Webster defines the word “Fellowship” as “companionship, friendly association, a mutual sharing, a group of people with the same interest, brotherhood. The Church is all of that and more. The Apostle Paul’s favorite metaphor of the church is “The body of Christ.” We sing,
“Bless be the tie that binds,
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds,
Is like to that above.
Elton Trueblood says of the early Church, “The first Christians were sometimes divisive, sometimes snobbish, sometimes deceitful, but they had no doubt concerning the nature of the standard from which they were departing. It was the standard of a loving concern for one another and for all men, in the sense of a burning desire for the welfare of the other person. Though most of the early Christians were glaringly imperfect, the affectionate quality of their fellowship was actually noted by the outside world.”
At Crabtree Valley Baptist Church we recognize our imperfections, our differences and even our peculiarities but there is no doubt concerning the loving concern that exists for one another.
I remember reading about three little boys that were sitting on a curb crying. A concerned passerby stopped to see what was going on. When he asked, “What is wrong, why are you crying?” one of the little fellows quickly responded, “We have a pain in Billy’s stomach.” Sharing our mutual aches and pains is part of a loving Christian fellowship. A portion of our Wednesday night prayer meetings is devoted to prayer and concern for fellow members as well as friends and family members who are important in our lives but not a part of our fellowship. We constantly hear words of appreciation for the prayer cards that we mail to those on our prayer list.
The writer of 1 John says, “This is the message you heard from the beginning; We should love one another…..We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers….Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence… And this is his command; to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:11,14,18-19, 23)
Jesus himself said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I commend you for being a fellowship of believers that love one another.
In His Love, Charles