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Fellowship in the Gospel

(Ephesians 3:1-13)

Lesson 12 -- second quarter 2009
May 17, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

What's reported "of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given" to me?

Are there nationalities that I have difficulty accepting as fellowheirs with Christ?

"Now...might be known by the church" -- what's my church making known...now?

Have I -- today already -- made use of that bold access with confidence?

So, would I suffer tribulation for a fellow Christian?

Rejoicing in fellowship?

Give me at least five good reasons why I should rejoice in the fellowship of the saints! Just what is so great about this fellowship? In fact, what does the word fellowship mean anyway?

This particular usage translates the Greek word koinonia, which literally means "partnership." A little more light falls on the subject from the word koinonos (from which koinonia comes), which means "sharer." If you would like to go back a little further in these words' family tree, you will discover that koinonos springs from a word meaning "common."

Toss all this into a bowl and mix vigorously. Result? Fellowship is the partnership between individuals who view themselves as sharers who enjoy a commonality of life and purpose.

Well, have you thought of five good reasons yet? Let me see if I can mention any of them. I want to observe some benefits God wants us to enjoy from this sharing partnership called "fellowship."

Everyone takes his emotional and spiritual spills. At times we fall repeatedly and sometimes it may almost seem not worth the effort to get up and continue on. I am extremely grateful for Christian friends who have helped me up. And knowing they will still help me even if I fall again gives me further courage to continue on. "For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up" (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Other times I have the infamous "blahs." I feel cheerless for either good reasons or for no apparent reason. You might say I have times of emotional, perhaps even spiritual, coldness. My feelings just refuse to cooperate. Thank God for partners and sharers who can instill some of their emotional and spiritual heat in me. "Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?" (Ecclesiastes 4:11). "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another" (1 Corinthians 12:25). "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ" (Colossians 2:2).

God has blessed me with friends who are aware of the continuous spiritual warfare that goes on about us. When I am under spiritual assault, I can better withstand the enemy when God's human warriors rise to my defense. "And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The devil may have to defeat a bunch of us before he can defeat one of us!

This next one is a bit disconcerting. I cannot hope to develop and mature spiritually on my own. God, in His mercy, has placed me in His body (the Church) so that I might benefit from the contributions of every other member of that body. I have available all the resources to become what God wishes me to be! "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:16).

I haven't enough space left to tell you about the blessings of correction (James 5:19-20), healing (James 5:14-16), and individual fruitfulness and ability (John 15:5). Fellowship is a blessing!!

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