas He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7.
Many people can have friends, a circle of acquaintances after their own taste, but they do not have fellowship. This is the case among the ungodly, as well as among religious people. They do not know the real meaning of fellowship.
Fellowship in sharing the same goal
What is it, then? Fellowship is to love one another and care for one another because we all have the same goal. We are born again to a living hope. (1 Peter 1:3-4) Such people have been taken out from among all kinds of people to be one body—the body of Christ. (Colossians 3:11-15)
We can see the great contrasts that can exist among those who are chosen—they have different personalities, background and nationalities, for example—but the intention is that Christ is to be all and in all. Therefore, their fellowship is not based on liking one another according to the flesh, but they love one another according to the spirit in the same calling. Fellowship consists of caring for one another and being saved so that the fullness of Christ can increase more and more.
How to preserve fellowship
In order to abide in this love, we must not be perturbed by the others’ idiosyncrasies or cease to love someone because he falls into sin. That is exactly when our love and care need to be evidenced even more! Paul writes: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…” Colossians 3:12-13.
We find sin in our flesh—our human nature—when we are with other people who might not be exactly according to our “taste.” Because of the others’ idiosyncrasies, we might find impatience, self-righteousness or pride coming up from our flesh. Then we are in need of being cleansed in the blood of Jesus. The person who does not love the truth, so he can acknowledge what needs to be cleansed away, comes out of fellowship. On this point, we need to take heed to ourselves and not judge the others. We can help the others with their salvation by purifying ourselves so that our love and care can increase, and this will cause them not to come out of fellowship either.
Also read: Judge yourself
Walking in the light
“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.” Romans 7:21. If we are conscious of this, we will not be haughty, but we will fear. Paul noticed he was taken captive by another law in his members that warred against the law of his mind. (Romans 7:21-25, Romans 8:1-2)
Paul discovered all this by walking in the light and being led by the Holy Spirit. Because he did not live according to the flesh, he had light over the things that arose from his nature—the deeds of the body—and could thus put them to death by the Spirit, which resulted in being cleansed in Jesus’ blood.
The intention with associating and befriending those outside of fellowship is to lead them to God. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit …” 1 Peter 3:18.
Here we can see that all of Jesus’ sufferings served for His own development so that He could lead us to God. (Hebrews 2:10-11) This also applies to us when we walk in the light. Then we will enter into the sufferings in the flesh through the cross—first of all, so that we ourselves can be preserved in fellowship in the light and consequently be in a position to help others to be preserved in fellowship, and then to lead those who are outside into fellowship in order to lead them to God. Such people will never be lonely.
This article has been translated from Norwegian, and is an edited version of an article that was first published in the BCC periodical Skjulte Skatter (Hidden Treasures) in January 1983, with the title “Fellowship.”
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.