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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Come into fellowship

We saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
(I John 1:3)

We have been considering the various invitations in scripture this week.  Today, we examine the invitation into fellowship with a holy and righteous God.  Fellowship is more than an acquaintance with someone.  It is a closeness of relationship that involves companionship - that type of relationship that is comfortable.  For many people, fellowship with a holy God is a scary and overwhelming thing.  There is a fear of entering into fellowship, getting too close to God, because God is good and we are not.

Communion, or fellowship, speaks of a degree of intimacy that is not easily "faked".  It must be genuine - developing over perhaps years - and is not easily broken.  Our communion with God is the same.  There are no short-cuts into fellowship with God.  Later in this same chapter, our writer explains that if we have fellowship with God, we have fellowship with one another - a condition that encourages our growth and development.  He further explains that if we have been affected by the blood of Christ, we are on a pathway of being purified from all sin.

That should give us encouragement that we are able to approach a holy God - it should also give us hope that we can develop this type of intimacy with him.  God knows that we are "visual" people - we often need to see something to fully understand it.  So, in his love for us, he gives us each other - in order that we might learn the principles of fellowship (communion, intimacy).  The next time you look at a close friend, or even a budding acquaintance, rest assured that he/she is placed in your life to teach you some of the principles of true fellowship.

Some have said that companionship (fellowship) is a basic need for humans - without it, we wither up and are not able to meet our full potential.  We are created as social beings.  Love is something we both need and are required to give away.  It is a two-way street.  We crave relationship on one hand, yet fear it on the other.  The neat thing about God's plan is that he always brings someone across our path that will help us learn to love.  We often find ourselves gravitating toward someone who has learned to love well - thereby learning how to love in return.  We are looking for models all around us - we are imitators of what we see, hear, and experience.

This is exactly why God sets us up in the local church - to learn to love as he loves.  It is a place of "learning".  We "learn" to be companionable creatures - often by trial and error.  We "learn" to be truthful and we learn to hold onto a truth that has been shared.  In time, we "learn" to trust deeply.  God has been providing us with the opportunities to develop intimacy in natural relationship so that we understand the aspects of intimacy with him (fellowship).  

The invitation today is to come into fellowship.  The opportunity for fellowship is two-fold: first with God, second with those he puts in our path.  We learn to be comfortable in companionship from our "path dwellers" in order to drive us deeper into companionship with our God.  As we learn to love God, we are also learning to love those individuals along our path.  Love is reciprocal - it must be experienced and passed on.  

The more we desire to love God, the more we will desire to love those he places in our path.  What are your "path-dwellers" showing you about God's love, grace, joy?  What are they exposing in you that brings you to your knees?  What are you exposing in them that brings them to their knees?  Remember...love is experienced in stages - each building upon the other - exponentially.  Fellowship with God grows in the same way - one revealed truth after another.  Come into communion (fellowship) with God and experience what he has for you today.