Fellowship is many faceted

Fellowship is many faceted. From what may first appear as a relatively simple concept comes a spin-off of complexity. Like a river in reverse flow, rather than many tributaries flowing into a main artery, it is a current flowing into many tributaries. The Spirit flowing in the main artery of our lives (the heart) dictates our conduct in all of our relationships (fellowships). For instance, fellowship must be viewed from many different perspectives; fellowship with God; fellowship with fellow saints; fellowship with husband/wife; fellowship with children; fellowship with unbelievers; and every other relationship possible in human involvements. And we see how there are classes in each class also, such as fellowship with God when repenting or when rejoicing, etc. And the fellowship in the church as pertaining to male versus female or adult to young people and, of course, saint to pastor (and other ministry). As we see, therefore, from a quite simple concept there, of necessity, stems a complexity of nuances pertaining to “fellowship.” As Christians our fellowship with God is our first priority and every other fellowship of life must flow from that one all important stimulus.

One aspect of fellowship in God is that we as “sons of God” have, by necessity, came to one fellowship by leaving another fellowship (to what degree is another spiritual consideration). But it is apparent that one must leave the fellowship of “darkness” to enjoy the fellowship of “light.”

The Greek word translated “church” in the New Testament is “ekklesia.” It means “the called out ones,” from “ek” out of, and “kaleo” to call (Vine). So, the word “church” means “the called out ones,” or “an assembly (fellowship) of called-out ones.”

Jesus said, “I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19). “And the Lord added to the church [the called out ones] daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Thus, we see that we are called out of the world and into the church. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord…” (II Corinthians 6:17). Biblical separation takes you out of fellowship with the world and into the fellowship of the church. Separation, therefore, is a vital ingredient of fellowship. It is a false concept to think that, as a Christian, one can fellowship in all arenas of life and maintain fellowship with God—the Bible says otherwise. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what does righteousness and unrighteousness have in common? For what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?

As a consequence of these biblical principles it is apparent that true fellowship with God requires DISfellowship as a resulting necessity. (And this is where the fur begins to fly—in determining WHAT degrees and what areas this all takes place).

“Fellowship” is one of those words whose usage is most often a church word. We have our fellowship halls, our fellowship dinners, our fellowship meetings, ect. “Fellowship” is a word, however, that is seldom related to true scriptural and spiritual “fellowship” even when used in many church settings.

What exactly is fellowship? What does it mean? The Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia,” meaning; common or shared. Fellowship, therefore, means common participation in something either by giving what you have to the other person or receiving what he or she has. “Give and take” is the essence of fellowship.

It’s amazing how being on common ground enhances fellowship. Take for instance passengers on a commercial airliner. Being “together” is not always fellowship. Without looking directly at one another, passengers filing onto the plane mutter brief apologies as they bump and nudge one another while stowing luggage above their seats. Seat belts are fastened, and reading material is drawn from purses, briefcases, and seat pockets. And the majority of passengers, once seated seclude themselves into privacy (from fellow passengers who they are quite literally “rubbing shoulders with”).

In a normal and uneventful flight it, for the majority of passengers, will be a bunch of people together—but each passenger all alone.

BUT: When the cabin lurches, the travelers look around them, more startled than frightened. Then the reading lights blink on and off, and cabin pressure decreases suddenly. The intercom gives its familiar click and the Pilot informs the passengers and flight crew that there is some mechanical problem. “As a precaution,” he says, “please remain in your seats and observe all emergency procedures.” Suddenly, a change comes over the people on that plane. They speak to each other, asking and reassuring one another, etc. They help one another with emergency equipment. In a short time, they come to know these people with whom they share the common crisis. By the end of the ordeal (that ended well), they have formed a bond that they probably will remember the rest of their lives.

“Fellowship” in the truest sense, is not “potluck dinners” but it is the essence of sharing a common situation and realizing that everyone around you has just as much a “need” as you have. True Christian fellowship is a community that is linked more by generosity than geography; more by faith than fun; more by spirit than soup and more by love than leisure.

Much like the people in the jetliner, the believers of the early church huddled together in the fellowship forced on them by a hostile world. The church was born with an attitude of fellowship. “Breaking bread together,” meant much more than having a meal, it was an expression of being family in the truest and most intimate terms.

– jlg –

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