Fellowship of Christians

W. Terry Varner
August 25, 2013

A great word study in the New Testament is the word fellowship. As Christians we share the same blessings and privileges in Christ (Philip. 3:20); therefore, the word implies that as fellow Christians we must share, participate, and associate with one another in our Christian duties.

The word fellowship comes the word koinonia and is found in the New Testament 21 times; however, it is translated variously: a) 13 times as fellowship, b) 1 time as distribution (2 Cor. 9:13), c) 1 time as contribution (Rom. 15:26), and d) 2 times as communicate (Phile. 6; Heb. 13:16). The word fellowship implies a number of things such as: a) joint-participation, b) partnership in the work of the church, c) the association of fellow Christians, and d) mutually helping each other.

The word fellowshipdescribes Christians, negatively and positively. Interestingly, fellowship negatively speaking, and so many Christians do not like the word negative, is to have no fellowship (association, sharing, participating) with:

  1. unrighteousness (2 Cor. 6:14-17),
  2. with that which is evil (Eph. 5:11),
  3. with anyone who wrongly teaches the doctrine of Christ (Rom. 16:17-18).

Conversely, Christians are to positively (an emphasis that so many insist upon, but who fail to live it out in their life) practice fellowship with:

  1. God, “For we are laborers together with God” (1 Cor. 3:9, emp. added),
  2. Christ, “But God is faithful, by whom you were called into fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9, emp. added),
  3. Holy Spirit, “So if there be any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, and participation [fellowship] with the Spirit” (Philip. 2:1, emp. added),
  4. Fellow Christians, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7, emp. added).

Fellowship involves a relationship with one another. In 1 John 1:7 we frequently find the phrase “one with another or one another.” This Christian phrase is extremely important and implies great activity of Christians. We are told to “Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:10, emp. added). Paul instructs us to “consider one another to provoke to love and to good works” (Heb. 10:24, emp. added).

Christian fellowship can be, and sometimes must be, broken. The Bible does not teach the concept that fellowship cannot be broken. While the Bible pleads for fellowship among Christians, the Bible, when logically interpreted, it also requires our refusal or breaking of fellowship with fellow Christians. Allow me to suggest a couple of areas:

  1. Those who make matters of faith as matters of opinion by loosing where God has bound (Matt. 16:19) have taken liberties with God’s Word known as Liberalism.
  2. Those who make matters of opinion as matters of faith by binding where God has not bound (Matt. 16:19) have taken liberties with God’s Word known as Legalism.

Heaven is too important for any of us to be Liberal or a Legalist. We need to just be CHRISTIANS!