Building up believers and the New Testament church

Principles of Spiritual Fellowship

Man's highest function is fellowship. God made man in His own image and likeness so that he might be able to be a partaker of God, and also in such a manner that he may be indwelt by God Himself. The apostle John says in his gospel that God is spirit and that those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit. We cannot have fellowship with God in our bodies or in our souls; if we are going to know and worship God, and have fellowship in God, it must be by the Spirit of God.

Oneness is the highest expression of fellowship. If God has created man to have fellowship with Him, we can know that God will discipline man and bring him to the place where he will express the completeness of God's will. This oneness with God will come only through fellowship with God--by seeing who God is and what He is doing. Spiritual sight can only be given to individual believers by the Spirit of God that has been given to lead us into all truth.

Our relationship with God is through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are united with God and with what God is doing in one body--the body of Christ, the church. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 12:13 that we are all baptized into one body by one Spirit. We are brought to the place of oneness, and now it is our responsibility in this love affair with God to express that oneness. To express the oneness of God means that we must enter into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father. This oneness is the proof that what God has done in Jesus Christ is eternal salvation. God said that He has made us one in Christ; now through spiritual fellowship we are brought to a place of expressing this oneness, as a testimony of the abiding presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There can be hindrances both to fellowship with one another and to fellowship with God. Also, we can say that our fellowship or lack of fellowship with God has a definite bearing on our fellowship with one another. To rightly understand this fellowship one with another, we must see that it is not natural fellowship, on the level of self with its desires. True fellowship is fellowship together in God as we walk in the light.

To say it in another way, we are sharing in common. This means that we first have fellowship with God, and then our fellowship with one another is based on our ongoing fellowship with God, that which is common to each one of us. As we know Him together in the fellowship of His suffering and the power of His resurrection, the working of His grace in our hearts will speak to us of the ultimate in God, of God's highest for us as men. Colossians 2:2 speaks of the outworking of this fellowship. It tells us of believers' hearts being comforted, knit together in love "unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God and of the Father and of Christ," and coming to a oneness, that they might realize together the fellowship that God has prepared for each one of us.

Jesus came, and at Calvary perfected fellowship between God and man. He came in the flesh and conquered death, hell and the grave. He bore our sins and brought into expression a brand new creation. Out of death He brought life, that we might enter into our highest expression--spiritual fellowship with the Father and with the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Ephesians 2:21-22, Paul again speaks of this fellowship. "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." We can see that our fellowship is through the Spirit and that we are all being built together to come to the place of appreciating and communing with God together, understanding in the Spirit what God has prepared us for--that we might be a glory to Him for eternity.