When Christians talk about fellowship, I notice a couple things happen.
1. We say that fellowship more than just hanging out
2. We treat fellowship like it’s just hanging out
This bothers me, because I have done these two things time and time again. I wanted quit getting into the same pattern of saying one thing and doing another, so I was stoked to finally get the time to study what fellowship truly means.
There are 5 words in the Greek that have been translated into fellowship. And between these words, fellowship means association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse, a sharing, a partner, associate, comrade, companion, sharer in anything, to become a partaker together with others, or to have fellowship with a thing.
That was a whole lot of words, but what I have found is that fellowship can be boiled down to these main points:
1. Fellowship starts with communion with God
o What is communion? Having in common, sharing anything. The Lord's Supper is so called communion because in it there is fellowship between Christ and his disciples, and of the disciples with one another. It’s identifying and sharing in Christ’s death.
o Jesus is who we have in common with God, and when we spend time with God – reading His word, talking to Him in prayer, praising His name – that’s communion.
o Realistically, as in anything else we do, the point of fellowship is to give glory to God. So true, Christian fellowship can’t happen if you’re not a Christian.
o 1 John 1:3 says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
o Our ultimate fellowship is with God, and we share the Gospel so that others can also have the same fellowship!
2. Fellowship involves community
o The difference between hanging out and community is a key to understanding fellowship. You can hangout with just about anyone, but community involves a special interest or connection.
o My freshman year of college, I was in Soc 100, and there was a group of about 8 students that were in a learning community that sat right by me. They were a little obnoxious because they all had the same ideas, all had the same stories and jokes from the weekends that they spent together – and none of them agreed with me on how electric trains were not going to catch on in the U.S.! I really liked them, please don’t get me wrong, but that is community! They shared the same ideals and dedicated time to each other.
o We have an even better bonding agent than ideals or interests! We have Jesus Christ!! As the body of Christ, we love each other, take care of each other, and want to be around each other because we all have the same foundation of Christ.
o Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
o We need each other, and do better together as a unit than we do alone! Which brings me to the final point that…
3. Fellowship needs participation
o This part is HUGE because it includes action on our part! What makes fellowship so much more than hanging out is that there are specific things needs to happen in our time together.
o I could go on all night talking about all the things we get to do together as the body of Christ and how they benefit us, but I’m going to highlight a few things. (If you would like the Bible references for these, come up and look at my notes afterwards and you can get them.)
§ Encourage each other daily (Hebrews 3:13)
§ Build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
§ Carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
§ Share in each other’s sufferings (2 Corinthians 1:7, Philippians 4:14)
§ Stand side by side in one another’s persecution (Hebrews 10:33)
§ Call out sin in each other’s lives – gently (Galatians 6:1)
§ Confess our sins to one another (James 5:16)
§ Consider each other better than yourself (Philippians 2:3)
§ Look out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4)
§ Give to those who have need – whether that is with money, food, time (Romans 12:13, 15:27, 2 Corinthians 8:4, 9:13 Hebrews 13:16)
§ Provoke one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
§ We need to continue to meet together – and we should meet with each other the closer we are to seeing Jesus face to face (Hebrews 10:25)
§ And, together, we need to have the same goal to seek Jesus and to share Jesus with others who don’t have a relationship with Him (Philippians 1:5, Philemon 6)
One thing I love about God’s Word, is that it not only tells us what to do, but gives us examples of what we should do. And there is an amazing example is Acts 2:42-47.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Isn’t that cool?! And that can happen today too among us here in Durango, Colorado! So my challenge to you is get connected in true, real fellowship with your brothers and sisters. Here at Connect, we would love for you to get involved and participate with us in Bible Studies, in sharing your faith, in looking out for each other – we desire to practice true fellowship. If not with us here at Connect, then with others – but don’t neglect fellowship!
Here are pictures of Cascade Lodge at our Fall Retreat last year.