The Church – A Fellowship of BelieversFrom The Heart
Publish date: 10/10/2010
The mission of the local church is: Preaching and teaching; Making disciples; Fellowship; Worship; Missions and evangelism; Maturity of the believer; Ministry in the home; Ministry to material needs.
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 KJV
Jesus Christ, by His sacrifice, has made it possible for man to be restored back into relationship and fellowship with God, the Father. When a man or woman accepts the free gift of salvation, he or she is now both a child, and a friend, of God. They are family. This fellowship with Jesus, Paul calls a “mystery” (Ephesians 3:8-12), but it gives us special privileges – in Jesus Christ we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him – we have the right to freely come into the presence of God Himself!
The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s Supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that in drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ (the Messiah)? The bread which we break, does it not mean [that in eating it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the body of Christ? 17 For we [no matter how] numerous we are, are one body, because we all partake of the one Bread [the One Whom the communion bread represents].
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 AMP
We believers, though many, are all one body – the Body of Christ. One of the functions of the Church is to facilitate, sustain and maintain fellowship between believers. The word translated “fellowship” is “koinonia”, which means partnership; participation; communicate or communication; communion. We have been brought into communion with Jesus Christ and we have also been brought into communion with each other as the Body of Christ. Romans 12:5 AMP says, “So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].” Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on each other – we need each other.
And they were giving constant attention to the teaching of the apostles and to that which they held in common with them, and to the breaking of the bread and to the gatherings where prayers to God were offered. And a reverential fear came upon every soul. And many miracles that excited amazement and attesting miracles were performed by the apostles. And all those who believed were gathered together as a unit and were holding all things in joint-participation, and were selling their houses and lands and other possessions and kept on distributing them to all, according as anyone was having a need. And daily they continued to remain in the temple, in perfect unanimity, breaking bread at home, partaking of food together in gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having the good will of the people. And the Lord kept on adding to them daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 Kenneth S. Wuest
Often when people use the word “fellowship” they relate it to games, dining, and social interaction. There is nothing wrong with such fellowship, when they conform to biblical ethics, but the word “koinonia” is so much more powerful than that. The Early Church met together for fellowship – for instruction in the Word of God, for prayer, to eat together, to partake of communion, and to worship God (Acts 2:42) – to fellowship in the Gospel and grow together in the Lord (Philippians 1:3-6). Paul testifies that even though James, Peter and John were called to preach to the Jews, and he and Barnabas were called to preach to the Gentiles, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas. They offered them all their friendship and support – out of respect for God and His will for all of them (Galatians 2:7-9). The Early Church were united together and had all things in common – they shared ungrudgingly whatever they had – food, clothing, shelter – with each other. Even the persecuted Macedonians, although not wealthy, begged Paul to be able to fellowship with the saints in Jerusalem through their giving (2 Corinthians 8:3-4).
These believers all chose to fellowship with one another because of their covenant with God and each other as the Body. A covenant relationship is one where you commit to fellowship with someone and to love them and bless them based on submission and obedience to God’s Word and not just because you feel like it or not. We are all going to be in heaven together and that means overlooking our differences. We can even agree to disagree, but we don’t have to be disagreeable!
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4 NKJV
Where people are touched by the power of God and truly filled with the Holy Spirit, there will be harmony and fellowship. When we have unbroken fellowship with God then we will have harmony and fellowship in the Body of Christ. When our fellowship with God is lacking then there will be discord and strife. Discord and strife arises when people behave like the devil – when they are worldly, carnal, selfish and arrogant.
If we have genuine fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, we will walk in the truth and we will walk in the love of God toward each other. If we do not walk in love, we show ourselves to be liars – we are not in fellowship with God at all (1 John 1:1-7). Thank God for His blood that washes us clean and gives us another chance to do right. Thank God for His forgiveness. When we realize that we are nothing without Him and we humble ourselves to accept His love and mercy for ourselves, then it is not so difficult to love and show grace to a neighbor. God’s love makes it possible for His precious Church to fellowship with Him and fellowship with each other.