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The Way of Fellowship

When man fell and chose to make himself, rather than God, the center of his life, the effect was to put

man out of fellowship with God and out of connection with his fellow man. The story of man’s first quarrel

with God in the third chapter of Genesis is closely followed, in the fourth chapter, by the story of man’s first

quarrel with his fellow, Cain’s murder of Abel. The Fall is “We have turned every one to his own way”! If I

want my own way rather than God’s, it is pretty evident that I shall want my own way rather than the other

man’s. A man does not assert his independence from God to surrender it to a fellow man if he can help it. But a

world in which each man wants his way cannot but be a world full of tensions, barriers, suspicions,

misunderstandings, clashes, and conflicts.

The work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross was not only to bring men back into fellowship with

God but also into fellowship with their fellow men. Indeed, one cannot be done without the other. As the spokes

of a bicycle wheel get nearer the center of the wheel, they get nearer to one another. But if we have not been

brought into vital fellowship with our brother, it is proof that we have not been brought into strong fellowship

with God to that extent. The first epistle of John insists on testing the depth and reality of a man’s connection

with God by the depth and reality of his fellowship with his brethren.”

Some of us have seen how utterly connected a man’s relationship with his fellows is with his relationship

with God. Everything that comes as a barrier between us and another, be it never so small, comes as a barrier

between us and God. We have found that where these barriers are not put right immediately, they get thicker

and thicker until we find ourselves shut off from God and our brother by what seem to be veritable brick walls.

Obviously, if we allow New Life to come to us, it will have to manifest itself by a walk of oneness with God

and our brother, with nothing between.

On what basis can we have genuine fellowship with God and our brother? I John 1:7 has come afresh to us.

“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus

Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin. “What is meant by light and darkness is that light reveals, darkness

hides. When anything reproves us, shows us up as we really are - that is light. “Whatsoever doth make manifest

is light.”? But whenever we do anything or say anything (or don’t say anything) to hide what we are or what

we’ve done – that is darkness.

Now the first effect of sin in our lives is always to make us try and hide what we are. Sin made our first

parents hide behind the trees of the garden, and it has had the same effect on us ever since. Sin always involves

us in being unreal, pretending, deceptive, window dressing, excusing ourselves, and blaming others – and we

can do all that as much by our silence as by saying or doing something. This is what the previous verse calls

“walking in darkness.” For some of us, the sin in question may be nothing more than self-consciousness and

hiding, nothing more than an assumed heartiness to cover that self-consciousness; but it is walking in darkness,

nonetheless. “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make

manifest is light” (Ephesians 5:13). 

In contrast to all this in us, verse 5 of I John tells us that “God is light,” that is, God is the All-Revealing

One who shows up every man as he really is. And it goes on to say, “In Him is no darkness at all,” that is, there

is absolutely nothing in God which can be one with the tiniest bit of darkness or hiding in us.

Quite obviously, then, it is utterly impossible for us to be walking in any degree of darkness and have

fellowship with God. While we are in that condition of darkness, we cannot have true fellowship with our

brother either – for we are not real with him, and no one can have fellowship with an unreal person.

Francis Mason

Pastor Mason

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