How to Have Incredible Fellowship in Your Church, part 6

This post is part 6 of a series through 1 John on How to Have Incredible Fellowship in Your Church. 

It was late into the night. An eerie anxiety was felt by several of the men as they walked down the dirt path past fields of grape vines and olive trees.

As they had done for the last 3 1/2 years, Jesus’ disciples followed Him, hanging on to His every word. As they walked toward the Garden, He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

He commanded the disciples to love one another. The same way He had loved them. Sacrificially. He craved them.

He wrapped up everything He said during that walk in that one commandment: love one another as I have loved you.

And the result? Full joy.

Sound familiar? That’s because John was there. The only disciple who later stood in front of Jesus at His crucifixion.

The “disciple whom Jesus loved.”

The disciple who wrote the book on fellowship: 1 John.

And John says that we can’t have fellowship with God without having fellowship with one another. Let me begin to show you why.

1 John 2:3-6 —

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

We know that we know Him? Actually, those two “know’s” are different.

The first know means a head knowledge, and the second know means an experiential knowledge. (Two different Greek words.) So John says in other words, “We can realize that we are experiencing intimate fellowship with God if we keep His commandments.”

And if I say that I am experiencing intimate fellowship with God, but I’m not keeping His commandments, then I’m a liar.

What Commandments?

The next verse says that if I am keeping God’s commandments, then His love is working in me (perfected, meaning maturing).

Love. God’s greatest commandment.

Love one another. Jesus’ new commandment He gave to His disciples.

Check out what John writes next in 7-11:

Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I can’t hate my brother and experience intimate fellowship with God at the same time.

Impossible.

But if I love my brother, then I am abiding in the light. (Abiding is a “fellowship” term.)

No love. No fellowship.

Fellowship with God requires that I love my brother.

So…the Church…

The difficult thing about churches is that there are people there. Trust me. I’m part of one. I see people there each Sunday.

Where there’s a lack of sacrificial love for one another, there is a lack of fellowship.

Real fellowship. Intimate fellowship.

And where there is a lack of real fellowship, the church becomes a social club.

Many times, a private social club.

Real fellowship results in full joy. That’s what Jesus said.

So How Do We Have Fellowship in Church?

I believe the key ingredient is love. We gotta understand what this love really is.

John describes it perfectly. If we aren’t expressing this kind of love, John calls it hate.

Hate blocks fellowship which blocks joy.

Got a joyless church?

The key ingredient is love.

I’ll show you how John describes this love…

tomorrow.

Slap me some feedback: Do you experience intimate fellowship with others in your church? Leave a comment at the bottom.

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