Praise the Lord church family! God is so good, and I love Him with all my heart! Before I begin and share what is on my heart this month, I again want to say how blessed I am for all of you, and know that you are what makes Shepherd’s Gate Church so special.
What is on my heart this month? Well actually a word, and that word is fellowship! It a word that has rose up in my spirit these past few weeks, and with the challenges of Covid, fellowship has been hard. But it something that all Christian’s need, greatly! So for this month, I want to share a teaching about what fellowship is, and the value of maintaining it in your life as a believer. I feel that for some, (mostly due to Covid19) your spiritual life, has become like having a car, that has been parked in the driveway that hasn’t been driven. To get it going again is going to take some maintenance. Pumping up the tires, charging the battery, getting some fresh gas, cleaning the windows, etc. All the things needed to get that car running smoothly again so you can get down the road of life.
Question: So what is fellowship and why do I need it?
1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Fellowship comes from the Greek word, KOINONIA, which means “to share in common.” Christian fellowship is more than attending Church — it is “assimilating” into the body of believers, becoming “one” in worshipping, loving, caring and sharing. According to the scripture, fellowship is not an optional matter for believers. It says, “if we walk in the light [in fellowship with God]... this causes us to have fellowship with one another.” And from the outcome of this fellowship, “the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
This idea of fellowship is twofold: First, because each believer has the indwelling of Christ's Spirit, we all share (KOINONIA) a common unseen spiritual relationship with each other, even those we've never met. In this sense, the blood of Jesus cleanses all believers from sin because of our faith and spiritual connection to Christ... which also connects us to all other believers
Secondly, fellowship also refers to the tangible act of coming together in one place with other believers, to share (KOINONIA) together by interacting, praying and worshipping God. This "practice" of coming together in fellowship, continues that cleansing and refining process through our relationship with Christ and His body of believers.
The Body Needs Proper Blood Circulation
What does fellowship with the brethren have to do with cleansing us from sin? As we know, the Bible says “the life is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). This is a fact, both biologically and spiritually. The blood in your body is a cleansing agent which purges the toxins and bacteria in our system, and supplies oxygen to vital areas necessary for our survival. Each minute, your heart pumps and circulates blood through miles of inter-connected veins and arteries, passing through the kidneys for filtering, and back into the same circulating cycle. However, in the event that a part of your body were to be severed from the flow of blood, the absence of blood circulation would cause that part to become infected — it would develop a weakness of blood-flow and would die. Survival is not possible without continual circulation of the blood. So it is within the body of Christ, the Church (1 Cor. 12:27). For the blood of Jesus Christ to have its continual cleansing effect over our sins, we must remain attached to Christ’s body. If we sever fellowship with His body, we risk cutting off the circulation of the cleansing blood!
Keep in mind, salvation is based on “faith,” and is not earned by performing “works” such as attending Church (Eph. 2:8-9). But fellowship with Christ’s body, the church, is critical in helping to sustain your faith by providing ministry, encouragement, and an atmosphere of spiritual “cleansing” and growth.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ is obviously the basis for the forgiveness of our sins, but the Bible indicates that we cannot have a proper relationship with Christ without a proper relationship with His body.
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 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. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)
For instance, the scriptures indicate that our worship to God is unacceptable unless we make things right with our brethren. “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, “leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23-24).
Fellowship is the Practice of Loving the Brethren
Not only does the Bible say that “fellowship” is the evidence of walking in the light (1 John 1:7), but it also says that “loving the brethren” is evidence of that walk. “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him” (1 John 2:10). This shows that there is a strong, inseparable relationship between “fellowship” and “loving the brethren.” Consequently, it appears that fellowship is intended to be the practice of loving the brethren, which helps keep us in a right relationship with Christ so that His shed blood can continue its full cleansing effect!
Many passages of the Bible confirm that “love toward the brethren” is proof of our salvation. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren...” (1 John 3:14). In essence, we need brethren to have a right relationship with God. We are able to see our relationship with God from the reflection of our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. “...for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20).
One of the signs that medical professionals look for as an evidence of Covid is temperature. But I want to ask you, “What is your spiritual temperature now?” Fellowship with the brethren is an exercise of love bringing us toward spiritual maturity. Your relationship with the brethren is the thermometer that measures your spiritual temperature. Your degree of love toward the brethren is the gauge that shows our love for God.
Jesus loves you and so do I!