G. Albert Ramsay
It is possible to be gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in assembly capacity and not have an understanding of the meaning of FELLOWSHIP. Many mistake it for FRIENDSHIP. This idea has caused endless trouble in Godís assemblies. Friendships have to do with personalities; fellowship with principles.
Friendships can form "cliques" which will hinder and even divide Godís people. While we should be friendly with each Christian in the assembly, we must always understand that the assembly is where we are in fellowship, and that fellowship is based on principles.
When friends have a difference, they will drop one another and pick up new friends; thus "cliques" are often formed in the assembly, discouraging the godly, denying the fellowship and defeating the purpose of the assembly as the "pillar and ground of the truth" (Tim. 3:15).
Those who know the true meaning of fellowship, when trouble arises or there is a personality clash, (which is often the case and sometimes allowed by God as a test). (1 Cor 11:19), will seek to settle their differences in the fear of the Lord; endeavoring to keep the "unity of the Spirit" because they love and esteem the principles for which the assembly stands.
You can test whether you are truly in fellowship: are the principles of the assembly precious to you? Can you be hurt and still keep sweet and put your best into the assembly? Are you at all the assembly meetings, even when your friends are not? Are you seeking to bear the responsibilities that go along with being in fellowship? It is good to test ourselves in the presence of God. If so-and-so left the assembly, would I leave, too? Am I there because of the principles, which form the assembly?
Submitted by Wallace Buckle
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Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones, and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. -George Mueller