Did you ever have a profound experience with a group of friends that has bonded you together forever? Those in the military who go off to war together come back with this kind of bond. First responders that are often caught in life and death situations together frequently share this kind of bond. Experiencing a natural disaster with a group of friends and family is another bonding experience. Of course, it’s not always extreme danger that bonds us together. Many of us are bonded together with those we went to high school or college with. Or we may be bonded together with a group we worked with at a particular job. In any case, when we get together with these people with whom we share a special bond, the comradery is profoundly different than other groups that don’t share our mutual experience. We call this connection fellowship – and it’s always a delight when we have fellowship with like-minded friends and family.
Followers of Jesus enjoy a fellowship like no other. Christian fellowship includes a shared inheritance in the kingdom of heaven and it begins with our association with Jesus. “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9 NIV) Trusting Jesus is the foundation of our fellowship with other believers, and it is compounded by our reverence for the Word of God, and our connection to the Spirit of God. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV) Jesus wants us to have fellowship with him and with other believers. Believers need to spend time cultivating their relationship with Jesus and with other believers. Christian faith is not something you do in isolation; Christian faith is dependent on fellowship. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.” (1 John 1:7 NIV)
Followers of Jesus are connected together as one body with Jesus Christ as the head. In the Bible, Christians are called the “body of Christ”. A common purpose and vision is essential for followers of Jesus Christ to achieve the work of God. When everyone is moving in a different direction, the body of Christ is disjointed and rendered ineffective. Together, we can accomplish great things in the name of God. Together, our power is magnified many-fold. God designed us to work together.
All believers stand united on the one foundational miracle that provides for our salvation – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our faith in Jesus is the starting point for our coming together. We all agree that by the grace of God, through our faith in Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven of our misdeeds and granted the gift of eternal life. We were all sentenced to die as a result of our indiscretions and thanks to God, we have been provided with a redeemer – the penalty for our misdeeds has been erased. On the other side of our salvation, is a duty to God to do good work in unity and harmony. Our assurance of eternal life provides us a firm foundation from which to carry out God’s work. Jesus provided us with simple-to-understand instructions – love one another. If we are working together for that purpose, we are absolutely on the right path.
Individual believers should be working together with other believers. Small groups of believers should be working together with other small groups. Churches should be working together with other churches. The best way to spread the gospel is by serving others with the love the Holy Spirit provides. Working together, we can overwhelm the world with God’s love. We find this encouragement in the Bible, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2 NIV)
The only way we can be “one in spirit and of one mind” is to spend time together in Christian fellowship, working together to accomplish God’s will. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, through the watchful eye of God the Father, and through the awesome sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we have been tasked with fulfilling God’s desire for us to spread the gospel by serving others with love.
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