Real friendships are valuable these days. Although many have friendships which are only skin deep in our technological age, a true friend is definitely priceless. If you have a good friend or two, you are blessed.
There is a large difference between friendship and Christian fellowship. We need to be aware of distinction, appreciate both for what they are, and use them in the realms God has given us.
Almost anyone can be a friend. A friend listens to us, spends time with us, and often has similar interests to us. We can make friends with coworkers, neighbors, family members, or those we rub shoulders with that we share hobbies with.
Christian fellowship is much more narrow and has specific blessings. First, let me state the obvious: Christian fellowship is with other Christians. So a Buddhist coworker, an atheist neighbor, and an agnostic parent whose child is on the same team as my child may be friendly, and we may consider ourselves friends, but we can’t have Christian fellowship if we are not all Christians.
That is because of how the word fellowship attaches to “Christian.” Fellowship is a friendly association with someone. Therefore Christian fellowship is sharing a friendship and being like minded when both parties are Christians. Philippians 2:2 says, “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
This is not to devalue our non-Christian friends. They are still made in the image of God. Sometimes we get this mixed up and think too little of those who are not Christians. You can read more about that here.
My non-Christian friends have housed me, loved my children, and reached out to me during tough times. Some have supported me in certain efforts, helped me move, and watched my house while I was out of town. So what is the difference between the two?
Only Christian fellowship will point to Christ. This is somewhat in the way we live, and heavily stated in the way we make decisions. While my non-Christian friends can do good for me, when I need advice, godly advice, my Christian friends can share God’s Word and ways with me to point me to Christ. They can help me glorify God better because that is our common goal, because they are “of the same mind.”
The question is not, can we be friends, or certainly not can we be friendly to those who are not believers around us. The question is, who are our closest friends? Who do we share the most deep connection with? Who do we look to for life advice so that we may glorify God? Who do we share the most time with so that we are “building one another up” in the ways of Christ?
Do you have Christian fellowship, or just friends? Do you see the difference between friendship and Christian fellowship? Who do you go to for advice when you are struggling in life? Who do you need to develop a relationship with through Christian fellowship so that you can become more like Christ?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.