Over the last couple days, we’ve been talking about true Christian fellowship. First, we saw that fellowship is the key to healthy, rapid spiritual growth. And yesterday, I shared the supernatural ingredients of true fellowship. Today, I want to show you how to put true, supernatural fellowship into action.
First, as mentioned yesterday, fellowship starts with surrendering our own lives to Jesus Christ. This is the most important ingredient because Christian fellowship is impossible without being in unity with Christ.
Second, find some other Christians with whom to fellowship. I know that seems like it should go without saying, but there are too many believers who do not actively seek relationships with other believers who can challenge them in their spiritual growth. Fellowship requires us to move past this isolation and make ourselves vulnerable to others.
Third, I also shared a handful of scriptures yesterday, which we simply need to embrace and try to put into action. You can read them again at that post, but for now I’ll just list the summary: serve each other with spiritual gifts, help each other by meeting one another’s practical needs, confess sin to each other, pray for each other, actively share whatever the Holy Spirit has placed on your heart for the benefit of the group, defer to one another, and share what the Lord is speaking to you. As we put these scriptural principles into action, fellowship will take place naturally.
Fourth, stop fellowshipping with unbelievers. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hang out or interact with those who don’t know Jesus–it simply means that you shouldn’t fellowship with them. If fellowship involves the things listed above, then how could you have unity with Jesus and unity with the world at the same time? How could you accomplish God’s will if you are partnering with the selfish will of someone who is living contrary to Him? How could you expect that person to pray for you or give godly counsel if he or she is disconnected from Christ?
2 Corinthians 6:14–Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (NIV)
Paul said we were once “dead” in our transgressions and sins (see Ephesians 2:1-5). Can you imagine two horses yoked together to plow a field, and one of them is dead? How would they ever accomplish the task? Either the dead horse needs to get resurrected, or the living horse needs to be removed from the situation and teamed up with another living horse!
When the “fellow horses” yoked together are both alive, they can effectively plow a field. I have even heard that through “synergy,” two horses are able to do ten times the work of one horse when working together! The purpose of a yoke is to make work easier. Fellowship has a purpose. It’s not just a nice way to go through life. Rather, it helps us carry out the commands of Christ in this world. Healthy Christianity thrives on active fellowship.
Unless we are bound to Christ first, then we’re still dead. But Christ is the resurrection and the life! When we surrender to Jesus, we become first of all yoked to Him! His yoke is easy to bear. It’s liberating!
Matthew 11:29-30–Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
I would much rather be alive and working than dead and rotting when it comes to my spiritual life. Real freedom in Christ is the freedom to escape the grip of sin and do Christ’s work with Him. Again, fellowship with Christ must come before we can effectively fellowship with each other. It is impossible to fellowship with the living Jesus and simultaneously fellowship with those who are dead in their sin. Again, you can love them, interact with them, and spend time with them; but you cannot be unified with them in mission and entrust your heart to them.
Finally John gives us a clear instruction for how to put fellowship into action:
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, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (NIV)
Walking in the light involves four basic practices: Open Confession, Authenticity, Communion, and Burden-Bearing. Each of these principles will be the topics of the next four blog posts, so be sure to check back throughout the next week.