God calls people into His Church to be brothers and sisters in a close and growing relationship. The Greek word koinonia, most frequently translated fellowship, describes this relationship of communication, sharing and caring.
Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Fellowship comes from the Greek word koinōnia, pronounced as koy-nohn-ee’-ah, which means partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: – (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship. Interestingly, fellowship is God’s way of letting us obey the commandment of loving each other like we love our selves. Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. It is also a way of bearing each others’ burden – Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Brothers and sisters in the church of God need to grow together and achieve the perfection for the edification of the church. Fellowship is a way of coming together in unity of the faith, and knowledge about God, so that we will grow up in Him in all things and in love.
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Fellowship also helps us become in unity as God wants us to be. Essentially, as each becomes a member of the church, we come from different walks of life. But being in fellowship always, we become one and unified through Christ because we were unified by His teachings and doctrines. 1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. We shall work together as one body. Even there are many parts and each part does different function, we can all achieve the purpose of the whole body, that is to become a part of giving glory to the one who called us in the church. Another benefit of having fellowship in the church is that it can help us overcome our weaknesses and develop Christian character. How can we show our mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsufferring, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if we don’t have fellowship? Therefore, fellowship helps us interact positively with the rest of our brothers and sisters in the church. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:12-13)
Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
We are called to serve and love one another in Christ with brotherly love and being in fellowship with one another helps us to obey this calling.
Rom 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
We need to show one another the hospitality needed as a sign of love to one another. And we can not do this alone and separate with the rest of our brothers and sisters. We have to be in contact with them as we grow up in faith.
Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rom 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Rom 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
United as one, we feel the same way that others feel whether they are at peace, happiness or sadness. We are unified as one body and as one part feels a certain emotion, so does the other parts of the body. This is the essence of the fellowship in the church of God. We get to feel each other and there are no discrimination or whatsoever as it provides us a network of support. We weep with each other and we rejoice with each other.
The Bible describes the Church as a loving and zealous community of believers—those who commune and communicate with each other and strive for unity! God wants cooperative coworkers to work together in the task He has given His Church. “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44) Jesus says that the primary identifying sign of His followers is that they are showing love for one another. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
In the Bible, love includes unselfish actions of service, not only emotions. How can Christ’s disciples serve one another if they don’t know each other and aren’t together? Hebrews 10:25 emphasizes the need of “assembling of ourselves together . . . and so much the more as you see the Day [of Christ's return] approaching.” The preceding verse, Hebrews 10:24, stresses the need to “stir up love and good works” among one another. Through Christian fellowship with other believers, we can encourage, strengthen, comfort and help one another. God knows that it’s difficult to survive spiritually on our own, therefore, we need the support and encouragement we get from being with others of similar mind and faith.
The members of the church know that their objective is to give worship to God, learn about His word and live a life according to His will. Paul describes the Church as “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15, New International Version). The Church is the primary source through which God’s truth is taught and learned. But another objective of the Church is on giving of ourselves to one another. Notice this essential evidence of spiritual conversion: “We know that we have passed from [spiritual] death to life, because we love the brethren . . . By this we know love, because He [Jesus] laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:14, 16).
The most common fulfillment of “laying down our lives” is that we give of our time for our brethren. Members of God’s Church should imitate to become like Jesus Christ, but are far from that perfection. Each member is a “work in progress,” endeavoring to be “transformed” by God and gradually “conformed to the image of Jesus Christ” (Romans 12:2; 8:29).
Every member is at a different point in his or her spiritual progress. Sometimes problems arise just like we read about in the New Testament. But we know that God expects those He has called to His Church to work on themselves and to love, forgive and encourage others.