“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” — Acts 2:42
Christians often throw around the word fellowship in the church. But what does fellowship mean? What does it look like? And what is its purpose? Fellowship is defined as a group of people meeting to pursue a shared interest or aim. It is opposed to isolation, solitude, and confinement. Fellowship can also mean having a relationship that involves working together and caring for one another like a family member. With this understanding, Christians are called to come together for the ultimate goal and purpose, which to pursue God and to encourage one another.
If you go back to the beginning of creation and look at how God designed the Garden of Eden, you’ll see that Adam and Eve were created to enjoy fellowship with God and also each other. But when they rebelled against God and took of the forbidden fruit, the fellowship between God and man was compromised. Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of God as He was walking in the garden. However, God immediately sought them out and revealed His plan for the ultimate restoration of sinners through the work of the Redeemer. Jesus paid the sacrifice for our sins and reconciled us back to the father, restoring the relationship we once had with God.
Fellowship has two components: vertical (with God) and horizontal (with other believers).
Fellowship with God is simply having an ongoing relationship with Him in daily reading, prayer, and worshiping Him. To have true fellowship with God, we are called to walk in the light, as Christ is in the light. 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” This passage tells us that if we are trying to live our lives apart from God, we prove that we do not have a real relationship with Him. So to have vertical fellowship with God means to turn from sin and trust fully in Him.
As a result of our vertical fellowship with God, we are able to have horizontal relationships with others. It goes on to say in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another . . .” For Christians to have horizontal fellowship we need to be encouraging one another to put off sin and to walk in the freedom that Jesus has called us to live in. This means that if we don’t practice sin, we are able to have true meaningful fellowship with one another.
Fellowship is much deeper than mere social activity. It involves coming together for spiritual purposes, such as prayer, discussion, and sharing God’s Word to encourage, comfort, and edify one another. Therefore, fellowship is not limited to any building or place, but it can happen anywhere God’s people are.
One of the main reasons we come to church is to have fellowship with God and with one another. Some of us tend to take church for granted, viewing it as a social gathering and nothing more. We miss out on remarkable opportunities to encourage, love, and pray for each other if we are not actively seeking fellowship with other believers. God did not make us to be alone; we need each other. Hebrews 10:24–25 tells us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another . . .” God’s great design for fellowship is for us to motivate, encourage, and love one another as we run the race of faith, looking unto Jesus together.
Search the Scriptures:
- Acts 2:42
- Hebrews 10:24–25
- Romans 15:1–7
- 1 John 1:3
Questions to Consider:
- Why do you think that fellowship is such an important aspect when it comes to our personal relationship with God?
- Hebrews 10:24 tells us to stir up one another to “love and good works.” How can we practically do that with other believers?
- Look at your life right now. Do you have consistent godly fellowship? If not, what can you do to change that?