FELLOWSHIP IN CHRIST
What does the word “fellowship” mean? One might define it as meaning “to share or to have in common with!” This is a true definition all right! The best explanation that I have heard of what fellowship means is this — fellowship is one Christian lifting another Christian to a spiritual level that he can never reach alone. That is what the Christian life is all about. I need you and you need me. We can’t do it alone. We do need each other! I really believe with all my heart, that God really wants us as a family to work together for him. This is the beauty of Christianity at work!
Good fellowship in Christ and good fellowship among our fellow brothers and sisters is not always easy to master. Why is this so difficult? I feel like there are some barriers to fellowship. These are huge walls in our lives that cause our fellowship to be very “limited” for God. The first barrier would be a shyness toward others. Some of us find it very hard to introduce ourselves to others. 2 Timothy 1:7 says ,“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self control.”
A second barrier is a lack of knowledge of the truth! How serious is this barrier? Let’s hear what God’s answer is! Hosea 4:6 states “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.” This is how serious God feels that it is. Many Christians don’t know what the Bible says about a particular topic, simply because they don’t read it for themselves. 2 Timothy 2:15 states, “Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If we as Christians want to experience true fellowship, then we should know what the word of God says about fellowship among each other and Christ.
A third barrier — there’s too much of self and not of others! This happens all the time in the Lord’s church. Many times we are so wrapped up in our own families, community activities, and our own jobs, that we forget about our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let us overcome these barriers to fellowship and lift each other up for Christ. Remember what true fellowship is: “One Christian lifting up another Christian to a spiritual level that he could never reach alone!” 1 John 1:7 states, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Let’s practice true fellowship!
Kyle Waddell via the Forest Park Church of Christ Forest Park GA
“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.” Philippians 4:2
The New American Standard Version translates this verse: “I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.” Phillips’ Translation reads like this: “Euodias and Syntyche, I beg you by name to make up your differences as Christians should!” If you will notice, Paul did not try to place the blame on either of these women. He knew there was a difference that needed to be settled, and it would take both who were involved to settle it. The behavior of Euodias and Syntyche disrupted the peace and harmony of the whole church. Therefore, this was a matter of concern to the whole church at Philippi. No member of that church could ignore it or pass it off lightly. If the women did not correct their differences, both were subject to church discipline (Romans 16:17).
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David said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). It is a joy beyond expression to enter an assembly to worship where you can actually feel the warmth and love and peace that the members have for one another and for the Lord. The Bible says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 2:18). May none of us be guilty of disturbing the peace and harmony of the church! May all of us be guilty of being peaceable, peace-loving, and peace makers!
Marshall Flowers, Bremen GA
ARE YOU A MARBLE OR A GRAPE?
Hear a parable about a bag of marbles and a bag of grapes. In which bag would you be found?
Marbles can run into each other. They can roll over each other. They can even be crowded right up against the other. But when you empty the bag, there is little evidence that they have even been together.
Grapes, on the other hand, when they run into each other, roll all over each other, and are crowded right up against each other, “bleed” on each other. You can always tell when one grape has been close to another grape because the evidence is all over them.
Many Christians are like marbles. They can come together on Sundays and sit together, sing together, read and study together, even eat the Lord supper together. But when they leave they do not seem to be affected at all by their association with other Christians.
However, other Christians are like grapes. After some of the same experiences mentioned earlier, they come away with evidence on them that they have been together. An interesting observation is made by the orthodox religious leaders of the 1st century about some of the apostles. Acts 4:13 says, “when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
“Grape” Christians will be found together more than just on Sundays. They will be in each other’s homes, eating out at restaurants, shopping and traveling together. They will love each other so much that they will share in each other’s lives and at times “bleed” on each other. But unless we are able to “bleed” on each other and are willing to be “bled” on, then we are just marbles.
Let’s search our hearts and ask ourselves some questions. How do I really feel about my fellow Christians? . . . Am I so wrapped up in ME and MINE that I do not really care much about them? . . . When was the last time I was “bled” on by a fellow Christian and how did I feel about it? . . . Did I try to understand and try to help? . . . Or did I shun and run to avoid the trouble of sharing with somebody else?
Is the South Cobb church more like a bag of grapes or a bag of marbles, . . . and which am I?
Borrowed and adapted Central church of Christ Dalton GA 10 25 1990