Bible Principles for Fellowship in the Lord

Bible Principles for Fellowship in the Lord

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1. Fellowship is With the Father
and His Son, Jesus Christ

God's purpose with man is the perfection of fellowship for eternity

  • Oneness with God and Christ-Eph. 4:3-6,13; John 17:20-23; John 13:20
  • Eternal fellowship when God dwells with man-1 Cor. 15:28; Matt. 5:8-9; Rev. 4:11; 21:3
  • God's love has been extended to rescue our fallen race from sin and death-2 Peter 3:9; Eph. 2:3-8; 1 John 3:1-2

God, the Most High and Holy One, has called us to His fellowship without respect to race, gender or social status-Acts 10:34-35; 1 Cor. 1:9; Gal. 3:28; Rev. 19:9
In response to His call, God requires us to:

  • Fear Him and keep His commandments-Prov. 9:10; 22:14; Eccl. 12:13
  • Recognize our need for Him and His grace-Eph. 2:12-13; Psa. 8:4-5; 1 John 5:2-3
  • Study to understand His work and His will-Heb. 11:6; Psa. 14:1-3; 1 John 1:5-8
  • Come to Him in faith and love-Heb.11:6; John 14:23
  • "Put on Christ" as the first act of obedience-Gal. 3:27-29; 4:3-7; Col. 2:11-13
  • Come boldly to the throne of grace for forgiveness, confessing and forsaking our sins-Prov. 28:13; Heb. 4:16

God showed man the fullness of His fellowship through His Son-Psa. 80:17; John 1:14-16; Col. 1:15-19; Heb. 1

2. Fellowship is Practiced in Spirit and Truth

God's will has been revealed in His Word

  • The Spirit is Truth; the Word is Truth-Psa. 119:160; 138:2; I John 5:6
  • Jesus' words are spirit and life-Matt. 7:28-29; John 6:63
  • God looks to those of a poor and contrite spirit, who tremble at His word-Isa. 66:1-2

God seeks men to worship him in Spirit and Truth-John 4:23-24; Josh. 24:1-3,14

  • To be sons of God, set our mind on the things of the Spirit-Psa. 15:1-2; 51:10; Rom. 8:9-17; Phil. 2:1
  • For his loving trust in God's promises, Abraham was known as "the friend of God"-2 Chron. 20:7; Jam. 2:23; Heb. 11:8-10

3. Fellowship Depends on Walking in the Light

God is the unchanging source of light-1 John 1:5; James 1:17

  • Jesus Christ was a manifestation of the light-John 1; 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:5; 2 Cor. 4:6
  • Light is communicated through the gospel and prophecy-Psa. 19: 8; 119:105; Prov. 6:23; 2 Pet. 1:19; 1 John 5:2-3
  • Light is reflected in the life of the believer through belief and obedient walk-Matt. 6:22-24; John 12:35-36,46; Rom. 8:2-5; Gal. 5:25; Eph. 4:1-3; Phil. 1:27; Col. 3:16-17; 1 Tim. 6:17; Jas. 1:22; 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:12; 1 John 1:7; 2:10

4. Fellowship Cannot Exist with Darkness

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness

  • Do not fellowship the darkness of immorality-Prov 6:16-19; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 6:9-10; Eph. 5:11; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 John 1:6-9
  • Do not fellowship the darkness of teaching error-1 Cor. 10:20-23; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 2 Tim. 2:15-18; 2 John 10
  • Sin mars fellowship-Isa. 59:2; Eph. 2:1-5; 4:17-18; Rev. 3:15-16; Psa. 66:18; Col. 3:5-6

Fellowship with Christ is not compatible with the world

  • Do not fellowship with the world-John 17:14-15; Jas. 4: 4; 1 John 2:15-17
  • Self-promotion and pride mar fellowship-Prov.17: 15; 1 Cor. 3:3; 1 Cor. 4:6; 3 John 9-10; James 2:9

5. Fellowship with One Another in the Body of Christ

Fellowship requires sustained interaction with the members of the ecclesia

  • Communicate one with another-1 Tim. 6:18; Philemon 1:6
  • Assemble together, minister to one another, pray for one another-James 5:13-16; Heb. 10:25
  • Tend to one another's needs as vigilant shepherds, caring nurses and responsible fathers-Eze. 34; 1 Cor. 4:14-15; Gal. 6:2, 9-10; 1 Thess. 2:7-8; 1 Pet. 5:1-5
  • Forgive one another in love-Matt 6:14-15; 18:21; Eph. 4:32; James 2:13
  • Be examples of Christ to one another, making marriage a model of faithful fellowship-Eph. 5:21-33; 1 Peter 3:1-8

Fellowship is not confined to being partakers together at the table of the Lord

  • Fellowship concerns offering praise and giving glory to God-1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:14-15

Fellowship is based on sharing and holding like precious faith

  • A common hope one with another-Acts 2:42; 8:12; Eph. 3:9; 4:1-6; 1 John 1:6-7; Jude 3
  • Common appreciation for God's transforming love manifested in His Son-Rom. 5:10-11; 1 John 3:1,14-23; 1 John 4:7-11
  • Members one of another as constituents of the one body of Christ-Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:18, 27

6. Fellowship Discipline

Follow the scriptural process for dealing with sin and offence in the ecclesia

  • Begin with a one-on-one private approach-Prov. 11:13; Matt. 18:15-18; 1 Tim. 5:19; Titus 3:10
  • Warn offenders for the good of all-Prov. 9:8; 27:5; Eze. 3:17-21; 1 Tim. 5:20; Matt. 5:23-24
  • Correct with meekness and love, seeking the restoration of the offender-Gal. 6:1-2; John 15:12-13
  • Use longsuffering and love before separation-Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 2 Thess. 3:6,14-15; Titus 3:10-11

Respect the autonomy of each ecclesia to make its own decisions before the Lord

  • Separation may not be the best way to strengthen those that remain-Rev. 3:1-5
  • Maintain personal honesty and integrity, avoiding hypocrisy and respect of persons-Rom. 2:21-22; 14:22; 1 Cor. 10:12; James 2:9; 1 John 3:20-21
  • Do not exercise judgment without mercy-Luke 17:3-4; Rom. 14:4,10; Jas. 2:13
  • Godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation-2 Cor. 7:8-12

7. Fellowship of Sufferings and Service

Rejoice to know and be partaker of the fellowship of Christ's suffering-Phil. 3:10

  • Suffer for righteousness' sake-Matt. 5:10-11; 1 Cor. 6:7; 2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Pet. 2:18-21
  • Suffer for the ecclesia-Isa. 53:3-8; John 15:13; I Cor. 12:25-26
  • Accept suffering joyfully-Psa. 126:5; Jer. 31:7-11; Acts 14:22; Phil. 2:7-8; Heb. 12:1-2

Be a living sacrifice in the Lord's service-Mark 10:21; Rom. 12; Heb. 7:27; 1 Pet. 2:5

  • Deny the pleasures of sin-Luke 9:23; Titus 2:12; Heb. 11:24-26; 1 Pet. 2:11
  • Be a faithful steward occupied in the Lord's work-Matt. 16:24; Phil. 2:3; 4:3; Jam. 1:27; 3:13
  • Teach God's word and exhort one another-Deut. 6:4-9; Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:24-25; I Pet. 3:15; Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25

Embrace the nine "fellows" of the New Testament-fellow-servant; fellow-worker (workfellow, yokefellow); fellow-heir (joint-heir); fellow-labourer; fellow-disciple; fellowprisoner; fellow-soldier; fellow-helper and fellow-citizen

These principles were developed collectively by the cooperative efforts of the brethren* at the Conference on "Fellowship in the Lord" held in Blackstone, VA on June 5-6, 2004. It is our hope that the provision of these principles in this format will provide a useful tool for all of our brethren. We pray that these principles will help to guide and enhance our fellowship together so that we may be a body prepared for the Master's coming.

* From Christadelphian unamended Ecclesias throughout the US & Canada

Supplement to The Christadelphian Advocate