This morning we are breaking away from our study in the Beatitudes to talk about the importance of fellowship. First of all, what does the word fellowship mean? The English word “fellowship” is a translation of the Greek word koinonia. The exact definition of that word according to Strongs concordance reads as follows: partnership, i.e. (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction:–(to) communicate(-ation), communion, (contri-)distribution, fellowship.
This clearly speaks of deliberate interaction within a community. It is the people of God deliberately interacting with one another and being involved in one another’s lives for the glory of God. The apostle John said it this way: “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3) So, this fellowship that you and I are to have with one another is rooted in the fellowship that we share with The Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The overflow of our fellowship with Christ will be fellowship with one another. According to 1st Corinthians 12, the body of Christ is made up of many members who are knit together by divine design. Just like our human bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, the body of Christ is made up of many members. Each local congregation is made up of many members who are to pursue fellowship with one another. Each local congregation is in itself a part of the larger body of Christ, within which we seek fellowship as well.
Practically speaking, the way that God has designed for the body to interact can be seen in the various “one another” passages of Scripture found in the New Testament. Let’s look at a few. “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14). In other words, our fellowship is to be rooted in humility and in serving one another. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34) Another mark of fellowship with one another is that it is sacrificial and not selfish. In honor we are to give preference to one another (Romans 12:10). We are to esteem others over ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Other Scriptures instruct us to: forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32), exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13, 10:25), bear oneanother’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and consider one another (Hebrews 10:24).Thus biblical fellowship includes a social aspect, but it is much deeper than that.
Fellowship is something that I must both seek and give. This friendly association and spiritual communion is something that we all need. At the end of the day, you and I get as much fellowship within the body as we pursue it and extend it to others.