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Doctrine of Fellowship

July 17, 2010

DOCTRINE OF FELLOWSHIP

A.  Scripture Passages on True Fellowship.
1.  2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
2.  1 Cor 1:9, “God the Father, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
3.  Phil 2:1-2, “Furthermore if there is any encouragement in Christ [and there is], if there is any comfort from love, and if there is any fellowship with the Spirit; if there is any affection [result of impersonal love for all in capacity for life, love, and happiness] and mercies [problem-solving devices], bring to completion my happiness [+H as a problem-solving device] that you might be thinking the same things [doctrinal orientation, grace orientation as problem-solving devices], having the same virtue love, united in soul [based on metabolized doctrine], intent on one objective [execution of protocol plan through advance to spiritual maturity].”

B.  What is the Fellowship that Counts?
1.  Personal love for God the Father and occupation with Christ results in God emphasis taking precedence over people emphasis in your life.
2.  God emphasis must precede people emphasis or people relationship before the believer can ever become an invisible hero.  No one ever becomes an invisible hero and a winner in the protocol plan of God until God emphasis takes precedence over people emphasis.  This sounds simple but it isn’t, because people are visible and God is invisible.
3.  You cannot grow spiritually or execute the protocol plan of God through Christian fellowship, i.e., social life with Christians.
4.  Fellowship with God is infinitely more important than fellowship or social life with people.
5.  Therefore, God emphasis must take priority over people emphasis in the function of the protocol plan of God.
6.  Wrong experience with God results in wrong experience with people.
a.  Wrong fellowship or relationship with God results in wrong fellowship or relationship with people.
b.  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the plan of God for you calls for God to be your number one priority over people.  If God is not your number one priority, then Bible doctrine, which explains invisible God, is not your number one priority.
c.  Right fellowship or relationship with God results in right fellowship or relationship with people.
7.  God is invisible.  God cannot be seen, touched, tasted, heard, hugged, or kissed.  Therefore, any fellowship or relationship with God is an invisible relationship or fellowship.  It is invisible, based upon the content of thinking in your right lobe.
a.  Relationship with God is an invisible relationship; therefore, it depends upon your ability to assimilate Bible doctrine under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
b.  Relationship with people is visible; therefore, you either respond or react.  But since God is not visible, you either respond or react to God on the basis of Bible doctrine and nothing else, including Christian fellowship.
8.  This is in contrast to people who are visible.  Fellowship with people is obviously a visible relationship, as social life in general and as a love life with a few.
9.  Through perception of Bible doctrine and cognitive self-confidence, the believer grows in grace and has an increasing fellowship with God.  Cognitive self-confidence is the status quo of the believer in spiritual adulthood.

C.  Fellowship with God versus Fellowship with People.
1.  Through post-salvation epistemological rehabilitation (perception of doctrine) and resultant cognitive self-confidence in spiritual adulthood, the believer has fellowship with invisible God in two categories.
a.  Personal love for God the Father.
b.  Occupation with Jesus Christ.
2.  Christian fellowship is not the basis of spiritual growth.  No one grows spiritually or fulfills the plan of God through Christian fellowship, which is nothing more than social life with Christians.
3.  Social life with Christians has varying consequences.  Often it becomes a distraction to perception of doctrine.  Occasionally, it is a source of encouragement for perception of doctrine.
4.  However, Christian fellowship will never replace perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine which results in executing the protocol plan of God.
5.  Interaction with believers, called Christian fellowship, will never replace post-salvation epistemological rehabilitation.  You will never have cognitive self-confidence from Christian fellowship.  Cognitive self-confidence is not only your perception of doctrine, but the doctrinal mechanics for using the problem-solving devices.  You must use them for yourself; you cannot lean on people.
6.  Christian fellowship and sharing is no substitute for learning the mystery doctrine of the Church Age from whoever is your right pastor.
7.  So beware of the believer who confuses Christian fellowship with either worship or spiritual growth, or the believer who assumes that the Christian way of life is the fellowship of excitement.
8.  Actually, the Christian way of life is fellowship with God.

D.  Fellowship with the Trinity.
1.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three separate and distinct persons, but they are identical in essence.  They all have coequal, coeternal, and coinfinite sovereignty, holiness, love, eternal life, etc.
2.  When we talk of fellowship with God, we must talk of fellowship, relationship, life, or occupation with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
3.  Fellowship is described in relationship to all three members of the Trinity.  The Christian way of life is fellowship with invisible God.
4.  Fellowship with God implies personal love for God.
5.  We are mandated to love God the Father and God the Son.  There is no mandate to love God the Holy Spirit, but under the filling of the Spirit and spiritual growth, and under cognitive self-confidence in spiritual adulthood, this becomes a fact in our lives.  We do love the Holy Spirit, though this is not the mandate of the Christian life.
6.  Fellowship with the Holy Spirit is tantamount to love for God the Holy Spirit.  As we understand His ministry at salvation, His ministry after salvation, how He carries us through so many things, and how He is our teacher and makes perception of doctrine possible, it is inevitable that we have fellowship with the Spirit.
7.  However, our fellowship with the Spirit is not called love.  It is called the “filling of the Spirit” in Eph 5:18, and “walking by means of the Spirit” in Gal 5:16.  It is tantamount to life inside the divine dynasphere.

E.  Fellowship with Each Member of the Trinity.
1.  Fellowship with God the Father is found in 1 Jn 1:6.  “If we say we have fellowship with Him [God the Father] and yet we walk in darkness [cosmic involvement], we lie and we do not practice doctrine.”
a.  In other words, the practice of doctrine is fellowship with God the Father.
b.  Fellowship with God the Father inevitably leads to love of God the Father at the point of spiritual self-esteem and thereafter.
2.  Fellowship with God the Son is found in 1 Cor 1:9, “God [the Father] is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Note that we were called into fellowship with His Son.  This should be the #1 priority of your life.  But this priority cannot be fulfilled without making Bible doctrine the #1 priority from the start of your spiritual life.
3.  Fellowship with God the Holy Spirit.
a.  Phil 2:1-2. “Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any comfort in virtue-love, if there is any fellowship with the Spirit, if there is any affection and mercies [and there is], bring to completion my happiness, that you might be thinking the same things.”
b.  2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love for God [Father] and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
(1) “Grace” refers to grace orientation as a problem-solving device.
(2)  “Love of God” refers to personal love for God the Father as a problem-solving device.
(3)  The “fellowship of the Holy Spirit” refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit as a problem-solving device.

F.  Fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
1.  Fellowship with the Holy Spirit means two things.
a.  Residence, function, and momentum inside the divine dynasphere, tantamount to the filling of the Spirit.
b.  The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit in the divine dynasphere, Jn 14:26, 16:12-14; 1 Cor 2:9-16.
2.  In the protocol plan of God, there is no direct command to love the Holy Spirit, but this concept is understood in the phrase “fellowship with the Spirit.”  The probable reason for no mandate to love the Holy Spirit is the fact that the purpose of the Spirit in the Christological dispensations is twofold.
a.  To sustain the humanity of Christ in the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
b.  To glorify Jesus Christ in the dispensation of the Church.
3.  Furthermore, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is not to directly receive our love, but to glorify God.  Jn 7:38-39, “Jesus said, ‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”  But this He spoke regarding the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.  For the Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus Christ was not yet glorified.”  Jn 7:39 refers to the Church Age, for at the moment we believe in Jesus Christ, we receive seven ministries from the Spirit, including indwelling and filling.
4.  Jn 16:13-14, “But when the Spirit of doctrine comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He shall glorify Me [Jesus Christ].”  The reason there is no direct mandate to love the Holy Spirit is because the whole function of the Holy Spirit in this dispensation is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
5.  But we do have fellowship with the Holy Spirit and we do come to love Him, although it is not mandated.  However, love for the Holy Spirit is not a problem-solving device.  It is the filling of the Spirit or fellowship with the Holy Spirit that is mandated and is a problem-solving device.

G.  The Divine Perspective on Christian Fellowship.
1.  How can you ever assume that loving God the Father, loving God the Son under occupation with Christ, and fellowship with the Holy Spirit be set aside for a lot of nonsense called “Christian fellowship” or social life with Christians?
2.  Too many believers assume this erroneous concept because there is no organization of their life and thinking around Bible doctrine.  Therefore, they have no focus on invisible God.  All their focus is on turning churches into Christian country clubs.
3.  Christian fellowship is nice, but it is not the Christian way of life.  Learn to distinguish between fellowship with God and so-called Christian fellowship, which is nothing more than having a social life with Christians.
4.  Christian fellowship is no substitute for fellowship with God.
5.  The reason there are so many problems and sins among Christians is simply because of wrong priorities.  You never put fellowship with visible people above your relationship or fellowship with God.
6.  However, you cannot fulfill the #1 priority of fellowship with God simply by resolving to make God #1; it comes through the daily perception of Bible doctrine.
7.  Christian fellowship is no substitute for learning Bible doctrine from whoever is your right pastor.
8.  Spiritual growth and the execution of the protocol plan of God and subsequent glorification of God only occurs through perception of doctrine, not through Christian fellowship.
9.  Assembling together for Bible study and other forms of worship must never be confused with Christian fellowship.
10.  Heb 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the habit of some, but for the purpose of encouragement.”
a.  The present active participle of the Greek verb PARAKALEO means to be encouraged.  But this is a participle used as a noun in the Greek, and so it should be translated “encouragement.”  Furthermore, this is a tellic participle which indicates the purpose of the action–not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.
b.  So we assemble for the purpose of encouragement.  What is encouragement in assembly?  Perception of Bible doctrine, not Christian fellowship.
c.  Bible doctrine must have number one priority in your life.  Without that you will never have fellowship with invisible God.  The manifestation of invisible God is Bible doctrine.  The only way you can have fellowship with invisible God is to learn Bible doctrine.  The only way you can learn Bible doctrine is to expose yourself to doctrine every time the doors of the church are open.
d.  Encouragement comes from Bible doctrine, not from Christian fellowship.  Someone may inspire you to come to Bible class once, but that cannot keep you there.  What keeps you coming to Bible class is your own motivation from your own understanding and perception of doctrine, and making it the number one priority in your life.
e.  Assembling with other believers in a local church or its equivalent is for the purpose of encouragement through the perception of Bible doctrine.
f.  In other words, Heb 10:25 is talking about learning Bible doctrine in the company of other believers.  Your Christian fellowship with other believers is inconsequential.  It is your fellowship with God that counts.
g.  The purpose of assembly worship is the function of post-salvation epistemological rehabilitation, and through the momentum from metabolized doctrine, to execute and fulfill the protocol plan of God for your life.  Cognitive self-confidence is the state of the believer in spiritual adulthood.
h.  However, many believers cannot assemble for Bible doctrine and encouragement from the Word of God.  They are isolated because of geographics, handicaps, illness, lack of transportation or many other reasons.  However, they are not violating this verse.  Bible doctrine is the purpose of assembly, and they learn Bible doctrine alone.  So since they are getting doctrine, they are in effect “assembling themselves.”
i.  The priority is to get doctrine to have fellowship with God.
j.  While some believers are isolated from Christian fellowship, they are not isolated from the communication of Bible doctrine.
k.  God always supplies a right pastor with doctrine for positive believers.  In other words, positive volition will not be denied by God.
l.  For some positive believers, doctrine is provided through face-to-face teaching in a local church.  For others, doctrine is communicated through tapes, audio, video, books, radio, etc.
m.  God always supplies a right pastor-teacher with doctrine for the positive believer:
(1)  Through the local church under face-to-face teaching.
(2)  In an isolated situation where no assembly with orthodox teaching is possible.
n.  Isolation can be caused by illness, handicap, or lack of accurate teaching in a town.  While the isolated Christian cannot assemble himself with other believers, he still fulfills the concept of Heb 10:25 through his daily perception of doctrine on tapes, video, audio, FX system, or wherever he is.
o.  Not everyone’s right pastor is located in the same geographical location.  Under the principle of supply and demand, the demand of positive volition is for accurate Bible teaching regardless of the geographical location.  Therefore, accurate Bible teaching can only come through someone who is prepared and who is teaching line upon line, precept upon precept, especially the mystery doctrine for the Church Age.
p.  All too often, the supply for this demand cannot be provided in a given geographical location.  Therefore, the fulfillment of Heb 10:25 occurs through some other form of technology where, though not assembled with other believers, Bible doctrine is taken in on a consistent basis.
q.  Once the believer attains spiritual adulthood, he functions under cognitive self-confidence.  He gives #1 priority to Bible doctrine.
r.  Because of his fellowship with the Trinity through Bible doctrine, the believer in spiritual adulthood understands that Christian fellowship (social life, interaction with Christians) is not the basis for fulfilling the protocol plan of God.
11.  In conclusion, Christian fellowship or social life with other believers at best is a result of taking in doctrine, whether you assemble with other believers or get it on your own in isolation.
12.  However, Christian fellowship is not possible for isolated believers due to their geographical location, military service, illness, handicaps, or a job that conflicts with Bible class time.  But that doesn’t mean they cannot grow.  It means that other ways must be a substitute for assembling so they can learn doctrine.  In fact, being deprived of Christian fellowship may be just the blessing they need to get a good start in doctrine before they come into contact with other believers.
13.  Often positive believers will not assemble in a local church because of false doctrine or wrong emphasis.  These people are not wrong as others say; they are right.
14.  For a believer who is positive, Bible doctrine is never denied.  Bible doctrine is denied to no believer.  Positive believers in isolation can receive Bible doctrine through tapes, books, radios, FX systems, video, and other modern conveniences.
15.  Positive believers can have Bible doctrine, but often they cannot have Christian fellowship.
16.  Christian fellowship is nice to have if there is no legalism involved, but Christian fellowship cannot advance the believer in God’s plan, purpose, or will for his life.
17.  If you have to ever make a choice between fellowship or doctrine, you better choose doctrine or you will be a loser!

H.  Disadvantages to Christian Fellowship.

1.  Christian fellowship can cause the establishment of wrong priorities through interaction with confused believers, a case of the weak controlling the strong.
2.  Christian fellowship is a distraction from Bible doctrine through preoccupation with friendship or romance.
3.  Christian fellowship becomes the basis for the acquisition of legalism through association with legalists.
4.  Christian fellowship becomes the basis for involvement in antinomianism through association with promiscuous believers.
5.  Some use Christian fellowship to pacify their loneliness without ever solving the problem of loneliness.
6.  Some use Christian fellowship as a dating bureau and marriage pool.
7.  Christian fellowship can lead to acquiring erroneous views of Bible doctrine.  2 Tim 3:2-7, “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, implacable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, reckless, treacherous, conceited, haters of good, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid such persons as these.  For among them are those who creep into households and captivate silly women weighed down with sins [arrogance complex], led on by ever-changing caprice, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
a.  If you have fellowship with Christians who have their eyes on self, you will quickly get your eyes on yourself.  Arrogance cannot learn doctrine.
b.  If you love money, you are so preoccupied with things that you cannot learn doctrine.
c.  If you boast about yourself and your money and things, you are arrogant and not occupied with Christ.
d.  If you are arrogant, you will malign other people; you are a reviler.
e.  This all starts with rejection of authority when you were disobedient to your parents.
f.  You have no capacity for anything because you are ungrateful, unholy, and unloving.
g.  Brutality does not always express itself in violence, but also in the vicious use of the tongue in slander, gossip, and maligning.
h.  There is nothing wrong with pleasure.  But when it takes precedence over your love for God, you will never reach spiritual adulthood and never have the pleasure of being occupied with Christ.
i.  A “silly woman” is arrogant, anti-authority, unteachable, impressed with herself, and very vulnerable to anyone who alleges to share her high impressions of herself.
j.  “Caprice” is an unpredictable change of mind.
8.  Obviously, fellowship with these categories of Christians would be detrimental to the spiritual life of the believer.  On the other hand, Christian fellowship can be wonderful.
a.  Whether fellowship is detrimental or wonderful does not depend upon the fellowship as such, but upon your ability to discern virtue wherever it is.  Neither legalism nor lasciviousness is virtuous.
b.  If you do not put God first, your relationship with people in any periphery will be a mess and will have no spiritual significance.
c.  If you have fellowship with positive believers who have virtue, integrity, and who recognize the privacy of your priesthood and yet can have a wonderful relationship with you, you will make some of the greatest friendships in this life.
d.  The advantage to such friendships is that you are not depending on them; you’re depending on the Lord.  When you are not depending on people and still have relationships with them, then you are in spiritual self-esteem.  As a result, you never feel threatened by them.  Then you don’t get upset when they turn nasty, sarcastic, and sour because you are depending on the Lord, and your fellowship with the Lord takes care of that.
e.  So if you enter into Christian fellowship with unrealistic expectations, you will never grow in grace.
f.  Christian fellowship is nice to have if there is no legalism, antinomianism, or apostasy.
g.  However, Christian fellowship cannot advance the believer in God’s plan, purpose, or will for his life.  So if you get your encouragement from people, it’s all wrong.  Your encouragement must come from inside of you.
h.  So if you get together with people in order to gain their approbation, to get something from them, or to be admired by them, you will be mixed-up for the rest of your life.  But if you have a fantastic and wonderful relationship with God, you can have fantastic happiness and blessing either in the company of other people or without the company of other people.
i.  Social life can be a very refreshing interlude, as it was designed to be under the right circumstances.  Christian fellowship is social life with Christians.
j.  However, Christian fellowship cannot replace reception of Bible doctrine, fulfill the protocol plan, or glorify God.
k.  Christian fellowship can only provide unrealistic expectation and role model arrogance so that your life becomes one of intensive competition and no relaxation.
l.  If God doesn’t provide it, who needs it?