New Testament scriptures teach mostly about how we treat one another and live together. It tells us to: live in harmony, love one another; accept one another; instruct one another; greet one another; serve one another; bear with one another; make allowances for one another; be kind and compassionate to one another; speak to one another; admonish one another; encourage one another; spur one another on; offer hospitality; and edify one another. That’s just a part of the list! The point is, we need one another, and we are called to community, we are called to fellowship.
John 13:35 ~ By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Fellowship is not just hanging out, although hanging out can be fun and have some value. As Christians we must be intentional and deliberate about connecting with people. The goal is not to have a thousand friends, you can be friendly to all, but maturity moves you from quantity (amount) to quality. You should have some people in your life that you can have quality fellowship with because fellowship adds value and brings joy to relationship.
The Bible says it’s not good to be alone. We were made for fellowship to enhance relationships. Part of our relationship with God involves relationship and fellowship with other believers. Our gifts, talents and abilities are not just for us; they are to serve and be shared with others, especially with those in the body of Christ, and particularly with those “body parts” that we are called to be connected to.
When we bring all of those gifts and abilities together we experience God on a level that we would never enjoy being isolated. Christianity cannot be practiced in isolation. If we do, it will become irrelevant.
We can’t expect the church to meet all of our needs for fellowship. That is NOT possible. We must bear some of the responsibility. We must actively pursue Godly interaction with other believers. Fellowship must be intentional and it requires investment on our part. Scripture makes it clear:
Mark 12:33 ~ And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Romans 12:10~ Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
Hebrews 10:25 ~ not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
You are going to have varying levels of fellowship according to your ability to communicate, your spiritual maturity, your personality, etc. You cannot be on the same level as everybody and that is ok. No matter where you are spiritually, you have the ability as well as the responsibility to contribute to the fellowship and enrich the relationship. Remember that when we are in fellowship with somebody, we should be adding value to that person. Those people who do not add value to our life do not belong in our life. People will fit into one of four categories. Adders, multipliers, subtractors and dividers. If we are in a group with all subtractors and dividers, we need to find another group!
Above all, fellowship is to be God honoring. We should not mess around with things and borders that could potentially bind us or make us fall.
John 5:44 ~ How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
None of us is a whole body. We are all “parts” and we need one another… or it just doesn’t work. We will have friends, acquaintances, coworkers and probably family members that are not believers and we need to be salt and light to them, but we have to limit what we share and we must determine boundaries for that relationship
We are called to, and we need true fellowship. We should be deliberate about this! Let’s ask God to put “valuable” people in our life to fellowship with.
Without TRUE FELLOWSHIP, there are aspects of God that we will never experience.
Other posts on FELLOWSHIP: http://truthpressure.com/2011/10/28/true-fellowship/