What the Bible Teaches
(Excerpt from What the Bible Teaches by Harry Tennant)
“Let us suppose that someone outside this fellowship came along and asked how he might share it. What would the answer be? We could at once assure him that such fellowship is possible for anyone, because the way has been made known for us in the Bible. We could say also that it is not a mysterious process by which we wait for God to impart something to us from heaven. Some people have burdened themselves with this latter notion, and have waited for God to act directly upon them. This is not the process described in any of the verses we have quoted. Fellowship is made possible through the word of God.
To be specific, the way to fellowship is through the apostles’ doctrine or teaching. This teaching is the challenge to our existing fellowship outside Christ. When we learn of the great and precious promises of God made certain by the sacrifice of Christ, the moment of choice comes along sooner or later. Am I to remain walking in darkness in fellowship with the world? Am I to stay in the fellowship of death? Or, shall I step into the light in response to the call of the Gospel, and come to the new fellowship in Christ? Fellowship comes by enlightenment and belief, by repentance and baptism, and by commitment to the new way of life. In this way the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin and we enter into the fellowship of God and His Son. We share the apostles’ doctrine and the hope which they proclaimed.
The believer’s fellowship is both inclusive and exclusive. He does not choose his companions in the fellowship; they are chosen by the very process which brought him into a relationship with God. There can be no artificial barriers of sex, colour, race, class or caste. All who hold the same faith in truth and submit to its discipline by baptism share a common heritage. They are members of the commonwealth of Israel and have a common hope. The Lord makes believers one in him.”