1 John 1:1-10
I think all believers enjoy fellowshipping with one another. Maybe your church has an intramural softball team, or a bowling team. It is fun to get together with friends in church and do things together, like going to the park, cooking out, playing games with the children or just enjoying the environment. Where I live there is a state park where three rivers converge together. It is a lovely park with pavilions to host groups, cook out; the kids can go swimming or boaters can get out on the water and, if they wanted to, they could travel just a few miles to the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. So, getting together with friends and family is a great way to enjoy life.
But as wonderful as getting together with friends and family in these ways is, it is not true biblical fellowship. The Apostle John, in 1 John 1:1-4, describes to us what true biblical fellowship is, which is Christian fellowship that is centered around Christ. My wife and I enjoy camping, and we have friends that we go camping with three or four times a year. And as much as we all like to camp together, we cannot call our camping adventures together true biblical fellowship because most of our time is spent together speaking about things other than the doctrine of Christ. This is how John describes true biblical fellowship;
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.” [1 John 1:1-4, NIV)
What is true biblical fellowship? First of all, true biblical fellowship is centered around Christ, not anyone or anything else. Many churches have a midweek bible study service, where for 90 minutes or so fellow believers will come together to share a meal with one another, then study the bible together. This is an example of true biblical fellowship; centering our activity around Christ and His Word.
Many churches have designed their church services in such a way that Christ is placed at the center of everything they do in a typical Sunday service, and the service is drawn to a conclusion by all partaking of and sharing in the Lord’s supper; this is true biblical fellowship. Jesus said,
“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
True biblical fellowship comes from the Greek word, “κοινωνια” or koinonia, which is defined as believers, ‘sharing’ with one another; ‘participating’ with one another, or ‘partnering’ with one another, all around our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is how the Church began after the Day of Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit;
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” [Acts 2:42, NIV]
Did you notice how Luke separates ‘fellowship’ from ‘breaking of bread’? It’s because true biblical fellowship is centered around the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; our fellowship is centered around Him, and only Him, and, when we come together to worship, adore and learn of Him, the benefits of sharing Him with one another cannot be overstated.
Blessings – PJ