Author Topic: Fellowship  (Read 1828 times)

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Offline janine

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« on: Mon Jan 20, 2003 - 11:36:34 »
If we're looking up and forward toward Jesus, we'll have a lot less time to attack the people on either side for their differences... or even their outright errors.

Not that there's no place for teaching.  But, there's a lot more place for loving teaching than there is for acrimonious browbeating.

If we'd just learn to lift up Jesus...  :doh:

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« on: Mon Jan 20, 2003 - 11:36:34 »

Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #1 on: Mon Jan 20, 2003 - 20:31:27 »
I used to have a teacher at David Lipscomb who was fond of saying; \"The Lord creates membership, and we create fellowship.\" I am sure that is incorrect, for even fellowship is a gift of God that we can accept or reject, quite possibly at our own peril when we reject it, as rejecting any gift of God leads to spiritual drawfism. I think it is the illusion that fellowship is under our control that has caused so many lines being drawn and so much exclusion being practiced.

Offline Berean

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« Reply #2 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 01:03:24 »
Exactly Janine!
This has been my struggle with the way we use the word.
Do I really need to make a decision about the eternal destiny of every person I meet or know?  Could this be what \"fellowship\" is all about?  In various religious discussions I feel as though I am asked to judge people all of the time!  I know that if I were to render a decree out of line with the inquisitor I would be accused of being judgemental!  How sane is that? Aren't I being equally \"judgemental\" whether I render a \"yea\" or a \"nea\"?  Either way, I better get off of God's bench!  

Thanks for your words also Nerdneh- very well put.

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« Reply #2 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 01:03:24 »

Offline nerdneh

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« Reply #3 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 12:40:46 »
I believe, though I could not prove, that the teacher meant the congregation could decide who was in and who was out. He was not dogmatic about this, just practical. What I believe he was saying is that only God makes a person a member of the Body of Christ, but persons in the congregation decide whom they will accept or not.

To me this is a narrow definition of fellowship and is confined to what I feel comfortable in extending, whereas the Bible idea of fellowship is that it is God's gift created by the cross, along the lines of Ephesians 2, where Paul talks of the dividing wall being broken down and reconciliation among persons occuring in the action of the cross. Now, it is up to us to accept the work of the cross in believer's lives.

I am convinced our lack of understanding fellowship as God's gift has caused us to believe we control it, while all we may be controlling is access to some particular group.

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« Reply #3 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 12:40:46 »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Offline baronrlh

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« Reply #4 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 16:32:41 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote (Trois @ Jan. 21 2003,2:13)[/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]Great article :thumbup: . Who wrote it? (don't answer if there is \"fear of persecution\")  :alert:[/quote]
One of the truly loving and Great church of Christ Ministers.
Leroy Garrett!!Bob

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« Reply #4 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 16:32:41 »



Offline baronrlh

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« Reply #5 on: Mon Jan 20, 2003 - 11:01:41 »
This was written by one of the truly great christians
of the church of Christ movement.Please prayerfully consider and comment.In his Love Bob



JESUS CHRIST: BASIS OF FELLOWSHIP

God is faithfu4 by whom you were called into the
fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. -1 Cor.
1:9

Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His
Son Jesus Christ. -1 Jn. 1:3

Jesus said to him, \"Follow me.\" And he arose and
followed him. - Mt. 9:9

A few years back I was invited to a Jesuit college to
serve as a judge for a program that the Jesuits called
\"propositions for public examination.\" So I listened
as the students defended their theses and afterward
gave my evaluation. Taking a page from the Jesuits, I
would like to do something like that in this article,
and allow you the reader to be the examiner.

My proposition is: It is right, appropriate, and
scriptural for us to \"walk\" (have fellowship) with a
person insofar as he or she \"walks\" with Christ. Or to
put it another way, Since fellowship is in Jesus
Christ, we can enjoy fellowship with all those that
are in Christ.

My thesis assumes that those who walk with Christ will
be at different levels in their understanding and
obedience. They may be ignorant about a lot of things
that will afterwards be matters of knowledge. They may
always be wrong about some things. But they have one
resolve: to follow and to obey Jesus Christ as he
leads the way. In heeding the call, Follow me, they
are forming the habit of obedience. However flawed
their thinking may be in some particulars, they are
generally obedient to Jesus Christ. This means that
they not only walk by the light they have, but they
continue to seek for more light. As they near the
shepherd's call, they respond like faithful sheep.

My thesis implies that there can be no real fellowship
except with those who are in heart and mind habitually
obedient to Jesus Christ. We may belong to the same
church and even subscribe to the same doctrinal
tenets, but since fellowship is \"sharing the common
life\" it cannot be merely formal or institutional. It
is deeply personal, involving those who share a common
bond, and it is anchored in Jesus Christ as Lord. This
means that fellowship is a matter of being right (in
our love commitment) about Jesus. One can be wrong
about a lot of things and yet be right about Jesus. So
the essence of fellowship is loyalty to Jesus Christ.
How can there be the sharing of the common life when
there is no real loyalty to Christ? But how can there
not be fellowship when there is loyalty to Christ?

And we must show great caution in our judgment of who
is following Christ and who is not, who is sincerely
committed and who is not, and who is loyal and who is
not. If people look like Christians and act like
Christians and profess the faith of Christians, it
would seem appropriate to regard them as Christians. I
had rather err in accepting someone as a Christian who
seems to be one but is not than to err in rejecting
someone as a Christian (for whatever reason) whom the
Lord accepts as a Christian.  

The above passages are enormously important in
understanding the nature of fellowship and in
sustaining my proposition. The first one, 1 Cor. 1:9,
assures us of a truth we are slow to learn: that the
domain of fellowship is in God's contro4 not ours. God
calls us into the fellowship of Jesus Christ. It is a
gift that we accept or do not accept. Fellowship or
the shared life in Christ is not a commodity that
belongs to a church, to be extended or withdrawn at
its discretion. Nor do we receive or exclude people
from \"our\" fellowship as if it were ours to dispense
at will. We are to accept fellow believers as part of
the fellowship on the same condition that Christ
accepted us, according to Rom. 15:7, and that means
the standard of acceptance is less than perfect. In
fact, Rom. 5:6-8 makes it clear that it was when we
were both weak and sinful that Christ accepted us. We
are to show the same mercy toward others in our
practice of fellowship.

The second passage, 1 Jn. 1:3, makes it clear that
fellowship is based upon the fundamentals of the good
news (gospel). The apostle John refers to \"what we
have seen and heard we proclaim to you,\" and it is
that message that brings us into the fellowship. When
he goes on to say in verse 4, \"so that our joy may be
complete,\" he refers to the joy that we have as fellow
Christians in communion with Christ.

The third passage, Mk. 9:9, has to do with the call of
Matthew Levi, the tax collector. At the call of Jesus
the revenue man left his tax office and followed him.
Levi was at that moment in fellowship with Christ. And
when Simon the Zealot heard that same call he too
followed Jesus. A Zealot who hated everything that
smacked of Rome and a Roman tax collector were now
sharing a new life. Because of Jesus, Simon laid aside
his dagger and Levi his tax records, and they forgot
their enmity toward each other. They now shared a
common life. Jesus now made all the difference in
their lives.

When they heard the call they followed Jesus. This is
the meaning of discipleship and this is the meaning of
fellowship.

There are of course other indicators of Christian
fellowship, particularly the Lord's Supper and
baptism. Baptism is the act of induction into the
fellowship, and because of that is submitted to but
once, while the Lord's Supper, which is observed
frequently, is a continual expression of the communal
life in Christ. We may conclude, as a general rule at
least, that wherever there is a community of believers
in \"the fellowship of the Spirit\" there is the
practice of baptism and the Lord's Supper.

But fellowship begins with the call of God in our
hearts to follow his son Jesus Christ. We have a great
deal in common with anyone who has heeded that call.
To the extent that he or she hears the call and
responds to it in following Jesus Christ to that
extent we are in fellowship with him or her. There can
be no other basis for Christian fellowship. While that
person will surely be baptized (even if Levi and Simon
may never have been) and eventually break bread with
other disciples, it is in being a disciple, one who
walks with Christ, that is the beginning of
fellowship.

The lowly Roman Catholic nun, who works with the bums
on Skid Row or with the dying on the streets of
Calcutta, may be some distance from us on many
doctrinal issues. But surely my thesis is true, that I
can work beside her and love her and count her my
sister in the fellowship of the Spirit because she is
where I am, following Jesus Christ according to her
understanding. She doesn't have to approve of my
hangups and I don't have to endorse her errors, but we
can walk together to the extent that we walk with
Christ. -the Editor

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« Reply #5 on: Mon Jan 20, 2003 - 11:01:41 »

Offline janine

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« Reply #6 on: Mon Jan 20, 2003 - 13:30:45 »
And another thing...

Who are we to draw lines of fellowship, anyway?

Offline janine

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« Reply #7 on: Mon Jan 20, 2003 - 20:50:59 »
Like, \"If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin\"? (Janine's paraphrase)

I thought from your quote that all he meant was that the interpersonal interaction of Christians being together is where the fellowship grows...

Are you saying he meant \"fellowship\", narrowly, as in \"the process of me deciding who has all the same religious ducks as I in a row\"?

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« Reply #8 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 10:08:36 »
Wow! That was a very interesting post baronrlh! I only can pray for the words to have this type of profound message come across for others to digest! This type of thinking is SO needed in the church today! It is so real and true. I thank God for sending me to this website and others like it, for me to fellowship more with those who are open to God's true message and that being the Love that we can share through our everyday lives, not just those who already have heard what He can do for them with His Love, but those who we can show by the way we fellowship with one another in every way! Through His Son, our Savior who showed us the Way through True Love and forgiveness of others who may not always agree with everything we feel is [humanly]  \"right.\"    :clap: Memmy

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« Reply #8 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 10:08:36 »

Offline baronrlh

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« Reply #9 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 13:56:30 »
I was raised to consider others \"Christian\" on issues.I would
treat them as a Christian if They believed the same as I did
about Baptism,instrumental music,leadership,name on the door,
at what point they were saved,Pastors,role of women-ect!
I was WRONG and have repented.If we don't extend our hand
in fellowship and treat other Christians as Christians how will
we ever have conversations to help one another grow?Lets
follow Jesus TOGETHER!In His Love Bob

Offline Trois

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« Reply #10 on: Tue Jan 21, 2003 - 14:13:23 »
Great article :thumbup: . Who wrote it? (don't answer if there is \"fear of persecution\")  :alert:

marc

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« Reply #11 on: Wed Jan 22, 2003 - 16:53:34 »
I guessed as much.  Leroy Garrett's a courageous soul, who has been a blessing to the Church of Christ, even though many count him a curse.  I think it's safe to say he doesn't let \"fear of persecution\" censor his writing. :clap: