The following is from a Facebook friend named Cindy. But I would like to share first that I have received emails by those who say they are having a hard time finding fellowship since they have been led to come out of their ‘church’. Since there is confusion about the word ‘church,’ suffice to say, WE are the ‘church,’ or the correct term “ecclesia,” or “congregation”. When people say the word “church,” you can be sure they are thinking of a special building where people meet – a system run by a schedule where saved and unsaved people meet – a place where sin, false assurance, and false teachings are tolerated among its members – a system that has grown out of the traditions of men and has no basis in scripture.
When people come out of this system, the hardest thing they face is the issue of fellowship. They will be told by those in the system that they risk being more deceived by the devil without being in the system and their fellowship. They will be called ‘lone rangers’. They will be told they are disobeying the Scriptures. They will quote such passages as Hebrews 10:25 as a means to intimidate and manipulate one to stay in bondage to a system where God has called them out. The passage itself does not say “assembly,” nor is a specific meeting identified, nor the place specified, nor the time, frequency, or length of such meetings.
You can be sure that when you leave the system, you will lose some friends, even those you considered ‘close’ friends. They simply do not understand, and I cannot fault them for that for I too was in the system for such a long time. I was in bondage to a system and its practices, and not to the Lord Jesus. But I am sure of this, those who truly desire and have a thirst for truth, WILL wake up. The Holy Spirit WILL guide them – in his time. It is not easy to shake something off that has been a part of our being for most of our non and Christian lives. Nor do I condemn those in the system; I guess because I know now what I did not know then. They need to hear the call from God themselves. I know I did and remember it so vividly, not realizing at the time the complications and sadness that would come along with it, but at the same time, also the joy of getting to know my Savior better, to be more intimate with him. Trials still face me but my strength does not rely anymore on the system and its activities to keep me busy and just going through the rituals, but on Jesus alone. I can face whatever names are hurled at me, the loss of friendships, the loss of family because when all is said and done, I am not alone, Jesus is with me, and if it’s only him, it is enough.
I can guarantee that if you have been called out the system, by God, one of your toughest issues will be that of fellowship. I have been out of the system since 2004, and I can honestly say, it is much easier to hear and be guided by the Spirit of God and to learn truths that I would never have learned in the system, and especially depending on God for all my needs, including fellowship. Who would not like to be gathered with those of like mind? This is not something I certainly desire. I desire fellowship with other believers.
I can attest to what Cindy has written below because it also describes me. I have had the privilege of meeting brothers and sisters out of town where I had been able to take the opportunity of getting together with them.
I know some of you have wondered, “How can I have fellowship when I don’t know anyone in my area to fellowship with?” I know you long for face-to-face interaction with others of like mind and you wonder if you will ever be given that opportunity, especially on a regular basis.
Most of us seem to be limited to Facebook, e-mails and Skype for our connection to others who are serious about serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are some who don’t know even one other person they can truly fellowship with. We are a remnant indeed and we are scattered!
I recently had the privilege of meeting some sisters and brothers in the Lord, some of whom I had previously only had fellowship with, here on the Internet. I was led by the spirit of God from Oregon to S.F. and then to North Carolina and back in a 4 day weekend of non stop, face to face fellowship, with brothers and sisters who I had never met “in person”.
I felt just a bit guilty for this privilege, knowing how much many of you long for such a blessing, and it was indeed a blessing, however, the spirit used this trip to teach me many things and I hope to encourage you with some of what he has shown me.
Most all of us came out of the false church system where we had received counterfeits and false ideas concerning all the things pertaining to the kingdom of God and that includes our idea of what fellowship is. As a result, God has had to detox us from everything we learned there and replace it with what is truth, or in other words, what is real. The false is always physical, something you can see, feel, touch etc., something that appeals to the flesh, but Jesus told us that God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.
I firmly believe that for some of us the lack of being together with others has been God’s plan as well as his mercy. We tend toward wanting something “physical” we can participate in, but until God could cause us to learn to “dwell in the land” that is to say “in the Spirit” and forsake our old ways and ideas concerning fellowship (and everything else), we were in danger of coming out of Babylon only to rebuild it again and come short of what he has for us.
When I met with these dear saints in person, we discovered that “everything” we had that was of any value (the fellowship we had previously had), was “in the Spirit” and was ours “fully” before we ever met face-to-face.
Not only that, but I now count it a blessing to have been able to know these people in the Spirit, without the distractions of the physical realm long before I met them in the flesh. I feel the same toward ALL those who are present here and belong to him. Now I know that we are truly one in the Spirit and there really is nothing more we need.
Now am I saying that there is no blessing to gathering together in person? No, I enjoyed many blessings from being with these brethren physically, but while visiting, drinking tea, cooking and eating together are very pleasant things, the true blessing came from what God was doing among us. The things that only God can do. Without him we are nothing and we have nothing!
ALL OF THIS IS ALL ABOUT GOD! and he is Spirit and we are citizens of a very real kingdom, which is also Spirit. May all the glory go to him and him alone!
“Everything” we need for true fellowship, fellowship in the Spirit, we have right here on the Internet and we are already blessed indeed!
God knows what he is doing and if and when he leads us to “gather together” in more than just Spirit, he will arrange it, but until then, we are receiving of the Spirit of God in each other and through each other and that is what true fellowship is. We are one, not because of anything physical, we are one ONLY because of the Spirit of God in each of us and we are functioning as a body right here via the Internet.
Lets continue to encourage each other on this narrow path of life. I am so blessed to know each one of you. Cindy
For more reading concerning fellowship, see “No Fellowship? No Problem!”