Jesus said that the world would identify His disciples by their intense love for one another. This was - generally speaking - literally fulfilled in the first two centuries of the Christian era. The world looked at the Christians with amazement then, and exclaimed, "Behold how these Christians love one another!". Today the story is different......The church can fulfill her God-ordained function as the light of the world only when there is true Christian fellowship among her members
The Bible plainly and repeatedly teaches that no Christian can have fellowship with God without fellow-shipping with other believers. You cannot walk with God if you do not walk in love with your fellow-believer.The cross on which Jesus died had two planks - a vertical one and a horizontal one: Jesus came to bring peace not only between man and God (vertically) but also between man and man (horizontally)
Often we do not realize what we deprive ourselves of when fellowship is broken with other believers. The Bible tells us that we can discover the breadth, length, depth and height of Christ's love and be filled with all the fullness of God only along "with all the saints" (Eph. 3:17-19)Adapted from One Body In Christ by Zac Poonen, Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore, India, 1974. (Chapter One)===Note: Learning about Zac Poonen is one of the blessings that I have gained from participation at http://sermonindex.net
The question then becomes " who is my fellow believer?" In the world that we live in, that is not an easily answered question nor is the problems that arise because of that easily overcome .............bro Frank
Agreed. Some populate the church without love for the Head of the Church or His people. Let them come but let not their good eternal state be assumed too soon.We are richer if we enjoy good fellowship in our home and in our local church. We are poorer without it. Some blessings are missing if we don't have a fellowship in which we can give and receive love.My experience has been that local church has often functioned as a means of grace even when the benefits were not perceptible at the time.One way to deal with those in the Church with whom fellowship seems difficult is found in 1 Corinthians 16:22: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. Maranatha is a word to remind us that Divine Judgment is coming.Church discipline and right discernment should cause a separation in fellowship from those who profess to follow Christ but show by their actions that they love Him not.We can't always know who is regenerate. We don't always know who is saved. We do have this instruction from 2 Timothy 2:19: The Lord knows those who are is...Let every one who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.Reminder, we have this promise from the Lord Jesus Christ concerning gatherings of genuine disciples of two or more found in Matthew 18:20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.