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Wednesday, June 10, 2015
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” – Ephesians 3:9
Nowhere in the New Testament do any of the Greek words translated "fellowship" imply fun times. Rather, they talk of, for example, "The fellowship of the ministering to the saints" (II Corinthians 8:4) as sacrificial service and financial aid (see for example, I Timothy 6:18). Elsewhere, Paul was thankful for the Philippian believers' "fellowship in the gospel" (Philippians 1:5); for he knew that "inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers (same word as fellowship) of my grace" (Philippians 1:7). This sort of fellowship may even bring persecution. We are to emulate Christ's humility and self-sacrificial love (Philippians 2:5-8) through the "fellowship of the Spirit" (Phil. 2:1). In some way known only partially to us, we have the privilege of knowing "the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death" (Philippians 3:10), and even “the communion (i.e., fellowship) of the blood...and body of Christ" (I Corinthians 10:16).
Christian fellowship is two-dimensional, and it has to be vertical before it can be horizontal. We must know the reality of fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ before we can know the reality of fellowship with each other in our common relationship to God (1 John 1:3). The person who is not in fellowship with the Father and the Son is no Christian at all, and so cannot share with Christians the realities of their fellowship.
If we are to have good fellowship at Central, then every one of us must be in fellowship with the Father and His Son. This will now involve His earthly body as well. Our fellowship only exists in our common ground in Christ and His example in us.