(Acts 2:41-47) – “koy-no-nos” “koy-nohn-ee-a” 13 times
Webster says that fellowship means a natural sharing of experience, interest and activity. It is a close and intimate relationship. The biblical meaning carries the thought of being a partner or sharer.
In assembly fellowship, it is a sharing of things in common and our fellowship is by mutual consent a partnership. “priesthood.”
Some examples of true fellowship. First, and example from the business world. (Luke 5:10). James and Jon were in fellowship – were partners – with Simon in the fishing business. These men shared their lives together. (describe) They also shared the ownership of the business. They shared the responsibilities incurred and divided equally the profits. They were partners and shared everything together. They were in fellowship and partnership together.
Secondly, the same thought is expressed in the spiritual sphere, with regard to Service in 1 Crointh. 8:23. Paul says that Titus was his partner and fellow-worker in his teaching and preaching ministry. This meant that Titus as Paul’s fellow-laborer shared with him equally the responsibility – joy – and sorrow in their work for the Lord. This is true fellowship or partnership in the Gospel. (see sheet no. 1)
Then thirdly, not the examples of fellowship in the first century church. Those who had received Christ as savior, followed Him in baptism were added to the Church. (Acts 2:42) These continually devoted themselves to the apostles doctrine – breaking of bread – and prayers. They shared these spiritual exercises with one another. They continually devoted themselves to fellowship. That is, they shared with each other the responsibilities, and privileges of the life of the assembly. In this fellowship they shared in prayer – preaching – teaching – revelation – the Lord’s supper – baptism – miracles – and joy. They rejoiced together at the advances of the Gospel. They wept together at the reverses. (Romans 12:15) They comforted each other in times of persecution. They rallied round in times of bereavement.
The early believers carried their fellowship into practical areas, they shared their possessions with others. The widows of martyred brethren received special attention. (Acts 6).
In their ardent desire for fellowship (communion) they visited in each others’ homes and shared their food together. No welfare then. (v. 46)
This sharing and communion locked them into an inseparable union and partnership which produced generous and appreciative hearts and unaffected joy.
This would be an example of true fellowship and its amiable results.
From examples like these we conclude that fellowship in an assembly should be considered as a sharing of ourselves, our faith, the divine fundamentals, and our possessions.
Our assembly fellowship should be considered as a partnership each member being a share-holder having a definite interest and responsibility in the well-being of each other and of affairs of the assembly.
We turn now from the thought of sharing to the thought of partnership.
We are partners in the Gospel outreach of the assembly. We show our partnership when we attend the Gospel meeting. We show that we are fellow helpers when we bring someone to hear the Gospel. We demonstrate our common interest in the Gospel when we pray for the brother who is bringing the message. We corroborate our partnership when we pray for the preacher while he is preaching, and pray for sinners while they are listening. This is true fellowship and partnership in the Gospel. Advancement, progress.
True fellowship or partnership is also expressed at the assembly prayer meeting. This meeting should be attended as regularly as the breaking of the bread (the Lord’s supper).
Ideally we all have a share in that meeting audibly or inaudibly. Explain the role of the one who prays. In sharing the responsibility of prayer publicly or privately for the many needs of the assembly, we are continually devoting ourselves to fellowship.
True partnership extends into other areas of assembly activity. 1Crointh. 12 Paul likens the assembly to our body. Each member of the body should be prayerfully interested in the day to day running of the assembly, and in the problems that arise from time to time. Worldliness, morality, immorality, changing the time of meetings, individual cups, the type of music to be used, choosing speakers. We should pray and not criticize 1Corinth, 12:26. While there may be brethren more qualified than you to solve some of these problems in a direct way – as partners we should pray that wisdom will be given to those who are directly involved. In doing this we establish a working partnership with each other.
Then there is the matter of ministering to the needy and communicating with the Lord’s servants. The neglected subject of giving.
Many needy saints have not survived because of the lack of giving. Many have survived because others have shared.
The Lord’s servants cannot work effectively except they work in partnership with those of like precious faith. Hands and feet. Many faithful servants have been forced back into secular work because the partnership between them and their brethren broke down.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinth. 16 that each partner should be exercised to share as the Lord has prospered him. This is a responsibility and privilege.
Another important facet of partnership which takes us beyond having a share in the temporal and spiritual affairs of the assembly is having oneness of mind – and unity of purpose.
The first century church continued in prayer and supplication with “one accord” (Acts 1:14); all agreeing with no one dissenting.
They were all with “one accord” in “one place.” (Acts 2:1) They were united in purpose and in fellowship and partnership, they were waiting for the coming of the Spirit. (describe – today)
In Acts 2:46 they were continuing daily with “one accord.” They were one in spirit, one in desire – one in agreement. They were bound together and happy, within hands of love, to be partners together. How can this oneness be obtained? Remembering we are partners.
Firstly, by consulting with one another – remember we are partners together, There must be openness and frankness.
Secondly, by working with one another – not against one another. Paul prayed for these conditions to be present on the church in Philippi when he wrote: “stand fast in one spirit with one accord, striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Phil. 1:27).
Unity of purpose – one spirit – one mind
Unity of action – striving together for the spreading of the Gospel, binds hearts together in “one accord,” in an unbreakable union.
Thirdly, we express our partnership by praying for one another. (1Thess. 1:3) By loving one another (John 15:12). There never will be a breach of partnership between brethren who pray and love each other. We should love each other as Christ has loved us. Agape love. (chief’s – Indians; the Lord – minister)
By serving one another. Gal. 5:13. By love we serve one another.
By exhorting one another. Heb 3:13. We do this daily.
By comforting one another. 1Thess 4:18. Encouraging one another.
By edifying one another. Rom 14:19. Building each other up
If each member of the assembly practiced these principles in their daily lives and in the assembly, there would be real fellowship and partnership. The blessing of God would flow from the opened windows of heaven in such force that the assembly would not be able to contain it.
It is God’s desire that His people dwell together in unity.
There are few things that God can call good on earth. No one righteous – no one that understands – no one that seeks after God – no one that does good.
But when He sees men and women from all walks of life redeemed, and gathered together unto Him, living in fellowship with one another – He says: “Behold how good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133.
The newly formed church in Jerusalem was an example of this truth. “All that believed were together, and had all things in common.” “They met daily with one accord – there was gladness and singleness of heart among them as they praised God and found favor with the people.”
An assembly in a spiritual condition like this is certain of God’s presence, and His richest blessing.
The Psalmist, quoting from Ex 30:28-30 says that unity and harmony of believers is like the precious oil poured upon Aaron’s head when he was anointed High Priest. This oil also run down the skirts of his garments. The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit. The outer garments speak of testimony – they are what the world sees.
How pleasing it is to God when the Holy Spirit’s presence and power is poured out upon the head and runs down to the skirt of the garments of those in fellowship.
In this pristine condition of being Spirit filled, we glorify God – exalt Christ – we live in harmony with one another – and unitedly reclaim men and women from the brink of hell.
All this will happen when brethren dwell together in unity – in partnership – in harmony – in fellowship.
The third verse uses another symbol of the Spirit – the Dew.
If the oil speaks of the power in u testimony to the world. The dew speaks of the fruitfulness of the Spirit in the corporate life of partners in the assembly.
The heavy dew that fell on Mt. Hermon in the north also fell on Mt Zion in the south uniting the whole land in fruitfulness.
This fruitfulness is what God desires for His assemblies of “called out” ones and it is there that He commands the blessing, even life for evermore.
If we would see the real blessing of God in our midst, and eternal life flowing in a steady stream to the unsaved, we must dwell together in unity – harmony – fellowship and partnership.
These are the condition conducive to the Lord commanding a blessing.
Titus was one of Paul’s most reliable helpers. He was used by Paul in tasks requiring responsibility and discretion. He was Paul’s emissary to the church at Corinth. He was in charge of the collection for the poor in Jerusalem. He was left by Paul in Crete to set in order the things that were wanting in the church there. Paul also sent Titus to Dalmatia, which is modern day Yugoslavia.