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Scripture Reading: Luke 5:27-32
Friendship, Fellowship and Faithfulness
1. Friendship is often misidentified as fellowship, cf. Lk. 7:31-35.
2. Fellowship is often so broadly defined that it never restricts any association with the lost, cf. 2 Cor. 6:14.
3. Faithfulness to God is impacted by the friends we have and the fellowship we keep, Jas. 4:4; Eph. 5:6-7, 11; 2 Jno. 10-11.
4. Proper definitions enable proper applications, so that our friendships and our fellowship reinforce our faithfulness to the Lord.
I. WHAT IS FRIENDSHIP?
A. A Friend is a Companion of Life; Relationship of Endearment.
1. David and Jonathan, 1 Sam. 18:1, 3; 2 Sam. 1:25-26.
2. “Those who are interested in our happiness, concerned for our welfare, rejoice in our joys, weep with our tears; who counsel and cheer us and are always ready to aid us, these are our friends.” (Dick Blackford) (To each other, cf. Rom. 12:15)
B. Jesus was Derided as being a “Friend of Sinners,” Lk. 7:34.
1. They equated His presence with them as endorsement of them.
2. He was not an associate with them in their sin, Jno. 8:11.
3. He was with sinners to teach them and help them come out of their sin (error), Mk. 2:13-17. (We can do the same.)
4. He did not befriend them, and never talk about their souls!
5. He spoke truth, and eventually, some refused to follow Him, Jno. 6:66; 15:14.
C. Friendship that Participates with or Encourages Friends in their Sin is Forbidden, 1 Pet. 4:1-4; Jas. 4:4; Eph. 5:11; 2 Jno. 10-11.
II. WHAT IS FELLOWSHIP?
A. A Sharing in Common, a Partnership, Participation Together (cf. Heb. 2:14; Lk. 5:10).
1. A yoking is present, 2 Cor. 6:14. (A coupling together)
a. With sin, Eph. 5:11.
b. With God and His faithful ones, in spiritual activity, jointly shared, 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Cor. 1:9; Gal. 2:9; Acts 2:42; Phil. 1:5.
2. Synonyms: Fellowship, communion, accord, part, agreement, 2 Cor. 6:14-16.
B. Fellowship Means We Share Common Principles and Actions, 2 Cor. 6:16-7:1.
1. Principle: Holiness as taught by God (temple).
2. Actions: Cleansed and separated from sin (come out, separate), Eph. 5:1-12; Rom. 1:32; Rev. 18:1-5 (“come out”).
3. Shared principle and action of saints toward holiness: Maintain it (perfect it), 2 Cor. 7:1.
4. Shared principle and action of saints toward sin: Come out from sin and do not share in it.
5. We cannot accept/condone/tolerate sin and error.
III. FELLOWSHIP AND FAITHFULNESS TO CHRIST.
A. Fellowship with God and Others is Based on Obedience to Truth. (It is not based on friendship.)
1. By following the teachings of the apostles, 1 Jno. 1:1-4.
2. By walking in the light (practicing the truth), 1 Jno. 1:5-7.
3. “Walking in truth,” 2 Jno. 4; “according to His commandments,” 2 Jno. 6.
4. The doctrine of Christ, 2 Jno. 9, 10-11.
B. Faithfulness does not Ignore Sin and Error for the Sake of Friendship, Matt. 10:37; Deut. 13:6-8.
1. Paul did not have fellowship with Peter in his error, because he rebuked him, Gal. 2:11-14 (friends in fellowship, 2:9-10).
2. Jesus rebuked Peter, Matt. 16:21-23.
3. True friendship respects God’s word, Jno. 15:12-15.
C. Faithfulness does not Ignore the Sinner out of Fear of Being Charged with having Fellowship with Sin, 2 Thess. 3:6, 13-15.
1. Cannot teach those to whom you will not speak.
2. Withdraw social interaction and warn unruly Christian of sin.
1. Love for truth and love for souls is necessary for faithful fellowship, Psa. 119:104; 1 Cor. 1:10.
2. Friendships must not lead us to compromise the truth by sharing in error and sin. When they do, we forfeit fellowship with God.
(Adapted from notes by Steve Wallace)
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: October 26, 2017