1 John 1:3
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

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Fellowship Scripture references:
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

2 Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Phillipians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Phillipians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.


The Nature and Purpose of Fellowship

Fellowships have been developing since the early 60s-70s. The huge number and variety of activities from a Fellowship sometimes looks dynamic. However, beneath the surface of all these activities, the nature and purpose of Fellowship is beginning to be lost on the participants.

What is the original purpose of the people who build the fellowship?

What do we mean by "Fellowship"?

We need to go back to the Bible to find the answer.

The original word for Fellowship in the Bible is "Koinonia".

Strong's Greek Lexicon:
# 2842 koinonia {koy-nohn-ee'-ah}
    from 2844; TDNT - 3:797,447; n f
    AV - fellowship 12, communion 4, communication 1, distribution 1, contribution 1, to communicate 1; 20
    1) fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse
    1a) the share which one has in anything, participation
    1b) intercourse, fellowship, intimacy
    1bi) the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office)
    1c) a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship

The original meaning is "sharing something with someone". The emphasis of the word is on the thing being shared, not on the relationship among people. That does not disregard the relationship aspect of the fellowship, but it does say that the relationship is built upon sharing of things. In the Bible, the context on where the word is used usually brings out the things that are being shared.

This information make us realize the problem of a lot of Fellowships: these Fellowships are often based on people's need to come together, so the goals of the Fellowship become secondary -- the existence of the fellowship itself becomes a goal. And because of this, many of us do not know why are we getting together, and nobody knows what we are actually sharing.

John Stott (a theologian) listed 3 things that a Fellowship shares:

(1) Share things "in" Christ -- for example, the believers can share the grace, salvation, eternal life, pain in Christ. "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the Fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Philippians 3:10).

The FOCUS is GOD.


(2) Share things "with" brothers and sisters -- This points to the things that is shared among the believers. This includes material:
42 "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:42-47)
;
and emotional "Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles." (Philippians 4:14).

The FOCUS is the BROTHERS and SISTERS of the Fellowship.


(3) Share things "out" to others -- This points to the common goal that is shared out from the believers. Sharing of caring, serving, witness, donation of money etc. That's what the Bible means by the word generosity. Examples from the Bible includes: "because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now," (Philippians :5);
"and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else." (2 Corithians 9:13);
"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor," (Mark 10:21)
.

The FOCUS is on OTHERS, the people not in the Fellowship in general.


For a complete Fellowship, these 3 kinds of sharing is combined and together. Many Fellowships that we see have only the second kind of sharing, the Fellowship only has relationship between people, very little focus is put on God. Thus the Fellowships have degraded into a social gathering place. Another type of Fellowship just focus on the first kind of sharing. They only focus on being spiritual, to the point that they neglect the human interaction between people in the Fellowship. Without a basis of interaction among people, how can we start talk about relationship beween man and God? (refer to 1 John 4:20) However, most Fellowships are aimless and without direction. They never cared about the society, and never cared about others, and never share their love to others. They only know to organize activities inside the four walls of a church. To use a polite word, these Fellowships are "inward or introspective". To be blunt, they are "selfish"!

A Fellowship should not be this way. A Fellowship is based on a group of people that have reconciled with God. And they practice the sharing described above. During sharing there will be the following action:

(1) When the members share out a common goal -- giving for others -- the Fellowship will produce service and witness. This service and witness will lead to love and caring; so, even though the service and sharing is not aimed to attract people, people will be attracted naturally to be a part of the Fellowship.

(2) During the sharing of the goal, the members will build up relationships among one another. More important is that the members will build their relationship through co-working. These relationships becomes a basis of renewed sharing out of service and witness.

(3) Not only do the members communicate, pray and share their burden during service, they can understand and experience God more through the sharing of love and caring towards one another. Put it another way, while the members share their love and caring, they share the presence of God at the same time (see 1 John 4:22). While experienceing and appreciating the love of fellow members, they also experience and appreciate the love and grace of our Lord.

Through the practice of Fellowship living, the whole group is being built up. And everyone's life is being built up. What a beautiful picture this is!

The above discussion is valid for any Fellowship.


The Essence of a Fellowship Relationship
THE "ANOTHERS”
What is the essence of the fellowship relationship between two believers? The Bible defines the relationship as a system of "anothers." A partial list follows:

Christians engaged in a fellowship relationship should:
1. Confess their sins to one another (James 5:16)
2. Forgive one another (2 Cor. 2:6-8)
3. Bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2)
4. Restore one another when sin has been committed (Gal. 6:1)
5. Refrain from judging one another (Rom. 14:13)
6. Love one another (1 John 4:7)
7. Comfort one another (1 Thess. 4:18)
8. Encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11)
9. Edify one another (1 Thess. 5:11)
10. Discipline one another (Matt. 18:15-20)
11. Pursue peace with one another (Rom. 14:19)
12. Teach one another (Col. 3:16)
13. Admonish one another (Col. 3:16)
14. Pray for one another (James 5:16)
15. Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24)
16. Be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit, and bless one another (1 Pet. 3:8-9)
17. Eat with one another (Acts 2:46)
18. Share material possessions with one another (Acts 2:45)
19. Touch one another (Gal. 2:9)
20. Give money to one another (Phil. 4:14-15)
21. Suffer with one another (1 Cor. 12:26)
22. Rejoice with one another (1 Cor. 12:26)
23. Meet one another's needs (Rom. 12:13)
24. Talk and sing with one another (Eph. 5:19)
25. Refresh one another (Rom. 15:32)
26. Serve and work with one another (Phil. 1:27)
27. Speak truth to one another (Eph. 4:15)
28. Provide examples for one another (Phil. 3:17)
29. Sympathize with one another (1 Pet. 3:8)
30. Greet one another (Phil. 4:21)
31. Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21)