What we are considering has a direct bearing on our fellowship with God and fellowship with one another. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:6,7). Fellowship is only possible as we walk in the light (truth). Any lesser definition is not fellowship. When we enter into fellowship with God, we are able to move together with God. He is able to reveal His mind to us, so that we can do His will in all things. John said that he was writing these things so that others may have fellowship with him and those who were with him. He also declared that their fellowship was with God. The message that he was declaring was the life of God, and he was confident that if others would partake of that same life in response to the truth, they would have fellowship with each other.
We need to let this truth wash our minds and break into our hearts. It is impossible for two men to have fellowship with God and not have fellowship with each other. We reason around this in a hundred different ways, but none of our reasoning stands before God. Jesus died that we might be one as He and the Father are one. We let our minds take us down "into the ditch" when we redefine oneness to suit our own situation. Brethren, we need to let truth judge us in this area. Fellowship is not some theoretical relationship that has no meaning. Fellowship is real, and it is only real when we are walking in truth. If we are walking in the light as He is in the light, we will have real fellowship that glorifies God. No matter how impossible that may seem to us, let us turn from our natural reasoning and accept God's judgment in the matter. He will show us the way, and lift us up to a place of true fellowship with God and one another.
I believe if we are honest with ourselves before God, we will come to the conclusion that the biggest hindrance to fellowship is self. We are our own greatest enemies. Self is expressed in a thousand different ways, but when it is traced to the core, it is all the same. We want to be somebody separate from God. Only the Spirit of God can detect this root in us, and if we ignore His prompting, our hearts become hard and we do not even recognize where we are. We want to be recognized, to do something for God, and to have our opinion considered. We want to be free to do what we want, when we want to, and in a manner that we judge correct. We call it freedom, but really it is bondage. We are in bondage to ourselves and our desires, and when we follow that desire it leads to sin and death. (James 1:14-16) Sin is not just getting drunk and falling into the gutter. Sin is moving separate from God, outside of a true relationship with Jesus. Self-expression is sin, and sin breaks fellowship.
This is why a proper working of the church seems so impossible. It can only be possible when the work that Jesus did on the cross takes expression in us, so that we can say with the Apostle Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20). Apart from this reality in every member, fellowship with God and with each other is an impossibility.
When we have dealt with God, and we have let God deal with us, the only thing we will want coming out of us is an expression of His life. This life will be expressed in doing His will and walking in truth. We may not see everything at this moment, but as lovers of truth, we want to see, and to see together with others. With hearts filled with God's love, we will be able to move together under the authority of Jesus Christ, honoring Him as Head. The testimony to the world will be, "Behold, how they love one another," with the result that Jesus is lifted up in and through us, drawing all men to Himself. This is what we all want, but do we realize that we can only go God's way? If His way seems too hard, it is because we are yet looking through natural eyes, reasoning with our own minds, and seeing ourselves separate from Jesus instead of in union with Him. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, but in Him, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Is this a reality to us or merely theory? It must be a reality if we want to move on in God.
Brethren, my heart's challenge to each one of us is this: Are we lovers of truth? If we are not, we are open to deception. Have we let the person of Jesus be our definition of truth? If we have not, then we have accepted a lie. Are we holding truth in love? If we are not, then our truth is not truth. Are we walking in truth with each other? If not, then we do not have fellowship either with God or with each other. We are the only ones who can answer these questions, and we must answer to God, not to man. In His mercy, may the Lord Jesus apply the eye salve to our spiritual eyes so that we can answer these questions honestly. Let us be known as those who love the truth, walk in the truth, and speak the truth in love to each other. God will be glorified as we do, and the testimony of Jesus will be pure. Glory to His name!