One of the greatest parts about being a lover of the only true and living God is the Christian fellowship that goes along with it. It amazes me how so many “Christians” today disregard Christian fellowship and place it so low on the weekly to-do list that it never even becomes a priority.
Too many people reject the biblical mandate of Christian fellowship for other things like athletics for the kids. Really? Exchanging time with God’s people for basketball practice? Shame, shame.
What is Christian Fellowship?
The Bible speaks of fellowship often and the term used essentially means: participation, sharing, contributing. Thus, Christian fellowship means that believers are participating in something together, sharing with one another regularly, and contributing to the process overall.
QUESTION: Are you involved in the kind of Christian fellowship that is described as participation, sharing, or contribution? Why or why not?
Christian fellowship means that we are in partnership regarding our common salvation. Because believers are Christians due to our faith alone in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross, our fellowship with one another is directly due to our fellowship with God. Therefore, Christians are never truly out of fellowship with one another. The issue, however, is how frequently (or infrequently) we choose to exercise the Christian fellowship we have been blessed with by faith in God.
One of the greatest passages of Scripture that has to do with Christian fellowship is found in Hebrews chapter ten. Many pastors and preachers have used this text to explain why Christians should not skip the Sunday morning worship services. I have referenced it in that particular application as well myself. However, as I believe you will see, the text has more to do with our mutual contribution to one another than it does with our “corporate” worship services.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
I have underlined a few key phrases in the above quote to highlight the fact that what the writer of Hebrews is telling us is that our Christian fellowship is not to be forsaken (“as is the manner of some”), but that we’re to “consider one another,” to “stir up love and good works,” and to be continuously “exhorting one another.” That is what Christian fellowship is, does, and should be! It’s not to be forsaken but to be a large portion of what we do on a regular basis.
Below are 13 truths about Christian fellowship as a whole. The first seven have to do with what biblical fellowship is NOT and the last six are about what it truly IS.
What Christian Fellowship is NOT
- Fellowship is not something done alone or by yourself. It requires other Christians. At least two. It requires relationships and the pursuit of more and deeper relationships with God’s people.
- Fellowship is not to be “clique-ish.” That is, you cannot have Christian fellowship if there are factions, dissentions, or animosity among believers. There can never be the mentality of “I am of Paul” or “I am of Cephas” or “I am of Apollos.”
- Fellowship is more that familial relationships. Certainly, Christian fellowship can occur and does occur between two family members who both happen to be believers. But biblical fellowship is a participation, sharing, and contributing relationship with all of God’s children, which is more than just a Christian’s immediate family.
- Fellowship has nothing to do with non-believers (non-Christians). There is no fellowship between light and darkness, good and evil, or God and the devil. Therefore, Christians do not have fellowship with people who reject Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Non-Christians are our mission field, not our table of fellowship!
- Fellowship is not merely “attendance” at a church function or even a Sunday worship service. This is especially true in larger churches where there are more people than can usually be counted. In many churches today, a person can show up to church, sit down in a pew, sing songs, pray, and leave without having any meaningful conversation with other people in the building. No, Christian fellowship is much more than mere church attendance.
- Christian fellowship does not allow sin to go unchecked in a believer’s life. Both 1 Corinthians 5:1-12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 are commands given to the local church as a whole to withdraw from fellowship, altogether, from people in the church living in unrepented sin. Again, there is no fellowship between sin and holiness. Christian fellowship is hindered by sin between brothers, in a similar way as an individual Christian’s walk with the Lord is hindered by unrepented sin.
- Christian fellowship is more than, for example, a group of Christian men watching football. Biblical fellowship is more than being in the same room or same facility. Christian fellowship must possess the factors I outline below.
What Christian Fellowship IS:
- Fellowship is the common enjoyment that Christians have and experience in our common worship of God the Father, through in Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Christian fellowship is a constant process of encouraging one another in our walks with the Lord and exhorting each other to holy living.
- Christian fellowship involves the exposing of sin, not the hiding of it. I do believe that this truth about Christian fellowship is my favorite one on this list. Prior to becoming a pastor, I used to be involved in a small accountability group with three other men from the church I attended. We met every Wednesday morning at a Starbucks for about an hour or so. We then went to another brother’s home for a Bible study before we all went to work at 8:00 am. For that first hour we asked each other questions, such as: A) How did you treat your wife this past week?, B) Have you viewed on pornography on the internet?, C) How was your prayer life this past week?, D) What sins did you struggle with this past week? For us, it was a challenging time to expose any sin in ourselves and in one another, to confess it publicly to one another, and repent of it altogether. Those were blessed times!
- Fellowship involves bearing up one another’s burdens. Christians are to help each other and meet each other’s needs. This is not only encouraging and helpful to one another, but it is a great testimony to the world around us. Jesus said this: “Let you light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
- Christian fellowship is ministry to one another. This is similar to the point immediately above, but there is a sense in which “just being there with us” is a tremendous answer to prayer, and a fellow Christian who makes the decision to be present in fellowship is a wonderful ministry to God’s people. In fact, I love it when other Christians minister to my life, heart and soul as they encourage me to live for the glory of God alone when we are fellowshipping with one another. Ministry takes place in fellowship!
- Christian fellowship is found in the “one another” passages of Scripture. Still wondering what Christian fellowship is or looks like. Then do a Bible study on the many passages in the New Testament that have “one another” linked together. Such passages tell us to love one another, teach one another, encourage one another, admonish one another, etc.
In summary, Christian fellowship is all about being concerned for one another’s spiritual well-being. If you are one of God’s children but have been neglecting fellowship with other Christians, I encourage you to do the following right away:
- Consider your sin (Yes, it is sin!)
- Confess that sin to God
- Repent of that sin once and for all
- ATTEND the very next Bible study, LIFE group, or small group study that is being held by or at your local church.
You’ll be blessed by going, and you’ll be a blessing to many others when you show up. May God richly bless you, my beloved!
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW: 1) What do you personally enjoy most about Christian Fellowship? or, 2) How have you seen Christian fellowship impact someone else’s life for good? (Please leave a comment below.)