Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fellowship vs. Followship - Part 5

Experiencing Fellowship

"God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." I Corinthians 1:9

People tend to think of fellowship as something that is relational on the horizontal.  They define it as how we interact with each other in the Body of Christ.  However, Scripture presents fellowship as being primarily communion with God.  It is our fellowship with God - or the lack thereof - which determines the quality of our fellowship with others.  In fact, the attempt to experience fellowship with man without having proper fellowship with Christ will always lead to bondage.

In the previous articles in this series, we discussed the different types of followship (which is a perverse substitute for true fellowship) in which people often engage in the churchworld: following your own desires, following man, following signs, and following error.  Our only protection against these deceptions is to be grounded first in fellowship with Christ.  When we are called into salvation, we are literally called into fellowship with Jesus.

We are not united to others in the Body of Christ because they are a physical relative, they are the same race or economic class as ourselves, they make a profession of faith in Christ, they go to the same church, or believe the same doctrine that we do.  Yet these are the types of basis upon which many judge fellowship.  They determine where to fellowship by making themselves and their own soulish desires the center of the fellowship.

I need to hear good music, so I am seeking a "fellowship" with good music.  I like to hear someone really wailing and squalling so that I can really feel the spirit, so I seek a "fellowship" with entertaining preaching.  I want my children to have fun, so I need a "fellowship" with a good youth ministry, etc. 

We are only able to have righteous communion with others in the Body because we are all submitted to and governed by the same Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).  It is the Spirit of God which makes true fellowship possible.  And contrarily, trying to be in "fellowship" with Christians doesn't make you accepted by God.  As we are made one with Christ, we will automatically be at peace with others who have also been united to Him.

Fellowship is not an outward show of being with, or belonging to, others.  It is not submitting yourself in agreement to the whims or ideas of others for some false show of unity.  It is not about the relationship we are able to have with men, but the relationship we have with Christ.  It is an inner state of being whereby we are made whole in Christ and can therefore stand as a whole person before others.  You won't need to try to "be" somebody and neither will you need to strive for man's acceptance.  Rather the communion with others in His Body will be just as natural as streams of flowing water.  We cannot work it up, pray it up, or attend enough potluck Sunday dinners to fake it.  If we are not grounded in Christ first, then all of our efforts at fellowship are carnal and will fail.

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."I John 1:3-7

If we want to experience true fellowship, then we must first be in right standing with God.  We must seek His ways and His will at all times and then we will know fellowship with others.  If you are in a place where you are seeking fellowship with others, then draw closer to God.  He will reveal to you with whom you should be in communion.  If you are in a fellowship with other believers, never mistake that community as being the sum of your communion with God.  It is when we don't seek Him first that we are led into error and into the bondage of followship.

Fellowship vs. Followship

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I believe that many times people think they are in fellowship with God because they are in relationship with other Christians and even then these relationships tend to be shallow. We were called unto fellowship with Christ, so we must walk in the light as He is in the light and we shall have true fellowship with Christ and the saints.


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