Today I was thinking about the church. Usually, people ask, "Did you go to the church?" I believe that is the wrong question. The question should be, are you in the church? The church is a spiritual assembly of believers with the LORD, and we should be in that state of assembly all the time. When we meet as a church on the weekends, we are just symbolically externalizing a spiritual fellowship that should already be in our hearts. My question really is about this fellowship. What is this fellowship, and why do we need it?
First about this fellowship: In John, it is put this way:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—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 1:1-3
What John says is that he, along with his friends, are in constant fellowship with the LORD. John says he is proclaiming the eternal life that comes out of this fellowship to have fellowship with others. That is the apt definition of the church. We should be proclaiming the eternal life that is in us. -- The very eternal life that comes out of our relationship with our LORD. So are you in the church? Or are you merely going to the church? Think about it!
Now how can you be in fellowship with the LORD all the time? Well, we need to see, look upon, and touch the WORD of life all the time. That is, we should be hearing and talking to the LORD in our hearts all the time. Can we do this? The problem is, our LORD is heavenly and spiritual, whereas we are fleshly and spiritual. How can we be in constant touch with the LORD? John provides a solution here:
If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:6-7
So to have fellowship with the LORD, we need to walk in the light. What do you mean by walking in the light? It is definitely not acting to be a perfect person. If we are perfect, where is the question of the LORD cleansing us from all sin? If you read further, it says walking in light means confessing that we are bad people!
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10
In the above verse, watch the word "we." So even the great apostle John who wrote the book of revelation need to confess his sin. So our fellowship with our LORD is the one of confession and forgiveness. That is how an earthy can have an association with the heavenly (1 Cor 15:48-49).
So now that we are clear about our fellowship with the LORD what about our fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. There are two parts to this relationship. One is about watching, and another is about serving. If you read here:
Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” - Matt 26:38
So when our brother or sister's soul is sorrowful unto death, we need to be with them. Our heavenly brother Jesus was sorrowful to die for sin, our earthly brother and sisters might be sorrowful by spiritually dying out of sin. We need to be there with them so that the eternal life in us will revive them, and sometimes the eternal life in them will revive us.
Now, in fellowship with the LORD, we are all one, our LORD does not discriminate us with different levels of fellowship. However, he does provide us with different kind of gifts. These gifts are given not to boss over others, but to serve one another. Serve in what way?
But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called "today." Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. - Heb 3:13
So next time you are in the church shaking hands with your brother or sister, remember your fellowship with the LORD and your duty to watch and serve your fellow believer to the best of your ability.