I enjoy many fellowship meetings, but the one which I really enjoy is Mid-week Communion with Bible Study. We are now on 1 John. The Gospel starts with the “Word of Life”, the theme is on the joy of true fellowship with God and with one another.
I believe the greatest joy in life comes from loving relationships and we all want such relationships. Mid-week Communion gathers people around the Lord’s table. Jesus said, “Take and eat, do this in remembrance of me” and also, “Drink all of it, do this in remembrance of me”. This act of worship is so sacred, it gathers the brokenness of the world. His sacrificial love is for each one of us. We sinners can have fellowship and share together before the holy God and partake in the bread and wine. This act of worship really overwhelms us!
“Fellowship” means sharing in common or sharing together. The fellowship with one another is based on the fellowship with God. Those non-believers who come in among us should be able to sense this love. They cannot know true fellowship with other believers until they personally come to faith in Jesus Christ and begin to walk with Him on a daily basis. Knowing Christ personally and growing in that relationship is the first step for any true fellowship with others that know Christ. It is Christ Himself that we share in common.
True Christian fellowship is when we share the riches of Christ and the treasures of His Word together. Sometimes we chat with one another about the weather, sport or the news. There is nothing wrong with talking about such matters but, is it true fellowship? True fellowship is our communion in Christ.
Methodists believe that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. We grow to know Jesus Christ better through the study and teaching of the Word. When you know Christ, you experience genuine unity and fellowship with other Christians, even though there may be significant differences in background, personality, social status, or race. To love one another in the church and in our community makes no distinction between who you are and where you come from. It is Christ in all.
True Christian unity at the basic level consists in mutually knowing Christ through the Gospel. We have started ‘Disciple’ in April this year. Those who attend these sessions can tell you that they have grown to know Him better through His Word as they spend time to study daily and gather weekly to expound His Word in a two and half hours discussion.
If fellowship is not based on the revealed truth about Jesus Christ it is not true fellowship. True fellowship bases on the truth of the apostolic testimony about Jesus Christ. If we depart from that, we have left the biblical foundation for unity.
Fellowship with God exists only through the blood of His Son. Faithful Christians need to be in line with the whole Bible. The only way a sinner can draw near to the holy God is if his sin is atoned for and the only thing that can atone for our sin is the blood of God’s perfect Son, Jesus Christ.
If someone claims to know God, but denies the need for the blood of Jesus Christ to atone for sin, in John’s language, he is a liar and deceiver. He does not know God and there is no basis for true fellowship. Therefore, fellowship based on the truth about Jesus Christ is a matter of shared life in our weekly gathering.
To be in fellowship with God, you have got to work at it, make time for it, and turn away from things that would create distance between you and God. Of course, sin hinders fellowship, but so do other things. The enemy will try to get you to anything except spend time alone with God. It may be TV, the newspaper, work, hobbies, or time with your friends. If you allow these things to crowd out consistent time in God’s Word and in prayer, you will not grow close to God in genuine fellowship.
Fellowship with God and with one another are really just the two Great Commandments, to love God with all your being, and to love your neighbour as yourself (Matt. 22:37-40). The aim of the entire Bible is to help us glorify God as we experience the deep joy of a close relationship with Him and close relationships with one another. As we grow in obedience to these two Great Commandments, we will grow in great joy, not only in this life, but also for all eternity! I encourage everyone to work on the relationship with God. Please do not settle for occasional, distant fellowship. Make time daily to spend with Him in His Word and in prayer. Read books that help you to know Him better. Cut out of your life anything that hinders fellowship with Him.
Also, work on your relationships with other believers. In this sinful world such relationships will never be perfect, but they can be good but they will not become good without effort! The payoff is that true fellowship with one another and true fellowship with God will bring you true joy.