When you think of fellowship what do you think about? I have been somewhat programmed over the years to think of pizza parties, football games, pot luck dinners, and various other gatherings usually centered around food or games. The central idea is usually congregating over a certain themed event. I found myself in the midst of a community group meeting and a notion hit me pretty hard. There is something much more in depth about the notion of fellowship than has been emphasized by a majority of Christians. I looked around at the diverse crowd that had gathered. There were people from different backgrounds whether it be ethnic or socio-economic; there were younger and older members in the same place for the same purpose, namely, to learn, share and grow in Christ.
There has been, in the past as well as presently, an emphasis on the union with Christ in the order of salvation. It is “in Christ” that we are the partakers of the benefits of Christ’s work of redemption. So it is “in Christ” that we are called, regenerated, justified, sanctified, and glorified. There is another glorious truth that Wayne Grudem points out:
“We are not simply in Christ as isolated individual persons. Since Christ is the head of the body, which is the church (Eph 5:23), all who are in union with Christ are also related to one another in his body. This joining together makes us “one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12-27)(from his “Systematic Theology” pg. 844
It is this “in Christness” that is at the center of all of our fellowship. That is the beauty of the church. This “in Christness” is the glue of unity that hold this diverse body together. No matter how great the differences I find with a fellow brother or sister we always have a locus in the person of Christ. Louis Berkhof puts it this way:
“The union of believers with Christ furnishes the basis for the spiritual unity of all believers, and consequently for the communion of the saints. They are animated by the same spirit, are filled with the same love, stand in the same faith, are engaged in the same warfare, and are bound for the same goal. Together they are interested in the things of Christ and His Church, of God and His Kingdom.” (from his “Systematic Theology” pg. 453