Encouraging, Living, Reaching


The Three Faces of Fellowship Part 3: Partnership

The Three Faces of Fellowship Part 3: Partnership
Oct 20 Tags: fellowship | 1 Response Print Save as PDF

In the previous articles, we looked at fellowship from the perspective of family and friendship.  In this article we will examine the same subject from the other aspect presented in Scripture, the aspect of a business or partnership.

When our Lord was twelve years old He was recorded as saying, “I must be about My Father’s business (Luke 2:49)”. These are the only recorded words of the Lord Jesus from age 12 to 30 and from them we learn what was truly in His heart. He showed us how to be consecrated to the Father.

Even as He went about His daily business in Nazareth, carpentering, participating in the synagogue and serving His family, in His heart of hearts He was doing it all unto God.  Truly His fellowship was with the Father.

A new kind of business

Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee calling people to leave their business in exchange for a new business, to live and work and even die for the cause of the gospel.  Just as the sons of Zebedee woke every morning to catch fish with their father and mend their nets, so too, the disciples of Christ are to wake every morning ready to catch men, constantly mending the nets, i.e. the methods, we use to catch them, and teaching others to do the same.

A tiny society

Antarctic Edge is a documentary by Dena Seidel which traces the expedition of a team of researchers gathering information at the South Pole.  The team consists of 22 scientists, 6 support personnel, 25 crew, plus officers and engineers, all of whom have left kin and country to gather valuable data which they believe will save the world from environmental disaster.

When living on their ice breaking ship for up to 30, 40 or 50 days at a time, the crew becomes its own tiny society, cut off from the world.  Relying on no one else but themselves, this isolated band provides everything for themselves from medical to mechanical needs, from social to physical needs, as well as sharing food, recreation and training.

Helping one another

The church is a tiny isolated ship living amidst a dark cold world as well.  We too live, eat, work and die together.  We too are carrying vital data that will save the world.  Our fellowship consists of helping one another conduct our Father’s business.  Like an Antarctic research vessel, we have a purpose for being together.  And we serve for a limited time.  No one knows the day or hour when our work will cease.

Making a contribution

We read in Romans 15:26 that “it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who [were] in Jerusalem.”  This is the essence of fellowship, “to make a certain contribution.”  That contribution may be our resources.  It may be our skills or abilities.  It may be our time.

But above all, it is our contribution.  The Captain of souls has factored our contribution into His Master plan and orchestrated a part for us to play in His Great Commission.

A fellowship of allegiance

In The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein Gandalf holds council to determine how they will destroy Sauron’s evil ring.  Despite great danger to himself, Frodo volunteers to carry the ring.  Immediately and unswervingly, nine others step forward and pledge allegiance to protect and support Frodo in his journey.

“You have my sword,” Aragorn promises.  “You have my bow,” Legolas avows.  “And you have my axe,” Gimli affirms.  Samwise Gamgee, Pippin and Merry all pledge allegiance too, even though they had no sword, bow or axe to boast of.  Willing to make a contribution, they tried to help in any way they could.  They would do anything for Gandalf, and anything to destroy the ring.

The furtherance of the gospel

So it is with the church.  Into the meager hands of sinners this privilege of preaching the gospel has been committed.  The “ring” of sin, which tempts men to evil, needs to be eradicated from men’s lives one heart at a time.

To us has been granted the privilege of using our gifts and abilities to further the spread of the gospel.  Let us fellowship with one another.  Let us make a certain contribution to the Great Commission.

Shane Johnson

Shane Johnson has been commended from Bethel-Park Bible Chapel since 1999.  He resides in Brantford, Ontario with his wife Shelly and his five children.  He has his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in History.  His passions are teaching children, inspiring young people, writing, music and playing soccer.

One Response to The Three Faces of Fellowship Part 3: Partnership

  1. James

    Hi, Shane. Very nice work. I just have one thought (sorry if this is picking a nit).

    You say, “Just as the sons of Zebedee woke every morning to catch fish with their father and mend their nets, so too, the disciples of Christ are to wake every morning ready to catch men, constantly mending the nets, i.e. the methods, we use to catch them, and teaching others to do the same.”

    This is something I’ve had questions about for a long time. The inference (and I get this from many of my friends who are gifted or interested in evangelism) is that everything about the Lord’s work is focused on winning souls. Obviously, this is important, since it is the beginning of every Saint’s relationship with Him.

    But it bears mentioning that a LOT (perhaps most) of what we do for the Lord is about serving each other (gift of helps, encouragement, teaching, pastoring, prayer, healing…), serving those in the world around us, and (most importantly), serving the Lord in worship (which I take to be our primary calling and eternal purpose).

    Of the five Levitical offerings, only one has to do with direct atonement for sin (the sin offering). The others speak of other aspects of the work of Calvary. Three are for the purpose of wafting a sweet savor into the nostrils of God.

    To reduce the entire function of the fellowship of Saints, in the Church and in the churches, to winning souls and equipping others to do so is to reduce the Gospel to a Divine and eternal pyramid scheme. We need to be “doing the work of an evangelist” to be sure, while we have the opportunity. But the bigger purpose is to Worship Him.

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