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The Basis of Fellowship

The Basis of Fellowship



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Published by: papa martin on Feb 23, 2011
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The Basis of Fellowship
 by David Neal
any are so confused about what it means to fellowship. Their sentiment is that we mustassemble in a religious institution or organization (
i.e. denomination
) known to most as"going to church." This notion is so prevalent (
widespread, established, customary,traditional 
) that most equate such attendance or membership to salvation. This study willreveal that our salvation (
) is found in Jesus Christ alone; and will disclose the basis andpurpose of fellowship. There is a distinct purpose for our assembling that most are notactively practicing or participant in.
esus took the original Ten Commandments and reduced them down to two. Upon these twocommandments hang all the law and the prophets (
Mt 22:40
) and these are more than allwhole burnt offerings and sacrifices (
Mk 12:33-34
). The first of these commandments is: TheLord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and withall thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength (
Mk 12:29-30, also Deut 10:12-13
). Clearly our first (
) responsibility is to God. Our primary fellowship (
)is with God. The second commandment is like it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (
Mk 12:31
). Fellowship between men would be a subset of the second commandment. Althoughimportant, it does not precede (
come before in order, position, or rank 
) or supersede(
displace, take the place of 
) our relationship with God. The relationship that we have withGod must be predicated (
based upon, established by
) on His truth. To seek God apart fromHis truth, in some other way, would be the equivalent of idolatry (
worship of a different or false god not founded in the truth
). God’s truth is His Word (
Jn 15:3
). Psalm 119:89, "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven." AND Psalm 119:160, "Thy word is true from thebeginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." The Lord said:Jeremiah 9:24, "But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me,that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth:for in these things I delight saith the Lord." Judgment concerns making righteous decisionsbased upon the truth. Psalm 33:4-5, "For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works aredone in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of theLord." We have now established that God loves (
delights in
) truth (
Ps 86:11, 119:42
),righteousness and judgment. Our relationship with God will be founded upon these principles.To know and serve such a God is great wisdom (
Ps 111:10
). Psalms 96:13, "Before theLORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world withrighteousness, and the people with his truth."
hrist began to assemble His body (
Rm 12:5, 1 Cor 12:12, 27, Eph 3:6 
) with the gathering atJerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Jesus had told them: Luke 24:49, "And, behold, I send thepromise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued withpower from on high." What was this power from on high that God felt was so necessary togive? John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send inmy name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." The Holy Spirit was given (
) to teach us the Words(
) of Jesus (
Who is the Word, Jn 1:1-2
). Man had God’s written Word (
Mosesand the prophets
), but always interpreted it through fleshly eyes and misapplied it (
Rm 8:7 
).The Pharisees, Saduccees and scribes thoroughly immersed themselves in the Word, yet didnot "receive" God’s own Son (
Jn 1:11
) and worse, they killed Him. They were: 2 Timothy3:7, "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Man always seekshis way (
Rm 10:3
). The Holy Spirit dwells in us (
1 Cor 3:16, 6:19
) and will guide us and"unfold" (
make known, unseal the mystery
) correct understanding and applications of God’s1
Word and thus know the truth. Jesus said: John 16:7-8, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It isexpedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." Again, notice the importance: It is expedient(
advantageous, favorable, profitable - to a given purpose
) to the point that even Jesus shouldleave to make it happen. Also note that the Holy Spiritteaches truth, righteousness and judgment. These are the attributes of God that we discussedin the first paragraph. These are foundational principles for building relationship (
)with God or our fellow man. Perhaps you may recall the golden rule: Matthew 7:12, "So ineverything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law andthe Prophets." This is righteous judgment – notice how the verse agrees (
links to
) with thesecond great commandment (
Mt 22:39, Rm 13:8-9
). Through the Spirit we have access toGod’s wisdom and Christ’s direction all the time – to the mind of Christ (
1 Cor 2:10, 16 
). Canwe possibly have greater understanding than this? Can the Spirit’s role be diminished(
reduced or lessened in importance
)? John 16:13-15, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, iscome, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever heshall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine:therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." The Spirit will guideus into truth, He will speak of Jesus, who is the Word of God (
Jn 1:1-2, Rev 19:13
). TheSpirit will also guide our path or way. 1 John 2:27, "But the anointing which ye have receivedof him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointingteacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shallabide in him." The Spirit and the Word (
) go hand-in-hand – they are inseparable; andthey always agree. Now, is there any doubt that we are to be led by the Spirit to understandthe Word so as to know the truth? Therefore, God has sent His Spirit to make possible our ability to know God’s truth, live righteously, and exercise judgment. If we do not have theSpirit, then we are not Christ’s (
Rm 8:9
). Let us repent of our ways and receive the gift of theHoly Ghost (
Acts 2:38
). Verily, he who hath eyes to see!
lthough we can be individually taught of the Spirit, the Lord has additionally provided:Ephesians 4:11-13, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists;and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,for the edifying of the body of Christ." These positions are a subset of the Holy Spirit’s work as they are assigned of the Spirit (
Eph 2:20-22
). These servants are intended to aide thebeliever in walking toward God (
never away
). To be legitimate (
genuine, valid 
), these menmust also be led of the Spirit to know the Word and thus preach the truth. They cannotbe blind leaders of the blind (
Mt 15:14
) else they (
and the assembly
) will fail and this is notGod’s purposes. Their authority must come from God; not religious degrees of man. They donot preach in man’s wisdom (
being humorous and entertaining with stories and jokes
), but asthe Holy Ghost teacheth (
1 Cor 2:13
). Romans 10:15, "And how shall they preach, exceptthey be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Notice in the above verse, that their purpose isto edify the body. To edify is to instruct or enlighten in the truth; or improve understanding(
Mt 5:19
). These are to edify concerning truth, righteousness and judgment. These are not a"special" class of men designated to "rule over" others (
Mk 10:42-44
). Every member of thebody of Christ is gifted by the Spirit in some way to edify each other (
Rm 12:4-8
). We serveone another (
not Lord over one another 
). A true and sincere man of God will speak God’sWords and live them by example for all to see (
2 Cor 6:4-10
). 1 Peter 5:3, "Neither as beinglords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock." Thus, these man will be filledwith the Spirit; understand the truth; live righteously; judge correctly; and will thereby edifyothers to do the same. Stewards (
those who manage the affairs of another 
) must be found2
faithful (
1 Cor 4:2
) – that is to do things as God would have them done. These leaders givento perfect the saints (
who have less understanding 
) to maturity (
the knowledge and application of God’s truth as utilized and performed in one’s life
) so they can realize their place within the body and go on to help others. We must also realize that the early churchassemblies did not have the benefit of the New Testament writings nor was the knowledge of Christ widespread; and this increased the importance of the leadership. These men weredirected by the Holy Spirit (
consider the book of Acts
). The reverse is somewhat true today.We have God’s Word readily available (
do any take the time to read it?
); knowledge of Christabounds (
but blindness persists due to ignorance and misplaced priority, gospel is distorted 
);true sincere men of God are far and few (
those filled with Spirit, understanding truth, living righteously by example
). Leaders are necessary and important, but remember, the Spirit willteach us (
Jn 1 Jn 2:27 
). In the absence of true leadership (
lacking, deficient 
), the Spirit canraise up individuals to fulfill God’s purposes, when a group submits.
hen believers are led and taught of the Spirit (
and men of God appointed by the Spirit 
) tounderstand and apply God’s truth (
), they will be "likeminded." Doesn’t it stand toreason that if we are led and taught the same truth, from the same source (
Is God divided?
),that we would be of the same mind (
in accord, agreement 
)? This is why Paul said we are tobe likeminded in Christ and are to be united with no divisions – one mind (
1 Cor 1:10, 2 Cor 13:11, Rm 12:16, 15:5, Php 1:27, 2:2, 2:20, 1 Pt 3:8
). There is only one body and it musthave only one mind – the mind of Christ (
1 Cor 2:16 
). We must strive for unity in the Spirit(
Eph 4:3-6 
). At this point many would say, "you will never find such a gathering; we’re onlyhuman." This attitude would be to deny the working of the Spirit and the truth of the Word.Are we called in God’s truth or a multitude of opinions leading to confusion? So, the basis for fellowship is likemindedness. This applies to your relationship between God or man. Amos3:3, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" We must at least (
) agree toseek the truth of God’s Word through His Spirit and apply it to our lives as it is unfolded. If your not willing to live God’s Word, then whats the point and the basis for your belief? If wecannot agree that we are to totally submit to Jesus Christ as head (
Acts 20:8, Eph 1:20-23,5:23, Col 1:8
); the Holy Spirit’s work/role in our lives; the truth of God’s Word; andWord/Spirit’s relevance and application in our lives; then there will be confusion andmisdirection – a tossing about.
he purpose of fellowship, with each other, in or out of an assembly, is to edify, exhort,encourage admonish, and teach one another, each having been filled with and submitted to theHoly Spirit (
1 Thess 5:11,
Heb 3:13, Rm 15:6-7, 13-14, Col 3:16 
). To edify is to instruct oneanother in the truth of God’s Word. To exhort is to urge and embolden (
make confident,hearten, encouragement 
) one to live godly by strong appeal, advice or argument. Isn’t thiswhat the early church leaders did: Acts 11:23, "Who, when he came, and had seen the graceof God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave untothe Lord." We are to exhort one another to continue (
be steadfast 
) in the faith, for we enter into the kingdom of God through much tribulation (
Acts 14:22
). We express the love of Godto each other, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (
Rm 5:5
). We encourageone another in the faith by giving confidence, inspiration, hope, persecution, and support. Weare also to admonish one another. Admonishing is to instruct and direct; warn or notify of afault; to reprove with mildness; and counsel against wrong practices. Another importantaspect of dealing with each other and a facet of love is forgiveness. We forgive as our Lordforgave us (
Mt 6:14, 18:35, Mk 11:26 
). We also teach one another by revealing the things theHoly Spirit has shown us or done in our lives. We guide others in their walk from experienceof our own personal struggles and victories. Generally speaking, our fellowship with oneanother is for the express purpose of encouraging one another to walk down that "narrowpath" that leads to God – To go toward God (
the light, 1 Jn 1:5, Is 60:1-5
). Practicallyspeaking, we encourage each other to lovingly (
), submit to and obey the will of God3

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