Fellowship is Practiced in Spirit and Truth

Fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ must be in Spirit and in Truth! This principle is firmly established by John the Apostle in his words recorded in the 4th chapter of the gospel of John "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24).

This principle is well established in the Holy Writ and understood by the faithful of old. The testimony of Joshua as he prepared the children of Israel for their extended possession of the Promised Land revealed principles of service to God. He declared before the elders of the tribes of Israel at Shechem, "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord."(Joshua 24:14)

King Solomon also realized the kinship of God to truth and the absolute certainty of the voracity of truth "Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; That thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?" (Proverbs 22:17-21).

Spirit and truth have a special relationship as a scriptural principle. Truth is that which sanctifies or sets us apart for God. Jesus said "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." (John 17:17) The Truth is empowered by the force of God, His Spirit. The "spirit word" can only express the Truth of God. God used His Spirit to inspire and enlighten His human vessels to record His Truth. So it is accurate to say the true word of God is a product of the Spirit as the Heavenly author directed. We read in I John "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth." (I John 5:6)

The word of God is sanctifying because it can make one wise unto salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. Just as God cannot be separated from His inherent power; the Truth is a part of His being. The Truth of God is everlasting because He is an everlasting being.

The greatest human promoter of God's everlasting Truth is His son Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke only the Truth; it became a part of his being and his mission. He was so well educated by the Word of God that he well understood the Divine purpose that his Heavenly Father had for him. The words of Truth that he conveyed to his followers were words of Life. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."(John 6:63) Jesus taught the gospel.

This good news of the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ was the heart and soul of the plan of salvation as embodied in God's beloved son. Before those so blessed to be with the Master was the secret to salvation of the race of man showing forth the "Way". "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him." (John 14:6-7)

In his covenanted relationship with his Father, Jesus remained in fellowship with Him. Although alienated in nature by birth in flesh, Jesus enjoyed unbroken fellowship with his Heavenly Father by living a sinless life during his first advent. Even as his appointed death drew so near, his thoughts were on his commitment to God and a loving concern for his fellow brethren. The dedication of his life to the Plan of Salvation is evident as inthe text of John 17. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 17: 17-19)

The Apostles of Christ recognized this fellowship in spirit and truth, that their Master had with His Father, and sought to emulate it in their lives. Paul wrote the Philippian brethren, "Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now" (Philippians 1:4-5). Paul knew that his "fellows" in the Gospel of Christ were also emulating the character of the Master.

There is recognition by all fellows of Christ that the spirit word must indwell within to produce fruits unto righteousness. Hopeless and alienated sons of Adam can become the Sons of God by the power of the spirit word. The words of Paul to the Roman brethren makes this divine provision absolute "For as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:14-17)

James, in his epistle, writes "Of His (God) own will begat Heus with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures" (James 1:18). The believer who has come out of Adam and made a covenant with the Father is initially in fellowship with God. The propensities of sin are ever present to jeopardize that fellowship with our Heavenly Father. This is where the refreshing and reenergizing effect of the Word is most critical. Our behavior is a product of our knowledge of the commandments of God. Paul recognized the power of the faith of the gospel in writing to his brethren in Philippi. He admonishes them with this instruction. "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." (Philippians 1:27).

The scriptures reveal that those ancient believers, whom God recognized, were considered friends of God "And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God" (James 2:23). Abraham never lost sight of the "city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:10).

The Truth keeps us in fellowship with God. Not just the principles of doctrine but also the behavior (fruit) that is the product of the indwelling spirit word. Those that know the Truth and live the Truth will remain in fellowship with God through Christ. The psalmist writes "Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart" (Psalms 15:1-2).

Mike Cude
Boerne, TX