Spiritual Fellowship

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” —I John 1:3

FELLOWSHIP MEANS ‘PARTNERSHIP’; ‘friendly intercourse’; ‘heart-to-heart’ communion. To the extent that we are drawn together by the things we have in common with others, we enjoy fellowship, unity, harmony. In Israel at the First Advent of Christ, there were in existence various fellowships. For instance, there existed a fellowship among the Pharisees. They professed to be an especially holy people, and their strict observance of the letter of the Law produced a fellowship among them. Then there was another fellowship among the Sadducees. These were a class much more liberal in their outlook than the Pharisees. They made a boast of their freedom of thought. Accepting only as much of the Old Testament as suited them, they denied the resurrection, and believed in neither angel nor spirit. The Essenes were another sect, or fellowship, among the Jews. They were very strict as to how they treated the body, and were careful as to what they ate and drank. In fact, they were the ‘food faddists’ of their day. They also claimed to be very holy, and continually giving attention to these things, produced a certain fellowship among themselves.

Similarly, throughout the whole course of human history, men have had their fellowships, their sects, associations, and clubs. Today there is a fellowship among artists, for they can talk to one another in a language they understand. There also exists a fellowship among scientists, musicians, computer people, and those who follow other callings. Their talk to one another of the things they have in common produces fellowship. Then again, people on various social planes have their fellowships: those on lower social levels usually not being admitted into fellowship with those higher up.


At our Lord’s First Advent, a new fellowship began—a Christian fellowship—more real, satisfying, exclusive, and at the same time more holy, than any the world has to offer. “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”—Theme Text

One of the conditions upon which this fellowship can be enjoyed is that we give up the fellowship of the world. Through justification and the begetting of the Holy Spirit old things have passed away, and all things have become new; and we find that we cannot fellowship with the world as we formerly did. We have so little in common. As we come into contact with those whose affections are set on business, the home, or some personal ambition, we realize that true fellowship is lacking. Indeed, one of the conditions of the Christian calling is that we become crucified to the world.—Gal. 6:14

Then again, when a man of the world comes into an assembly of the Lord’s people, and finds that nothing but the Scriptures are studied, and that only spiritual things are discussed, he usually says, “I can’t get on with those people,” and quickly drops out. Thus, the Lord’s people, if faithful, lose the fellowship of the world; for those of the world wish to have little to do with us. As our Lord foretold, “They shall separate you from their company,” and “shall put you out of the synagogues.” (Luke 6:22; John 16:2) Therefore, as the apostle suggests, by coming into Christ we are not only crucified unto the world, but the world is crucified unto us. (Gal. 6:14) As an offset to these somewhat trying experiences, we can say with the beloved apostle, ‘Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ’.


If we desired to have fellowship with a king, or with one of the other ‘great ones’ of this world, we would find the way barred. Before one can be admitted to the fellowship of an earthly monarch, certain formalities have to be observed; credentials must be examined; and an express invitation given, with instructions as to time and place of meeting. So our entrance into fellowship with the great King and his dear Son, our Lord Jesus, is conditional.

We must turn away from sin, and accept Jesus as our Redeemer and Advocate. Realizing that our Lord atoned for sin by the sacrifice of himself, that it cost him all he had to secure for us forgiveness and justification, we must be willing to give up the world and its fellowship and all earthly interests, surrendering ourselves fully to do the will of God. Our acceptance, manifested by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, gives us access to the Father, and fellowship with him. When we are ‘cold-shouldered’ by the world, and cut off from worldly fellowship, how comforting to realize that our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ!

In the first part of this verse (I John 1:3) John says, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us.” As we have previously said, fellowship depends upon having certain things in common. The Lord’s people are called from various walks of life, and frequently, along natural lines, we have very little in common with one another. But in Christ, old things have passed away, and all things have become new, for we have received into good and honest hearts the precious truths that have been declared unto us, and now, having these in common, and setting our affection upon them and conforming our lives to them, we have a very real basis for fellowship. (II Cor. 5:16,17) Let us notice some of these things of the Spirit that God’s people have in common. We believe:

  1. That man was created perfect—that he was not a product of evolution.
  2. That the perfect man, Adam, fell into sin and came under the sentence of death—not eternal torment.
  3. That death is an absolute unconscious condition. This separates us in belief from all those who accept the devil’s lie, “Ye shall not surely die.”—Gen. 3:4
  4. That all mankind have been allowed to suffer on account of one man’s disobedience (Rom. 5:12,19), making it possible for all to be redeemed by one sacrifice for sin.
  5. That the man, Christ Jesus, gave himself a ransom for all, and that when Jesus came to earth to provide this ransom, he “was made flesh”; that up to the age of thirty he was nothing more nor less than a perfect human being.—John 1:14; I John 4:2; Heb. 2:14, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott; RSV
  6. That our Lord’s ransom sacrifice releases us from Adamic condemnation, and provides a covering for our sins and imperfections. In other words, justification by faith is something all Christians have in common.
  7. That in order to experience the begetting to the new nature, we must lay down in sacrifice our justified human nature with all its hopes, receiving Jesus not only as our Redeemer, but also as our pattern and example. Indeed, justification to life is only given in this Gospel Age on condition that we are willing to do this. (John 1:12,13) By consecrating our lives to the divine service we become joint-sacrificers with Jesus, participating in the “better sacrifices” of this age.—Heb. 9:23
  8. That we have a glorious hope of immortality. This is another blessing all Christians have in common. The things of the present time do not seem nearly so important if we firmly grasp the great promise of life eternal, and this helps to bring us into fellowship and enables us continually to think and speak of things from the standpoint of the eternal future.
  9. That we are now living in “the days of the Son of man,” and are rejoicing in this great truth, while some are described as “ashamed before him” during these days of his presence.—I John 2:28
  10. That the Day of Vengeance has come, and the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress. Some Christians think we are living in a day of great reform, and that the church is about to Christianize the world. Surely we can have no common interest with these, for we know that the time, for the world’s conversion is in an age still future, and will be accomplished through the Messianic Kingdom.
  11. That the consummation of the divine plan will be the resurrection and restitution of all mankind, brought about by Messiah’s Kingdom soon to be established in all the earth.

In this harvest time of the Gospel Age, these precious truths have been made plain to the church that we might have a firm basis for fellowship one with another.


The fellowship of kindred minds is not merely intended as a social benefit, but as a vital means to a very important end—our edification and building up as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. It is for sharpening our spiritual perceptions, helping us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and for provoking one another unto love and good works, allowing us to have the help and assistance of that which every joint and part of the mystical body of Christ is able to supply.—Rom. 12:2; Heb. 10:24; Prov. 27:17


Finally, after coming into Christ, and in order for our fellowship with the Father, his Son, and with one another, to continue and become more real, we must “walk in the light, as he is in the light.” “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”—I John 1:7

By living up to the light of the truth which the Lord has given us, we have “fellowship one with another”—with the fellow members of the body of Christ—and can share with them all the blessed possibilities that such a fellowship is able to bring.

Blest be the tie that binds
       Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
       Is like to that above.

We share our mutual woes;
       Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
       The sympathizing tear.

Our glorious hope revives
       Our courage every day
While each in expectation strives
       To run the heavenly way.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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