Sunday, July 31, 2016 am                                                    Others 2016 Index

Fellowship With One Another


We have begun a study of the interaction of Christians to one another.   In the past 3 lessons we have addressed how we are the family of God (brethren), and some of the blessings associated with that brotherhood.  Today we want to begin the bulk of this portion of our theme by addressing many of the “one another” passages as learn how we are to treat each other as brethren. 

Today we begin with 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  I have chosen this “one another” passage because we need to understand exactly what fellowship is and see how it is used in scripture.  We mentioned this in our lesson last week, but I want us to focus on it in this lesson.  It is imperative that we understand fellowship as it is used in scripture if we are to understand how we are to apply this in our relation to one another, when we are assembled together and toward God. 

 I.                     What is fellowship?

a.       The Greek word for fellowship is, (κοινωνία, koinōnia), and deals with having things in common or sharing.  We sometimes define this as “joint participation.”   It is derived from the Greek word Koinos which means common or ordinary – hence the idea of sharing something, such as a partnership (cf. Luke 5:10 where James and John were partners). 
BDAG defines it as close association involving mutual interests and sharing.  Sometimes the word sharing or communion is used and helps us understand the word.
If I understand correctly the word was used commonly to deal with associations of various sorts, including social interaction. 
However, in scripture, the various contexts in which it is found give a more limited definition.  it is used a number of times and its usage is related to our faith and association with God and one another.    It is not used to describe church social gatherings, even though as Christians we are to share with others and have social gatherings (Acts 2:46, Heb. 13:16).

b.       Fellowship begins with God – when we obey the gospel.  1 Corinthians 1:9 speaks of how we are called into fellowship with His Son.   Galatians 3:27 – we are baptized into Christ and put Him on. 
When we obey the gospel, we are added to His church (Acts 2:47).  2 Peter 1:4 speaks of our being partakers of His divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world.
Our fellowship with God continues as we are obedient to Him – 1 John 1:3, 6-7.  We keep waling in the light as He is in the light. 
1 John 2:3-5 – we know that we are in Him by keeping His commandments (see also John 14:21, 23).
That fellowship must remain – Hebrew 3:14 – we are partakers with Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

c.        That fellowship ought to be the foundation of OUR fellowship as brethren.  1 John 1:6-7.  Fellowship with him will lead to fellowship with one another as well. 
Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
Galatians 3:27-29 - we are all one in Christ.
Ephesians 2:19-22 – we are fellow citizens and members of the household of God.
Ephesians 3:8-9, Paul was commissioned to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ and to “make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery” which he has identified that Gentiles are fellow heirs of the same body

d.       As brethren we have things in common (koinos) –

                                                   i.      Titus 1:4 – a common faith

                                                 ii.      Jude 3 – a common salvation

                                                iii.      Acts 2:44 – they had all things in common (they shared with one another)

e.       As brethren, we are “fellows”

                                                   i.      Another interesting word.  The Greek word, “fellow” is not akin to “fellowship”, rather its is συνεργός, (synergos), from which we get our word synergy, which means a combination of entities that working together create greater effectiveness.    IN the New Testament it was often a prefix describing relationships of brethren. 

                                                 ii.      We are fellow workers – 1 Corinthians 3:9

                                                iii.      We are fellow heirs - Ephesians 3:6

                                                iv.      We are fellow citizens – Ephesians 2:19

                                                  v.      We are fellow soldiers – Philippians 2:25 (Paul used this to describe Ephaproditus, his brother.

                                                vi.      Paul referred to Aristarchus as his fellow prisoner (Col. 4:10), and several as fellow laborers (Philemon 24)

                                              vii.      Finally, Peter spoke of himself as a fellow elder – 1 Peter 5:1.  He is also a partaker (koinonos) of the glory to be revealed

                                             viii.      Together, this is yet another word that describes how we work together because we have something in common – our salvation and hence fellowship in Christ. 

 II.                   Fellowship with one another

                But what does this fellowship mean as we consider one another?  Let us notice a few passages that help us answer this:

a.       Fellowship is based upon truth – the first point we must realize!  There has to be a standard that we all seek to follow. 
Philippians 2:1-2 finds a call for total unity that is based upon our consolation in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit as well as affection and mercy.  We have already established that fellowship with God is based upon obedience of His word.
Galatians 2:9. Paul and Barnabas given the right hand of fellowship for going to Gentiles, when determined it was the truth.
2 John 9-11, warning us, even as individuals, if one comes into our midst not abiding in the doctrine of Christ (which would include His teachings, the teachings of His followers and OBEYING those teachings) he is not to be received.  To “greet him” is to share (koinonei) in his evil deeds.
When error was being taught about circumcision (to the Gentiles), Paul and others did not yield to it, even for an hour (Galatians 2:4-5).
The churches at Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-16) and Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-20) were condemned for tolerating those teaching and those practicing error in their midst.

b.       We worship God together in fellowship with one another – Acts 2:42 – fellowship is mentioned and associated with their worship.
A study of worship emphasizes how it is an act of fellowship:   
Every act of worship, while directed toward God, involves all of us in some way. 
Our prayers are offered for one another and with spirit and understanding. (1 Cor. 14:15) Even though one leads us in these prayers, we all should be able to say “amen” (1 Cor. 14:16)
Giving is an act where together we lay by in store (1 Cor. 16:1-2)
Ephesians 5:19 – our singing is teaching and admonishing one another
And the Lord’s supper clearly uses the term fellowship – 1 Corinthians 10:16 – as we break the bread and bless the cup, it is a communion with the body and blood of Christ.  This is why Paul expresses such concerns of its abuse in 11:18, 20, 23-29, etc. 

c.        We seek the purity of the church together -
As Christians be reminded that we are part of the body of Christ.  
He purchased the church with His own blood – Acts 20:28
He loved the church and gave Himself for her that He might sanctify and cleanse her, and that He might present her to Himself as a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, but rather that she be holy and without blemish (pure) – Ephesians 5:25-27.  Our task is to keep her pure. 
AS a part of the body of Christ, our task is to keep her pure.  That involves purity with her AND within our own lives. 
The church at Corinth was rebuked for its tolerance of immorality (1 Cor. 5:1-2, 6)
Earlier, in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Paul warns the church that they are the temple of God and are not to defile it.  God would destroy him who did.

As individuals, we too need to be pure as it affects the purity of the church!  1 Corinthians 6:18-20 calls for us as individuals to flee fornication (sexual immorality).
2 Cor. 6:14-17 – Paul warns against fellowship with unbelievers & darkness.  We are to come out from among them and be separate.
In Ephesians 5:11, Paul warned, have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to expose them. 

d.       Practicing discipline for the purity of the church – when impurity is found in the church, it must be purged out.  We sometimes call this an act of discipline.  1 Corinthians 5:3-7 – the church at Corinth was told to deal with its immorality. Paul noted this was not good and it had to be addressed.  To fail to do so was to corrupt the whole church (as leaven, leavens the whole lump). 
IN Matthew 18:15-17 we find the procedure for discipline.  It eventually involves the church.
For discipline to work, the congregation has to work together with the hopes that the unfaithful brother will repent and return.
We need to withdraw ourselves from those who are teaching error and failing to consent to wholesome words (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

e.       We share with each other
Our final observation this morning is to know that we need to prefer one another (Romans 12:10).   
A word that actually means we outdo one another in honor and love.  Because of our brotherhood and fellowship, we choose to be with one another over the world.
Romans 12:13 calls for us to distribute (koinōneō) to the needs of the saints.
Heb. 13:16 – we must not forget to do good and to share (this would certainly include our brethren)
1 Timothy 6:18 – the rich are to be willing to share (koinonikous)
Acts 4:32, Barnabas and others sold land to share with the needy.  Vs. 32 says they had all things in common (koina).
Other passages use the term fellowship to apply to helping brethren with needs in other places (Romans 15:26-27) AND for the support of preaching the gospel (Philippians 1:5, 4:14-15, etc.).   Time will not permit addressing these at this time. 

 Yes, we are to have fellowship with one another.  The better we understand what this fellowship involves, the better equipped we will be to carry it out as it is needed.  What does fellowship mean to you?