1 John 1:5-7
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 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.”
We are designed for fellowship; not just for gathering together, but for deeply connected fellowship. Here are three dimensions of authentic Christian fellowship:
- Shared commitment to Jesus and the truth and love of the gospel.
- Shared experience of a dynamic, personal relationship with God and each other as we live, work, and worship together.
- Shared commitment to the behavior standards of the Christian faith.
Deep commitment to Jesus motivates and empowers deep commitment to each other. Our attitude and behavior toward other people reveals the depth of our commitment to Jesus. Notice, for example, how often John uses “we” in this epistle. He is talking about us. He is talking about the fellowship and culture of the professing church.
Shared commitment to Jesus and to the truth/love of the gospel produces a shared experience of seeking to live that commitment in our everyday life, sharing our journey (which includes victories and struggles), encouraging and admonishing each other, teaching and learning from each other, and joining in prayer and worship toward God.
Authentic fellowship also produces shared commitment to God’s standards, as we support and encourage each other to live in obedience to the commandments of Jesus. Indeed, obedience is the natural evidence of God’s love and truth in our lives.
“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3.10)
*Note for those of you who lead an organization, team, or ministry.
Every leader needs to understand the physics of fellowship. An organization, team, or ministry performs at its highest level when there is true fellowship among its members; that is, when there is passionate commitment to shared beliefs and behavior standards, and there is a powerful shared experience in the pursuit of the team’s purpose and goals. This is commonly called “culture,” and it is an enormously powerful driver of human and team effectiveness.