In my article on the communion of the saints, I explained what Communion and fellowship is. This article is dedicated to what communion and fellowship are not. Most churches today will have these traits associated to their service. Although, these may be in the church, it does not mean the church is “bad” or “not Christian.” Please see my articles on the holy catholic church and the 12 types of the visible church for more information about the purity of the church.
Communion has no partiality
Communion is not a gathering of rich people or some exclusive social club.
My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?
. . . If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
. . .. What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
(Jam 2:1-4,8,14-17 NAS)
If a church is merely getting together with their own ethnicity or social class, there is a serious issue with the fellowship. Christ died for all kinds of people: Jews, Gentiles, rich, poor, and so forth.
Not an opportunity for people to make money
Communion is not to be some sales pitch or a means for people to earn an income from the Church.
Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,
(1Ti 3:8 NAS)
who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain.
(Tit 1:11 NAS)
shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
(1Pe 5:2 NAS)
If your church has peddlers asking for money for things that do not pertain to God all the time and it’s not for the edification and building up of the church (the people in the building not the building itself) then there is a reason to be alarmed. They may be scamming you for money.
Not for making everyone feel good about themselves
Communion is not a “feel good” session or a way to get people into the church to have a good time for increasing church membership.
For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed — God is witness– nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.
(1Th 2:5-6 NAS)
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
(2Pe 2:1-3 NAS)
Fellowship is not a Positive thinking session for saying anything to make people feel good about themselves. If that’s the case, they may have an ulterior motive.
Not time to abuse people
Communion is not a time for immoral abuse, angry outbursts or disputing doctrines.
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
(Col 3:5-9 NAS)
For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances;
(2Co 12:20 NAS)
Certainly when you go to fellowship, the members should not be forming groups that are in opposition to each other. One group pushing one agenda while the other group fights for a different agenda manipulating people along the way.
Not for wasting time and snooping into peoples lives
Communion also is not for the purpose of snooping into peoples lives, gossiping, or running around doing busy work that has nothing to do with God.
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.
(2Th 3:10-12 NAS)
And at the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.
(1Ti 5:13 NAS)
If everyone is the news anchor of each others life and people are not even talking about God but about trivial business, there is a problem with the fellowship.
It’s not a banquet or a restaurant
The Church fellowship is also not a restaurant or cooking time where everyone gets together and displays their cooking craft, or to gorge themselves and large varieties of food and drink.
Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles
(Rom 14:16-21 NAS)
For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you. Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
(1Co 11:19-22 NAS)
If every meeting or assembly of the members is only about eating food or participating in pot lucks and cook offs, be alarmed. Simply eating together with people is not only a waste of time, since they can eat at home, but extremely unfruitful.