Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Standard For Fellowship

Tonight I found a question waiting for me at a forum I frequent that sort of broke my heart a little bit, and sort of encouraged me a little bit. I won't link to the forum because drawing attention to the person asking and/or their reason for asking might well see the important point of what God allowed me to reply with actually is.

Here's the forum post. I've edited out the person's name.
Hi Kev,

I would be encouraged if you would list the commands I would need to obey that I may obtain fellowship, with you. These are things that come from the Word of God that the Spirit and your discernment bring to mind. I would like to allow you no more than four at this time (Acts 15:24-31). Would this be an appropriate method of arriving at reconciliation? If not I am somewhat open to adjustment.

Honest thanks, *NAME*

Now here is my reply
*NAME*, there are no "commands" you would need to obey. A proclamation of faith in The Christ Who died for your sins in accordance with the Scriptures, Who was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and agreement that the Gospel that God Himself declares in His infallible Word (1 Cor 15) is the same Gospel that He commands us to preach to the whole world in the knowledge that they who believe it will live and they who do not will perish. (Mark 16)

I have no need of performance out of a person, I simply seek "fellowship" in the Gospel of Christ for there is no other fellowship or agreement of value or honour to Christ.

I don't want to pretend like I've written any great thing but I do want to model something for anyone it may help. Notice the standard the person asked for, and the standard I replied with. The person asked for a standard from the Bible, which is admirable. This person was stretching their willingness. Notice though the perception of performance. This could be because that person perceives that is how I would base fellowship, or it could be that they think fellowship is maintained that way.

There are surely levels of fellowship, with the Lord's Table being the closest. There is surely a level of orderliness, if not actually performance, that must be maintained to have fellowship at that kind of level. However, this person is asking about fairly loose friendship sort of fellowship.

Please take note of the standard that I offered as what would be acceptable to me, and notice Who I am seeking to please.

Fellowship is not about liking someone. Fellowship is not about working together. Fellowship is not about "seeing eye to eye." Christian Fellowship is not primarily about human relationships.

Christian Fellowship is about honouring The Christ, and everything about Him. We gather in fellowship as Christians under His Name alone, for His Glory, and His pleasure and His work. When I extend the right hand of fellowship to someone, it must ONLY be because they are a friend of God Almighty Who has called me friend.

I can not choose my fellowship outside of, in spite of, or even in ignorance of my first fellowship with Christ no matter how much I like the person. Likewise, I can not de-fellowship a person just because I don't like them. A person is a fellow of mine, if they are a fellow of the Christ Who has bought me and called me His.

There is no other Biblical standard. Fellowship is not about us, it's about Him.


Anonymous said...

You may have answered: "A common interest in Christ". For though two people may have an interest in Christ, yet if that interest is not common, there will not be much fellowship. Like a Pergamosian having fellowship with a Sardisian. It is possible for each to have an interest in Christ, yet because they view Christ from different directions, only in that part of their interest which is common would they actually be able to fellowship.

Kevl said...

Hello Anonymous,

Any common interest would just be about the people. Christian fellowship is actually IN the Gospel.

Are the two people saved? Do they actually have fellowship with Christ? then they have fellowship through Him with each other.

Anything else is just two people hanging out and agreeing... you can do that at a golf club and have nothing to do with Christ. That's not Christian fellowship.


Anonymous said...

You will note that I said "a common interest in Christ", not just just a common interest.

At this point you are interested somewhat in Christ, yet if the interest you have is not common with what another has, there will be no fellowship on those grounds.

A Pergamosian is subject to Christian experience, whereas a Sardisian puts Christian experience to death. They can both be in Christ, but they find that they cannot fellowship on these grounds.

Likewise, those with a shallow interest in Christ will not fellowship with those who have a deep interest in Him, and vice versa. There just isn't enough in common. However, those with a shallow interest in Christ will have much fellowship with others who have that same shallow interest; And those with a deep interest in Christ will have much fellowship with others who also have a deep interest in Christ.

Why? because their interest in Him is common.

Lou Martuneac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevl said...

Lou I want to keep the details out of this because they are not important for my purpose which is to have people evaluate their own various situations in light of pleasing Christ first.


Kevl said...


The issue is not having commonality in interest or purpose.

Christian fellowship is based on our relationship with Christ. Our interests and such should mirror that relationship only, not drive it.

If I am in Christ and the other person is "in" Christ then we have the basis of fellowship, we are family "in" Christ. If that person is also mirroring that relationship and maintaining their fellowship in Christ with Christ and I am doing the same then we have "Christian fellowship" which is not just commonality.

I know that's a run on... sorry. I iz author, but not good one. Obviously. :)


Anonymous said...


Something for you to ponder:

"Religious progress is always accompanied by a higher insight that can never be described satisfactorily to persons without the same experience."

Therefore fellowship at that level is not possible.

To fellowship at that level one must have the same or 'common' interest in Christ. That is, the same experience.

Lou Martuneac said...

Hi Kev:

I pulled it to help you out.


David Wyatt said...

Another great post bro. Kev. There are brothers & sisters in Christ that I can have fellowship around the things of Christ with whom I may disagree on fringe matters, but because we both trust in & love Him, then we can have fellowship. Christian fellowship, as you have beautifully stated, is a different kind of fellowship altogether because of the One we fellowship around. Am I seeing this correctly?