Because there was no common relationship in Christ. They were not partners together in this enterprise. They were instead, the objective. These four major areas cover the doctrine of fellowship as it pertains primarily to our relationship with one another, but the basis of our relationship to one another is our relationship with Jesus Christ.
It is that vertical aspect of fellowship that forms the foundation and means of fellowship in the body of Christ. But, sometimes the term relationship is used of our subjective experiences.
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But the most basic meaning of relationship deals with objective fact. It refers to the condition or fact of being related to someone as a son to a father or a wife to her husband. This is particularly true with the concept of relationship as we use it theologically. Relationship refers to an objective fact. Relationship means we are related to God as His children, born into His family by the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ.
Then, as believers in Christ, we are related to Christ and to each other in that we have been joined into union with Him; we are members of His body through the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit. Fellowship means we share this relationship and it is an objective fact regardless of our spiritual condition cf. This means we must ever keep in mind that our experience with God and with one another grows out of the objective fact of our relationship with the Lord Jesus cf.
Only those who are in relationship with one another objective fact can have true fellowship subjective experience.
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As this is true with God, so it also becomes true in our fellowship with one another 2 Cor. In the Bible, fellowship embraces both the objective and experiential aspects. However, for the experiential to occur, we must first have the objective fact. Because the relationship aspect of fellowship the objective fact forms the foundation for all the other aspects of fellowship.
It is because we are related to Christ that we are partners and related to each other. As pointed out earlier, Paul and John never used the term fellowship in a purely secular sense. It always had a spiritual base and a spiritual means. The idea of an earthly fellowship founded upon simply common interests or common likes or dislikes or similar personalities or human opinions or purely physical ties was a foreign idea in connection with Christian fellowship.
For these human authors of Scripture, Christian fellowship was tied directly into spiritual realities. Certain things must be involved or we do not have Christian koinwnia. The first essential is the foundation the objective aspect , but it also includes the means of fellowship the subjective aspect. If we are to share experientially in the life of Christ, and if we are to share together as partners and as companions in an effective and meaningful way, certain things are a must.
What we end up with is mere religiosity as it pertains to God, and simply social interchange and a compatibility of old sin natures as it pertains to men. In Philippians we have the same construction and the same question. There is no question that all believers mutually share in the person and ministries of the Holy Spirit as is clear in Hebrews met o chos. There is a clue from the text as to how this should be understood. We are not merely left to our feelings or imaginations about this.
Normally we would expect such clauses to be parallel grammatically. If we can determine the pattern of one by the nature of the clause, the others would normally follow the same pattern cf. It is the love we receive from God subjective , not the love we give to God objective.
Philippians If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,. All aspects of fellowship are dependent upon the ministry of the Holy Spirit. After salvation the experience of fellowship in communion with God depends on the filling of the Spirit. Carnal Christians cannot have true fellowship either with God or with one another. They simply will not be functioning as partners, companions, and stewards. About the best they can have is a compatibility of human friendship, or backgrounds, or of likes and dislikes, but true fellowship engendered by the Spirit will certainly be hampered because carnality grieves and quenches the Spirit.
Being devoted to our relationship, partnership, companionship, and stewardship depends on our devotion to Scripture. The coming of the Son and the proclamation of His Word was not an end in itself, its purpose was fellowship. Fellowship in all its aspects comes from the proclamation of the Word of Christ. True fellowship must have its foundation in the Word and it must get its energy, direction, and scope from the Scriptures. A passage that is pertinent here is 1 Corinthians What the Corinthians were emphasizing in their meetings was undercutting the ministry of the Word which proclaimed the sufficiency of Christ, a wisdom certainly not of this world.
Furthermore, because they had failed to grasp the very heart of the gospel, their fellowship with Christ, they were cliquish and snubbing the poorer saints when the church came together This is the basis of fellowship, not forms of worship or showy gifts. All believers share in common the life of Christ positionally and experientially. This is the hinge upon which Paul attacks the party spirit in the verses that follow.
Companionship, as suggested previously, involves communion or communication , interchange, intimacy, sharing and receiving. We need to be open to Him, receptive, teachable. In our communion with the Lord, we need to listen to His voice and respond in obedience. Psalm Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. Proverbs Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. In communion, we also talk to God in prayer and pour out our needs and burdens to Him as is seen, for instance, in the Psalms.
Psalm Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Thou hast relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. And let my cry for help come to Thee. Psalm A Psalm of David. Answer me in Thy faithfulness, in Thy righteousness! In communion we give as we make our requests to Lord and we receive as we listen and He answers and directs our paths.
But this is only part of the communion or fellowship aspect of our relationship with God. There is another aspect as seen in some of the verses quoted above and in a number of verses in the New Testament on fellowship. This actually involves a result, but nevertheless, a vital part of communion or fellowship. It is the aspect of loving obedience. Obedience becomes one of the proofs of our communion and fellowship with the Lord. Listen to these words of our Lord. In the upper room the Lord taught the disciples, and as such He teaches us, that obedience to his commands would bring with it the continued experience of His Father and Himself in deep communion with one another.
Now, this is not to be understood as a condition by which we merit fellowship by the good deeds of obedience.
What Is Agape Love in the Bible?
He had just finished discussing the promise of the Holy Spirit whom He called the Helper, the Enabler, the One given to us to enable us to live obediently and victoriously through the process of fellowship cf. John Failure to walk obediently hinders fellowship without deep seated confession. Scripture gives us a number of illustrations of fellowship and communion. I want to share three. The first illustration of communion or of maintaining a right relationship with the Lord in the sense of fellowship is that of the vine in John In essence this forms a discourse on fellowship in the key relationships of life.
In this passage we see three areas of relationships: a the relationship of believers to Jesus vss. The first thing this passage demonstrates is the concept of priorities. The most important of all relationships which must be maintained is our relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the foundation and source of all our other relationships and our capacity for fellowship. To enforce this truth, the Lord used the analogy of the vine and the branches, one not unfamiliar to the disciples because of their culture.
The Right Stock. While God has provided everything we need for fellowship in all its aspects, we must appropriate that fellowship by abiding in Christ. We must exercise our volition to act on our new life in Christ. There are four ways people seek to have fellowship and try to live the Christian life. While we have a responsibility to appropriate our new life in the Lord, while diligence on our part is called for 1 Tim.
This means we have the responsibility to abide, to depend on Him, to do the things abiding requires. Note the emphasis of Scripture:. Ephesians Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Philippians … work out appropriate, put to work your salvation with fear and trembling,. This is the approach that results in and describes true fellowship. Rather, the text and context suggests that it is related to the discipleship relationship, the relationship of those who are believers in Christ.
Only the disciples are present and Christ is talking directly to them about their relationship to Him and their responsibility of fruitfulness. Judas had already departed to do his dirty work. The means of this fruitfulness is the work of the Vinedresser vs. Abiding is the duty of the branches vss. Instead, it refers to fellowship , to a commonality of purpose and commitment.
Instead, it pictures a branch that is deriving its sustenance from a literal vine by which it is able to bear fruit. The analogy of the vine and the branches depicts a relationship that mature and growing Christians sustain with Christ because of remaining in close fellowship to him, rather than a relationship that all Christians have because of salvation Pauline theology.
Fellowship rather than organic union or spiritual position is the picture. It means to remain in fellowship. It involves renouncing all confidence in our own merit, wisdom, and strength. It means we look entirely to Christ as the source of our merit, wisdom, and strength. To abide in Christ is, on the one hand, to have no known sin unjudged and unconfessed, no interest into which He is not brought, no life which He cannot share.
On the other hand, the abiding one takes all burdens to Him, and draws all wisdom, life, and strength from Him. It is not unceasing consciousness of these things, and of Him, but that nothing is allowed in the life which separates from Him. When we do not abide we lose our fellowship with the Lord, we are severed from fellowship with the vine.
It means we are no longer drawing upon His life as the means of our sustenance and fruitfulness. If we continue in this state, we come under the discipline of the Lord vs. But how are we to understand this verse? The statement of verse 6 has caused needless perplexity. Hodges writes:. The main reason for that is the strong impulse many readers have to identify the reference to fire with hell. But this is an unjustified interpretive leap. There is no reason at all to think of the fire as literal, just as we are not dealing with a literal vine, literal branches, or literal fruit.
What happened, therefore, in vineyards all over Palestine, could happen to the disciples as well. Revelation Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. It was the very essence of hospitality and a signal of personal acceptance.
Our Lord is addressing a Christian church here and, while there may have been some professing Christians there, the passage is addressed to the church as a whole. No one had responded. Discouraged and in a gloomy rain, we returned to our apartment, located immediately across the street from the largest Catholic church in the city.
I went in and slumped down, sitting on the side of my bed. A flood of depressing thoughts and questions went through my mind—what was I doing so far away from home? Even though we had a very important message, no one wanted to hear it, and besides, they spoke a language I was just beginning to speak and understand. I had my triple combination in my hands, and it fell open to Alma chapter Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder [ especially to those inhospitable folks who had written that note!
That was all it took. Then and there, I decided I really ought to be content with the things the Lord had allotted to me. From that moment on, I was never discouraged or homesick again. My whole outlook changed. I committed to be grateful and content with the things the Lord has allotted to me.
A few days later, things in our missionary lives began to look up. They listened, and the messages of the gospel and the Book of Mormon touched their hearts. The whole family was baptized. Brother Franco eventually became the branch president, and years later he was ordained to be the first patriarch in their newly created stake. Since then, the message of the Book of Mormon has changed the hearts of many people in Cuernavaca, Morelos, where there are now multiple stakes.
The Bible: its origin, its significance, and its abiding worth
That area is the headquarters for one of the newest established missions in the Church. In August , President Gordon B. Hinckley issued the challenge to all members of the Church to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. That means on average there is a reference to the Lord every 1. That could only be a plus to the Church and to the reinforcement in the minds of members that the Book of Mormon is literally another witness that Jesus is the Christ.
I love that book. It is the book that will get a person nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book. See Book of Mormon, Introduction. President [Marion G. I commend that practice to you. In those days the General Authorities took that message to the members of the Church. Now, in our day , the Lord has revealed the need to reemphasize the Book of Mormon to get the Church and all the children of Zion out from under condemnation—the scourge and judgment.
This message must be carried to the members of the Church throughout the world. But what did he do? He gave another powerful address on the Book of Mormon. We should read that address again and again. The gift I am thinking of is more important than any of the inventions that have come out of the industrial and technological revolutions. This is a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine. It is of greater worth to mankind than the development of flight or space travel. I speak of the gift of the Book of Mormon.
As a result of that attitude, he said, their minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly brought a loss of light to themselves, it had also brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all the children of Zion. That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. We have the book.
We are also under condemnation if we do not take it seriously and do all we personally can to apply literally in our lives those precepts contained in the Book of Mormon. We must do this if we are to achieve our ultimate goal of salvation and exaltation. The media is awash with immoral and violent images. Conflicts and bloodshed are common throughout the world. Christianity is being attacked from all sides. Abortion has depreciated the value of life. Traditional marriage and the family are being attacked on many fronts. Heinous sexual transgressions occur, and many of them are condoned by a public devoid of conscience.
War, poverty, genocide, and starvation plague millions around the world. The list could go on and on. We need all the help we can get on a personal and worldwide scale. This sacred record already helps millions at the deepest level of our personal, practical needs, and I hope in the future its influence will be greatly expanded. I tried an experiment. I know what the Book of Mormon means to me in my life. I decided that it would be interesting to conduct an informal poll. The responses were enlightening to me for a variety of reasons.
There was such a wide diversity in the verses or portions of the Book of Mormon that have had a positive impact in the lives of readers. Their responses came from expected and unexpected areas of the book. It was as though a person could be moved or affected at a life-changing level from something on almost any page in the Book of Mormon. One of the respondents and her husband had a severe economic disaster, potential loss of their home, and a family member with a life-threatening disease.
I love the Lord with all my heart, and I will be forever a debtor, not only for delivering us out of our bondage, but primarily for His infinite Atonement. This is my testimony. Each time I read it, the Spirit washes over me and I come away feeling my courage refreshed and my commitment renewed. I suppose that the comfort I receive from reading his words is much like the comfort he describes in reading the words of Isaiah.
Each time I read this passage, I realize that everyone struggles—even prophets. I see his example of how to pick yourself up out of the mire of self-pity and to throw yourself into self-improvement. I come away with a desire to be great like Nephi was. She wrote:. My mother-in-law brought this to my attention.
She had gone through a serious illness for which she was hospitalized. She had a bad feeling and wanted some comfort. She found the copy of the Book of Mormon in her room and flipped it open to read. This scripture brought such indescribable peace to my soul. I was led to remember and recognize that Heavenly Father knows me. He knows my trials and consecrates them specifically for my gain. I got a sense of holiness about them. One of the responses came from a distinguished scientist who had been trained in physics and chemistry at the University of Utah, under the tutelage of Dr.
Henry B. He then went to the East, where he worked for a leading corporation and became responsible for the work of more than two hundred PhD-level research scientists. He wrote:. In my early life as a budding scientist, I was constantly challenged by my nonmember colleagues with what they conceived to be the conflicts between science and religion.
Somehow the key to true belief was missing. The story includes "abiding images of the human condition and its remedy" Borg, p. Because of the pervasive influence of the Enlightenment on our society today, we value metaphorical language less than literal language, even distrusting metaphorical language.
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However, when describing profound truths that can transform lives, metaphors must be used. Metaphorical truths are profoundly true but not necessarily factual. This "more than literal" meaning is what a storyteller means when he says, "I don't know if it actually happened this way or not, but I know this story is true. The truth of the Bible does not depend on historical facutality. It contains true stories even if the particular stories are not factual reports.
Borg gives a new way of viewing the Genesis story and the Jesus birth narratives that I will not try to condense see p. The reason for the literalist Christians' passion on their interpretation of the Bible is that they have "identified truth with factuality; thus, in their minds, if the stories aren't factual, they aren't true.
And if these stories aren't true, the Bible isn't true. What is at stake is their view of the Bible. Many of us religious scientists just shake our heads and wonder why there is such a conflict. For example, a central story of Christianity is the Easter story of Jesus Christ's resurrection.