John Piper has famously and repeatedly said, “Books don’t change people, paragraphs do — sometimes sentences.” This new blog series “Life-Changing Sentences” takes that to heart and shares powerful sentences from Christian writers on a variety of topics.
“Christian fellowship is…not an end in itself. Fellowship between Christians is for the sake of fellowship with God.” —J.I. Packer1 Tweet This!
There are several misconceptions of fellowship that exist in the church today. Two common ones are that fellowship is not necessary and fellowship is purely horizontal, that is between humans.
By God’s design, fellowship is necessary for the Christian. That is why we are not to give up meeting together, but stir one another up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). Fellowship is not optional, but absolutely vital for a full and healthy Christian life. Consider the following illustration from Packer:
“A body in which the blood does not circulate well is always below par, and fellowship corresponds to the circulation of the blood in the body of Christ. The church gains strength through fellowship, and loses strength without it.”2
If you’ve ever felt weak in your faith, it makes sense you need someone to strengthen you. If you’ve ever felt down, you need someone to build you up. Part of God’s design of the church involves a mutual ministry to one another. Forsaking fellowship, especially weekly church involvement, forsakes God’s work in our lives.
Others wrongly believe that fellowship is just between human beings, or that as long as you pack a bunch of Christians together, fellowship occurs; regardless of the topic of conversation. The truth is that our fellowship together is fellowship with God the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit (1 John 1:3; 2 Corinthians 13:14). When we speak God’s Word to one another, build each other up in the faith, pray for one another, and sing spiritual songs, we enter into fellowship with our Triune God.
Christian—if you want to know and experience God more, fellowship with His people around His Word as much as you can. I pray that Packer’s words in this quote will cause your heart to long for deeper, richer fellowship with God’s people so that you would have deeper and richer fellowship with Him as well.
1 Quote from page 194 of God’s Words, now under the title of 18 Words: The most important words you will ever know.
2 Ibid, page 192.