It is possible to be gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in assembly capacity and not have an understanding of the meaning of FELLOWSHIP. Many mistake it for FRIENDSHIP. This idea has caused endless trouble in Gods assemblies. Friendship has to do with personalities while fellowship has to do with principles.
Friendships can form “cliques” which hinder and even divide Gods people. While we should be friendly with each Christian in the assembly, we must always understand that the assembly is where we are in fellowship, and that fellowship is based on principles. When friends have a difference, they will drop one another and pick up new friends; thus “cliques” are often formed in the assembly, discouraging the godly, denying the fellowship, and defeating the purpose of the assembly as the “pillar and ground of the truth” (Tim 3:15).
When trouble arises or there is a personality clash which is often the case and sometimes allowed by God as a test (1 Cor 11:19), those who know the true meaning of fellowship will seek to settle their differences in the fear of the Lord, endeavoring to keep the “unity of the Spirit” because they love and esteem the principles for which the assembly stands.
You can test whether you are truly in the fellowship: are the principles of the assembly precious to you? Can you be hurt and still keep sweet and put your best into the assembly? Are you at all the assembly meetings, even when your friends are not? Are you seeking to bear the responsibilities that go along with being in fellowship? It is good to test ourselves in the presence of God. If so-and-so left the assembly, would I leave, too? Am I there because of the principles which form the fellowship?