I-2-Us, Me-2-We

Blog #45, October 26, 2022

In the churches of the world today there is a growing movement. The hypocritical concept they voice denies the necessity of fellowship. They believe that each of us is able to recognize and utilize a fullness of virtue without the presence of a community of believers around us. They contend that fellowship is irrelevant and that each of us is an army of one before the Lord needing no one else to bring them to the fullness of virtue they seek. This is a dangerous concept, because even when all their actions are righteous, one alone will fall short of the Kingdom. Even if their heart is pure, the most they will accomplish is their personal salvation in eternity and for the Kingdom of God, that is just not enough.

This almost unrecognizable form of hypocrisy is rampant in the world today. It not only denies the need for Christ’s Church, it portrays any form of organized worship as a danger to its members. This concept seeks to deny us fellowship and blinds us to God's design for humanity's return to Him. God has sent to this earth many righteous men, but he seeks a righteous people. He seeks a Kingdom of people that will love and support one another despite our all too human tendency to fall. He seeks a people who will learn righteousness, gather to that righteousness, and use it to encourage one another in the glory of God and the love of the Father.  

Jeremiah 9:23-24  
9:23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; 
9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

This is counsel from our heavenly Father. In His wisdom, we receive His counsel and with His counsel we receive the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is just the beginning of a multitude of counselors that await our call to repentance. Included in this multitude is the fellowship of believers. The very nature of fellowship causes us to open our hearts to ponder, discuss, and grow as one in God's testimonies of love for HIs children. In fellowship with the Father, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and each other we grow to become a testimony before the world of not only personal salvation, but of the redemption of humanity in the Kingdom of God.  

Ecclesiastes 4:8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother; yet is there no end of all his labor; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labor, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

This verse describes the burden of a man alone attempting growth in God. At its best, it is a confusing task. For one seeking God alone, his trials are many and his comforts are few. Look to the life of the prophets of old. They suffered. Their steadfast testimony of the Kingdom of God left them to be cast out and alone. Though they had the truth and the power of God with them, the Kingdom here on the earth failed to be created. In Christ God offers us a better way. This is the way of fellowship. In Enoch the way of fellowship brought to God a people He called Zion. If we use fellowship in the way God offers it, we can become a testimony that will light the path to the Kingdom for all who seek it.  

DC 6:15b Where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them; even so am I in the midst of you.

I once had a friend that was diagnosed with cancer. As is directed by God, he sought administration by the Elders of his congregation. The administration was performed at a prayer service, and the presiding Elder admonished the membership to pray daily for the health of the member. At the next prayer meeting, my friend reported that at his last visit with the doctor he was examined and the doctor found no of sign of the disease. The doctor apologized for his obvious misdiagnosis. This is a type and shadow of the true power of righteous fellowship. By its very nature, righteous fellowship heals society’s sicknesses without ever being credited with performing a miracle. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.
4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Righteous fellowship is a presence that empowers the people with humility, compassion, and a perception of truth that grows from the trust they have in God, the ways of God, and the Spirit of God. It founds itself upon the justice of God and seeks to carry out His purpose through mercy and a true affection for all of God's children. It offers not only words of wisdom but also a people, which are an example of that wisdom applied to life. 

1 Corinthians  3:18-19  
3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 
3:19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

God prepares us for righteous fellowship with the commonality of baptism and the presence of His Spirit within us in the form of the Holy Ghost or Comforter. Based on those commonalities we discover a path that leads us through common consent to a common purpose, a common effort of growth in that purpose, and then to God. The unity this creates is so complete that we become one. As we are one with Christ in the Father, we become one with each other in Christ. The line between teacher and student blurs to the point of becoming irrelevant. The unity we live and the purpose we serve becomes the focus of both our efforts and our growth. As the time for His crucifixion drew near Christ prayed for His Disciples and the ministry they would bring to the world. Their efforts were to create the unity of oneness that would be the hallmark of the belief they offered and the strength of the community of believers they would create.

John 17:20-23
17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one;
17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

It is all too human to reach out to those around us and offer criticism and condemnation. Fear of others causes us to either cower in the shadows hoping they don't notice us or openly challenge them that we might appear to be stronger and more able to command the respect of the world around us. In a gathering of the world the safest, most admirable person to be is the one everyone fears. The way of man is to demand humility from any who would defy him. This is a Kingdom founded on fear. The Kingdom of God seeks to conquer the fear that is the rock on which the natural man builds his Kingdom. The Kingdom of God will flourish and grow strong when man learns to love as God loves.

Mosiah 1:118-120
1:118 But men drink damnation to their own souls, except they humble themselves, and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent:
1:119 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been, from the fall of Adam, and will be, for ever and ever;
1:120 But if he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint, through the atonement of Christ, the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

In righteous fellowship, God creates within us the ability to walk away from the fear and doubt that plagues the natural man. Even the fear of failure becomes an effort in futility and doubt becomes useless. The security of the walls our anxiety builds around us pales in comparison to the strength we are afforded by the freedom of love within righteous fellowship. Love allows us to see beyond the current trials. In love, the foolish child can be taught wisdom. In love the contentious wife can become a spouse filled with the unity of oneness. The Spirit of God gives us the ability to be patient as we labor to open the hearts of the damaged. The righteous effort of the body around those struggling can actually create within their hearts a willingness to become something new and different. The success that for them seemed beyond their ability becomes a walk with those of like mind where each step attained carries with it the joy of victory they seek. In righteous fellowship we can help them become the blessing God intends them to be.  

James 3:16-18
3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
As we labor together in the Lord we will come to understand that slothfulness and the idle soul are a disease that can be cured. We become able to look beyond their spiritual poverty and see a person within trapped by their own hopelessness. Even the natural man wants to succeed, but they just don't know how. They must be told of a different way and shown how in God all things are made new.

Psalms 51:10-12
51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
51;12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit.

If we as a people allow the love of God to guide us, we will gain an awareness of all He has given us. That knowledge will create within us a willingness to share our abundance with those in need. It will cause within us a sorrow for those who stumble in the shadows of fear and doubt that we will not be able to deny. It will bring to our hearts an unimaginable joy when those crippled by the weight of worldly lust throw off their burden and come in repentance and willing obedience to the throne of God. 

1John 1:6-7
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowshipone with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Look upon the depth of our labor in the Lord and open your hearts now to the true power of righteous fellowship. In some cases righteousness must be offered again, and again. Not all will be able to forego the ways of the world. Some will refuse the Kingdom and some will return to the unrighteousness that for them was a way they recognize as comfort. A man by himself faced with this challenge will succumb to frustration and a soul will be lost. We need around us the strength of the people of God that we might have more patience that we do alone. Within the gathering of God's people is more love than we have to offer alone and in that gathering of oneness all that we lack will be ours, as we need it. 

Helaman 2: 121 And they did fellowship one with another, and did rejoice one with another, and did have great joy.
The world of man suffers from foolishness, contentiousness, sloth, and disobedience because they simply know no other way. They lack hope. The ways of God bring to the life of man a reason and a method for being diligent, forgiving, reasonable, and charitable. We have been given the hope that causes us to try, and even if we fail, to try again. The power of fellowship gives one the ability to draw strength from another. This is the essence of oneness. Righteous fellowship has the power to change the individual in ways that don’t exist in a life alone. Surrounded by people who truly care, even the staunchest cynic will allow themselves to become a new being able to willingly trust another based on the evidence of the Spirit of God that dwells within them. The world suffers from the scourge of peer pressure. In the world its power is known to topple even the greatest tower of virtue. But, in the hands of God the testimony of righteous fellowship becomes that which will give sustenance to the starving, strength to the feeble, and hope to the hopeless. It is the means to a glorious ending.


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