fellowship

February 5, 2017

We frequently use words we think we understand but don’t because they have deep theological connotations that transcend our understanding. This is often the case with the word fellowship.

 

 

 We often use the term, even within the church, in its colloquial sense of an association of people who have similar interests. And at times we do, regrettably, only engage in fellowship at that most basic level. The term, though, has a much richer meaning in the New Testament—a meaning that applies in our own fellowship.

 

 

 The apostle John writes, “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” (1Jn 1:3). Notice the fellowship John mentions is a connection in two directions: fellowship with the Godhead and fellowship with other believers. Scripture makes it clear that we only have fellowship with other Christians because we first have fellowship with Christ.

 

 

 The reality that Christ dwells within believers means we are connected to one another through the Holy Spirit. This relatedness, relationship and communion make up fellowship.

 

 

 The theological use for the Greek term for fellowship also includes participation and sharing. Fellowship therefore entails:

  ➤ Mutual participation in the Lord’s Supper—Paul says when believers assemble to partake of the Lord’s Supper we become one body with Christ, and thus one with each other (see 1Co 10:17).

 ➤ Mutual participation in suffering—When we are persecuted for the sake of Jesus we participate in his suffering (see 1Pe 4:13). Thus, when other believers are persecuted for the faith we join in fellowship with their suffering too.

 ➤ Mutual sharing of resources—Paul makes it clear that fellowship entails mutual sharing within the church of material and spiritual goods (see Ro 15:25–31). He also says we must “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2). Fellowship requires a willingness to carry the burdens of our brothers and sisters, and share what we have with those who are lacking.

 

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

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