Why Is Fellowship of the Saints Important?
"And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." John 17:22-23
perfect in one". Last week, I shared with a brother, "Jesus said that He wants us to be one as He and the Father are one, so we should seek to know what that means." Then of course, we went on in the conversation and I didn't think of it again. :-) Yet as I was reading this morning and came across that phrase, God brought back that conversation to mind and said, "This is why you are to be one."
It is God's desire for His people to be "one" the way the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit are one. God is one because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in harmonious agreement with one another, sharing one mind and one spirit (I John 5:7). They are united and abide together in love, because they each glorify the other (John 13:31-32, 14:13, 15:26, 17:4; Acts 3:13; Hebrews 5:5; Philippians 2:9; I Peter 4:11).
Years ago, a brother once shared with me an understanding he felt God had given him on the importance of the Trinity. God is love, and the essence of love is selflessness. The very nature of selflessness almost requires that its manifestation involve more than one person. How can I demonstrate that I am selfless if I am an island all to myself, never having the opportunity to consistently deny myself for the sake of another? True love is in giving of one's self for another. For true love to be exemplified, it needs to be shared; and that requires interaction with more than just one's self. Hence, the significance in God being a Trinity is to reinforce the fact that God is love.
"Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. " Philippians 2:2-4
corporate body (united into one). It is not comprised of just one member, but many members. It brings to mind the baking of a cake. You need a variety of ingredients, each with its own distinct properties such as flour, eggs, vanilla, oil, water... The idea is to bring all of the ingredients together through the friction of stirring. If the friction is not energetic enough or stops too soon, then the ingredients will still be separated. The key is for the ingredients to be incorporated (combined in one body).
When done properly, you may no longer see the individual ingredients. However, that doesn't mean that these ingredients have lost their own unique properties. Neither have they adopted the properties of the other ingredients. The egg is still an egg, the flour is still flour, etc. They each still retain their own special offerings, but through their incorporation results the creation of something completely new: a batter.
Further, this new thing would not have been possible without all of the ingredients coming together. Neither is it something any of the ingredients could have done on its own. Flour is not a cake, eggs are not a cake...they each need the other in order to produce the desired outcome.
This is what God desires to do in His Church (I Corinthians 12:12-27). He is making something new out of all the various giftings and talents in the Body; not diminishing or exalting any one member, but using all collectively to glorify Himself to the rest of the world (John 17:22-23). It is in this process of fellowship that God is perfecting us; we are "made perfect in one". The gifts in fellowship is the means God has chosen for us to be perfected:
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Ephesians 4:11-16
We are made "perfect" in one; it is by being together in unity that grows us up in God. And once the ingredients are properly incorporated and the batter is formed, it is then that we are ready to be poured out, baked in the refiner's fire, and presented as food for others to eat and likewise partake of the sweetness of God. Is this not awesome?! Or maybe I am the only one excited about this. LOL
Yet what do we do? We tend to draw back from and reject the fellowship of saints because we don't like the friction. We get tired of the beating of our flesh. We don't really want to esteem others above ourselves. The result is that we are not perfected; we remain as children in spiritual things, immature in the faith, and the glory of the Lord is not revealed among us to those in the earth.
one"? Because it is His way of ensuring that He gets a Godly seed (Malachi 2:15). God in His wisdom sets children in families so that they are raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). It is the same in the church, for we as Christ's Body are God's family. And everybody knows that families get messy. We love our families, but spend enough time with them and they can just get on our nerves. Sometimes you just don't feel like being bothered! Yet we must be, because God is using these interactions to sharpen us, smooth off our rough edges, and prepare us for His use (Proverbs 27:17).
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." I Corinthians 1:10
I would like to share with you the following message from Min. Art Katz which really seemed to confirm what God was showing me this morning. Let me tell you that I was blown away to listen to this message and hear Min. Katz pretty much saying the same things as what God was showing me this morning (down to the metaphor of the cake!!). Did I say I was blown away?! Not in myself of course, and not even in Min. Katz, but in our Almighty God. How He can bring our experiences throughout the week - which so seem disparate - together in a way that enlightens us in ways we did not have before. God surely knows how to confirm for us those things He wants us to know. I believe this sermon will truly bless those who are ready to grow in God (be perfected) so that they can in turn do the works of the ministry. I know it just cannot be me who longs for the glory of the Lord to be seen throughout the earth. :-)
Please listen to this short message by clicking here: True Fellowship
- The word fellowship has been perverted to represent some sort of soft, casual, and occasional "How are you doing brother?" sentiment.
- The word truth is almost never properly used or understood in many church environments.
- The real meaning of both truth and fellowship must to be restored - and restored together - or else the glory of God in the earth shall not be seen in the earth.
- There is a inextricable connection between the life of God, the fellowship with God's people, and the truth of God (I John 1:1-10).
- Koinōnia - fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse
- Fellowship is not icing on the cake.
- Fellowship is not a "nice to have" after we have obtained the life and truth of God. Fellowship is the expression of that life and truth.
- If we desire God's visible presence and glory among us, then He has ordained that such comes through true fellowship of His people.
- The world encourages self-willed individuality, yet this mindset is absolutely contrary to God.
- They mystery of the Godhead must be revealed in the earth by the mystery of the Body.
- True fellowship requires the work of the holy Spirit.
- True fellowship is not association, but participation.
- Community is not an option. Not to be in community is to be outside of the definitive relationship of the Kingdom kind that God intends for all of the saints.
- Even the church building as a rectangle with an elevated platform is wrong (like a theater). It was not so in the beginning.
- It will take church leaders with courage to stand against these false traditions, removing the pews, allow for face to face interaction and not allow themselves to be exalted, but be one of many brethren in a circle together sharing of God's blessings on such unions.