Finally, let the scriptures address the relationship between
submission and fellowship:
- We are all unrighteous; unity declares the righteousness of God, disunity
declares the flesh. Assigning blame declares the flesh. Instead of eating and
drinking, we should be thinking about the fast that the Lord chooses (Isa
- None of us can reconcile with a pointed finger.
- Our submission
cannot be dependent on the submission of others.
- Fellowship practice is
always based on the judgment of a group.
- Human fellowship practice can't
operate perfectly. Sharp definition cuts, and blurry lines are
- Jesus never said whom to break bread with. He said "as often" as
to the frequency, and "remember me" as to the object.
- "In all labor there is
profit, but the talk of the lips tends only to want." We should be working
together, instead of wasting time with words.
- Our purpose is to bury the
sins of the past, and go forward together in fruitfulness. The profit is in the
- If we can't make a sacrifice for our children, they will inherit our
- Jesus put reconciliation and service before the bread and wine (Mat 5,
- Self-sacrifice is so unnatural that we can use principle to
justify its refusal.
- It was wrong for the Jews to strike the Lord, but it
was right for Jesus to submit to their judgment -- because it was God's will. He
could have argued against their sin in his own defense. But he didn't. He
- Our disunity on the larger scale is a bad testimony to the
- The Lord requires humility, confession, repentance, submission and
love from us all. Humility acknowledges that God alone is righteous, confession
acknowledges our own sin -- not our brother's, repentance changes it, submission
respects the judgment of other brethren, and love covers a multitude of sins.
This isn't hard, it is just unnatural.
FIRST: "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their
own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not
blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, (body / ekklesia / majority)
let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them
service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These
things teach and exhort" (1Ti 6:1,2).
THEN: "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to
wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, ("be one" / "serve" )
and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing
nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy,
strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds,
and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw
thyself" (1Ti 6:3-5).
Is he saying to withdraw from those who refuse to serve
believing masters? Is he saying that it blasphemes God not to honor the yoke of
believing masters? It would seem that the criterion for fellowship in this
passage is whether or not a person teaches and consents to submission.
When God reconciled the world, his only Son took it in the
flesh -- like a lamb -- with no words. If this doesn't break our hearts and our
spirit, nothing will. Brethren, we must love one another... as Christ loved us..
and gave himself for us.
See Lesson, Reconciliation principles.