Wednesday, December 09, 2009



Jesus says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. By this all men will know that you are My disciples." (John 13:34-35) There is something so attractive about a group of people-a family, a fellowship-where they love one another that stands out. It's a badge of distinction that Jesus says will get the world's attention. You will not be known by peculiar rites or habits; not by a peculiar form of dress or manner of speech; not by peculiar do's and don'ts, like the Pharisees or the scribes, but by deep, genuine, and tender affection for one another. This is SECRET #66: The follower of Jesus shares the message of the Master by loving one another.

Each of the disciples had signed on to loving Jesus, but not loving one another. I mean, a few fishermen loving their nemesis, the tax gatherer or the political radical, the zealot, or the disciple who had a question mark for a brain-always doubting and questioning? Jesus wasn't suggesting it, but commanding that they, in the midst of their great diversity, must learn to love one another. Now, how can you love one another without spending more quality time together than sitting beside one another in a spectator-driven religious service or by greeting one another after the announcements for 15 seconds? It takes time to learn to love one another, so take the time!

The Kingdom principles are practiced anywhere and everywhere, because it's a movement. BUT how is the Kingdom practiced? The Kingdom is practiced by participation in a community of followers of Jesus. We are to live our lives in relationship with Jesus and in fellowship with one another.

Practicing the presence of the Kingdom requires fellowship. The term fellowship is widely known, but even more widely misunderstood. It's more than a pot-luck dinner. It's not a room called the "fellowship" hall. It's more than a group of friends watching football or hunting together. The fellowship may be the most important concept you will ever learn. However, this concept is not just to be learned; it must be lived! I call this kind of fellowship a verb. This kind of healthy fellowship is held together by the proactive expression of love for one another.

Jesus' strategic approach to spreading His Good News message throughout the world never involved "putting up another church", but practicing their relationship with Jesus and with one another in the Kingdom. This is what the fellowship is all about!

The fellowship operates on the principle of attraction, not promotion. This goes against the grain of most every religious program in our world. The fellowship is not an organization, an institution or a denomination. Fellowship is a verb that, when properly activated, has the power to change the world-one person at a time! In order to use the fellowship as a verb you must learn the fellowship principle of loving one another.

The primary term for fellowship in the New Testament is koinonia. The word has the idea of communion or sharing in common with another. It's the perfect word to describe the relationship we are to have with God and with one another-a partnership. This partnership is to be entered into-to join one's self to a friend or friends in order to become a sharer. The designated partners within the fellowship include Jesus, Jesus' followers and you. The fellowship is with God Himself and with His people.

Jesus introduced an entirely new dynamic into the teaching process. Let's call it "table fellowship". Instead of one person teaching a class, Jesus spent lots of significant time around the table with food. The gospel of Luke records ten meals with Jesus. Eight of them are eaten in the flow of Jesus' ministry activity and two are eaten with the disciples after the resurrection. In other words, Jesus uses fellowship around the table to bring everyone together and to demonstrate Kingdom living at its simple, tangible best-all wrapped around learning to love one another.

As these many meals with Jesus are examined closely, it's helpful to pay special attention to the settings. The settings vary from the homes of the highly religious to special friends and even in two tax-collector homes. Most of the time Jesus is invited and in the case of Zacheus Jesus invited Himself to lunch at Zach's place. The guest list is always fascinating-priests, sinners, prostitutes and a variety of broken people and those who are looking for that special touch from Jesus.

The simple program of Jesus for changing the whole world is to make each person He touches magnetic enough with love to draw others to love God and to love one another. This transformation happens within the relational community of a few. Are you in that kind of relationship? SECRET #66: The follower of Jesus shares the message of the Master by loving one another.