By Jennifer Miller
I have had a tough time sleeping the past few days. My heart has been full, and I have something I need to say. I have this deep concern that we are heading down an extremely dangerous path. One, that if we fail to turn ourselves around, will bring us more than just a state of devastation. There will irreversible destruction. I am not trying to be overly dramatic and paint a dark picture. I just want to portray a very real possibility. We have led ourselves here, but maybe if we now can see and learn from our past, we may have a short window open to change.
This is a spiritual issue my fellow brothers and sisters-in-Christ and not a world issue. That, in and of itself, is already steamrolling on its own volution. My concern today is the state of the church. What chaffs my behind, is that if we stop and think, we can turn this around quickly. However, we are not thinking and with a heavy dose of pride, we fail to stand together. We misunderstand what the true meaning of fellowship is about.
I am not addressing someone having their feelings hurt, for this wound is much deeper. I am not stating it is anyone’s specific church, but rather “The Church” which makes up the body of Christ. We have left several doors open for the enemy to intrude, steal, and conquer. Will someone please close the doors! Nail them shut!
I do not know when the change came about. In fact, I suspect it has been this way from the very beginning. In the beginning when it was new the apostles grasped the importance of it. Our Lord Jesus gave His life for it. Why are we so determined to profess our quest for unity and stop right there? Is this a profession of faith or is this considered a trend? Were people using the church for their own personal agenda? When did we stop working together and praying unceasingly? How did we let ourselves drift apart and decide to settle matters all on our own?
As I type this my local church has a weekly prayer drive and we drive throughout the community and pray for the people and the local establishments. Prayer is supposed to be our most important and effective tool, yet we cannot seem to agree to meet and do this. A car or two – a person here and there – but no real obligation except for a few faithful ones. Why? Isn’t it most important to put Jesus first? Did Jesus walk away? I can assure all throughout the bible we have plenty of examples of how Jesus makes time to pray and do the will of the Father. Is this angering you as it is me? It should!
It is as if we are playing at church when it suits us and then the rest of the time we live for the world. Meditate on this last statement. We were put on this earth for a reason. We have work to do for the Lord. The church needs to be unified and that is why we need to participate in fellowship to achieve this.
So, what is fellowship? Good question. Throughout the bible fellowship is mentioned over twenty times alone in the New Testament. God repeats themes and words that are meant to be interpreted as having a strong reference/importance. This is not a typo on the part of the author, but a statement or theme of purpose that we are to examine and follow as we proceed to do the will of God. A body works together to maintain balance and for a smooth existence. Fellowship is the glue that holds all the parts together. It is essential! The hand needs the fingers and the wrist to fully support it. Without the leg for support our derriere cannot hold us up on its own.
The church needs every cog to move effectively and with one goal in mind: Serving God. When a fellow brother or sister is down, we gather to lift him or her up. When someone is facing a battle, we arm ourselves with the word and stand with that person.
In the Greek language fellowship is the word Koinonia. It means to hold something in common. The church is supposed to be the body of Christ. We are to be united and to stand with one another during trials. We are to comfort and encourage during the storm. All pieces must work together or otherwise the body cannot stand. We are called to be faithful and obedient to serve the will of our Father. He tells us to do so joyously, and together much can be achieved if we do so. We pray fervently and unceasingly. However, this falls apart when we decide to choose which parts are to work together and which parts are okay to neglect. We let divisiveness take over and as a result, we fail to observe our Father’s commandments and laws.
Meditate on these verses and let the concept of fellowship seep into your soul. Keep in mind it is just as important and powerful as praise and worship. It is built alongside with obedience on the foundation of our Savior Jesus. It runs on pure love; thus, providing more than enough motivation.
1 Corinthians 1:9
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
1 John 1:3; 1:7
“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
“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 cleanses us from all sin.”
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.[“
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
“That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.”
“…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
1 Corinthians 12:12
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”
2 Corinthians 6:14; 13:14
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
“We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.”
As I read this, I see we are called to fellowship and sweet counsel. This action should stir us up and lead to our loving one another and doing good works for God. We need to mutually encourage one another and keep the others sharp and focused. It is the backbone that needs to be paid more attention to remain healthy. When we fail to observe fellowship, we fail to work together. Right now, the days are long and uncertain. This issue needs to be addressed and followed now more than ever, Jesus is with us, and we have work to do for the kingdom. Let us stand together and spread the good news. Let us not be afraid to continue to meet no matter how dark this world gets. It will get worse, but our light still needs to shine and point towards Jesus. Do not put this on a backburner only to ignore until a future date. Time is short and the church has much work to do. Reach out for your brother or sister’s hand and stand united for the right cause. Jesus is the glue that will bind us. He said He would never leave us and that is in His word. Trust it. Practice it. Follow it and rejoice that many will respond and become a part of the family. Take care and God bless.