Biblical Fellowship  #5

By Tommy Thornhill

 Toward the close of the article last week I quoted 2.Cor.6:14-18 in two segments. The first segment, vs.14-16a teaches Christians not to be unequally yoked (mingled, united, tied together) with unbelievers, i.e. have no fellowship with them either by relationship or participation or both, in their sinful practices. For children of God striving to live a righteous life to yoke themselves together with unbelievers in things that are sinful would be like connecting things that are opposites, incompatible with each other. It would be like plowing an ox and donkey (ass) together in the same harness or walking in the light and darkness at the same time, or worshiping idols while claiming to worship the true God. This unequal yoking just won’t work.

The second segment, vs.16b-18 approaches the matter a little differently. In these verses God calls for His people to come out and be separate from the world. So, not only are the believers being told not to be unequally yoked with the unbelievers in their sinful practices, they are to remain separate and distinct from the sinful world.   

But please don’t misunderstand this passage. The passage does not forbid all yoking together with unbelievers. The passage is talking of being unequally yoked together in things that God has determined to be sinful. The yoking together of a believer and an unbeliever in and of itself does not make the yoking sinful. It is when the believer yokes himself together with an unbeliever in the practice of sinful things that makes the yoking sinful. Bear with me.

There are many interests and associations in the world that are not sinful but are common to both believers and unbelievers alike. Believers and unbelievers can relate to, and participate together in such things as family, sports teams, social clubs, citizenship, pursuit of education, commercial transactions. In these things God’s people can yoke themselves together with people of the world. But these things are not Biblical fellowship.

While we (believers/Christians/children of God), can be yoked together in association and participation, with unbelievers in things of the world that are not sinful, there are some practices and activities that God has commanded in which believers are not to be yoked together with unbelievers, such as the Lord’s Supper and acapella singing.

Believers are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body (the church) and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel Eph.3:6-7. Thus they share a common salvation, faith and relationship with other believers as partakers of the divine nature 2.Pet.1:4 being born again into the family of God Jn.3:5; Tit.3:5; 1.Pet.1:22-23 by being baptized into Christ Gal.3:27; Rom.6:3-6.  

As believers they participate together in partaking of the Lord’s Supper (called the breaking of bread in Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7) which is a commemoration of the Lord’s death. It is partaken of (shared with) fellow Christians in their assemblies on the first day of each week. We read in the scriptures that Jesus established this memorial feast to be observed in remembrance of His death, burial and resurrection Matt.26:26-29; 1.Cor.11:23-33. The only example of the day when the Lord’s Supper was observed after its establishment is in Acts 20:7, and a careful reading of the passage in context shows that is was something done each first day of the week. So, Christians the world over, on the first day of each week are yoked together (in fellowship with one another in spirit if not physically) by a common faith and partake of the bread and fruit of the vine. While we do not encourage non-Christians to partake (fellowship) with us as we eat the Lord’s Supper, neither do we forbid them from partaking of it. Each person is responsible for himself as to whether he is partaking of it properly 1.Cor.11:28-29.

Some may want to quibble over the expression “breaking of bread” and say it is applying to a common meal. I agree that “breaking of bread” often refers to a physical meal to satisfy physical hunger, but in the context of Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7 it is combined with other spiritual things and the logical conclusion is that in these passages “breaking of bread” is used as partaking of a spiritual meal (in remembrance of the Lord’s D-B-R) and not as a physical meal to satisfy physical hunger. In addition you might read 1.Cor.11:17-22 where Paul shows the Lord’s Supper was not a common meal, and condemned Christians for abusing the Lord’s Supper, making it into a common meal. 

Another thing where God’s people are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers is in acapella singing (singing with mechanical musical accompaniment. When we gather to sing praises to God we are prohibited from playing instruments while we sing. The Bible tells us “be filled with the spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Eph.5:18b-19. A companion passage Col,3:16 says, “Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” If you notice, neither of these passages mention “playing” an instrument. In NT days they did not play musical instruments in their worship to God. In fact, no verses in the NT authorize “playing” an instrument. Here are the following verses which you can read for yourselves. Matt.26:30; Mk.14:26; Acts 16:25; Rom.15:9; 1.Cor.14:15; Eph.5:19; Col.3:16; Heb.2:12; Jas.5:13. Because of these verses we cannot be yoked together (fellowship) with those who use mechanical musical instruments.(to be continued).

Posted in


Articles Menu

Sermons Menu


Sunday Morning Bible Study

Sunday Morning Worship

Tuesday Evening Bible Study