When two people meet who both know and love the Lord Jesus Christ there is an immediate camaraderie and oneness. This is because they are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit. Paul called this, “Christ in you the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27.
I have a pastor friend who says that when he sees me something jumps in his heart. We know each other well. Our friendship in Christ is strong. The Christ in my friend and the Christ in me provide this kind of loving response. That’s why Christian fellowship is so important. When we are together our mutual connection to Christ brings strength and encouragement to us.
Paul had been arrested and because he appealed to the Roman Emperor he was put on a ship for what would end up being nearly a year long voyage to Rome. One reason for this was a horrific storm that wrecked their ship. It was a brutal trip! (You can read about it in Acts 27) After boarding a second ship he came to one of his final stops before Rome and encountered a group of believers.
“And...when the brethren heard about us they came to meet us...
and when Paul saw them he thanked God and took courage” (Acts 28:15)
If only we knew the depth of our influence on others.
I think it good for us to consider this truth; that when we are in the company of another believer we are with one who is indwelt by Christ. And if we take the time to reflect on this we can honestly say to one another, “I see Jesus in you.” Granted, the reflection of Jesus can be blurred and clouded by our humanity—especially our selfishness but this doesn’t change the truth of His indwelling. The potential for mutual encouragement is endless. And God wants us to be consciously aware of the fact that one of the primary reasons He put the Spirit of Christ in all of us is that we might enjoy fellowship.
“...that which we have seen and heard we declare to you,
that you also may have fellowship with us;
and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” 1 John 1:3-4
The apostle John says that he declared to his readers what he’d seen and heard of Christ so that they may join him in the fellowship of the saints and this fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ! That’s beautiful. That’s powerful. And then he adds the awesome declaration, ”so that your joy may be full.”
God intends that our fellowship with the Father, with the Son and with each other bring us great joy! I guess that’s what my pastor friend was describing. And the fact is that even though there are many things that can get in the way of us experiencing this fellowship and the joy it brings we, by His grace, can have it! We have to be intentional about it. We have to work at it. We have to take the time to study the scriptures and find God’s directives that lead us to it. It truly is worth the work and effort. The benefits of Christian fellowship and the joy it brings is...priceless.
The Lord has given us the Holy Spirit. He has put us into the body of Christ. We can enjoy Christ-centered fellowship. What a gift!
I encourage you to take a moment and think about your brothers and sisters in Christ and consider the great truth that Christ dwells in each and every one of them. And even though we tend to mess it up and even hurt each other at times I pray the awesome truth of our kinship in Jesus will overshadow all the failures and the shortcomings and cause us to enter in to the joy of Christian fellowship.