Posing the Question (04.06.08 )
So I was having a meal with a sister in Christ, and at some point we backed up, as what we were saying implied a differing understanding of the purpose of fellowship. So I pose back to you:
What is the ultimate goal and destination of fellowship?
Are we to make friends, get to know each other? I think that a lot of times, in our activities we have an unsaid assumption of “getting to know people” and this perhaps is more like being friends as opposed to being a fellow brother in Christ. This is not to say that we aren’t to be friends with any of our fellow Christians.* Rather I am saying that biblical fellowship is not the same as friendship, and we should examine ourselves if we in our activities are belying this implicitly. * Many relationships are not black and white but have blends of many different aspects of friendship and other things in it, e.g. fellowship, mentorship, etc.
I’m not talking about going to church or which church to go to or how often. There are plenty of people how have good to perfect church attendance and yet come up empty. that get into affairs and other things to get their fill and thrills. So what’s missing? Certainly not church attendance. So why do we still miss the mark for satisfying fellowship, for meaningful friendships? What does Biblical fellowship encompass that we’re missing? Spurring each other on. If a Christian friendship does not make both people grow more spiritually, then it’s not being in the fellowship that God designed and meant for us to be in.
Holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
— Philippians 2:16, NASB
In this passage, Paul’s clear priorities are (1) that people will be saved. Nothing else matters. Wow. That’s really radical. That really cuts out a lot of other stuff. How biblical is your fellowship? (Reference: Soul Thirst: Experiencing Biblical Community (sermon))
Update (04.06.08 )
A friend clarified very succinctly the key difference between friendship and brotherhood in Christ.
A fellow friend seeks to better their own relationship. A brother seeks to better their relationship with God.
— Pam (paraphrased)
Of course, our relationship with other brothers and sisters in Christ is rarely exclusively one or the other. Just take a minute though and re-evaluate what the ultimate purpose by what you do and what you’d like to accomplish in your relationships in this light. You may surprise yourself.