A talk presented at the 2014 Augustine Presbytery Family Camp - these talks emphasize growth in spiritual discipline.
Fellowship: The Communion of Saints
Matthew 18:20 - “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 - And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
1) Defining Fellowship - We confess that we “believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins. . .” The well-known term for “communion,” koinonia, is translated in the NT as “fellowship” (12), “contribution” (2), “participation” (2), and “sharing” (3). Consider Philemon 1:6: “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (NIV). Christian fellowship is sharing life together under the terms of the new covenant because of our union in Christ. This involves friendship, sharing of material needs, working together, and the spiritual communion we have with Christ and His Body in worship, and especially the Eucharist.
2) Describing Fellowship - The communion of saints is “a kind of prelude of heaven” (Witsius). The Westminster Confession says we are to have “communion in each other's gifts and graces” and our communion with one another binds us “to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man (26.1).”
3) Duties of Fellowship - Not only are we bound to engage in spiritual worship and liturgical participation (Heb. 10:24ff), we have relational responsibilities. We are told to “love one another” (Rom. 13:8, 1Pet. 1:22, 1Jo. 3:11), to “encourage one another” (1Th. 5:11, Heb. 3:13, 10:25), to “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Rom. 14:19), to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24), to “serve one another” (Gal. 5:13), to “admonish one another” (Rom. 15:14), to “be devoted to one another” and to “give preference to one another in honor” (Rom. 12:10), to “regard one another as more important than himself” (Phil. 3:3), to “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (1Pet. 5:5), to “be of the same mind with one another” (Rom. 15:5, 12:16), to show “forbearance to one another in love” (Eph. 4:2), and to “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:21).
Come to the Great Table aright.
Share the Lesser Table abundantly.