The set apart fellowship of believers

It’s not where we meet but how we walk.

1 John 1:3 – “what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Yeshua the Anointed One.”

The apostle John makes it clear that the purpose of his epistle was to encourage faith in Yeshua and like-mindedness among those who would read and hear its message. He uses the word translated as fellowship four times in just this first chapter, so it must be important. Three times it is used in the context of having unity or like-mindedness with other believers, and once for unity of purpose with God.

We typically view fellowship as the common assembly of individuals in a congregation; the local fellowship of believers gathered together. But seeing how John uses the term here in these instances brings out this other aspect of meaning: unity of purpose and understanding.

The Greek word koinonia which is translated as fellowship can mean a shared contribution or participation (such as giving to the poor), or it can mean the specific share or portion that one has among a shared ideal (such as the sufferings or Messiah or the holy Spirit), or it can mean a shared unity around a common idea or purpose. This is the intent that John uses here in the opening verses of this epistle: the shared unity of purpose that believers have relating to a common understanding of God as the Father and Yeshua as the Anointed One of God.

This shared unity is what John is seeking to enjoin with those who were to hear the message of his epistle. Those who have a common understanding of God as a Father, of Yeshua as the Anointed Son of God, and who walk in the teachings of Yeshua have a common purpose; i.e., fellowship with one another. This does not mean that these believers have to all be in one location, just one mindset.

1 John 1:7 – If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua his Son cleanses us from all sin.

This singular mindset is what creates the unity that allows believers to “walk in the light,” that is, to walk obediently according to the commands of God as communicated through the Anointed Yeshua. This is where our true fellowship lies, not just in a building once or twice a week. As we walk with God our purpose transcends any local assembly and we become participants in the set apart group known as the Kingdom of God in this world.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

How to truly identify God’s people

Could we pass the test?

Luke 6:31 – “Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.

This saying, which has become known as the “Golden Rule,” has appeared in many other cultures in some form or another, even other religious traditions.

Christianity: “Do for others what you want them to do for you: This is the meaning of the Law and the teaching of the Prophets” (Matthew 7/12)
Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not to you fellowman. That is the entire law: All the rest is commentary”. (Talmud, Shabbat 3id)
Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself” (Sunnah)
Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful: (Udana-Verga 5/18)
Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty! Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. (Mahabharata 5/1517)
Confucianism: Is there one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout ones life? Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness. Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you? (Analects 15/23).
Taoism: “Regard your neighbours gain as you own gain and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss” (Tai Shang Kan Ying P’en)
Zoroastrism: “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto others whatsoever is not good for itself”. (Dadistendinik 94/5)

Yet, if we really desire to understand how Yeshua interpreted and intended it to be applied, we would do well to keep it within the context of the rest of the passage of his teaching. Each bullet point provides its own convicting refinement of this principle.

Luke 6:27-31 – “But I say to you who listen:

Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you,

bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also.

And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.

Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, don’t ask for them back.

Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.”

But what if, instead of being written as admonitions to believers, these maxims were instead originally directed at those who reject God? What if Yeshua wanted to teach non-believers how to be able to truly identify God’s own people? Perhaps Yeshua might have phrased this teaching a little differently.

“Because I have instructed my disciples to follow me, they are obligated to act only in ways that I would act; in ways that honor God and bring glory to his name.
“Even though you consider them your enemies, they will have to demonstrate genuine love to you.
“Even though you may hate them, they will only be able to do what is good for you.
“If you curse them out, they will be forced to pronounce blessings on you.
“If you mistreat them, they will stop to pray for your needs.
“If you hit them, they will still stand by you to absorb your anger.
“If you take their coat, they will offer you additional clothing you may want. Whatever you ask, they will give. If you take from them, they won’t ask for it back, because God provides for all of their needs.
“They will only be able to respond in a way they would want to be treated themselves.
“These are my people, these are the ones who truly believe in me.”

Perhaps if Yeshua’s people acted more like this, the kingdom would be growing even faster than it is.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Peace through a forgiving attitude

God’s people are expected to be peaceable.

Titus 3:1-2 – Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people.

One of the beautiful things about Paul’s letter to Titus is how all-encompassing his instruction is that is still relevant for all believers. Many believers today will use this letter primarily for understanding the qualifications for leaders within the congregation of God, which is the bulk of the first chapter. However, as the little letter continues, we find instruction regarding all types of individuals who were coming to faith in then Messiah. While Paul’s primary reason for writing was to assist Titus in overseeing congregations in Crete, it gives us insights into the very practices and characteristics that were expected of God’s people in that day and age.

As we can see in the verses highlighted above, out of all of the positive aspects that was to be demonstrated by believers, God’s people were expected to be peaceable. Yeshua clearly illustrated this principle within his teaching.

Matthew 5:7, 9 – Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. … Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

In order to be peaceable, an individual must have a forgiving, merciful attitude. Peace can typically only be had when one party relinquishes the right to force their position or rights on another. According to Yeshua and Paul, this relinquishing responsibility, this forgiving attitude, falls to the believer. This is how peace is accomplished, when one is forgiving of another’s “incorrect” position, looking beyond that to the more significant aspect of saving the relationship.

This is the same principle in how God has provided salvation for all people:

Titus 3:4-5 – But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us –not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy…

God’s mercy is the only thing that has allowed mankind to come to him in spirit and in truth. God relinquished his right to be severe (even though he would be justified in doing so) so that he could demonstrate his sincerity in desiring restoration. God created peace by being willing to save the relationship with all of mankind through his mercy. This is what mercy is: the extension of a forgiving attitude. When we realize that God has been offering this to us, it incites a yearning for repentance, and to modify our rebellious stance towards him.

This is how peace is created: “to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people.” This is the peace that brings salvation to the world.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Purity of heart through the Word of God

If we are to remain holy and blameless, we need to remain steadfast in the faith which has been handed down to this generation.

Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Purity of heart is what sets believers apart, what makes them holy. Purity and blamelessness are characteristics of a life that has been changed and influenced by the power of God’s presence and his Word.

Ephesians 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah loved the congregation and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the congregation to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

Psalm 24:3-6 – Who may ascend the mountain of Yahweh? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not appealed to what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully. He will receive blessing from Yahweh, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who inquire of him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Seeking the face of the God of Jacob and inquiring of his Word; these are the characteristics of the congregation of the Messiah, the ekklesia, or the assembly of called-out ones. The congregation of the Messiah was the example for all those who would come to faith through their testimony and witness. They were set apart through the Word of God, and through the sacrificial example of the Messiah.

Colossians 1:21-23 – Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds expressed in your evil actions. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him ​– ​ if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.

If we are to remain holy and blameless, we need to remain steadfast in the faith which has been handed down to this generation. God’s Word is maligned in the marketplace of ideas in which we live, but its timeless truths stand forever. Just as the apostle Paul became a servant of the good news of God, we also demonstrate its power when we live obediently by its dictates, when we show the world that we are inherently different through the Word that has changed our hearts. Our loving actions toward one another are the distinction that can illustrate the truth of God’s Word to a world in desperate need of stability and hope.

Philippians 2:14-16 – Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life…


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.