Fellowship in the Lord
19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters. 22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all. (2 Timothy 4:19-22)
At the end of this section of Paul’s letter to Timothy, it records the names of many brothers and sisters. From the affectionate greetings, the care about illness, the sincere directions, and the ardent blessings, we can see lives full of love and fellowship among the brothers and sisters in the Lord . For the sake of the Gospel, through one faith in one Lord, one spirit, baptized in one body with Jesus as the head, Christians connect with each other. This is fellowship.
A growing Christian must be connected with fellowship. Without fellowship, it is difficult to grow in Christ. Anyone who accepts Jesus grows up in the truth of the Gospel and must have the characteristics of the life of Christ in his body. Therefore, we have new customs, new lives, new relationships, and new motivations that are different from our old life in the past. We do everything in the name of Christ. We are guided by the truth of heaven; we pursue growth in our faith and Christ-like life. These new traits and habits in Christ are gradually formed and become part of life. So we will naturally prefer to hang out with brothers and sisters of the same life, serving each other, submitting and fellowshipping with each other, which become a culture of the church and Gospel.
You can’t leave the body of Christ, the church, to have fellowship; there will be no fellowship without one another. It is the Holy Spirit and Christ’s love that makes us one. So we need each other.
Fellowship is working and walking together for the Gospel: Priscilla and Aquila worked with Paul first in their career and then in serving God for many years. They submitted to Paul's leadership, and went through trials and difficulties. Later they led Apollo to the truth. Fellowship is also shown in the whole family: the household of Onesiphorus. The whole family believed in the Lord and served the Lord together. Fellowship lives in constant care: greetings, visits, taking care, and sharing food. You will be joyful when you see each other. Fellowship is also manifested through loyalty in times of adversity, going through the wind and rain, you never leave nor forsake but comfort and encourage, sharing both honor and disgrace. Real fellowship will strive to keep the unity of the Spirit, to be patient with each other, humble and submissive. Fellowship is not limited by distance nor time or space, leaving or meeting all have God’s perfect will. Real fellowship roots from the presence of the Lord, which leads to a long friendship.
May our church really fellowship in the Lord. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:16)
～Rev. Benguang Du 都本光牧師～