Ask most followers of Jesus if they think fellowship with other believers is important and you’ll get a resounding affirmation. Many can cite the familiar Scripture verses that exhort us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” and warn us “not to give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24,25).
Does “meeting together” really matter that much? Is “spurring one another on” all there is to biblical fellowship? How important is fellowship in the life of someone who wants to be a disciple of Jesus?
Jesus Himself said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Jesus made it pretty clear there was something about how His followers were to relate to one another that would make it obvious to others that they belonged to Him. It wasn’t just that they were gathered together in one place. It wasn’t just that they shared a common creed or set of philosophical beliefs. Jesus indicated that it was the way they interacted—in love—that would set them apart.
Some 80 years ago The Navigators stressed the importance of biblical fellowship—including fellowship as a spoke in The Wheel illustration as a fundamental element in the life of a growing, obedient disciple. Navigators also encourage memorization of key Scripture verses about fellowship, including Matthew 18:20 and Hebrews 10:24,25 in The Topical Memory System.
In this issue of Disciple! longtime Navigator friend Walter Henrichsen explores the basis of our fellowship—the bedrock upon which our gathering together and encouraging of one another rests: the person of Jesus Christ. And our interview with NavPress author, Jerry Bridges provides insight into the important role that community plays in the life of a disciple.
Fellowship revolves around the redemptive work of God in our lives. As we meet together and share the things that God has done, we get a bigger picture of God’s work. As we see that bigger picture, we come to know Christ better. And as those around us see how we interact with one another, they recognize us as belonging to Him. They have the opportunity to see redemptive behavior in action. They, too, see a bigger, clearer picture of Jesus—lived out in the lives of those who follow Him.
For 80 years Navigators have purposed, “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.®” Living in fellowship—in biblical community—plays a huge role in making that happen. Our hope is that as you explore the topic of fellowship, the things you discover will help you to know Christ and make Him known as well.