By Tom Moore
Fellowship, when understood in its true biblical sense, is a word filled with beauty and glory. Fellowship is a word that is replete with the ideas of work, love, association and salvation. But we are living in a sad day – a day when many do not understand “fellowship” in its true and glorious biblical meaning.
Today many are trying to make God’s circle of fellowship larger than He intends, or are trying to turn fellowship into the mere enjoyment of coffee and donuts. Concerning fellowship, many have the mentality of those in Jeremiah’s day. The weeping prophet declared, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16). Many today are refusing to walk in the old paths when it comes to the biblical doctrine of fellowship.
In this article we will deal with The Boundaries of Fellowship – now and eternally.
GOD’S WORD IS THE BASIS OF FELLOWSHIP
Only God has the authority to determine the limits of fellowship. There is a God in heaven (Daniel 2:28), consequently, we must acknowledge “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). We must also realize that God must direct our steps when it comes to with whom we can associate and have partnership with. The fellowship of God and of His people crosses all boundaries (Gal. 3:26-28), and yet it as limitations. The Psalmist realized this, and said, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:63). There is a distinct connection between fearing God and walking in truth and companionship or fellowship.
We are “called unto the fellowship” (1 Corinthians 1:9), we are “called” through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14), and we are to have fellowship in the furtherance of the Gospel (Philippians 1:5); thus, the gospel is that in which we must continue. This is why Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). We must abide in the word of God to have fellowship with the Almighty, and we must know the truth to have fellowship with Him. The Scriptures teach very plainly that one can know and obey the truth. John declared, “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father” (2 John 4). “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16). Friends, we would not be commanded to do something that was impossible!
The word of God is the only way to have fellowship with God and with one another. Fellowship cannot come through creeds and innovations of men. The apostle Paul wrote, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10), and “Be of the same mind in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2).
Jesus said, “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). When disunity exists, one knows that the seeds of man have been planted; for, as in the natural realm, the Word produces only “after its kind” – simple New Testament Christians. But there are some who will not endure sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2-3), but will instead plant the seed of denominationalism and this disrupts fellowship. Our Savior said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men…Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15:8-9, 13). Beloved, God’s word is the ONLY basis for fellowship.