Monday, March 20, 2006

The Fellowship We Have

My family has recently gone back to attending a church in the denomination that my wife and I were both raised in. It is the denomination where our kids early formative years were spent. We are starting to enjoy some sweet fellowship again. And I am reminded of that "fellowship" that we share as Christians. That fellowship certainly extends far beyond denominational lines. It extends out there into the blogosphere where I have enjoyed the fellowship of some thought provoking bloggers and pilgrims on the journey. But, I am here to say today that I am glad to be among some fellow Believers who are of like mind and who share a common background.

It is not a step too far to point out some of the aspects of Christian fellowship that we share and, in particular, fellowship we can share with our Heavenly Father. Hebrews 12:18-29 says in the RSV:

"For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned." Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I tremble with fear." But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven." This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire."
In this passage there are several kinds of fellowship that we share as Children of God.
  • We share a Heavenly Fellowship -- Verse 22 talks about the "city of the living God." We have an opportunity to fellowship in Heaven. John says in Revelation 21:10, "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,"
  • We share an Immortal Fellowship -- Verse 22 also speaks about a host of "innumerable angels" and of "assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven." Over in Psalm 134:12, it says "This [is] my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it." What a great thing to know that we will live eternally in Heaven.
  • We share a Universal Fellowship -- Verse 23 makes it available to all "just men" who are "made perfect." This fellowship is open to all who will repent and be justified through faith in Jesus Christ. That is a pretty simple prerequisite for entrance into this fellowship.
  • We share a Divine Fellowship -- Verse 24 says that we can have fellowship through Jesus Christ with the Living God. Not a created image that represents a god or ancestor or element of nature. But, we can fellowship with God himself.
  • We share a Redeeming Fellowship -- Verse 24 gives us a picture of how we were redeemed. It was through the shedding of blood. It is through the shedding of Jesus Christ's blood on the cross that we have redemption. Over in Hebrews 10:22 there is a correlating passage that says, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
So what does this all mean to me?

I think this means that I am a part of a very blessed fellowship. And as such I must be ever so diligent in how I live my life within that fellowship. From an earthly perspective, I have a responsibility before man and to the other members of the fellowship to build them up in the faith. This passage also calls me be active in reaching others outside the fellowship and bring them in.


The verses in Jude that are immediately before the ones that we often hear quoted as the benediction speak to the responsibilities of this kind of fellowship. Those verses say,
But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
From an eternal perspective I have a responsibility to be diligent in how I live my life before a Holy God. God calls me to pray, keep myself in the love of God, and to wait for His mercy. These are all action words. It doesn't seem as though I am to be passive in the fellowship.

But how?

The answer is in the rest of that benediction:
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.
And all God's people said -- "Amen."

3 comments:

  1. There is nothing left to say, except, "Amen!"

    What a beautiful post!

    I'm glad you've found a home once again! Our world is hard enough without the fellowship of like minded brothers and sisters in Christ! May God bless you richly!

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  2. That was a refreshing drink of cool water....giving life to the soul. Thanks and Amen.

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  3. Anonymous10:11 PM

    There are two others that are extremely happy that you have returned to the church of your father,mother and grandmother.You have a rich heritage to pass along to your children. God bless you.

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