Called to Fellowship

By Pastor Teck Uy

In his epistle to the believers in Corinth, the apostle Paul expressed his joy and thanksgiving to God, saying, “I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you” (1 Cor. 1:4-5). This kind of thanksgiving is expressed many times over in churches all over the world, because it proves that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that is preached week after week is effective in transforming lives. Even in our own spiritual family, many lives have been changed and innumerable blessings have been received because of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To better appreciate the effect of the gospel we received, we only need to look back and see what God has done. But the Lord is not done yet. He will sustain and keep us strong until the end.

The reason why we continue to receive God’s manifold blessings is that He is faithful. The apostle Paul magnified this truth when he said, “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful” (1 Cor. 1:9). For as long as we are in fellowship with Jesus, we are secure in God’s hands. It is through our fellowship with him that we will come to know him more and his will and his purposes in our lives. Moreover, it is our fellowship with the Lord Jesus that serves as the basis of our fellowship with one another. It is almost impossible for a believer to grow in his faith and remain strong without having to fellowship with other believers. The fact of the matter is that we need each other. To emphasize this, King Solomon said, “Two are better than one…If one falls down, his friend can help him up…Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:9-12).

As we wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, many distractions will come our way. Hence, we are required to be vigilant, so that we will not fail. The better way to hold onto our faith is to come together in fellowship. This is the reason why the apostle Paul admonished believers to do just that. He said, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:23-25). It is amazing what fellowship can do to keep us spiritually strong and fit. Much encouragement is received when we see that our fellow believers are praying for us and that they, too, have their own portion of suffering, yet are holding onto their faith. Besides, the testimonies of others of how they overcame their own struggles in life can greatly strengthen our own faith. On our own, we might not be able to spend 30 minutes of devotional time, but when we are in a fellowship, we can go for hours. This proves that we need each other to be able to endure in living out our faith until the coming of the Lord.

We can see this principle in physical exercise. If we exercise on our own, we tend to get tired or bored easily. But if we do it with a couple of friends or as a group, we can stretch it to the maximum, because we do not see it just as exercise time, but as fellowship. Imagine yourself doing Tai Chi. This exercise is designed to be done in slow motion. If you do it with a group of people, you are able to execute the steps in the required speed. But if you do it alone, you tend to speed it up, just to finish it and be done with it. As a result, you miss all the benefits of Tai Chi. Similarly, some believers are missing out on a lot of blessings because they choose to isolate themselves from others. They go on their own pace, trying to carry their burdens on their own, rather than letting others in the fellowship help them. Because they are alone, they tend to focus on themselves and live in self-pity. They magnify even the smallest problem, because there is no one around who could help them refocus their eyes on the more important things in life and trust in God.

Friends, life ahead is tough and we need each other. Let us encourage one another to meet together in fellowship. The Lord who joined us in fellowship with him and with one another is faithful. He will surely help us overcome all of our struggles as we stand our ground together. Let us glorify the Lord together and continue to fellowship with one another as a spiritual family. Hallelujah!