What is fellowship?

We hear the word "fellowship" often in Christian circles, don't we?  Most of the time it's a word that conjures up thoughts of eating lots of food and having fun together in the "fellowship hall" of course!  Likewise, in promoting different events in the church many (that would include me) have often said "Come for a great time of food, fun, and fellowship!"  What is that?  Is that what biblical fellowship is all about? Most of us know the Greek word for fellowship is koinonia.  The word essentially refers to the common relationship and the common partnership we experience as Christians.  This relationship and partnership can be seen in how the Bible pictures the life of the church as both a family and a body.  We are a member of God's family (brothers and sisters in Christ) as we have been adopted by one Father.  And we all play a part in the body (serving and sharing with one another) as each of us takes our directions from the head, Jesus Christ.  This relationship and this partnership is in essence what fellowship is all about.

But what is the basis of this fellowship we have with other believers?  In a word-Jesus.  Jesus made it possible for us to have fellowship with others through his death on the cross.  Prior to our salvation we were alienated from God and each other.  We need to remember this because we often take fellowship with God and others for granted.  Ephesians 2:12 says, "remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world."  Though the context of this passage refers to the division between Jews and Gentiles and thus the Godless state of the Gentiles prior to Christ, it would also apply to all of us before our conversion.  In verse 14 Paul goes on to describe a wall of hostility built up between Jew and Gentiles.  But verse 13 and verse 16 tell us the good news of the gospel, namely, that in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ, so that we are now reconciled to God in one body through the cross, thereby breaking down this wall of hostility.  We were once like orphans and aliens without hope and without a home, but through the cross Jesus has given us hope and given us a home.  We are his.  And we are all members of one family and one body!  May we live that way today for the unity of the church and the glory of God.