“Fellowship - by Jason Dickey”Categories: Seeking God First in the Church
1 John 1:5-10
We bandy around the idea of fellowship quite a bit. It is our excuse to go to ball games together and have people over. We often say we need to fellowship even more and recognize it as something that is vital to our spirituality. But what is fellowship? John in the passage above associates fellowship with truth in God’s word. With obedience. If we only have fellowship with each other when we are “walking in the light” then does that change the definition of what fellowship is?
At the end of the book of Hebrews, after establishing very thoroughly the need for endurance in the salvation of the blood of Christ, the writer winds down by discussing the sorts of sacrifices we need to make. In verses 15 and 16 this sacrifice is described as praise to God from our lips and “doing good and sharing”. Our Fellowship with God is characterized here with words such as sacrifice, praise, sharing, and doing good. I want us to rethink what it means to have “fellowship”. This is more than just hanging out with friends, this is deliberate action. Deliberate effort to uplift, encourage, and do good.
In both of these passages above fellowship is tied to positive action. The point is that fellowship goes beyond the casual social relationships we have with one another (and people of the world). Fellowship is something that stems from our love of God and our obedience to him. When Paul says in Galatians 2:9 that John, James, and Cephas gave him the “right hand of fellowship” is he saying that he was invited to bowling night? Or is he saying that he was accepted into the Christian community? Allowed to teach and listen, participate in singing and all the other activities of the Church there.
If then this difference between a casual friendship and fellowship is real, what then do we do about it? Do we make a concerted effort to be involved in each other’s lives in a way that stirs up good works? Do we make a concerted effort to uplift each other’s faith and faithfulness to God? Or do we go to ballgames and think that we have fulfilled our quota of “fellowship” time for the week? We as people have twisted this godly principle of fellowship into something secular and taken away its power of Christian encouragement. This doesn’t mean that we can’t go to ballgames or go to movies together, it does mean that we need to be aware of what Christian fellowship is and renew our efforts to grow together in faith. Over the next several weeks look for opportunities to talk to your fellow Christians about the sermons we will hear. Analyze this article and talk about whether you agree with it or not. Pray together, talk about Bible passages together, read together, look for every opportunity to fellowship. These activities shouldn’t sound tedious but if they do maybe that says something about how much you need true Christian fellowship. We can knit together or toss a football around, but unless we are taking the time to encourage one another to better exemplify the character of Christ we might not be as engaged in fellowship as we need to be.