Monday, March 11, 2024

Christian Fellowship

The Lord commanded that we write an article on fellowship this week. This is also one of the most misunderstood topics within Christianity. Recently, the Lord made us understand that many Christians today mistake their socializing as “fellowship”. Instead, in socializing we enjoy one another’s company. Nor can “chatting” on social media (Instant Messaging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) be considered as fellowship, as we will see from our definition and further explanation below.

Briefly, and without getting technical on some terms, the Greek word that is translated “fellowship” and other related word is Koinonia: meaning “common”; or “I participate in; or I share in” (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words). Per Wikipedia’s definition, Koinonia as transliterated from Greek means “communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church, the Body of Christ.

Fellowship is Sharing

Therefore, our understanding, and from a Biblical perspective, is that fellowship means people participating together in something. Fellowship is communion or having a share in something. As an example from the Bible, we fellowship when we participate in the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. Our act of eating bread and drinking at the Lord’s Table is an act of fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ; it is a spiritual sharing in His body and blood, in other words, we are participating in (or having communion with) Christ and all that His sacrificial death means to us (1 Corinthians 10:16). Furthermore, by being united with Christ, we share in Him and have fellowship with Him (1 Corinthians 1:9; Hebrews 3:14).

In addition to having communion with The Lord Jesus Christ, we as believers have fellowship with the Father (1 John 1:3) and with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 6:4; Philippians 1:21). Through our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, we share in His Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). By being in union with Christ, it means absolute surrender and faithful and obedient service to Him.

Our Fellowship With God

Beloved brethren, when we use the term “God”, it may refer to Christ as well. In the Lord’s many visits to us, He often referred to Himself as God (John 8:58). Also, we need to emphasize that fellowship with God does not necessarily mean when we come together as believers. We are individually called to fellowship with God (1 John 1:3). This fellowship with God may be Bible reading, praying, or having Communion as an individual member of the body of Christ (Genesis 5:22-24; 6:9; Mark 9:37; John 14:23). Based on the above Scriptures and countless others, don’t ever be deceived in thinking that fellowship with God involves going to church on a Sunday and coming back to continue in our sin! We will give account of ourselves before God as individual believers (Romans 14:12). I am emphasizing the individual’s fellowship with God here; our walk with God is determined by our own obedience to the Lord (John 14:15). God’s commands refer to the entire Bible, not just an isolated verses in Scripture (Joshua 1:8).

When we fellowship as a group, that is when others join or I join them, then we all have fellowship together with God, and by having fellowship together with God, we are truly joined together in a happy union (1 Corinthians 10:16-17; John 17:21-22; 1 John 1:3). As a warning, sin spoils our fellowship with the Lord and if we live in sin wilfully, we have no fellowship with the Father and this is a broken fellowship with God (1 John 1:6-7). When we fellowship with the Lord, we hear from Him and we express our gratitude to Him in obedience to His word by witnessing and testifying about Him to others (1 Corinthians 14:26).

Another area of fellowship and the less talked about is “participation in His suffering” (Philippians 3:10). This cup is what many Christians don’t like; yes they only prefer to share in His blessings but not in the cup of persecutions, witnessing and obedience. I will be quite bold here; many Christians hide themselves behind their pastors. What I mean is that they only do what the pastor says and not what the Lord tells them in the Bible. They only prefer the blessings more than the cup of suffering. I am receiving emails from many brethren around the world, complaining bitterly about their sufferings and situations. Quite frankly, a complaining believer is weak in faith and impatient with God (Philippians 2:14-15). When we complain, we are literally saying; “I did enough now God, so you must act, and if you don’t act I quit!” (Exodus 16:2-15). How absurd! Remember believer, when you display such an impatient and immature attitude, you will be the biggest casualty; it is after all your salvation for eternal life you are labouring for here in obedience to a righteous suffering (2 Timothy 4:7-8). I say your suffering is righteous because you have given yourself to God as a living sacrifice and you suffer for the truth; people persecute us not for wrong doing but for telling them about their sins (John 7:7) I am declaring in Jesus name that Christian fellowship includes sharing in His suffering; this is the way of the CROSS and after enduring, we will also have fellowship with Him in His GLORY (2 Timothy 2:11-12; 1 Peter 5:1; 1 Peter 4:12-14).

Christian’s Fellowship By Sharing

Finally, we know there is a corporate anointing when we fellowship as a group to God and to one another in the works of ministry, and there is also an anointing when we minister and fellowship as individuals to God and others (Acts 4:23-31; 19:11-12). In other words God supplies the gifts for ministry and fellowship to Him.

Moreover, as Christians jointly participate in Christ, this fellowship binds us together (Acts 2:42). I would like to emphasize again: this fellowship is not socializing, but about Christ whom we share in common (Hebrews 3:14; Philippians 1:7; 2 Peter 1:4). This makes our fellowship a joint sharing in our common faith, common salvation, and our common suffering (Titus 1:4; Jude 3; Revelation 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:7). This corporate fellowship is sharing in the gospel by helping those who preach it (Philippians 1:5; 4:14-18); this include sharing in material and financial support of poor Christians (Galatians 2:10; Romans 15:27; 2 Corinthians 8:4).

In conclusion, there are certain things we are forbidden not to have fellowship with or share in or participate in. We should not identify with a person who does wrong things or share in their wickedness (1 Timothy 5:22; 2 John 10:11). Nor should we participate in a religious feast where food is to be offered to idols (1 Corinthians 10:20-21), neither having fellowship with unbelievers for they will lead you astray (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). Therefore, we are to have no part and no share in anything that is sinful (Revelation 18:4; Ephesians 5:11).

Let us therefore endeavour to maintain daily our fellowship with God; this is the strength and the very life supporting sustenance for our salvation (John 15:5).

Have you been "fellowshipping" by only socializing at church on Saturday or Sunday, but not truly fellowshipping with The Lord? Has your fellowship with the Lord focused only on receiving blessings? If so, here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Christ’s Peace Be Upon You All,
Brother Glenn.