“God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9
Today’s word on my heart is fellowship. And here I am finding this truth that Paul is sharing in the power of the Holy Spirit that we are called unto the fellowship of Jesus, God’s Son. Well, that means fellowship with Jesus, right? Is that all? Interesting, but the very next verse is Paul’s plea to these Corinthians to get their act together as one. He is beseeching them, I think that’s asking very strongly, that they would speak the same thing and not be divided among themselves. He’s pleading that they would be completely joined together in one mind and in the same judgment. So maybe fellowship with You, Lord, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ goes hand in hand.
Fellowship. What is it? The Greek word Paul used is “koinonia” and I didn’t find any deep or surprise meanings. It means fellowship, participation. But in reality, that is a very deep thing. Because unless I have fellowship with You, Jesus, unless I am participating in You, I haven’t got this fellowship. And I’m just an outsider. But when I put my trust in You and You become my Lord and Savior, when I obey Your ways, then You draw me not only into a deep fellowship, a deep partnership with You, but with all those that also abide in You. And what does this fellowship do in us? I want to look into Paul’s words and other words in Your Word.
One thing fellowship in You does, is bring us to speak the same thing. What does that mean? What are we speaking? Well, Paul explains in the next chapter. “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory…” Where did we get this wisdom of God? Especially this wisdom of God that was once clouded in mystery and hidden? But it wasn’t so hidden that a searcher couldn’t find it. And here we are, having found that fellowship in You, Lord, and now we get to share it with others.
Paul continues, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” So, in unity with You, Jesus, and with the Holy Ghost, You are enabling us to speak spiritual truths about You to others and each other. But is that fellowship with one another? Well, the whole thing leads to that unity and fellowship in You. Because not only will speaking this truth lead to drawing others to You, Lord, but “many of the brethren in the Lord, will wax confident by our bonds, and are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:14) I don’t think that Paul’s persecution is what emboldened the brethren. I think it was His constant fellowship in You and the constant encouragement He spoke in You in the midst of His trials, which were severe. But this also means that I’m supposed to speak the word.
What does it mean to speak the word. Well, without a doubt that is telling about the truth of You in Your Word and in the world. But it’s also about simply speaking Your Word because really, all of Your word is about You and about Your ways and about Your character. And I get to participate in sharing this with my brethren. And others will hear and see our excitement and they’ll start seeing the truth of what we are speaking in our lives. So not only will it draw us closer in fellowship with You and each other but it will draw others into our fellowship also!
In Colossians 4:3 Paul prays that “God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ…” He’s not the only one. He prayed for us. Who is “us”? Believers already in this fellowship with You, Lord, and each other. We have this beautiful fellowship sharing You. We get to all participate in this!
Fellowship draws us closer to You and closer to our brothers and sisters and draws others in to that fellowship. “But speaking the truth in love” also grows us “up into Him in all things.” It matures us in You, Lord, and continually draws us deeper together. It is part of Your process for building the body, the unity of fellowship in You. This is part of You fitly joining us together and compacting us so that in You, each of us is fit to meet the needs of our other brothers and sisters. You make every one of us work in such a way for the other parts, that it benefits Your whole body and makes it a glory to You because it is built in the power and beauty of Your love and power. Now that is fellowship. It’s full participation with You and each of us as believers, as brothers and sisters in Christ, fully participating with one another in You.
But it doesn’t stop there. Paul prayed that there would be no divisions among us. What does that mean? Let the majors be majors and the minors be minors. Do you know one thing the Corinthians were divided about? They were separated over who had “led” them to the Lord. Now let me ask this. What does that really matter? Does Paul or Apollos or Cephas really matter? Isn’t it all Christ? And if I know that it was You who led someone to them, maybe it doesn’t matter if they give credit to Paul or Apollos or Cephas. What is their life testimony saying? Is the fruit of their life showing that they are fellowshipping with You and participating and following You? Then what do I do? Do I argue and win my point? Or do I just serve alongside them? Are we preaching the same Gospel? Are we majoring on the same essentials of You? Then I must fellowship. Because to not fellowship puts out part of the flame of Your glory. I don’t want that.
Paul narrowed it down. He asked what the real issue was. And this is what it was- Christ is not divided. Christ was crucified for me. I was baptized in Christ. There’s the major issues. If we are the same on those, we can fully fellowship together because we are in the same Lord.
And what is it to be in one mind and one judgment? Well, I can’t enter into this fellowship without being in You first. Because when I am in You, when You are my Lord and Savior, when You are my Everything, then Paul tells me I have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) And it’s only when You teach me how to think like You, and when You are teaching my brothers and sisters in Christ how to think like You that we can all think like You together. Your goal is that we stand “firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel.” (Philippians 1:27) Your goal is that we complete not only Paul’s joy, but Your joy by “being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (Philippians 2:2)
My speach is not my own; it has become Yours. My actions are not my own; they have become Yours. My mind and the judgments that follow are not my own; they have become yours. And the same has happened for every believer, every brother and sister in Christ, if we fully submit.
Let me summarize this with the words of some dear brothers in the faith from Advancing Native Missions. There are so many things that can divide us. So we have to stop and be reminded, what is important? Because sometimes we let the minor stuff ” consume irreplaceable time and energy in controversies, rather than being focused on getting the Gospel, the power of salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16), to those who have never heard it. THAT is primary, secondary, and tertiary in all that we do.” Isn’t that what Paul wanted us to understand about fellowship and participating with Jesus? More importantly, isn’t that what You, Jesus want us to understand, but gave Paul and others the insight to see? Maybe being able to truly fellowship with one another in You, Lord, means this needs to be our motto, “Our practice to major on the majors and to minor on the minors is what keeps us focused on the big picture. We have defined the “majors” as the essentials of the faith and most of the rest is non-essential to our salvation and thus we extend Christian liberty. “
What are Your essentials, Lord? You know, I’m just going to share this from Advancing Native Missions. Here’s the essentials to You, Lord. Here’s the majors:
*that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired word of God, inerrant in the original documents and of final authority in all matters of faith and practice;
*that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
*in the full deity and perfect humanity of our Lord, His representative and substitutionary sacrifice, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the Father’s right hand, His present high priestly ministry, and His personal return in power and glory;
*in the regeneration by the Holy Spirit, which is absolutely necessary for the salvation of fallen, sinful, and lost mankind and which is a free gift of God’s grace received by personal faith through Christ Jesus;
*in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life;
*in the bodily resurrection of the just and unjust: those who are saved to everlasting blessedness, and those who are lost unto the resurrection of damnation;
*and that the universal church is composed of all true believers in Christ Jesus who are united in Him and to one another by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The chief functions of the church are to worship God and witness for the Lord Jesus Christ until He returns. The local church is composed of a group of believers in a specific locality who gather in Christ’s name for the breaking of bread, prayers, fellowship and teaching.
Yes, God is absolutely faithful. What He started in us through Christ Jesus, He will continue. If we fail, it’s not because of Him. But it might be because we got caught up in the minors and lost focus on the major issues. He created us to fellowship with Him in the unity of His brethren. I don’t want to let Him down. My family of God is as deep and wide as the love of God itself. And we agree on the majors and that’s what matters. It’s all about You, Jesus. And if You show me someone else who is in fellowship with You, well then, I want to fellowship with them too. I am so grateful first for fellowship in You. That’s the greatest treasure. It’s the primary, secondary, and tertiary treasure. But true fellowship with other believers in You is almost as beautiful because it’s all about us being in You together. May You bless and broaden Your fellowship until that day when You bring us all together in Your full presence. Did I say, I so love Your fellowship? There is nothing like it!