Day Three – Fellowship
They joined with the other believers in regular attendance at the apostles’ teaching sessions and at the Communion services[f] and prayer meetings. Acts 2:42 TLB
They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers. GNT
Fellowship (koinonia) means community, communion, joint participation, or the share which one has in anything. One translation lumps the fellowship and breaking of bread part of the scripture, but most of the more common versions break this into four areas that the early church constantly devoted themselves to: the apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread together, and prayer. Some translations specify that breaking of bread together included the Lord’s Supper. Today, we want to single out fellowship. From the above definition, I’d say we are safe to say that if you are going to get anything out of something, you have to devote time to it and you have to participate in it.
Fellowship here would first and foremost mean walking in constant fellowship with the Lord Jesus, being actively involved and participating in a local church, and regularly taking communion. Secondly, if you always leave right before your church family shares meals together or other church family activities, you are not allowing for genuine fellowship to happen. Let’s be real; you look for ways to hang out with people that you genuinely love. Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t believe fellowship is defined as a church dinner, but dinners, socials, and small group discussions all help to create an environment where fellowship can happen.
John placed so much importance on fellowship that he says, “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 cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7).” That’s heavy! He flat out says if you walk in the light you HAVE fellowship with one another. And it is only in this place of fellowship that the blood of Jesus works for you and me!
There are many jobs that go along with being a pastor, and not all are so spiritual. For instance cutting off the lights and locking the doors after service. Even though, I usually am ready to go home and eat immediately after service, I can’t really complain when the saints linger after an anointed service and have genuine fellowship. It at these times, you know the saints share something in common and really like hanging out with each other. There are times when I think the saints are just socializing; there is a difference.
Let’s continue to pray that we “spend time in learning” and all be in “regular attendance” at the teaching sessions of God’s Word, but also that we genuinely be united in fellowship with one another.
Day Four – Breaking of Bread
So far we have seen that the early church continued to devote their time to prayer, studying God’s Word, and fellowship. The next item of importance to them was breaking of bread together. Now, I know that most good church-folk equate fellowship and breaking of bread together, but the early church did not. Based on 1 Jn. 1:7, we saw that fellowship, since it is a requirement for those of us who walk in the light (or saved), it must be equated to walking in love horizontally with other believers. John even goes so far to say that we are liars if we claim to love an invisible God while not loving the people right in front of your face (1 John 4:20). I have found that many people are quick to claim how in love they are with God, but they will make some real flimsy excuses as to why they can’t come to church and fellowship with the saints.
So then why does the Bible place so much emphasis on breaking bread together? Think of it this way. Church dinners, picnics, or socials, even small groups, don’t equate to fellowship, but they do create an atmosphere where fellowship can occur. If we always run out of the door as soon as, or even before, the church service is over, if we always find an excuse to miss the church fellowship meal, then we can be sure that fellowship with our church family won’t happen. Fellowship with one another is a necessary ingredient for our spiritual growth, and it is a necessary ingredient for a healthy church. Try it! You may even find that you like it.
Let’s pray today, Lord help us to love one another and have genuine fellowship as a church family.