These studies examine the traditional doctrines held by the Church of Christ to see if they are actually taught in the scriptures. This is not an "anti-Church of Christ" site. I was reared in the Church of Christ and have preached in the Church of Christ since 1968. My desire is that we walk righteously before God, not according to traditions of men. Bernie Parsons
Communion & Fellowship
By Bernie Parsons - February 05, 2002
I often hear my brothers and sisters in the church talk about enjoying good fellowship. It seems that there are different concepts as to what fellowship truly is. Some of our more liberal brethren think that it is a dinner in the fellowship hall. Some of our more conservative brethren think that showing up at the church building at the same time on the same day is fellowship. Still others think that it means to share a common doctrine, so that those who agree with us on everythingor at least on the issues that countare in fellowship with us, while those who hold a different viewpoint are out of our fellowship.
Would it not be better to understand what the Bible teaches on fellowship? Fellowship comes from communion, so that we must understand communion before we can understand fellowship. I know what many are thinkingCommunionisnt that the unleavened bread that we eat and the grape juice that we drink on Sunday? Exactly! But do you understand the concept of communion?
1 Corinthians10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
You might well be asking yourselves, What has the communion to do with fellowship? Everything, my dear friends!
I Corinthians 10:16-17 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
What does the Apostle Paul say? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. This is where my one-cup or single-container brothers and sisters overlook the simple, basic truth. It is not necessary for us all to break from one piece of bread or drink from the same container in order to enjoy communion with the Lord, and with each other. It is not proximity that binds us--rather it is the communion with the Lord that binds us. (If it were proximity, all Christians from around the world would have to gather in one place and break from the same loaf and drink from the same cup!)
John 6: 50-63 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The breaking and eating of the unleavened bread and the drinking of the fruit of the vine signify outwardly what is taking place inwardly. As the breadthe body of Christis assimilated into our own flesh through the digestive system, so we recognize that Christ is in us, and we are in Him. His flesh is our flesh. His body is in our body, and our body is in His bodythe church. We are one and the same. We, as the body, listen to Him, as the head, and follow His instructions and teachings.
Ephesians 5: 29-30 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
Colossians 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. "
His blood is absorbed into our bloodstream and flows in our arteries and veins, so that His blood is in our blood, and we are in His blood.
Matthew 26: 26-28 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Christ is the head, abiding in heaven, and we are His body, abiding on the earth.
Ephesians 1: 20-23 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
Colossians 1:18-24 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Oneness with Jesus comes when we are partakers of Him. We become at one with Him, in purpose, in mind, in spirit, and in body. We use the word atonement without understanding it. Broken down, it means at-one-ment, a state of being as one, or at one, with God, through Jesus.
Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
John 17: 20-23 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
This is atonementwhen we are joined to God through Christ Jesus. This is proof positive to the world that we are onewhen we learn and keep the ways of God.
I John 1:1-7 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 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. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But 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.
Our fellowship comes not from criteria that we set as conditions of fellowship. No, our fellowship with one another comes from the fact that we first have fellowship with Christ. When we commune with Christ, when He is truly in us, then we are at one with Him. If I am at one with Him, and you are at one with Him, then we are at one with each other. The word commune is derived from a root word that means commonwe commune with each other through that which we have in commonthe body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, our fellowship with one another results from our individual fellowship with Christ! That is why we cannot disfellowship one another. (Read Disfellowshipping.) The Lord adds to the church, and the Lord takes away.
Acts 2: 46-47 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
When the Lord adds us to the churchHis bodythen we are members (organs, parts) of the same body! Being joint members of the same body puts us in fellowship with each other, just as the organs of our physical bodies share a common purposethe healthy growth and maintenance of the body!
Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Ephesians 4:1-6 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Colossians 3: 10-16 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Since we are members, or parts, of the same body of Christthe church of Christthen it is in our best interests to seek the health of the whole body. Our role is not to mortally wound the body by cutting off or destroying its members, but to heal and restore the wounded body. This gets to the root of the Christian life, that wonderful attribute of God known as charitylove that is unearned, unmerited, undeserved. It is the same love that motivated God to give up His son upon the cross to take away our sins.
John 3: 14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
This love is exhibited in the care that each member of the church has for every member of that same body.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
I Corinthians 12:25-27 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
For a better understanding of our fellowship within the body of Christ, read the following scriptures: I Corinthians Chapter 12, Romans Chapter 12, and Ephesians Chapters 4 & 5. These give detailed descriptions of how we work together for the good of the whole body, the church of Christ.
Being in Christ means that we keep His commandmentsafter, all does not this fleshly body of ours follow the instructions of our head?
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
I John 2:1-5 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
I John 5: 2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
John 15:1-14 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
When we obey the Lord, keeping His commandments, we are inextricably intertwined. We are bound together in the body of Christ, in fellowship with one another because we are in fellowship with Christ. Since we share a common bodythe churchwe share a love for each other by loving the body of Christ, His church. We also share a common existence, for we could not survive spiritually without Christ. We are like branches that sprout from a common trunk, as Jesus indicated.
I John 4: 7-16 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Galatians 5: 13-16 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
When the Lord adds us to His body, His Holy Spirit lives within us. Since we share the same Spirit, again we are in fellowship with one another.
1 Corinthians 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Romans 8: 8-11 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
1 John 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
Joined in one body and spirit, His body and blood becoming a part of us, we commune with Jesus, keeping His commandments, thereby fellowshipping one another. What the Lord has joined together, man cannot sunder.
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Mark 10: 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Ephesians 5: 30-32 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
I Corinthians 1: 9-10 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1 John 1:3 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.
We need to realize that the Lord adds us to the church, and the Lord can remove our name from the Book of Life. You and I can do neither of these. The church of Christ, His body, is what we have in common. We are in fellowship with one another when we are in Him. Our goal is not to wound the body, but to seek its healing and growth. The Lord wants His body to be strong and mature.
Love, in Christ,
BernieBack To Top