1 Corinthians 1:9- God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The term fellowship is thrown around often in the religious community. Many use it in a social respect. Others use it simply as a means to promote unity, often in the wrong way. Unfortunately, what the Bible means by fellowship has been forgotten or if not its meaning, its nature. What we will be looking at in this article are the different things Christians have fellowship in and by doing so see what type of fellowship we have.
- The meaning of fellowship: Before we dive into what Christians have fellowship in, we need to know the definition of the word. In its most basic sense, fellowship is defined as sharing or participating in something. So yes there is a type of social fellowship. In fact, the Greek word used (koinonia) is used to describe a business partnership between Peter, Andrew, James and John (Luke 5:10). But what is it that Christians share or participate in?
- Fellowship in Christ: This is basic Christian principles. We all share in our love for Christ and in the fact He died for all of us. We all share in His blood and participate in the works He has given us to do. This fellowship is so strong it even connects us with those who have gone on before. Also, God is constantly calling us into this fellowship (1 Corinthians 1:9). It is not something that is difficult to gain or kept from us but one that can easily be found and is given.
- Fellowship in the gospel: How do we have fellowship in the gospel? Well, to put it simply, we all believe in what it says, its power and love for it. Not only that, but we participate in its spreading. We are all workers with the same goal and the same doctrine (Philippians 1:5). Another way we have fellowship here is in our obedience to it. With this, our relationship and fellowship with Christ is strengthened as well as our love for each other.
- Fellowship in suffering: Many would see this and shrink away from this fellowship. However, it is more a blessing than we realize. While suffering together, we can have the support we need but more importantly we suffer with Christ (Philippians 3:10). In doing so we become more like Him and become stronger spiritually. This does not mean that God wants us to suffer, but He knows that in so doing we become better as a result.
- Fellowship in the light: By walking in the light, we have fellowship with one another and with God (1 John 1:1-7). It is this that binds us and we must stay in this light to have fellowship with God. If we turn back to the darkness, we lose that closeness with Him and cannot reap the benefits of this fellowship.
- Fellowship in the Lord’s Supper: Most Christians are aware that there is a fellowship here. In partaking, we “participate in the blood and body of Jesus” (1 Corinthians 10:16). We together share in our remembrance of His death. We together declare in our partaking the allegiance we have to Christ. We together reap the benefits of His sacrifice. It is the greatest fellowship we could ever have and it is boggling how any could neglect this declaration of fellowship, not only with our fellow Christians but with Jesus as well
I hope now that we have an understanding of what biblical fellowship is. It is much more than just a social gathering and spending time together. That is not to say those times are not needed, but in regard to Christian fellowship it is something else. I hope we see that its nature was spiritual and not physical. It is these types of fellowship that we need to improve and grow in and what will ultimately get us to heaven.