THE HORIZONTAL ASPECT OF
THE DIVINE FELLOWSHIP BY THE HUMAN SPIRIT
We need to enter into the horizontal aspect of the divine fellowship by the human spirit (Phil. 2:1; Rev. 1:10). If we are going to have real fellowship horizontally with one another, we need to exercise our spirit. If we exercise our spirit, we will never talk in a worldly manner or speak negatively about the saints or the churches. A local church can be severely damaged if many of the saints in that locality spend time speaking negative things about other saints and other churches. Such discussions spread gossip and death among the saints. This kind of contact between the saints is not the fellowship of spirit that Paul spoke about in Philippians 2. In Philippians 2:1-2 Paul said, "If there is therefore any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of spirit, if any tenderheartedness and compassions, make my joy full...." Paul seemed to be saying, "Brothers, if you have any fellowship with me in spirit, your fellowship will be my encouragement and consolation. Then you will make my joy full."
Real fellowship is by our spirit. When we exercise our spirit, we are unable to talk about worldly amusements and entertainment. When we exercise our spirit, the nature of our conversation will change because our spirit is holy (cf. 2 Cor. 6:6). If there are problems in a certain church, we may have a desire to merely talk about the situation, but our spirit within will urge us to pray. Our spirit will not allow us to gossip about others’ mistakes and failures. The only way to have the reality of horizontal fellowship is by exercising our spirit.
The two aspects of the divine fellowship require us to be in the two spirits, the Holy Spirit and the human spirit. These two spirits eventually become one (Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor. 6:17). When Paul charges us to walk according to spirit in Romans 8:4, he is speaking of the mingled spirit—the divine Spirit mingled with our human spirit. When we exercise our spirit to carry out the divine fellowship, we are fully sanctified, rescued, and saved from everything other than Christ. To be victorious, overcoming, sanctified, and transformed, we must exercise our spirit to carry out the two aspects of the divine fellowship.
THE INTERWOVEN FELLOWSHIP INCLUDING
THE VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL ASPECTS
The horizontal and vertical aspects of the divine fellowship are very closely related. We can see this from our experience. Sometimes, we may talk about other saints under the pretense of having fellowship about their situation, but our conversation is actually gossip. Afterwards, we often cannot pray, because our praying spirit is quenched by our gossip. But when we fellowship in a genuine way by exercising our spirit, we are eager to pray and contact the Lord. This shows how close the relationship is between the vertical and horizontal aspects of fellowship. The horizontal fellowship ushers us into the vertical fellowship. If two brothers exercise their spirit to have genuine, proper, horizontal fellowship, they will eventually be ushered into a very honest and sincere intercession. When they pray together, the two aspects of the divine fellowship are interwoven. The horizontal fellowship is interwoven with the vertical fellowship. This interwoven fellowship is the real fellowship.
Fellowship cannot have just one aspect alone. You cannot have the vertical fellowship without the horizontal fellowship. If you have a good time with the Lord in vertical fellowship, you will be eager to see the other saints in order to have fellowship with them. Once you have fellowship with the saints through prayer, you are brought into vertical fellowship with the Lord again. Your horizontal fellowship with the saints brings you into vertical fellowship with the Lord. Then your fellowship with the Lord brings you into horizontal fellowship with the saints. Thus, these two aspects are always interwoven, that is, they are always crisscrossing each other.
When we have the proper view of the divine fellowship with its two aspects, we will thank the Lord that we have the opportunity to fellowship with other saints. Every day as we fellowship with the Lord, we are ushered into fellowship with other saints. The more we have this kind of fellowship, the more we will sing and praise the Lord together. There is not much singing and praising among us because we are short of the divine fellowship.
(The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)