True Fellowship as defined by God
There’s much more to the biblical concept or the biblical doctrine of fellowship. It is indeed a very, very rich reality.
I want to read a portion of Scripture that will get us off to a good start. First Corinthians chapter 12...1 Corinthians chapter 12 and verse 12, and here is an analogy that will act as a kind of initiation point for our discussion of fellowship, gives you a very, very vivid description of the church. First Corinthians 12:12, “For even as the body is one...that’s the human body...and yet has many members, and all the members of the body though they are many are one body, so also is Christ.”
Now that is the foundational analogy of understanding fellowship. They were all a part of one body. We all share in common life and we are all dependent on each other, although we differ, like members of the body do.
Verse 13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I’m not a hand, I’m not a part of the body, it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.’ And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?”
“Now God has placed the members, each one of them in the body just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members but one body and the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor and are less presentable members become much more presentable.”
In other words, while we make much of the features that can be seen, it is the organs that are invisible that are the most important part of the body. Whereas our more presentable members, verse 24, have no need of it. “But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. If one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body and individually members of it.” We’ll stop at that point.
In the sense that the Father and the Son are one in essence, one in shared life, one in will, one in purpose, one in mutual love, the prayer of our Lord is that we, the church, may enjoy that kind of oneness, that kind of unity, spiritual unity, unity of shared life, shared love, shared purpose, shared will, shared ministry, shared actions, shared truth, shared power. That’s fellowship...that’s fellowship. That’s what it is. It is the common sharing of the life of God in our souls. And it is why the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6 and said, “He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.” If you’re joined to the Lord, then you have His life. If I’m joined to the Lord, then I have His life and therefore we have the same life. We share the common life of Christ. He that is joined to the Lord is one with everybody else who is joined to the Lord. This is fellowship.
God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor 1:9
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Cor 6:14
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 Jo 1:3
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 Jo 1:6-7