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Asher Intrater: "The Purpose of Fellowship"

For the believer in Jesus, the meaning of our life stems from our relationship with God. We must remember as well that a relationship between God as a Father and Jesus as a Son preceded our relationship with them.

God not only loves the Son, but He loves each one of us as well. God’s commitment to relationship is first to Jesus and then equally to us. The meaning of existence is our commitment to relationship to Jesus. This meaning is also an extension of God’s commitment to relationship with us.

“That they may be one just as We are one.” (John 17:22)

A network of committed relationships exists among God, Jesus, and all of us. This network of relationships is the goal to which all of our efforts and activities as believers should be directed.

I used to think that among the various activities we have as believers (such as prayer, Bible study, and evangelism), fellowship was akin to a certain break or recess from the more important activities. It was as if one was really doing the work of the kingdom, and then when he got tired he would take a break to relax with other people. Seen in this way, any strong commitment toward relationship-building is a diversion from the work of the kingdom. However, we now see relationships as the goal and as the very nature of God Himself. This completely reorients our priorities. Instead of our relationships being simply a support mechanism, we find that evangelism, prayer, and Bible study are actually methods and instruments to bring about a certain end. This end is unity, harmony, and relationship with one another.

In 1 John 1:3 we find:

"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."

All that John bore testimony to and his purpose for writing about Jesus was to bring about a goal—that we might have fellowship with him and the other disciples and the Father and Jesus. Any time a ministry extends beyond the scope of relationships involved in it, that ministry has gone beyond the very goal that it was designed to produce.

This fact, which might appear to limit the scope of ministries, in the long run will make all ministries more effective. Jesus said that it was by our love and commitment to relationships with one another that the world would know that we are believers in Him. Building relationships with one another is the most efficient and effective form of spreading the message of the gospel.

People who are not well grounded in the security of supportive relationships will often turn to outward achievement to try to create an appearance of security. Much of what is done in the world—seemingly great achievements in business, education, and medicine—is really just the outcome of a certain person’s insecurity. Insecurity can produce enormous frenetic energy, which can lead to great accomplishments. These accomplishments are false by their very nature.

In Ephesians 3:17, Paul says that we must be “rooted and grounded in love.Our relationship with God and our trusting relationships with other believers give us a certain rooting, groundedness, and security in who we are. When we are secure in our identity, we can then act out of obedience to the Spirit. If we are insecure, our actions come from an energy that is soulish or psychological in origin. Only when we are secure in who we are as a product of our relationships will our actions be born out of faith, love, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

- Asher Intrater, author of Covenant Relationships


Editor

Christian Rafetto


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