The Need For Fellowship!
~A teaching addressing the importance of fellowship to God and to believers~
Sister Hayes was excited; she had just recently accepted Christ as her personal Savior, and now she had joined her first church home. Shy but hungry, she faithfully attended Bible study, Sunday school, and 11:00 worship. She even signed up for a few auxiliaries. After a few months had passed however, someone noticed that she hadn't been seen for a while and decided to give her a call. After a few minutes of uncomfortable hesitancy, Sister Hayes finally said why she had stopped coming. "The preaching and teaching were great," she said, "but everyone acted kind of indifferent, like I wasn't really there. I felt like I didn't fit in."
Does this sound familiar to you? It should, because it is happening everyday. Many new converts are walking from church to church, looking for that certain something that the Holy Spirit has made them hunger for -- fellowship!
David said, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity" (Ps. 133:1). One of the major characteristics of the Church ought to be a strong desire to fellowship with one another, an outward show of the godly love that dwells in us.
The apostle John tells us in 1 John 1:3, "that which we have seen (Jesus) and heard (His gospel) 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."
An often-taught truth about the creation of mankind is this: One of the main purposes God created us for is fellowship with Him! God is agape love, (which means "self for others"), and He desires ever so greatly to have someone to love and fellowship with, someone who will love Him in return for His goodness. This is why He created mankind as a living soul (Gen. 2:7) with the ability to communicate with Him and the will to choose his response to God's love. Man was designed for fellowship with God! Oh, how He wants to fellowship with us and love us, saints!
The Broken Fellowship...
When mankind chose to disobey God in the garden of Eden, he destroyed one of the greatest fellowships the world could ever know and brought the curse of broken fellowship upon all of creation, causing God to cry out, "What is this that thou has done?!" (Gen. 3:13). Beloved, the breaking of that fellowship greatly pained the Almighty, even though He knew it was coming. God hates to see broken families! When mankind fell, 1) our fellowship with God fell: (Gen 3:8) "Adam and his wife hid themselves from the Lord . . ." 2) our marital fellowship fell: (vs. 16, Ampl.) ". . . Yet your desire and craving [to control - bold words mine] will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." 3) our fellowship with the earth fell: (vs. 17) "...cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee . . ." 4) The fellowship of our children fell: (4:8) "And Cain talked with his Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." 5) our fellowship with all living creatures fell (9:2): "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all the fishes of the sea . . ." Beloved, by that one act, the fellowship of Creator and creation was broken, shattered, destroyed!
The First Broken Fellowship...
This was the master plan of the first and greatest fellowship breaker of all times, Satan, the fallen archangel who rebelled against God and broke fellowship with Him in an attempt to throw God from the throne! "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!... For thou hast said in thine heart, 'I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . I will be like the Most High' (Is. 14:12-13).
How arrogant a statement! With that one self-centered act, Satan broke fellowship with his Creator and caused a third of God's heavenly host to do the same (Rev. 12:4). Yet, whenever we ourselves break fellowship with those who are our family in Christ, we, too, like Satan, are making a statement of rebellion to the Lord. Whenever we willingly choose not to fellowship in love with those in the body of Christ because of denomination, tradition, race, doctrine, or lovelessness, we are telling God, "No, we will not obey you; we will set our own standard of fellowship!" How that must grieve the Creator's heart!
The Love of God Made Plain...
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8, NIV). In the single greatest display of love mankind has ever seen, the Lord God Almighty chose not to destroy us and start all over, but to give the life of His only earthly-born Son to pay the price of our rebellion and bring us back into fellowship with Himself, even while we were still hostile to Him! (Rom. 5:10).
"For God So LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life?" (John 3:16).
The Point of the Matter...
Beloved, here is the point of the whole matter: if fellowship is so important to God that He is willing to look past our rebellion and do whatever is necessary to restore it, are we not to do the same for one another in the Body of Christ? If the whole point of Jesus coming to earth and giving His life was to restore fellowship between the Creator and His creation (Phil. 2:12-22), ought not our goal be the same among ourselves? "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1 John 4:11).
If we are to become one in the Lord, then we must overcome the curse of broken fellowship -- for fellowship in love is what we were designed for. Amen!
~Pastor Ron Barnes