Pastor Wilson has often warned us over the years about what he has called “the fellowship of the grievance” – the phenomenon of folks who may barely know one another or have little else in common, but by some magnetic force in the universe they find one another in order to share their grievances. And so a sort of pseudo-fellowship emerges, but the glue that holds it together is complaining, sharing frustrations, airing rumors, gossip, accusations, and so on. It’s not real fellowship at all, but it masquerades in Christian circles under the guise of Christian concern, prayer requests, and looking for counsel.
Satan does not creep into churches and houses with a name tag which reads: Dragon of Old, Deceiver and Accuser of the Brethren (Beware!). No, Satan creeps into churches and houses with smooth words and spiritual tones. The Bible says he comes disguised as an angel of light. He comes pretending to be a friend to the lonely. He comes pretending to offer comfort to the hurting. He comes pretending to offer unity for those who feel left out. In fact, he would not mind showing up assuring you that she would never want to participate in a fellowship of the grievance. Never, never. She just has some concerns about some things in the church, some things in the community, and she just wants a second opinion. He just wants to get your advice. No slander, no badmouthing, no complaining.
But the crucial thing is not in the advertising. The crucial thing is not what’s on the name tag. The crucial thing is what is actually happening. Of course friends need advice and counsel, the lonely need friendship, and the hurting need comfort. But Christian fellowship offers true friendship which drives straight toward solutions. Let’s go talk to that person right now. Let’s go make it right.
We know what true fellowship is because God invites us here to this table of fellowship week after week. And here God does not flatter us or lie to us or provide false comfort. Here, He gives us the broken body of His Son, the shed blood of His perfect and beloved Son, and says, Here, my life for yours. He tells us the truth in love about our sin and then by His goodness leads us straight to repentance. So this is true fellowship, true friendship. You cannot be at this table, in the fellowship of Jesus, and also partake of the table of demons, the fellowship of the grievance. This is the fellowship of joy, the fellowship of forgiveness, the fellowship of sincerity and truth.
So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.