That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out 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, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:1-7)
Over the next four days we will focus on the Discipline of Fellowship. We will continue our theme of considering the Disciplines through the lens of love. I hope we can experience sweet fellowship electronically even as we review the Discipline of Fellowship.
For those of you who are not very familiar with the beautiful twin island state of Trinidad & Tobago, I’ll use this opportunity to briefly describe an important part of the culture. In T&T, a fun social gathering is called a lime. Limes are really important even in a Christian context but I hope that we will conclude at the end of this week that Christian fellowship is much more than just a lime. We will start with a passage from 1 John (captured above) that speaks to the foundation for Fellowship.
Please prayerfully read the passage and answer the questions below.
Today’s Questions for comments:
- Based on the passage, what are some essential ingredients of Christian fellowship?
- What is your biggest struggle with fellowship?
March 16, 2015 at 4:26 am
To me, I would describe fellowship as experiencing ‘Spiritual oneness’ in our physical world. And therein lies the challenge… the physical world.
Spiritual oneness requires that we are each indeed one with the one and only God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then, being each one with the same one true God, we are then one with each other and can experience that in the here and now to the extent that we can “be in the world yet not of it” and combat the flesh that pulls us in our own selfish ways, and thus apart.
This to me often requires being intentional, not just relying on feelings, both for making the opportunity in terms of time and space, as well as in terms of the type of interaction. A men’s retreat is a perfect example of the two ‘ingredients’ I’m referring to – time and space, but then also depth, and sincerity, often Word led, with prayer together, etc. Another example would be quite time/prayer time spent together between husband and wife.
In both cases, and every one in between, life, the physical, gets in the way, and I think it wise to recognize that Satan would be intentional in that regard, so to combat it takes being intentional also.
March 16, 2015 at 4:55 am
I believe the essential ingredients of christian fellowship include:
1. Understanding the nature of God – God is light and there is no darkness.
2. Obedience in our personal walk.
3. Ensuring that our fellowship with others is centered around the nature of God.
The biggest struggle to fellowship is intentionally and consistently setting aside time for both (intra-fellowship), me and God alone type of fellowship, and fellowship with others (inter-fellowship). Also i think it is important we should not allow imperfections to be a barrier to worship. We can only made perfect through being close to Jesus, if we wait to be perfect through our own efforts, we will never experience the type of fellowship that leads to purification.
March 16, 2015 at 7:46 am
◾Based on the passage, what are some essential ingredients of Christian fellowship?
– As best as we can we each must seek to walk in the Light (i.e. living out our faith in fellowship with and obedience to Christ), recognizing that how I live impacts the sweetness and potency of the fellowship.
– Each of us need to have a desire for, and to do what we can through Christ for the other to experience the best of what the Lord offers. I must desire and seek to encourage the Christ producing joyfulness of others.
◾What is your biggest struggle with fellowship?
“Exposing” myself to others due to a fear of being “judged”.
However I have learned that engaging in fellowship with others is a desire of God’s heart and requires trust – trust in God. A reluctance to engage in fellowship, although we usually view the major obstacle as being a fear of trusting others (because we know how we can be) is really a failure to trust God. Experiencing true fellowship requires me trusting God and trusting that the brother/sister with whom I am seeking to fellowship is doing the same.
March 16, 2015 at 8:40 am
-But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another..This is the first essential factor for having Christian fellowship, that navel string bond to the root, Our Father.
-That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched….This phrase talks about experiencing, whether hearing, seeing, touching..Fellowship requires having things in common, or having similar experiences.
-We have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you…Fellowship requires not only having an experience in common but beliefs and being willing to testify, impart them, and relate with others.
My biggest struggle with fellowship is broadening my perimeter, I tend to keep to the familiar.
March 16, 2015 at 2:01 pm
From the passage of scripture I see that the essential ingredients of Christian fellowship are:
1) Proclaiming to others what we have seen and heard.
2) God is light and we must walk in the light in order to have fellowship with one another.
My biggest struggle would be coming up with the proper recipe for these ingredients. When you bake a cake, just knowing the ingredients for the cake seems to not be enough. I would say that it definitely starts with knowing the ingredients but if you don’t have a proper recipe you might put too much or too little of something and that could mess up your cake. This is where I have to be reminded that as I do my part which is to proclaim to others what I have seen and heard and walk in the light, God will unfold the recipe for His honour and glory. God Bless. A follow up question for me from this would be “What does it mean to walk in the light.”
March 16, 2015 at 5:39 pm
I think this is a great question to consider Duane. I think that John provides some help with this in Chapter 2 verses 8 and 9. Essentially he says if we hate our brothers and sisters we are still in darkness and if we love them we live in the light and we don’t stumble. I think this is powerful.
March 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm
The passage speaks to me of the essential ingredients of fellowship being, 1) personal encounter with Jesus Christ, ii) testifying and proclaiming of what I have experienced and iii) joy. My fellowship authenticates my testimony. (Squirm) My biggest struggle is a lack of grace, especially with those closest to me.
March 16, 2015 at 9:10 pm
Commentators – thanks for your contribution to fellowship! You have pointed to the essential foundation for Christian fellowship (horizontal) – fellowship with God (vertical), which requires salvation. You have also pointed out some common ingredients including motivation (love), mission (sharing our conversion experience), direction (walking in the light). Thanks also for sharing your struggles. Please take time to pray specifically for release from the struggles mentioned .