The Apostles’ Creed (Part 24)

I don’t know about you, but I am a person who needs to mix with other people on a regular basis. Maybe I could even take it further and say God made human beings to be in union or relationship with each other. That is, God did not create us to be hermits or loners or to go it alone and be alone. The first clue to this is found after God created Adam.

Ge 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Granted, this was God dealing with a companion for the male so that the earth might be populated through procreation as God requires in Genesis 1:28 … but the extension of it is that God’s intention for mankind is to be in relationship with each other. We need each other. Apart from marriage and children to populate, loneliness is an issue, as is the fact that no person is able to provide for self without the help of others. I say this in the most basic and generalized way. Within the Church of God, saved souls need to have relationships, communion and fellowship with each other. Apart from caretaking the Church, the Holy Spirit creates “the fellowship of Christians” … or as some would say … “the communion of saints”.

1) The first proof of this must surely come from the fact that we belong to God. In addressing the Church at Corinth, Paul says

1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

He was not speaking to one believer. He was speaking to the body. If the whole body belongs to God, then within the body there needs to be relationships with each other.

2) The second proof must be that we belong to each other. Very often some Christians do not want to belong to other Christians. It might have to do with ethnicity, social status, dress code, appearance, etc. but God deems this as wrong. He says:

Ro 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Each member belongs to all the others. We do not have the right of association! We can’t chose who we will fellowship with. Each believer belongs to every other believer!

3) The next proof is that the Holy Spirit’s task is to create harmony and unity amongst the body. Consider this passage

Eph 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

One Holy Spirit brings you into One body. Therefore there needs to be unity and peace. (Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace). The Spirit accomplishes this unity and peace within the Church through His appointed leaders teaching the Bible, showing believers that these two elements are vital to the Church’s existence and witness within the community in which it exists.

4) The Greek for “communion” is partnership. It might be an idea to read from verse 1 to 16 … but look at this

Eph 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

God by His Spirit holds the body together through proper Biblical teaching and preaching. This provides for maturity and maturity causes … “each part does its work”. For each part to do its work within the local Church, each one needs to have communion and fellowship with each other. We are in partnership with God and that means we are in partnership with each other.

5) Fellowship however can only start when Jesus is Lord. Fellowship starts with God. When one is in union with God then one has peace with God and having peace with God means you are free to love God. Once you love God you have peace with yourself and can love yourself. As soon as you love yourself, because you love God, He enables you to love your neighbor. Where this is general to all mankind, it is specific to the Body of Christ. Once you love the Body of Christ you are able to willingly fellowship with all in the Body of Christ because fellowship starts with fellowship with God! God is the center of all fellowship which leads to worship. How is it possible to have fellowship with God and worship Him together with the Body when you have bad feelings, animosity and even hatred for a brother or a sister in that particular body? All such emotions are sinful and Jesus saves us from those sins meaning that once forgiven we change (repentance) and follow a new lifestyle, shaped by the Gospel and the Bible.

6) When the people of God are gathered in worship as a fellowship of believers and there are issues, sinful ones amongst a few people, that worship and fellowship is tarnished by sin. All fellowship gatherings ought to have the highest desire for holiness because His Royal Highness, the King of Glory and Holiness is with us. It is for this reason that the people of God need to prepare themselves for each and every fellowship gathering, be it in a home or in a Church Building. There ought to be self-searching, confession of sin and commitment to holiness because God by His Spirit will be present. We cannot expect the Spirit to work within the body if the fellowship is carrying offerings that are unclean. Thank You Lord for saying

2Co 6:14 For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

2Co 6:16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Purify our practice in fellowship and worship as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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