A Group with Eternal Interests
Why were you created? Why do you exist? Is there a purpose for your being? All questions we have either asked or pondered probably at some time. Maybe we found answers or maybe we are still searching. In either case, my searching over time in God’s Word has helped me to come to this conclusion: God created you and me to have fellowship with Him and one another.
When God created the earth and all that is in it, He didn’t do it just so He could say ‘it is done, it is good, now I can go.’ He created it so that He could come and walk in the Garden of Eden and commune with man.
God knew that He desired that fellowship exist between Himself and man. But He also desired that fellowship exist between humankind. And God knew that in order for man to survive – to thrive – they needed to be in fellowship with Him and with one another. I think this sums up the reason behind Jesus providing us with the Great Commandment: Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Fellowship, according to Webster, is defined as a group with similar interests.
Our society has all kinds of groups with similar interests; some good, some bad. We have clubs, lodges, and fraternal orders. We have amateur athletic events as well as professional. We have bands and music concerts. We have indoor recreational activities as well as outdoor ones.
And because of this, we live in a culture where people’s interests define who they are. And a lot of times, these interests dictate a person’s time away from the Lord.
God designed us to live, and living means doing things that are of interest to us. There is nothing wrong with having interests. I have many:))) But, if those interests take precedence over my time with God and His Church, then I am misinterpreting the reason why God created me. And if my interests, or my children’s interests, pull me away from God, then they are not good and they need to be reevaluated.
The Church is also group with similar interests, which I know are the most important interests of all because they deal with eternity. The interests of the Church are that of Jesus who is the Head of the Church, or at least they should be. And if the Church is in fellowship with Christ it will live through Him. It will fulfill the interests that Christ wants to see for people here on earth.
1 Corinthians 1: 4-9 shows what happens to those who are in Fellowship with God.
But before diving into some specific points of the passage, there is one clear idea God wants all of us to see: God calls you and me into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
Why? Why would God want you to have fellowship with His Son?
1. This fellowship enriches your life in every way.
- The more you seek to know Christ, the more knowledge you will gain; the more wisdom you will obtain; and the more eloquently you will be able to testify of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice.
- So if you want your life to be full and good, despite all the pain, trial, and struggle you face, then you must have fellowship with Jesus Christ.
- And this fellowship occurs when you repent of your mistakes and begin to let Him transform your life.
2. This fellowship will grant you spiritual giftsHe wants for you to edify the ministry of the Church.
- Jesus is going to provide you with the spiritual gifts you need to accomplish what He calls you to do.
- So if you are in fellowship with Him, there is no need to worry if you can get the job done.
3. This fellowship will keep you strong to the end, and will help you to remain blameless on the Day Jesus returns.
- Jesus does not want you to remain in sin when He has come to give you power and freedom over the bondages of sin.
- So be blameless, remaining righteous in a fallen world, by using only the strength Jesus can provide through fellowship with Him.
But, if you take away this fellowship, this fellowship with Christ, you will not fulfill what God has purposed you to do. Yea, you will get through life and possibly have some success, but you won’t be blameless. You won’t be blameless because you will be relying upon your own strength and knowledge, not that of the Lord’s, which will certainly lead to doing things your way.
And there’s one sure way to be out of fellowship with Christ, and that is to be out of fellowship with one another.
Sinners, which we all are, find ways to hurt others, sometimes on purpose and sometimes unknowingly, both of which break fellowship. And knowing this now helps make sense of why Christ taught us to pray, ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’ Fellowship can only occur if you and I are willing to admit our fault when we have wronged someone, and that we’re also willing to forgive the one who has wronged us. After all, if Jesus could pray on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing,” then I must do the same for those who have wronged me.
Yet, let me share with you a story that shows what pure fellowship among humans really looks like.
In Brooklyn, NY, there’s a school named Chush that caters to learning-disabled children. At a Chush fundraising dinner, the father of a student delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.
“Where is the perfection in my son Shaya?” he asked. “Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God’s perfection?” At first, the audience was shocked by the father’s question. “I believe,” the father answered, “that when God brings a child like this one into the world, the perfection that He seeks is in the way people react to this child.”
And then the father told this story: One day he and his son, Shaya, were walking through the park when they saw a group of boys playing baseball. Shaya wanted very much to join them, but his father hesitated. Would the other boys let Shaya play, or would they laugh at him and reject him? Surprisingly, the other boys allowed him to play. But it was obvious that Shaya had no athletic skills, and so he stayed on the bench most of the time.
In the final inning, the two teams were tied, and Shaya’s team had men on base. To everyone’s surprise, the captain of the team allowed Shaya to bat. The pitcher, seeing Shaya’s nervousness, stepped forward a few feet and pitched the ball softly at Shaya. He swung and missed it. One of Shaya’s teammates stepped up behind him and placed his hands over Shaya’s. Together, they hit the next ball. It rolled to the feet of the pitcher, but the pitcher seemed not to notice it at first. “Run to first, Shaya! Run to first!” his father called, and little Shaya ran with all his might to first base. The pitcher finally picked up the ball and threw it over the head of the first baseman. “Run to second, Shaya! Run to second!” By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher’s intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the second baseman’s head. Now the whole team was screaming, “Run to third, Shaya! Run to third!” Shaya made it to third just in time to see the second baseman throw the ball way over the third baseman’s head. Now everyone on the field was shouting as one, “Run home, Shaya! Run home!” And little Shaya made it to home plate, where his team lifted him onto their shoulders and carried him around like a conquering hero.
“That day,” said the father softly, with tears now rolling down his cheeks, “those 18 boys reached their level of God’s perfection.”
You see, when you are struggling with a disability of any kind, it makes a difference that caring people surround you. And when you’re the parents of a child with special needs, you need people who will love her and accept her for the person God created her to be. Why? It’s because God’s perfection is found in people who care.
The same is true of the Church, the body of believers who follow Christ.
It was designed by God to be:
- A place where true fellowship occurs.
- A place where love is given freely.
- A place where people can come as they are and not feel judged or condemned.
- A place where all people are striving to follow the model given by our Lord Jesus Christ.
- A place where everyone yells, “Run home, Shaya! Run home!”
In conclusion, Fellowship is defined as a group with similar interests, and is the key for us to have a strong relationship with God. And if we want to have a successful life, we must not rely solely upon ourselves. We need the fellowship of the Lord, and we need to be in the fellowship of the Church, which is a group with eternal interests. And it is here that we will find the answers to our questions and will fulfill the purposes that God has for us.