Togetherness in Christ as workers, soldiers, servants, laborers, etc. is taught in the word "fellow."
What a lovely word "together" is. It conjures up all kinds of thoughts like partnership, sharing, communion, and teamwork, all of them included in the word most often used in the Bible -- fellowship.
There are numerous terms found in God's word to describe this togetherness that we share with others in the Lord. Here are a few of them: Fellow disciples - Jno. 11:16. Fellow workers - 2 Cor. 8:23. Fellow citizens - Eph. 2:19. Fellow heirs - Eph. 3:6. Fellow soldiers - Phil. 2:25. Fellow servants - Col. 4:7. Fellow prisoner - Col. 4:10. Fellow laborers - 1 Thes. 3:2.
Let's focus on the concept of being fellow workers. Obviously, we are expected to work in the kingdom of the Lord. As the old song says, "There is much to do, there's work on every hand." God has given us the blessed privilege of working in His vineyard.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58).
We all have a duty before God to use our abilities and do the work we can for His cause. Many (perhaps most?) of the parables of Jesus were told to condemn an attitude of do-nothing-ness. In the parable of the two builders, the wise builder hears and does. The wise virgins were prepared because of what they had done. In the account of the workers in the harvest, the question is asked, "Why are you standing idle all day long?"
Our Savior told us that while the harvest was plentiful, the workers were scarce. "Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest'" (Matt. 9;37,38). We want to blame everything but ourselves for our lack of numerical growth. The truth is that we just aren't working hard enough, in most cases, to convert the lost.
The work of the Lord is spiritual in nature, is often difficult, and is always solemn and serious. There is an urgency about the Lord's work that we often fail to appreciate. And James told Christians (4:7) that when we know what we ought to be doing, but failed to get the job done, we have sinned.
Workers Together: But perhaps we have failed to work as we ought to because we have often felt all alone in doing God's will. That's where the church comes in. That's one reason why the church exists, so that we are not by ourselves trying to accomplish the Lord's work. We are fellow workers with other disciples.
"Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27). We are a part of a unified effort to serve God.
That's why division is so strongly condemned in the Bible. It divides our efforts, blunts our effectiveness, and announces to the world that we have nothing special to offer them. "United we stand; divided we fall" is a well-known axiom about the strength of a united effort. Perhaps it explains why we so often fail spiritually.
In the first century, the church at Corinth had a real problem with this. Read 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 3:1-4. Perhaps the most startling statement in those verses is Paul's question, "Is Christ divided?" Clearly rhetorical in nature, the answer is shameful. He is not supposed to be, but unfortunately, the way Christians operate, He often is.
There are so many things that can hinder scriptural unity, things like jealousy, murmuring, strife, backbiting, pride, bitterness, and many other sins. Paul said, "For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish: lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults" (2 Cor. 12:20). How many churches today are characterized by so many of these sinful actions and attitudes? Far too many, I fear.
We all need to work together to accomplish God's work. We must cooperate with one another in our efforts to do good. Young and old, black and white, rich and poor, those of high social standing and those of less status in society are all integral parts of the Lord's church and must stand side by side in the greatest cause on the face of the earth.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
God's Results: When we are fellow workers in the church, God will produce the results. "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase" (1 Cor. 3:6). This should help to keep us from growing discouraged while working together to accomplish His will (Gal. 6:9).
Conclusion: We have a special relationship to one another in Jesus Christ. No one outside of Christ has those blessings. We must treat each one as though he is special. We must utilize the talents and opportunities of every Christian as we work together to help souls be saved.
"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Heb. 6:10).
Keep on serving God with your brothers and sisters in the Lord; never give up.
By Roger Hillis in Biblical Insights, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 2004.
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