June 12, 2012

1 Corinthians 1:9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

For once I really like the turn of phrase of the NIV, but there’s a difference in nuance between the NIV and the Japanese. Where the NIV says that we have been called into fellowship with Christ, the Japanese says that we have entered into fellowship by God’s calling. The whole matter of fellowship with God is of the utmost importance for everyone, because that is why we were created. We cannot have that fellowship apart from Christ, because our sins separate us from God, and only the cross of Christ bridges that gap. However, some who have accepted the atoning work of Christ still don’t value the fellowship that is available to them. That’s an incredible waste! The whole point of heaven is an eternity of unbridled fellowship with God. If we don’t value such fellowship now, what are we looking forward to? This lack of understanding of fellowship with God is evident in two areas in particular: church attendance and personal devotions. Far too many people look on church attendance as an obligation, or as no more than a social occasion. We do gather for fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, but when Jesus said that “where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them,” (Matthew 18:20) joint worship should be our highest priority. When it comes to personal devotions, there too people view it as an obligation to be avoided, when actually it is “face time” with the One who loves us more than anyone else ever could. I would go so far as to say that no one is a genuine Christian without having at least tasted fellowship with God, because God always responds to genuine faith, but many don’t recognize what they have, and so don’t seek to refresh and deepen that fellowship.

I can never forget an experience I had in a small (4 person) prayer meeting. As we sat in a circle singing praise to God, just our voices, I felt such a weight of joy that in my heart I told the Lord, “If You have anything more for me to do on this earth, You’d better let up, because my physical being can’t take more of this.” I certainly look forward to an eternity of that! I have had many, many times of intimate fellowship with God, though none as intense as that one. They have come in corporate settings, they have come in private devotions, and they have come at times when I didn’t expect them at all. I am deeply grateful for each one, but as a pastor, my heart aches for each of the believers to have such fellowship themselves, and to value and seek it. We can’t generate it, though some try with psychological manipulation in church services, but we can hold ourselves available for it, knowing that God is faithful, just as this verse says. If we don’t gather with other believers for worship, and if we don’t take time regularly to read the Bible, pray, and listen to God, then we can’t expect much in the way of fellowship with Him!

Father, thank You for Your overwhelming grace toward me. Help me never take it lightly. I ask for wisdom and anointing so that the eyes of the believers may be opened to the incredible riches that are available to them in fellowship with You. May we as a church be marked by Your presence, when we gather and in our individual lives, so that many will see and be drawn into salvation themselves, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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