I have always felt the word “fellowship” to be a uniquely Christian word. I don’t hear it used in much casual conversation outside the church setting and probably for good reason. It is the word used most commonly to translate the Greek word koinonia in the New Testament which is a derivative of koinos which translates to “common.” Koinonos, another derivative is used to describe a relationship derived from sharing something in common. A relationship based on common values and shared responsibilities. In classical Greek it was used to refer to marriages that shared a common focus in life as well as common struggles.
Paul’s reminder in 1 Corinthians 1:9, that, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” gives us pause as we ask for peace in a world where God has called us to be peace makers. It is not possible to have intimate communion with God without having intimate participation in the will of God.
When the Apostle John shares his insights in his last letters his prologue says, “We proclaim to you hat we have seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship (intimate participation) with us” he is reminding us our communion with God is determined by our communion (intimate participation) with each other. Of course, on the broader scale, in God’s economy, the “each other” refers to all whom God has called to be His own.
I call attention to this conditional requirement for relationship to God as a way of underlining the quintessential definition of church activity in Acts 2:42-47, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
I wonder if the “adding to their number” by God was because they were truly in fellowship.