Lesson 3 – The Fellowship of Life
THE SOURCE OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF LIFE
Where does the fellowship of life come from? What is its cause? And from what is it derived? First John 1:2-3 says: “We [the apostles]…show unto you (the believers) the eternal life… that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” These verses show that the apostles preached unto us “the eternal life” so that we may have “fellowship.” The eternal life is the life of God, and the life of God entering into us enables us to have fellowship. Since this fellowship comes out of the life of God, it is the fellowship of life. Therefore, the fellowship of life comes from the life of God; its existence is due to the life of God; it is derived from the life of God; and it is brought to us by the life of God. As soon as we obtain the life of God within us, this life of God enables us to have the fellowship of life. The life of God, therefore, is the source of the fellowship of life.
THE MEDIUM OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF LIFE
The life of God rests in the Holy Spirit of God, and it is through the Holy Spirit of God that the life of God enters into us and lives in us. Therefore, the fellowship brought to us by the life of God, though derived from the life of God, comes by means of the Holy Spirit of God. Hence, the Bible also calls this fellowship “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor. 13:14, “communion” is “fellowship” in the original text).
It is the Holy Spirit who causes us to experience the life of God; therefore, it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to have fellowship in the life of God. All our fellowship of life is in the Holy Spirit and is caused by the Holy Spirit. That is why Philippians 2:1 says: “…any fellowship of the Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit of God moves, requires, and urges within us to cause us to have the fellowship which comes from the life of God. Therefore, if we desire to have fellowship of life, we must not only have the life of God, but also live in the Holy Spirit of God. The life of God is the source of the fellowship of life, and the Holy Spirit of God is the medium of the fellowship of life. Although it is the life of God which gives us the fellowship of life, yet it is the Holy Spirit of God who causes us to practically enjoy this fellowship of life. Only when we are living in the Holy Spirit and walking by minding the Holy Spirit can we enjoy the fellowship of the life of God in a practical way.
We know that God is life, and God is the Spirit. Concerning God as life, He flows in us unceasingly—this is the fellowship of life. Concerning God as the Spirit, He moves in us continually—this is the anointing. However, life and the Spirit are inseparable, for the Spirit includes life, and life is in the Spirit. Life is the content of the Spirit, and the Spirit is the reality of life. These two are the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2), which is two-in-one and indivisible. Therefore, the fellowship of life and the anointing are also inseparable, being two aspects of one thing.
We know that in the New Testament, the Apostle John wrote one Gospel and three Epistles, all of which speak of the mutual relationship between God and man. However, there is a great difference between his Gospel and the Epistles. His Gospel speaks of God coming to man, while his Epistles speak of man going to God. His Gospel says that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. One day, the Word became flesh to live among men, and this was the Lord Jesus. When men beheld Him, they saw the Father, because He and the Father are one (John 14:9; 10:30); He is God coming to man. His Epistles reveal that such a God, who was manifested, came into our midst, and entered into us, is eternal life. Once this life is preached to us and received by us, it brings us back into the fellowship of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:2-3). This is man going to God.
This story of God’s coming to us to impart grace and truth and our returning to Him to meet love and light is the story of the fellowship of life and the function of the anointing. The ointment anoints God into us and us into God. In other words, the ointment anoints God’s grace into us and then anoints us into God’s love; further, the ointment anoints God’s truth into us and then anoints us into God’s light. This coming as grace and going as love and this coming as truth and going as light causes us to be in God’s grace as well as in His love, in God’s truth as well as in His light. Thus, we are more deeply united and mingled with God.
THE MEANING OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF LIFE
Before we define the fellowship of life, one thing must be made clear. The life of God was originally in God, and later it entered into us who belong to God. Is this life of God which entered into us, then, a part or a whole? Our final judgment is that it is neither partial nor the whole, but that it is flowing.
Take for example the electricity in a light bulb. Is it the partial electricity, or is it the whole electricity from the power plant? The answer is that it is neither, because the same electricity which is in the power plant is also in these light bulbs. It is an electric current flowing continuously. Once the current stops, these light bulbs will cease to give light.
Take another example: the blood in my hand, is it local blood, or is it the blood of the whole body? If it were local blood, it then would have no communication; and if it were the blood of the whole body, it would also have no communication. But it is the circulating blood, the flowing blood. It is the blood of the whole body continuously circulating and unceasingly flowing. It is a whole as well as a part; and it is a part as well as whole.
So also is the life of God within us. It flowed out from God, and it flowed into thousands of saints, including us. This flowing life is from God; it passes through God, and it passes through thousands of saints, including us. Thus, it causes us to have fellowship with God and with thousands of saints.
It is just like a shining electric light bulb. The electricity in it is continuously flowing, thereby putting it in communication with the power plant and with many other shining light bulbs. This communication rests in the flowing of the electricity within it. Likewise, the fellowship of life in us also rests in the flowing of the life within us. The life of God within us brings a flow of life, and thus we have the fellowship of life. This fellowship of life enables us to be in touch with God and with thousands of saints as well. Therefore, the meaning of the fellowship of life is the flowing of life. This flowing of life is not separated from life; rather it is the fellowship of the flowing of life itself. This fellowship of the flowing of life requires that we continuously walk and live by following it and yielding to it. Whenever we do not follow it or yield to it, it stops flowing. Thus, the fellowship between us and God is severed, and the fellowship between us and the saints is also gone.
THE FUNCTION OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF LIFE
What is the function or use of the fellowship of life? It is to inwardly supply us with all that is in the life of God or all that is in God. All the fullness in God is supplied to us through the fellowship of life. The more we allow the flowing of life to flow in us, the more we are inwardly supplied with the fullness of God. Such supply of the fellowship of life is like the circulating of the blood as the supply of the body and like the flowing of electricity as the supply of the lights.
The sense of life proves whether we are living in God or not. And the fellowship of life continuously supplies us with the things of life. Whenever your supply of life is cut off, it means that your fellowship of life is interrupted. If we continuously live in the fellowship of life, our supply of life will come continuously and unceasingly.
The fellowship of life and the sense of life are mutually related. As soon as the fellowship of life is interrupted, the sense of life causes us to feel we have lost the supply of life. When the fellowship of life is not interrupted, the sense of life causes us to feel that we have the supply of life. Therefore, whether we are living in the fellowship of life and whether we have the supply of life depends entirely on what the sense of life indicates. The more we live in the fellowship of life, the keener is our sense of life, and the more we are supplied with life.
Concerning the fellowship of life, it is sufficient to say this much. We should remember that the sense of life always tests and proves us, while the fellowship of life always supplies us. Our condition before the Lord is determined by the sense of life; and the supply of our spiritual life is received through the fellowship of life.