Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

01/08/2020

Charles Cash

1938-2018

 

Biblical Fellowship

 

  The word “fellowship” is translated from the Greek word, “koinonia,” one of the greatest words of the New Testament, of Christianity. It comes from the root Greek word, “koinos,” meaning “common.” One definition is: “Common interest and a mutual, active participation in that interest and each other.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines it:  “Close association, joint participation, closeness of sharing, intimacy, closeness in communication, equal sharers.” Keep this definition in mind as we look briefly at fellowship!

 

Fellowship is two-fold...

 

  First – Fellowship with God. “John writes: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” (I John 1:3) Then John says, “We write this to make our joy complete (full).”(v.4) This is the joy of fellowship! Paul wrote, “God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (I Corinthians 1:9) In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he wrote: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14) What an extraordinary thought and blessing this is, fellowship with God, including the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 

  Fellowship with God consists of knowing His will, mutual affection, enjoyment of his presence, conformity to His image, sharing His love, work and purpose.

 

  Before leaving this point of fellowship with God, pay careful attention to the warning given by John: “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (I John 1:6)

 

  Second – Fellowship with one another. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” (I John1:7) It is said of the first Christians: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42) One writer wrote: “This verse of scripture is a statement of immense significance. Historically, the church has just come into existence. About 3,000 new Christians are huddled together in the streets of Jerusalem. They have nothing tangible to lean on—no building, no organization, no Elders, not even a completed copy of the scriptures. What did they do? This verse says they devoted themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship.” Ancient “koinonia” (fellowship) must have been something to behold!

 

  There are different aspects of fellowship with one another.

 

First, fellowship is used in the sense of sharing something with someone such as food, money, supplies, encouragements, time and concern. Fellowship is so much more than EBGH - eat, burp and go home.

 

Second, it is used in the sense of sharing in something with someone, like a project, a success, a failure, a need, a hurt, or sharing in the work of the church.

 

  The significance of all of this is that biblical fellowship is never something done alone. In other words, God’s desire for His children is that we be personally and deeply involved in each other’s lives. John Dunne once said: “No man is an island.” The apostle Paul said it this way: “For none of us lives to himself alone, and none of us dies to himself alone.” (Romans 14:7) Our superficial “How ya doin” and “Have a nice day” won’t cut it. There was none of this lack of involvement in that group of first-century Christians.

 

  Why be so involved with one another? God commands it and the church needs it! We all need it!

 

  We have a song that describes this Biblical Concept...

“A common love for each other,

A common gift to the savior,

A common bond holding us to the Lord;

A common strength when we're weary,

A common hope for tomorrow,

A common joy in the truth of God's Word.”

 

  The truth of the matter is: In addition to salvation and the continuing presence and work of God in our lives, one of the greatest blessings and helps in living a faithful Christian life devoted to God is fellowship with fellow Christians! That’s God’s design, God’s plan. He knows what we need!

 

—Charles Cash

    1938–2018