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What fellowship really means

   By Gary Antion Page 1 Good News Aug, 1980

If Jesus Christ appeared in human form at the Feast of Tabernacles where you were attending, would you want to meet Him? I should say so! Everyone would be standing in line for the opportunity to shake His hand and fellowship with Him.

But the idea of fellowshipping with Christ is not that outlandish. At the Feast this year we will have the opportunity to meet dozens of brethren in whom dwells a little of Jesus Christ through the Spirit of God (Phil. 2:5). Yet some will be content to go off by themselves, and others will stick like glue to their small, select group of friends and thereby miss the wonderful experience of fellowshipping with someone new!


What is fellowship?

What does fellowship really mean? The word denotes companionship. It carries the feeling of sharing and of being a partner. The various Greek words used for fellowship in the New Testament mean "common," "partaker" and "communicate." So fellowship is more than just a passing acquaintance. It is more than a mere "Hello, how are you doing?"

Our fellowshipping involves greetings (Gal. 2:9), giving (Gal. 6:2, 10), conversation (Mal. 3:16), exhortation (Heb. 3:13) and hospitality (Heb. 13:1-2). It comes from God and is made possible through Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God binds us together more strongly than any mere human organization such as a labor union, fraternity or social club. Notice what the apostle John wrote:

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full . . . if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:3-4, 7).

This fellowship is not reserved for the few but is to be extended to others to make them feel loved and accepted in Christ's Body as well.

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:19-22).


A close relationship

The relationship we have with each other in God's Church is to be very close. We are to be "knit together in love" (Col. 2:2). This relationship is possible because we understand the same doctrines, have access to the same faith, worship the same God, have the same Spirit, believe in the same future and adhere to the same type of government now.

The prophet Amos questioned, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). As the Spirit of God dwells in us richly, we have that unity we need to move ahead without division (I Cor. 12:12-13).

Even though we may not share personally at all times with each brother in the faith, we should have the same care for each. Paul stated "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another" (verse 25). We are becoming more godly and qualifying for eternal life by our love for the brethren (I John 3:11, 14-18).


Be considerate of differences

What about personality differences? How may we share with someone of opposite likes? While we are to care for all in a loving manner, we may not have a closeness in all areas.

For instance, if you like to go dancing and a brother or sister in the Church doesn't like dancing at all, you would not want to plan on inviting him or her to a grand ball with you. You both would be uncomfortable.

Other people may be serious and have a hard time relaxing — they may be scintillating to talk with but do not enjoy games or cards. So, if an evening of games and cards is planned, it would be awkward to invite such a brother or sister to the social occasion. On the other hand, if you planned a Friday evening dinner or an evening of conversation, they would be perfect guests. Be sure to consider people's likes and dislikes in planning social occasions.

This year at the Feast of Tabernacles let's all strive to have godly fellowship with one another and look for Christ in the people of God, remembering that we have done unto Christ whatever we do unto the least of the brethren (Matt. 25:40).