From Bethany Bugle September 2011
Only Christians know what it means to have sweet fellowship with one another. What though is fellowship? How is it different from the fun and pleasure non-Christians may have when they get together? Why is it so necessary? These are important questions that we need to answer.
In the New Testament we read of the early church enjoying fellowship with each other. In Acts 2:42 we read, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship…” The Greek word for fellowship, “koinonia” means participating or sharing in something. Christians share in a common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in faith in His precious blood that cleanses away all our sin; they share in His life and power that is at work within them through the Holy Spirit; they share in the joy of the coming resurrection from the dead and eternal glory and they share in a common goal to live each day for the glory of God and to spread His gospel to the nations. When true born-again Christians come together these are some of the things that make their fellowship rich and sweet. The unbeliever cannot share these things; he does not know what it is to be in Christ; to be joined together with other believers in one body that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He may have good friends and share certain things in common with them, like a common interest in sport or in business goals. But he knows nothing of that wonderful love of Christ that fills the believer’s soul and that unites him together with other believers. As Christians we know what it is to enjoy fellowship with each other. Whether it be at church, in a Home Group or at a men or ladies camp, believers often speak of the joys and sweetness of Christian fellowship, of having being together, of having shared and prayed together and of having been taught from the precious Word of God.
How important this fellowship is! It is vital to encourage and strengthen us in our faith. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” These verses teach us that within the context of Christian gatherings and worship, various ministries and works of service spring up and flagging and discouraged souls of believers are re-energized. We simply cannot afford to be without fellowship as Christians. In fact the true Christian cannot do without fellowship. It is a sign of grace, that he loves Christ and therefore those whom Christ loves and gave Himself for. 1 John 1v7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” If we are walking with God, fellowship with one another will be a given together with a joyful assurance of our sins forgiven. Those in contrast, who cut themselves off from the fellowship of the saints struggle with a lack of assurance and their willful absence from Christian meetings may indicate that there is no real saving grace within them. The true believer loves to be with other believers. It is a sweet blessing he enjoys and delights in again and again.
Do you delight in Christian fellowship? Do you love to be together with other believers to share, pray together and learn from God’s Word? How important this is both for our own encouragement as well as for others. How vital it is for the continued and effective functioning of the body of Christ with its various ministries as we urge one another on in our Christian walk with God. May the Lord continue to bless us at Bethany with rich, sweet, fellowship in Christ!
Past Jonathan Holdt