I’ll never forget what a member of a hunting ministry said when we were planning a fall hunting event. “Why would I want to come to a dinner about hunting, when I could actually be hunting?” I’ll be honest. It was a bit of a punch to the gut, but it made sense. He wanted to participate in the actual activity, not a representation of it.
God has called his church to be a group of people that seek out and participate in meaningful fellowship within the body. He doesn’t want the extent of our interaction with one another to only be discussing health needs, golf, or practical business matters of the church operations. Those are representations of fellowship.
One pastor said this, “Fellowship is not when two saints get together. Fellowship is when two saints get together and talk about Jesus.”
In Colossians 3, Paul tells us to set our minds on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. That’s right, where Christ actually is. Through this, God gives us a clear depiction of both our responsibility to participate in meaningful fellowship for our good and for his glory.
Participating in Meaningful Fellowship
While the primary theme of Ephesians 4:1-16 is unity in the church, Paul is illustrating two things for us in the opening verses.
- Personal spiritual growth we are to be pursuing, cultivating the list of qualities by the Grace of God through his Holy Spirit.
- The nature of the interpersonal relationships we are to be engaging in with one another inside the body of Christ.
Paul’s instructions require our participation. Nothing about it is a passive activity. We need to Be there! This doesn’t mean that Paul is forgetting the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification. Rather, he is instructing us to submit our natural desire to isolate ourselves from the fellowship, to the lordship of God to press us into fellowship with one another.
We may not be used to existing with one another in the church this way. This is because edifying, Biblical, meaningful Christian Fellowship is not well illustrated by the western concept of a business relationship. It is not about you and I walking away from the boardroom table with as much in our pockets as we can gather.In order to participate in meaningful fellowship, we must be obedient to Jesus’ command to give of ourselves FOR the good of one another.(John 15:12-13)
Another example of the necessity of participating in meaningful Christian fellowship can be seen in Hebrews 10:19-25.
“ Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
In verse 24, we see the active participation played out once again. To consider how to stir another brother in Christ is to have them on your mind at some other moment throughout the week besides Sunday. It means you are thinking about their good, praying for them. It means then taking what God has revealed to you and lovingly and truthfully speaking and demonstrating that thing into their lives.
Actively participating in meaningful fellowship means demonstrating the love of God to one another in the church by giving of ourselves for the spiritual good of God’s beloved. In what ways to you participate in meaningful fellowship with other Christians throughout your day? Leave a comment!