What is Christian Fellowship?
The early Christians clearly emphasized the importance of fellowship. Acts 2:42 notes, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” In the early church, “day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:46-47). But why is Christian fellowship important?
The New Testament word for “fellowship,” koinonia, expresses the idea of being together for mutual benefit. Hebrews 10:24-25 shares this idea, saying, “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.” Two reasons fellowship with other believers is important are because it helps express love to one another and it encourages good works.
Christian Fellowship – Why Do I Need It?
Christian fellowship is essential for our growth. Rick Warren says, “The entire Bible is the story of God building a family who will love Him, honor Him, and reign with Him forever.”
As a child, you needed your family to help you grow. You needed a mother to nurture you, a dad to show you how to ride your bike without falling down. As a believer, you need mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ, to teach you how to love as God loves. Those family members may be older Christians who can teach you what it means to be a Christian, or they may be newcomers to the faith, who need a guiding hand from you. Or they may simply be your peers, sailors in the same boat, figuring out life together.
What does the Bible say about Christian fellowship? Of the early church, Luke says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). From the very beginning, Christians knew they needed each other for survival. In this often upside down world, so do you!
Christian Fellowship – Completing Your Faith
As a member of God’s family, you are called into Christian fellowship. Paul told the Corinthians, “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful” (First Corinthians 1:9). That’s an amazing truth! As a believer in Christ, you now can have fellowship with Jesus Christ Himself! What’s more, Paul tells us that as Christians we have the mind of Christ!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (First Corinthians 2:16).
Have you ever noticed the abundance of “how to” books out there in the stores, and the numbers of talk shows on TV? None of us can survive on our own. We all need and crave the advice of others. As a Christian you need the fellowship of other believers to complete your own understanding. For a healthy Christian life, you need to grow in knowledge and understanding of Christ through time spent alone with God, through ministering to the needs of other Christians, through sharing the faith God has given you with others and through spending time in Christian fellowship. Then you will be magnifying God in all your ways!
Christian Fellowship – A Communion
Christian fellowship is required for communion, or the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper doesn’t quite work the same for an online church. This ancient practice requires time together with other believers to remember the blood and body of Christ.
Christian fellowship is also important for church decision-making. In both Acts 6 and Acts 15, the early church gathered together to make important decisions about the future direction of the church. These required community, prayer, and close discussion.
Christian fellowship is required for baptism. A new Christian cannot baptize himself or herself because it is not a public profession of faith. Christians gather together to celebrate a person’s baptism and serve as witnesses of the person’s commitment to a new life in Jesus Christ.
Christian Fellowship – In Conclusion
Though many believers today do not recognize the importance of fellowship or local church involvement, Christian fellowship is essential to spiritual growth. Many aspects of our spiritual lives depend on being together with other believers to encourage, teach, serve, pray and share life together. As far as Christian fellowship, we leave you with these words from our brother, the Apostle Paul: