In Acts chapter 2, we read about the first Christian fellowship. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine [the Bible] and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).
This detailed description of the first Christians is very revealing: The followers of Jesus who had been baptised in the Holy Spirit devoted themselves literally to fellowship and unity with God and with each other. What they prioritised was characterised by the spiritual unity with the Lord and the sisters and brothers in Christ – the congregation. The spiritual body of Christ was in the centre.
Koinonia – a deeper look at the Greek
The Greek word used for fellowship is koinonia, and really describes a deep feeling of spiritual fellowship. Any true Christian is a member of the body of Christ, and has a relationship to Christ and other believers as a member of the body. This is the core in true, spiritual unity – the unity of the Spirit of God.
Koinonia means having a part in, being partners, being in unity, in close connections. This type of fellowship is a unity created by the Holy Spirit. Each one participates in a common and intimate fellowship with the rest of the Christian fellowship, each one being valued, as God loves everyone. Koinonia joins the Christians with the Lord Jesus Christ, and with each other.
Because it is a fellowship created by the Holy Spirit, we might feel more deeply connected to each other, than what is natural based on how well we know each other on a human level. I have attended churches in foreign countries where I don’t understand much or nothing at all of what is being said, but I still feel connected to the people there. We have the same Spirit of God within us, and so we are part of the worldwide body of Christ, even if we don’t speak the same language. We are a family, brothers and sisters, and can feel related to believers all over the world. It is not natural – it’s supernatural!
What does this look like in real life??
Jesus said that His disciples should be recognised by how they love each other (John 13:35). Paul takes this command and elaborates on it by writing a lot of practical advice on fellowship in his letters. The twelfth chapter of the letter to the Romans is crammed full of how to serve each other with the gifts God has given us, and how to show love to all. Verse 10 says this: “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10).
In the next chapter he continues talking about the same: “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10).
It is pretty self-explanatory, that when you love people, you do them no harm. Because God has given us such a great love, we also can love each other and people around us. We do this not in our own natural love, but by drawing on the love God has given each of us.
Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.Romans 13:10
In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul expands on the image of us all being part of one body. “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many” (1.Corinthians 12:12-14).
In the same way as in our bodies, if one part is hurting, the whole body is hurting. If one part is weak, the whole is weak. But this is also true for the opposite; if one part is rejoicing, the whole is rejoicing. We are part of each other and hurt or rejoice with one another.
Walk in love
In His letter to the Ephesians Paul encourages his readers to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1-2). As His beloved children, we should walk in love the same way Jesus Christ walked in love. He also urges us to live our lives in humility and gentleness, with patience. We should always demonstrate generous love toward each other, and work at maintaining the unity and peace we have in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Again in his letter to the Colossians, Paul admonishes us to live a life of love: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15 ESV). A Christian fellowship should be characterised by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (the fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22). Of course, because we are all human, no fellowship will be absolutely perfect, but if it is marked by love for each other, being a part of such a fellowship is amazing!
Find your own fellowship
We strongly urge you to become part of a life-giving fellowship that is gathering together regularly whether it is in a home, around coffee or in a church. Join us in the community of the app WonByOne, but try to also find a local fellowship. It will bring both safety and belonging into your life.
The devil will always try to separate us from the flock. It is not easy to handle life on our own. Be in relationship with other people to give input into them and them into you. Try to move past the superficial and open up to honest, vulnerable relationships. Share what you’re struggling with so you can be prayed for and get help.
Being part of such a fellowship will help you keep your faith so God can protect you by His power, give you a spiritual family and help you grow. It’s a great blessing and there is a lot to gain being part of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and other believers. It’s difficult to explain it, it must be experienced.