13. Fellowship and Union
Fellowship with Father and fellowship with one another cannot be separated. Yes, we can experience fellowship with Father when we are by ourselves, but Father Himself never wants to stay by Himself. Father is always gathering people together. Father is always singing in community. Father is always throwing parties and inviting guests, and making sure His supper is filled with people.
13. Fellowship and Union
What is fellowship?
If fellowship is the essence of God and of knowing God, then what is fellowship?
These are three words that are the same word, just in three different languages. Koinonia is Greek, “communion” is the English form of Latin, and “fellowship” is the English form of Saxon. I will interchange the words communion and fellowship without intending any difference in meaning; there is none.
To approach the answer to what is fellowship, and before defining the words koinonia-communion-fellowship, we will look at three things, the where, the what, and the how.
First the where.
American society, more than most societies on this planet, has removed almost all fellowship from its experience. Almost all television shows demonstrate open hostility to fellowship. Christians, even, have remarkably little knowledge of fellowship. When I was a boy, having a family over from church for Sunday dinner was a regular occurrence; now it hardly happens at all. All the emptiness of modern society and of the human experience, all the glitter and show, is simply the effort of desperate people to fill the void left by the absence of fellowship. One could say “the absence of the knowledge of God,” but since the knowledge of God is fellowship, we are saying much the same thing.
Marriages that develop into an ongoing fellowship of husband and wife are the only successful marriages; unsuccessful marriages are first void of fellowship regardless of whatever else has taken its place. In the same way, churches that are void of fellowship are also empty of God. Powerful anointings and influential ministries are not the same thing as fellowship. God may be involved in those things by His angels, but His heart is not there.
Of truth, marriage is the only place many have had any inkling of what fellowship is.
God has given me many tastes of fellowship throughout my life – only tastes – thus I have some inkling, dim to be sure, of what true fellowship is and where it is found. Yet, as I ponder these things, I now understand that because we did not know true fellowship with Father in our community experiences, fellowship with one another was not and could never be what God intends.
Here is the first law of fellowship. Fellowship with Father and fellowship with one another cannot be separated. Yes, we can experience fellowship with Father when we are by ourselves, but Father Himself never wants to stay by Himself. Father is always gathering people together. Father is always singing in community. Father is always throwing parties and inviting guests, and making sure His supper is filled with people.
Fellowship/communion begins with the meal. Eating together is always the first “where” of fellowship.
I highly value the solitary ritual we do together called “communion.” But that communion, void of the larger community of church eating meals together, is mostly empty of God's intention. In the early church eating the meal together was communion.
You want to know the truth. All this talk about “union with Christ” is mostly hot air when there is no experience of union with one another. Yes, our union with Christ must always come first and then flow out from our innermost beings as union with one another. But both must be in full operation for our lives and knowledge of God to be healthy and full. If we truly desire union with Christ, we will desire union with all that He is.
I am struck, once again, at the sheer emptiness of relating with God without also relating together with one another in local assemblies as His house. It is as a spirit without a body, a cause without a fulfilment.
And that brings us to the next part of the “where” of fellowship.
I have known real fellowship, and the place where much of it is known is in shared labor. This point is actually the essence of what I hope to convey in this letter, and thus I plan to come back to this part of fellowship later. Let me define shared labor. Shared labor is when two or more people engage in activity together that is designed to produce some purpose. However, most “jobs” that fit that definition do NOT contain any fellowship. We are talking, here, about the where, not the what. Almost all employment in modern culture contains zero fellowship.
Sitting around and visiting certainly has a vital place as part of the where of fellowship, but fellowship that is visiting only is limited.
And that brings us back to the meal. Those who live in an agricultural community with only a simplicity of technology (that is, technology tools, yes, but not technology systems), will spend more than half of all their labor towards the meal. The meal is much more than thirty minutes of eating. The meal is the purpose and the focal point of most labor, and thus the purpose of working together.
In only one church since leaving community did we as a church eat any meals together, and that was at the church my family and I attended for a season in Lubbock, Texas. Yet because we were modern people, most simply stopped at a store (a system of technology) on the way to church to buy something to contribute to the meal after the service. I appreciated very much the shared meal together, but I knew much of what is meant in the communion service, breaking bread together, was missing from that time because we had not labored together to place that meal before us.
This is a big deal. I'm getting right at God, here, right at Father in the essence and reality of knowing Him.
Yes, I am sharing with you out of a knowledge of communion, but I am not presently sharing from Church life. For that reason, what I share with you now concerning Christ our only life is limited and hobbled. I will share with you the real ONLY as I am enabled by God to be sharing out from real and ongoing Church life.
One of the most important truths in the Bible is found in God's Covenant with Abram. In that Covenant in Genesis 17, God said this: As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
Entering into Covenant with God changed Abram from “father” to “father of many,” Abraham.
There cannot be Covenant with God without Covenant with one another. Father is the Father of MANY.
There are three kinds of labor together. First, there is mundane labor. Mundane labor is for the necessities of life. It gives us an inherent satisfaction as humans. In fact, I consider modern child labor laws to be child abuse. Children that do not know the satisfaction of seeing other people benefit from the labor of their hands are robbed of the essence of their humanity. Many grow up to fill that void created by unnatural and “progressive” violence with things that destroy themselves and others.
But there are two other kinds of labor. There is labor for glory and labor to protect against danger. Of truth, in real life, we flow between these three kinds of labor on a regular basis and there is often not a distinct line between these three types of labor.
Labor for glory is when you or I have the opportunity to excel at that which makes our hearts sing. People who work together to put on a stage production for the entertainment of guests can know a taste of real fellowship inside their labor together and in the aftermath of the glory of their performance. The operative word here is “can” know. Not all do. My description of the raising of the Graham River Tabernacle is a description of labor for glory. One of the most precious experiences in my entire life was when Don Howat and I walked alone in the cool of the evening, sharing heart concerning the labor just before us. That moment was FELLOWSHIP.
Then, there is a labor for protection that also creates a fellowship that is deep and real. The problem for us is that labor for protection in the world is centered around the lying and the murdering of human wars and thus, that fellowship, though it is partially real to those who experience the “brotherhood of the trenches,” is built upon evil actions that break the psyches of all those who commit them.
It can be argued that the majority of the decline in our modern societies today, the destruction of the family, comes out of young men broken by the hatred and the evil deeds they committed in World Wars I and II, and all the massive wars before and since, beginning with the American Civil War, wars that violated the totality of society – total war, and wars centered around the machine gun and its ability to turn an unending number of human bodies into hamburger – as these young men, broken, scarred, guilty, and cut off from God, came home to father the next generation.
The rebellion of the 1960's was fathered by the broken men who committed evil deeds against other humans in World War II. The idea that “we” were the good guys and “they” were the bad guys is a myth, a lie told by the one who revels in murder, in humans butchering one another. The day of judgment when all secrets are made known will prove me right. You will see then what you have been lied to about now.
I have a purpose in saying these things. Some dear readers find offence when I speak against the deeds of the world and thus stop reading. Yet I will speak all that God speaks; we can know Christ our only life no other way.
The world hates Me because I testify against it, that its deeds are evil.
As the world hates Me, so it will hate you.
It is my intention to get RIGHT AT fellowship, to get right at knowing this God who presents Himself to us as Father, as the Father of many.
Fellowship, real fellowship, IS found in the trenches, in the labor of danger and the risk of life and limb – God and us together – FOR THE SAKE OF HIS BRIDE!!!
Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. . . And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. . . Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, . . . And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out . . . to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. . . Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! . . . Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished . . . from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood . . . And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring . . . Revelation 12
I have said before that Romans 8 and Revelation 12 are the same thing and must be read together. Revelation 12 is the gospel of Romans 8 told in a different form. Yet as I have also shared before, God has a dispensation of the fullness of times, when all things that have been are made manifest, placed by God out into the light where they must show themselves to BE what they ARE, what they have been all along, regardless of the masks.
We live now in that fullness of times.
FELLOWSHIP. – Here is the place God has ordained for us to know the Father and to know Jesus Sent.
Union, our fellowship with Father, is WAR, together as One – for the sake of His body.
Yes, God orders all things, but He orders all things FOR His purposes. And God has purposed that our fellowship with Father and with Jesus Sent, our eternal life, be known first as fellowship together in the trenches. More than that, union means that whatever God is doing, we are doing also. We do all things together with God, and God does all things together with us.
The cold of the Canadian north is a harsh killer. I have faced that cold; I have risked my life for my friends. I know this place of fellowship. Yet that night and weekend of real risk, at the very edge of deadliness, was simply a normal part of the fellowship of friendship.
Before coming back to this “where” of fellowship as I attempt to make it God in us now, I want to bring in the what and the how of fellowship. But before we do that, it might be helpful to define the terms. (I have reduced the following definitions for flow and pertinence. These first definitions are from www.biblehub.com.)
Kononia: Participation, communion, fellowship. (lit: partnership) 1. contributory help, participation, 2. sharing in, communion, 3. spiritual fellowship, a fellowship in the spirit. koinōnía – properly, what is shared in common as the basis of fellowship (partnership, community). From koinónos: fellowship. Contribution, participation, sharing.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance: κοινωνία – fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, contact; in the N. T. as in classical Greek – 1. the share which one has in anything, participation; with (possession) of the thing in which he shares. 2. contact, fellowship, intimacy. 3. a benefaction jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship. From koinonos; partnership, i.e. (literally) participation, or social intercourse, or pecuniary benefaction – to communicate, communion, distribution, fellowship.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all . . . if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:1-7
Fellowship. Webster's 1828 – Companionship; society; consort; mutual association of persons on equal and friendly terms; familiar conversation. 2. Association; confederacy; combination. 3. Partnership; joint interest. 4. Company; a state of being together. 5. Frequency of conversation (intercourse). 6. Fitness and fondness for festive entertainments. 7. Communion; intimate familiarity.
Webster's 1926 – 1. State or relation of being a fellow or associate. 2. Partnership; alliance; membership in a society. 3. Companionship of persons on equal and friendly terms; familiar conversation, hence, friendliness; comradeship. 4. A state of being together; companionship; association; hence, a community of interest. 5. Any union or association; corporation; company; especially, a company of equals or friends. 7. Ecclesiastical: Communion; mutual relation between members or branches of the same church.
Fellowship as a verb: 1. To acknowledge as of good standing, or in communion according to standards of faith and practice; to admit to Christian fellowship. 2. To unite in fellowship; to accompany. 3. To join in fellowship; to be in communion.
Communion. Webster's 1828 – Fellowship; conversation (intercourse) between two persons or more; interchange of transactions, or offices; a state of giving and receiving; agreement; concord. 2. Mutual intercourse or union in religious worship, or in doctrine and discipline. 3. The body of Christians who have one common faith and discipline. 4. The act of communicating the sacrament of the Eucharist; the celebration of the Lord's supper. 5. Union of professing Christians in a particular church (local assembly).
Webster's 1926 – 1. Act of sharing; community of condition or relation; participation. 2. Intercourse between persons; especially intimate or spiritual intercourse; interchange of thoughts, purposes, etc., fellowship. 3. Joint or common action. 4. A body of Christians having one common faith and discipline. 5. The sacrament of the Eucharist; the celebration of the Lord's Supper; act of partaking of the sacrament.
– I have laid out the full and complex meanings of these words. Although we cannot know Word except it come to us through Spirit, yet Word is the primary means by which God reveals Himself to His creation. This most central of words, fellowship/communion, is one we must know, not just by head knowledge but by full and ongoing life experience. (Please don't be put off by the religious setting of some of the definitions. We can easily translate them to God walking among us as we walk together. Redefine “sacrament” as the devotion to God of our experience together. Redefine “discipline” as walking together in the same Spirit. And so on.)
It is clear that the first “What” of communion is Covenant, an everlasting and absolute Bond of equality, of sharing all things fully, among God, Jesus, and us, and among us as members together. The Bond of the Covenant is then transferred to the word: commitment. And look at that. Communion in Latin is “together with union.” Commitment in Latin is “the state of being SENT together.” (“mit” or “mis” is sent.)
And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with Jesus Sent.
Jesus said: To know Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have reduced that to “Jesus Sent” for some time now. The more I say “Jesus Sent,” the more my knowledge of who and what He is grows.
– Commitment together for a great and mighty task. – We know that the ultimate goal of that task is to restore the entire creation back to the Father. But God begins first with the Church.
The Church is in as much need of being won for Christ as the unregenerate. – More in need.
In an earlier letter, I said this: Jesus' prayer in John 17 is the first part of our union with Christ – that is, the source of our existence, which is what union is. Gethsemane is the second part.
For the sake of His body.
Gethsemane is the fellowship together, the COMMITMENT, the shared sending for the same purpose.
AND WE ALSO. 1 John 3:16
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21
Just exactly AS. – Be just like God.
If the shared sending of Covenant is the What of fellowship, what about the How of fellowship?
How did Jesus proceed forth from Gethsemane?
He just put one foot in front of the other, KNOWING that every single step was God in Him reconciling the world to Himself. – Yet that KNOWING cost Him everything, including His life.
Christ is a Corporate Body.
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which . . . now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:24-28
Christ Jesus is a Corporate Body.
We cannot know Jesus as He IS apart from community, apart from full fellowship and communion together. Union with Christ, Christ living as us, is the source; one Body is the reality.
Fellowship with Father, with Jesus Sent, AND with one another.
The essence of true fellowship is commitment to a shared purpose.
Our entire experience in the Christian communities in which I lived for many years revolved around the commitment each one of us had made to a shared purpose. Any of the many wonderful experiences of fellowship we enjoyed came entirely out from that commitment of our hearts to that shared purpose. And those wonderful experiences of fellowship were deep and many. God was in our midst, walking together with us.
Yet our shared purpose then is not my purpose now. It seems to be the same – the vision of being the revelation of Jesus Christ and of setting all creation free. The problem was simply this. Our shared purpose then, thought it contained a similar ultimate vision, yet it revolved around our own, personal sanctification.
We did not know union with Christ. Therefore we were incapable of walking in fellowship with Father as He is and as He wants to be through us. We imagined that we had to get ourselves into that union FIRST, then, after we had done that – how, we did not really know, we would be the revelation of Jesus Christ.
I live now in the utter simplicity of rest in my present union with Jesus, that He has become me in all that I am in all that I find myself to be and that He carries me all the way through His death and into His life.
Therefore, inside that rest, inside that certainty of peace, inside of my full and finished oneness with my Father, I know the fellowship with Father and with Jesus Sent all through me. I know it BECAUSE I believe that it is true every moment in every circumstance – because He says.
Christ is as me. – BUT, what and who is me, this Daniel Yordy whom you are reading?
– I want to defeat death, and I want to know how to do it. Christ is as me. I want my children and grandchildren to live lives of full peace and joy and freedom without the rule of demon spirits or wicked men upon this earth and I want to know how to do it. Christ is as me.
These are not just “ideas” I picked up from somewhere. I am a man of great vision and a deep love of adventure. Christ is as me. At the same time, I am a man of habit and I love my cup of coffee in the morning. Christ is as me. I guess that's why Bilbo Baggins was always my favorite character in all world literature.
I absolutely love the line that Peter Jackson added to Bilbo's response to Thorin's doubt of him. Thorin accused Bilbo of loving his own home and thinking about returning to it all the time. Bilbo answered, (my paraphrase) “Yes, you are right, I love my home and its comfort. But that's why I'm here. You don't have a home to enjoy like I have. I want to help you win your home back.”
His words silenced Thorin.
I have dreamed great dreams. I have forsaken all, risking all for the sake of standing with Jesus in His glory, of seeing creation set free and death defeated. I have followed after to know the Lord all of my adult life. The thought of shriveling up into a little old man who threatens no one's nice little definitions of what is acceptable to call “Christ as me” would certainly not be Christ as me.
I engage with Father; Father engages with me.
We do all things together. I am about my Father's business.
Father's business is to glorify His Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus-Sent's business is to restore all creation back to the Father.
If I engage with Them in the travail of Their business then I rest in the utter peace and joy of Christ living as me, as I find myself to be.
But there is something else that I also find myself to be, Christ living now as me.
I am NOT content to be alone. It is NOT good for me to be alone. Father called everything good except one thing, being alone. In the beginning, before sin and rebellion ever entered anyone's picture, God said that being alone is NOT good. And my determination not to be alone is most certainly Christ living as me.
The essence of true fellowship is commitment to a shared purpose.
If Christ is appearing now as Daniel Yordy, then this Christ appearing as Daniel Yordy will not rest until we together see the Father establish us inside a body of believers walking together in utter commitment to a shared purpose. Those who don't care for Christ as Daniel Yordy are most certainly free in Jesus to walk elsewhere. I bless them with all of my heart, but I will not contort myself into what I am not in order to fit anyone's definition of “Christ as us.”
And here is the most amazing thing. In all of my boldness of vision and willingness to leap into adventure, I can't make anything happen. I simply have no ability to execute. I don't even have the ability to gather together a sharing group on the Internet.
I need you. That's what Body is all about. I need you and you need me. Christ is a many-membered body.
God made us as members of one another, and we can never be whole, never be who and what we really are, except in and out from the fellowship that is found only in a heart commitment to a shared purpose.
Now, I want to bring back into the equation the purpose of this letter, to set before us the fellowship with Jesus Sent inside of union. Yet before doing so, I must state again the arena into which God has placed us to find and to know this fellowship of Jesus Sent.
The world is lying to you. The world is entirely lying and deceit and dishonesty. Almost everything said by any figure of authority in the governments of this world or in the news is lying based on the dishonesty of hiding criminal deeds and criminal ambitions in the darkness. So much of what is considered “real” is just endless lying, including much that is called “medicine” and “history” and “science.” I am more convinced now than ever that few voices, very few, are in any way honest. Most everyone is pretending; most everyone is masking over emptiness and deceit with painted and false faces.
Christ is as us as we find ourselves to be whatever that might be.
But there is one thing Christ is NOT. Christ is not any kind of lying or pretending, dishonesty or hiding.
If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.
Yet it is here, in this world of total and unending lying, that God has placed us. And it is here that God would cause us to know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings and for the sake of His body.
Jesus Sent is Gethsemane. Jesus Sent is the Mercy Seat.
This Jesus Sent lives in my heart. My heart is Gethsemane; my heart is the Mercy Seat.
It is by the Mercy Seat alone, our hearts, that we know Father and Jesus Christ whom Father has sent.
If my fellowship with Father is defined as our commitment together, Father and I, to a shared purpose, bearing together all the costs of accomplishing our purpose, sharing together all resources at each of our disposals to accomplish this purpose, walking quietly together in the cool of the evening discussing the great task ahead, and then, my putting one foot in front of the other KNOWING that every step is utterly inside of Father and directed utterly by Him alone, then what are Father and I doing?
The answer to everything is Father revealed.
Whatever problem there is that can be named, whatever dilemma, whatever sorrow, whatever loss, whatever contradiction, whatever horror of darkness or terror of destruction, there is one answer alone for all and for each.
The fellowship I know right now with Father, the same fellowship you also know, as you simply believe that Father is true, is that of an invisible God in travail, birthing Himself to be seen and known, touched and handled, through us.
Father revealed is life from the dead. Father revealed is the new heavens and the new earth. Father revealed is glory. Father revealed is light and life and love. Father revealed is children singing and people dancing and overwhelming outpoured abundance and adventures of every sort.
He that has seen Me has seen the Father. – We are like Him for we see Him as He is.
I bring you into the Mercy Seat of my heart, there above the Blood, into the Love of Father residing in my heart. There, I set you free of all things, including free of myself. There you are released out of death and into life, out of sickness and into wholeness, as Father and I together carry your griefs and bear your sorrows.
Father and I work all things together for your good.
It is inside this intimacy of sharing the Father's work that He and I partake of the sweetest and the deepest of fellowships. I may be saying that mostly by faith right now, but I KNOW that it is true. It is not my nature to share your sorrows and to carry your griefs, setting you free of me even when you do me wrong. Father does not expect it to be “my nature.” It is His nature, the portion He brings to this Covenant Union He shares with me. Me? I am weak, and that weakness is what He asks of me, to join my weakness together with His ability.
I can do that, you know, I can say, “Yes, Father,” with all my heart, and then I can believe that all things coming my way, every little step that I take, every circumstance in which I find myself, that all of it is He in me, reconciling the world to Himself, bearing their griefs and carrying their sorrows.
That Love, God-Love, must break the lies and the lying; it must break all the plastic faces.
All the anger of God expressed in the Bible and in present judgment against all the lies and all the abuse of others is simply an expression of the grief He bears for all. The lying is without purpose.
Yes, redemption requires Blood; redemption requires a Savior; redemption requires One Sacrifice for sins forever. But in spite of the totality of God's Heart, redemption requires something else, something very human.
Redemption requires honesty, one brief moment of honesty, a moment in the heart of each individual person upon which God can build.
But how does such a moment come for individuals and especially for the whole world?
God has to turn on the lights.
– We are the light of the world. – That the world may know, that the world may believe. –
However, our experience can be no different than Jesus' experience. Even though all the lying is without purpose, yet it does come from a very specific source. It comes from the covenant Adam made with the serpent.
The lights turn on as you and I break forever that false covenant.