New Testament Church Series

(XIV) FELLOWSHIP - An Outline

by J. Spender in 1984
Permission to transcribe and to distribute the messages in this series had been obtained from
the speaker who retains all rights to these messages.

I. Definition

Fellowship is a continuation of the common life of Jesus and His disciples through the Holy Spirit. I Cor. 1:9


II. New Testament Teaching

  1. The Greek word, "koinonia" (fellowship) and related words is found 46times in the New Testament.

  2. In the King James Version it is translated by the following:

    Fellowship, Contribute, Partakers, Communion,

    Communicated, Partner, Distributing, Companion

  3. The responsibilities of fellowship among believers are expressed perhaps nowhere better than in the term "one another. " This word (Gk: allelon) is used 100 times in the New Testament in at least 30 different ways:


III. Importance

  1. It is one of four essential activities in which the early church continued steadfastly. Acts 2:42

  2. It is a test of the genuineness of love. I John 1: 7; 3:17- 18

  3. The fellowship engaged in by the early church was more than random meetings and light chatter among saints, but rather a deliberate, deep commitment.

    Many assemblies give faithful attention to Teaching, Breaking of Bread, and Prayers (Acts 2:42) as in these activities the individual relates primarily to God (vertical). But Fellowship, while it does depend on one's relationship with God, stresses the relationships between believers (horizontal) as the following illustrates:

    Many are afraid of allowing their Christianity to become too practical, for as we draw closer to others through communication and sharing, we become more vulnerable. Nevertheless, the principle set forth in Matt. 25:40 and I John 3:17-18 makes our relationship with our brother the test of our relationship with God.


IV. Keys to Assembly Fellowship

  1. Fellowship with God supplies the real content for fellowship with one another, I John 1:3-7. Our visible fellowship with one another should be the outworking of our hidden fellowship with Christ.

  2. An absolute requirement for fellowship is unity:

  3. Fellowship is inseparably linked with ministry (serving):

  4. Sin destroys godly fellowship: Eph. 5:11; II Cor. 6:14-16; I John 1:6


V. Encouraging Fellowship

  1. Right Doctrine: as to the responsibility of the believer in both worship and ministry with fellowship coming to life as he learns not only to relate to God but also to those in the assembly; and, as to the nature and purpose of the assembly as a place of edification, maturing and serving. Eph. 4

  2. Right Practice: The New Testament assembly is responsible to provide the conditions and environment in which the Holy Spirit is free to bring forth fellowship. Just as a local church must make suitable provision for Teaching, Breaking of Bread and Prayer before God adds the blessing, so the needs of the saints for fellowship must be provided for.


VI. Benefits

An assembly which involves believers in the Biblical fellowship of edifying and ministering to others can expect to see:

  1. Individual growth through contentment, fulfillment, involvement.

  2. Assembly growth: where needs are met, new ones come in and those in fellowship remain.

  3. Elders can spend time in the Word and prayer instead of constantly dealing with matters which should be addressed as the body ministers to itself in love. Eph. 4:16


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