Real Fellowship

May 26, 2012 1 Comment

What is Real Fellowship? A cup of tea in the church hall, a gossip in the porch after the morning service, hiking with the youth group, a church weekend away? What we often mean when we talk about having fellowship is actually a church social event and the fact that we’re be sociable with other Christians does not necessarily mean that we’re having fellowship with them in the biblical sense.Fellowship is a vital part of Christian living for individuals and the church so it’s important that we understand what the bible means when it talks about it. Acts 2:42 describes the activities of the early church:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers.”

Were they drinking tea, gossiping and going on holiday together? I don’t think so, this fellowship was something quite different as the rest of that passage makes clear. What we call fellowship today isn’t always on the same level as what those first Christians took part in.

In Revelation 3:17 Christ rebukes the church in Laodicea for supposing that they had all they needed when in fact they were spiritually bankrupt, we need to be careful that he can’t say the same about us.

Two Dimensional
The Greek word translated fellowship expresses the idea of sharing or having something in common with someone else. Elsewhere the word appears as ‘participation’ and ‘partnership’. This ‘common participation’ exists in both giving someone else a share in what you have, or through you receiving a share of what they have or what they’re doing. Christian fellowship however is not only horizontal, it’s vertical too. A prerequisite for this horizontal sharing with one another is the vertical plane between us and God.

The horizontal is the habitual sharing, constant giving to and receiving from each other that is the true and authentic pattern of life for the people of God. The vertical aspect; fellowship with God, is the source from which the horizontal springs, but at the same time, fellowship with God is the aim of Christian fellowship.

This horizontal fellowship shouldn’t be thought of as a luxury, something to do when there’s time or an optional extra to our own quiet times. It’s a spiritual necessity that we have fellowship together, this is how God has designed his church, that fellowship with him is fed by fellowship with fellow Christians and fellowship with Christians is fed by fellowship with God in a never-ending circle. The first truth to grasp about Christian fellowship is that it’s not an end in itself. It’s aim is fellowship with God.

…With God
John says in 1 John 1:3

“…our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ”

This fellowship works two ways; God’s fellowship with man covers all that the Father and Son have done, doing and will do in order to share their glory with us sinners. Our fellowship with God covers all the giving to him and receiving from him that we do in order to express our faith and repentance. God gives himself to us as our Father on the basis of the redemption purchased by His Son. We receive our status as sons and daughters of God and all the blessings that entails though taking the Lord Jesus Christ as our saviour.
“…he who receives me” said our Lord “…receives him who sent me” (Matt 10:40). Day by day we thankfully receive the gifts that he gives; forgiveness of sins, reassurance from his promises, revelations of himself through his word and day by day in trust we hand over our various cares and fears and failures, casting all our cares on him. This is the pattern for a life of faith in fellowship with God.

…With Christians
Christian fellowship; fellowship between Christians, is a family activity. Like our fellowship with God it’s two way traffic which involves giving and receiving on both sides.
We share with our fellow believers the things that God has made known about him to us, in the hope that we can help them (you) to know him better and enrich their (your) fellowship with him.
The other side is seeking to share in what God has made know of himself to others as a means of finding strength and refreshment in your own walk. Paul illustrated this in Romans 1:11-12.

“For I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each others faith, both yours and mine.”

Christian fellowship is an expression of both love for one another in sharing and our own humility in looking to receive from each other. It’s a desire to bring benefit to others coupled with a sense of personal weakness and need. The truth is that we all need real biblical fellowship. None of us can be spiritually self sufficient because we were not made to be. Without fellowship we are feeble Christians, John Wesley said that there’s nothing more unchristian than a solitary Christian.

We should seek out fellowship with our fellow Christians in order that we might build one another up and seek a greater fellowship with our God and prize it as a means of grace for all the members of the body of Christ.

Tags: , Devotionals
One Comments to “Real Fellowship”
  1. Lila says:

    Hi Rob
    This is excellent and up to your usual standard.The passage you quoted from Acts contains the four fundementals of the church i.e. Apostles Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayers. Without these there is no fellowship with God so fellowship with each other is futile. Ask me about it when you return from your holidays. I hope you have a really good and blessed time together with plenty of rest for you!!! Hope your cough is a lot better I’ll be asking when you return AGH!!!!
    Take care much love in Him.
    Lila

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