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The necessity of renewed fellowship through the church

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By Brian Owens

“…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3)
You have probably heard (or said yourself) “I don’t need the church to worship; I can worship God here at home (or on the golf course, fishing lake, etc.).”
Now, let me first say that yes, you can worship God wherever you are; but the fact that worship is not limited to corporate gatherings on the Lord’s Day does not mean that those gatherings are not needed. In fact, most people who make such statements don’t worship God anytime or anywhere.
John writes in 1 John 1:3 that one of the reasons he is writing his letter is so that his readers will have fellowship with him; and this fellowship is an extension of his fellowship with God the Father and God the Son (and by implication, God the Holy Spirit).
John makes no distinction between worshipping God and worshipping with other Christians. He assumes that they are one in the same. In other words, if you are in fellowship with him, it is because you are in fellowship with God. Christian faith is personal, but it is not private.
Here is the point: when you encounter the word of eternal life for yourself you tell others about him and you fellowship with the community of faith. This is the appropriate response to our experiencing Christ personally. We tell others about him. We want them in the community of faith. Christianity not just about “getting saved;” it’s about being in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We are not only in fellowship with Christ; we are in community with one another. You see, while the purpose of the preaching of the Gospel is meant to bring people to reconciliation with God, it is also meant to bring about holiness in the lives of those people (1:6). One of the primary ways is through the local church.
For John, this is the meaning of eternal life – just as the son has fellowship with the father, we are to be in fellowship with one another. The late John Stott wrote that “Fellowship is a specifically Christian word and denotes that common participation in the grace of God, the salvation of Christ and the indwelling Spirit which is the spiritual birthright of all believers.” Our fellowship with each other is affected by our fellowship with God, and vice versa.
Are you a believer in Christ who is out of fellowship with the local church? If so, repent of this sin and seek out a Bible-believing, Christ-exalting church and join yourself to this body of believers, giving of yourself to service in God’s kingdom and the mutual edification of the body of Christ.
This is God’s will for you.

Brian Owens is an associate pastor with youth and children emphasis at Farmdale Baptist Church. He can be reached via e-mail at brian@farmdalebaptist.com.