“Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3
I remember a time when I talked to a woman about prayer. With a starry look in her eyes, she asked if I had ever prayed with a Mormon. I said, “Well, no. Not that I can remember.” She told me that she and her Mormon neighbor often got together to pray. And then she said, “We have such wonderful fellowship with each other and God.”
Many Mormons are fine people and share a lot of our values. But, since Mormonism denies that Jesus is God and Savior, we can never get beyond friendship to true fellowship. John made this truth clear when he said, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
You may be thinking, “Why all the talk about fellowship? I’m feeling nice and cozy where I am, thank you! I’ve got all the latest Christian books and music. I watch church services on the Internet—I’ve got it covered.”
Well, not really. We need each other! Think of how often Scripture challenges us to do something to, with, or for “one another.” True Christianity is about true community. And true community is about the blessings of fellowship with those who share one big thing in common—a love for Christ and His Word.
True fellowship happens when believers spend time together encouraging each other from the Bible. It’s not about a warm fuzzy feeling or a tingle down your spine. It’s about praying together, bearing one another’s burdens, encouraging one another to do good works and keeping each other focused on what truly counts. When trouble comes and you need someone you can trust with the core issues of your heart, there’s no one like another believer who can pray with you and help you carry the cross. Granted, sometimes authentic fellowship isn’t all that pleasant. Have you ever had a brother or sister lovingly point out a fault in your life? That hurts! You may want to say, “No thanks, I don’t want to be a part of that.” But hang in there! That’s what fellowship is all about—facing ourselves as we really are and finding someone to encourage us to get off the dime of our lame attitudes and actions and get back on the journey of becoming more like Jesus.
But whether comforting or convicting, engaging in mutually beneficial fellowship is the heartbeat of true Christianity.
Of course, there are times when we all let each other down, which means that even true fellowship with other Christ-followers is imperfect. The only person who will never disappoint you is Jesus. And the good news is that you are called to have fellowship with Him! You are called to walk with Him each day—to take part in His suffering if necessary, to sample the luxury of His love, and to be free from the slavery of sin. In John 15:15, Jesus said: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends.”
Welcome to the joy of not having to go it alone! Welcome to the community of fellowship with one another and with Jesus.
- How much true fellowship do you have in your life? When you spend time with believers, are you only about having fun, or is there a deeper purpose?
- Do you have a Christian friend to whom you would give permission to graciously show you where you fall short and help you back into the way? Let that person know you are ready and willing—and don’t get upset when he takes you up on the offer!
- If you have a concordance, look up all the New Testament references to “one another” and make a list of specific ways that you can fellowship with fellow followers of Jesus.