Friends, Fellowship, and the Final Four (Part Two)

handshakeIn my last post, we saw that fellowship means way more than getting together with friends to watch the big game. At its heart, fellowship involves sacrifice and sharing. But we need to focus the issue a little more. When, with whom, and what should we share? If we are going to sacrifice for fellowship, we had better understand a little better what we’re trying to do when we fellowship. The next point moves us in that direction.

Fellowship means participating.

Fellowship is more than getting together with friends and talking about God. There is a direction and a goal toward which our fellowship ought to be moving–that’s what the word means. Consider Paul’s testimony about the Macedonian church’s desire to participate in helping other believers:

Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).

The Macedonian Christians, despite the pressures they were experiencing, basically begged Paul and his cohorts for the opportunity to participate in the relief effort for the saints in Jerusalem. They were banding together with other believers to accomplish a goal. In short, they were fellowshipping on purpose. They saw a need and they cooperated with one another to meet that need.

When God gives you a ministry burden, don’t just put your head down and get to work; recruit the help of others. When it comes to ministry, two plus two equals way more than four! God will use your combined efforts amazingly, and you will cement essential Christian relationships along the way.

Adult Bible Fellowship is a perfect outlet for this type of participation. There is always someone who needs the sacrificial sharing of the group at large to bring them through a tight spot in life. And who can underestimate the power of a participating in concerted prayer?

So fellowship means sacrificial sharing and purposeful participating. Seem like a lot? After a full week’s work (and then some), extracurriculars for the kids, special meetings (shall I continue?), you may not feel as though you have anything left over to do the kind of things I’ve been describing. That’s why this final point is so important.

Fellowship means partaking.

This is the component of fellowship that we often overlook. Up till now, I’ve talked about things that we bring to the fellowship table. But none of these is possible without the most important part: partaking of the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ. If you’re wondering where I am coming from on this, think about what many believers around the world are going to be doing this Good Friday evening.

Paul said, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16). The word “communion” is the exact same word in the original languages that is often translated “fellowship.”

The purpose of communion, or Lord’s Supper, is (among other things) to remember the all-surpassing love of Jesus as shown  in His sacrificial death on the cross. But it also points up the inseparable bond we share with Christ as well as with one another. It is the sacrifice of Christ that provides the foundation for fellowship. When we genuinely consider Christ and His willingness to give all to save us, radical, sacrificial sharing–participating with one another in the work of God–becomes possible.

As Jesus Himself said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Inherent in this statement is the idea that only the disciples of Jesus (those who have partaken of His cleansing blood) have the ability to truly show this kind of love. Fellowship is risky. “Do not attempt” without drawing strength from the fact of sweet salvation.

To sum up, fellowship (as described in the New Testament) means much more than we normally think. Furthermore, when our fellowship is shallow and superficial, we miss a crucial piece of God’s plan for our lives. So . . . are you ready? One thing is for sure: it won’t be easy. But the benefits of sharing, sacrificing, participating, and partaking alongside your Christian brothers and sisters will challenge your spiritual life like nothing else.

So who is God bringing into your life–interrupting your life, maybe–with whom you could bring these principles into practice? I hope that God continues to cultivate a spirit of real, radical fellowship in our church. The cost may be high, but it’s worth it.

One Response

  1. […] Biblical Christian fellowship offered to others.  The kind of fellowship Jake describes here and here. […]

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