A Deeper Fellowship

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Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:31,32

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Lord, I had to continue in the outside reading that You led me to yesterday.  And I’m so excited.  Because this is just more of what it was about.  And it helps me to understand so much better.  It’s all about relationship and fellowship.  But it’s also about the fact that we can have relationship without fellowship.  Your desire for me and every true believer, for every believer who is really acting upon that believing, is to not only have a relationship with You, but to have deep, true fellowship in that relationship.

Well, these Jews who chose to believe in You, now had a relationship with You.  When I accepted You as my Lord and Savior and placed my trust in You alone, when I chose to believe in You, I too had a relationship with You.  You brought me into Your family.  I became a child of God.  Your inheritance became mine.  The Holy Spirit came to dwell in me.  I entered an amazing relationship.

But You are warning me here in John 8:31 not to just stop there.   You want me to go beyond relationship.  Because there is a danger that we can take our relationships for granted.  Look at the story of the prodigal son who took his relationship with his father for granted.  Why?  He lacked true fellowship.  He appreciated other fellowship over the fellowship of his father.  He appreciated the gifts, the inheritance, over the fellowship of his father.  And it led him into darkness.  The sad thing is that it was by his own choice.  His father didn’t send him out of the “light” of his fellowship.  The prodigal chose to live outside his fellowship.

You said, “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)  Sometimes I think we just focus on the escaping hell and eternal death part of this promise.  Sometimes we think “I belong to You now, Jesus, and I’m safe from hell and eternal damnation so I’m good to go.”  And that’s true.  But there’s more truth to it than that.  Once we come into relationship with You we are to continue to fellowship with You to walk in the light.  If we leave off the fellowshipping it is so easy to start walking in the darkness again even though I’m a child of Light.

So I think it’s time I focus on some words here, especially since even every little mark in Your Word is significant.  First, You tell me that following You will keep me in the Light.  I think about following and in this case it’s a continual seeking after, seeking for You.  If I continually pursue fellowship with You, You will keep me walking in the Light (because it’s You).  And then John 8:38 says, “If you continue in my word…”  There’s that idea of persistently, continually pursuing You, pursuing that fellowship.  How do I pursue that fellowship?

I pursue that fellowship by drawing close enough to You to continually hear what You are telling me.  But I don’t think that continuing in Your word here only means reading the Bible.  I think it goes much deeper than that.  Think about it.  When You, Jesus, were speaking here, Your “New Testament” words weren’t written down yet.  It didn’t occur until later in the disciples’ lives.  And thank You, Lord, that You gave them the wisdom and the recall of the words to write for our sake.  But as I read Your Word, as I meditate on it, I must treat it as being spoken to me from You.  I must remember that this Word is Your thoughts.  This is You having a discourse with me.  You are sharing Your reasoning with me, Your motives.  These thoughts, this discourse, this reasoning, these motives must become my motives.  How does that happen?  Only by fellowship.  When Your Word and Your words become as dear to me as You are, when Your words become You to me, and I must act on them, I must live them out because I must live in Your fellowship, then that’s what You are talking about.

I will know You because You are Truth.  I will have fellowship with You and not just relationship.  I won’t be an estranged child.  I will fellowship with You and You will fellowship with me and we will continually grow together and become closer and closer.  I suppose that’s what happened with Enoch.  He walked with You and then he was no more.  You both became so close in fellowship that You just kept him with You.  There was no separating the two of You.  And isn’t that what You are looking for in me today?  It’s definitely what I’m looking for in You.  That’s the freedom of abiding in Your fellowship.

You know, Lord, each morning as I spend time with You, You share Your thoughts, Your truths, who You are.  And I keep a record of it and try to put it into a perspective that my little mind can handle.  I want to take each truth and embrace it so that I can live in it, so that it effects my life and who I am.  But even what I record, the thoughts I think, that You help me think about, are just the tip of the iceberg.  And others have been thinking on the same things too.  We could probably all gather together and if we were to share what You shared with us even on just this one topic, I’m not so sure we’d have a limit to our writing.  So, I pray that this will encourage others to seek out more of You, to search out more truths from You on their own.  I hope that they too will dig into Your words like continue, follow, word, light, disciple, and whatever You lay on their heart.  And I would love to be encouraged by their thoughts.

That’s the beautiful thing, at least one of them, to being in fellowship with You.  Walking in fellowship with You draws me closer to You but it also brings me into a deep fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Of any family that has ever existed, Yours is the most real, at least if we’re looking at those who have relationship and fellowship with You, at those who are really walking in the Light.  I crave fellowship with You and those that are Yours.  I love to hear what You’ve shared with them too!  Because it’s not a one man show here.  It’s a One God show.  It’s all about You.

Lord, here’s the sad thing.  I can have a relationship with You, I can be a believer and still walk in darkness.  I can forget about going to church.  I can choose other things or nothing at all instead of spending time in Your Word every day.  I can be so preoccupied with my worries and busy-ness that I don’t have time to spend with You or think about You.  I may not even be committing “sin” but this is just as bad.  Living without You, living outside of Your Light, is a dangerous and sad place to be.  Lord, keep me from deceiving myself.  Keep me from lying about where I am with You.  I don’t ever want to put on a mask for others and make them think I’m doing o.k. in You, when I’m not.  And I don’t want to pretend before You.  You see through every facade.

More than anything, I want You.  I want to walk in fellowship with You every moment.  And when I start to focus on the wrong thing, wake me up and bring me back to the right focus on You. So, today I want to share a prayer taken from 1 Peter 2-5.  Lord, thank You for choosing me according to Your purpose and plan and for making me one of Your holy people by Your Spirit.  Thank You that You have made me able and give me the desire and longing to obey Jesus and to long for His fellowship.  Thank You that You have purified me by His blood.  Oh, that Your grace and peace would overflow in me!  I am so grateful for this mercy and new life You have given me by raising Jesus from the dead.  You fill me with a living hope, and I look forward to possessing every blessing that is in You, the blessings of Your fellowship now, and of those that I will receive that are kept in heaven for me.  And what great comfort I have and joy to know that through continued faith, through continuing to cling to our relationship and fellowship, You will keep me safe in Your Power as Your salvation of me is continually demonstrated throughout eternity.  Thank You for bringing me into relationship with You and taking that even farther and allowing me and desiring me to have fellowship with You.  How awesome is that!

 

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2 thoughts on “A Deeper Fellowship

  1. Nancy McDaniel

    This is really good & helpful Sharon. Thank you. Seeing the difference with relationship & fellowship. With relationship tieing in with Christ as your Savior. Then, fellowship ties in with Christ as our Lord.

    I remember one time our Pastor (Chris) preached about that. Stating that Lord & Savior are not separate. They are one & he said when they are mentioned in the Bible they are always together. I haven’t checked this out for myself but hopefully he is correct. He then said that there are times, especially with children, when they only understand the Jesus as Savior. That so called free ticket to heaven. But that somewhere later in their life, they will come to understand the Lordship & then they have it as one.

    I know this to be true because this is what happened to me. At age 8, I understood the gospel of the wordless book & knew that if I died , I would go be with Jesus. But not till I was around 16 or so did I come to understand what it meant to have Jesus as my Lord. That meant wanting to follow & serve Him completely. Not my way, but His way. I told Him I knew I was His child for the last 8 years, but I told Him to do with me as He desired. My heart & soul wept with a deep desire to serve Him completely.

    Chris then said, that as Adults coming to know Christ, they should understand that it is Lord & Savior. They accept the relationship & fellowship all at once. Sometimes I don’t think that is made clear. Once they think they have a free ticket to heaven, then they can live anyway they want. Not what Jesus wants. So, isn’t that sin? You can’t continue to be in sin & say you love or know the Father. I’m really concerned that there are going to be a lot of so called “Christians” who are going to have a rude awakening way too late.

    So today I’m understanding that the Lordship is connected with the fellowship I desire to have. Because as you get to know more about your Lord & Savior, the more you want to please & live for Him. Wanting to serve & obey Him. That is what I experienced at 16 yrs. old.

    Anyway, I could go on & on. But, thanks for letting me share too. I love learning from each other.

    • I guess we just have to be careful of judging. See, you knew you were His at age 8. And you were. You just didn’t realize all that meant. And if you had never really grasped it all and come to see your need to continually experience Him and rely on Him and fellowship with Him, You would be missing out on so much. And one day we all have to come before Him and even though we are free from punishment, what will it be like to stand before Him and realize we wasted our fellowship on earth with everything other than Him? Now, how do we help someone who is struggling with the kind of surrender it takes for fellowship? How do we handle our expectations on those who profess but don’t look like 1st century believers? We know what it ought to look like but sometimes my fervor to help people there gets in the way. Thank goodness the Lord was much gentler with me. I was a prodigal, big time. And he let me live in it. Until that one day I heard His voice say,
      “This isn’t who I created you to be.” And I knew He was right. I missed the fellowship. But I had experienced it first. I don’t have the answers. I just hope this all spurs us on to seek that deeper fellowship and encourage others and if we can’t encourage them, pray for them. Thanks again for sharing your testimony. Scripture says, and there’s a song, that we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. How true!

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