The fellowship that Christ desires for his church does not come about by accident. In order for this fellowship to exist, several elements must be present. One of these is love.
First, there must be a love for God. Our relationship with other Christians is dependent upon our relationship with God. John wrote, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).
Second, there must be a love for the truth. Those who possess a love for the truth, God’s word (John 17:17), will adhere to God’s word as the sole authority in matters of fellowship. As Christians, we cannot extend fellowship to those who oppose the truth (II John 9-11). We are to mark those who practice a doctrine contrary to that found in the Bible (Romans 16:17-18). Those who practice such doctrines endanger their own souls as well as the souls of others.
Third, there must be a love for the church. Paul described the church as a virgin espoused to Christ (II Corinthians 11:12). The church is to direct its affections toward Christ rather than the world. The church is to be kept holy and without blemish, not having any spot, wrinkle, or any such (Ephesians 5:27).
Fourth, there must be love for one another. We are commanded to love the brotherhood (I Peter 2:17). The love that is commanded is not an emotion but a desire to seek out and accomplish that which is in another’s best interest. Unfortunately, because of the many misconceptions in existence concerning love, the command to withdraw from the disorderly is often ignored.
True fellowship cannot exist without love for God, love for the truth, love for the church, and love for one another.