There is a common idea that the way to ascend the spiritual heights is to go off by oneself and seek for God. No doubt this is essential, but it is only one aspect of a balanced spirituality. It has to be accompanied by communal fellowship. One way in which this is done is by church services, such as the services on Sunday and midweek. Yet they cannot be the only occasions of communal fellowship because they are usually occasions of receiving from God rather than sharing with one another what God has done for us.
J.I. Packer comments that often today Christians need fellowship, but lack fellowship, therefore they should seek fellowship. We need fellowship in order to grow as the family of God. In society, a family with problems contains members who do not relate to the other family members as they should. Sadly there are Christians who do not relate as they should to other Christians. Fellowship is the normal Christian life.
Our need of fellowship cannot be met by substitutes for it. Just as a jeweller would not pretend that lead was the same as gold, so neither should be accept as fellowship those gatherings which are not centred on God and his grace. We need the real thing.
The believers in Philippi delighted in fellowship. At one of their gatherings, they decided to send Paul a gift and were rewarded by a mention in the Bible. If we spend time in fellowship, we will be rewarded by a mention in heaven. As Malachi 3:16-17 says: ‘Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.”’