I. The word "fellowship," from the Greek word "koinonia," is found a number of times in the New Testament. It is translated:
A. Fellowship, or joint participation. (Phil
B. Contribution. (Romans
C. Communion. (I
D. Share. (Gal
E. Hence it means a sharing in common; mutual interest; mutual activity; a partnership with each other in the joy of the gospel.
II. The members of the Jerusalem church continued steadfastly in this fellowship.
A. When they withdrew from the "perverse generation" they did not turn hermits, but they turned to each other; they were very much together.
B. They enjoyed each other even in social life. (Acts
C. There can be no healthy Christian life in isolation. (Romans
I. Fellowship is well illustrated in the unity of the body.
A. There is perfect fellowship and harmony in the physical body.
1. When we are healthy every member works in harmony with every other member, and every member has a function to perform.
B. The church is the body of Christ. (I
1. When there are factions and divisions in the church the fellowship of that church has been destroyed.
C. Hence Christian fellowship is that spiritual partnership that links together all who have been baptized into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, into the joy of a great fellowship or brotherhood in Christ Jesus.
1. Into that joyful union all true believers enter.
2. All selfish and secular distinctions prevailing in society have been removed.
II. In what are Christians not to have fellowship?
A. Not with the devil. (I
Cor 10:20; James
B. Not with the unfruitful works of darkness. (Eph
C. Not with unbelievers. (II
D. Not with error. (II John
III. In what are Christians to have fellowship?
A. In the Joy of Worship. (Acts
1. In Christian worship we have spiritual ties that bind us to Christ and to one another.
2. The word "communion" is but a combination of the two words "common" and "union."
3. Let us note the apostle's words in I
a. "The cup of blessing ......is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?"
(1) Is it not the emblem by which the blood of Christ is exhibited?
(2) Is it not the means by which we express our attachment to Christ and to one another, thereby showing that we partake in common of the benefits of His blood?
b. "The bread.., is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"
(1) Since we all partake of it, is it not the means by which we all share alike in the benefits which are imparted by means of His broken body?
c. "For we are all partakers of that one bread."
(1) By partaking of the one broken bread, the emblem of our Savior's broken body, who is really the only true Bread which came down from heaven, we thus show that we are united with His body and are members one of another in His body.
B. In the joy of thinking alike. (Phil
1. In the essentials of the gospel of Christ we all think alike.
2. In our thoughts of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the church, salvation, heaven and hell, we all keep in step together.
3. In our intense desire to promote the kingdom of our Lord we are one.
C. In the Joy of Work. (I
3. "We are God's fellow workers." What greater joy could there be!
D. In the joy of knowing we don't suffer alone. (Romans
1. There is such a mutual feeling of sympathy between the members of our physical body that when an injury is sustained by any one member, it is felt throughout the entire body.
2. So it should be among the members of the body of Christ.
E. In Joy of sharing our good times. (Romans
1. Is there one among us that is happy? Then we should not be envious of him, but rejoice with him.
2. If honor is bestowed upon one member, do we rejoice with him?
a. If another star outshines ours, do we delight in its radiance?
b. When we have a brother among us with ten talents and we only have one talent, do we congratulate ourselves on having such a man of usefulness in our midst to help us promote the kingdom, or do we depreciate him as much as we can?
c. Do we really rejoice in the progress of others when we are left behind? It seems easy for us to sympathize with a friend in his grief, but if we see him honored and esteemed, we are apt to regard him as a rival, and we are not so apt to rejoice with him as we ought. God deliver us from such a snare of Satan.
F. In the Joy of Salvation.
1. Salvation links men together in a holy fellowship.
2. The leper in Christ's time was ostracized from society. To any approaching him, from his banished position outside the city he had to cry, "Unclean, unclean." But a cleansed leper was no longer obligated to remain in
3. Even so it is with the redeemed of God; they are no longer morally unclean, but having been washed in the blood of the Lamb they now have fellowship one with another.
H. In the Joy of Hope. (Eph
1. Just as there is one God, one Lord, one Spirit, one body, one faith and one baptism; so there is one hope to be cherished by all Christians.
2. There will be no degrees of reward in heaven, but all shall receive the same reward.
I. In the Joy of Friendship
1. We are to have Christians as out friends. We need more of this today.
2. Malachi the prophet gave this report of the people of Israel in his day, "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another."
a. These words were spoken during the darkest days of Israel's history.
b. Not even the wonders of Egypt, or the Red Sea, or the wilderness, or the captivity in Babylon had kept the people faithful
c. Even the priests had lost their sense of fear and reverence for Jehovah.
3. Still there was a remnant of the people who had received great strength in speaking "often one to another," and "thought upon his name."
a. Nothing is more edifying and strengthening to our faith today than for Christians to talk together about the Lord's work; yet I fear that now we more often speak against one another than to one another.
4. We need to have more fellowship one with another, with fellow Christians, especially in a social way.
2:46) Christians need to be together in places other than the worship.
a. How can Christians come to really love one another when they do not know one another ? How can they know one another without spending time with one another?
I. I am afraid that Christian brotherhood and fellowship with too many of us begin and end inside the house of worship.
II. Let it be our delight to find our circle of friends with Christ as the center, and thus make our friends those who are friends with Christ.
3:3; I John
III. Plan of Salvation