I. As hard as we try to keep terms pure and free from the influence of denominations, we still sometimes find things creeping into our language.
A. People wanting to call the minister, “pastor” even though it properly belongs to those who oversee the congregation - the elders.
B. Similarly, the desire to call ministers by titles, such as “Reverend”
1. Even though only God is called reverend - Ps. 111:9
2. Even though Jesus said not to use titles - Matthew 23:6-12
3. I know better than to give flattering titles - Job 32:21-22
C. Other misused terms are more subtle – take the term fellowship as an example.
1. People take about fellowship halls where people partake of fellowship dinners.
2. At times, I have heard some use the word fellowship to denote the meal.
3. Besides poor grammar (fellowship is an noun and not an adjective), those using the word fellowship in this manner show that they do not understand what fellowship entails.
II. What is fellowship
A. Fellowship comes from two basic Greek words: koinonia and metoche (and the forms related to these words)
1. Both mean having something in common or a partnership
a. The Greek word for common is koin.
2. It is translated as fellowship, communion, partners, partaker, companion, communicate, and sharing.
3. It is strongly tied to the concept of unity or oneness.
B. Examples of fellowship
1. Fishing partners - Luke 5:7
2. Having common experiences, such as tribulation - Revelation 1:9
3. Having common benefits, such as working for someone who is a Christian - I Timothy 6:2
4. Sharing possessions
a. such as sending aid to needy saints - Rom 15:26
b. When the Philippians send aid to Paul, he called it sharing in his affliction - Philippians 4:14-15
III. The basis for fellowship
A. Our fellowship with God
1. The book of I John is on this topic
2. Many talk of having fellowship with brethren, but that fellowship is first based on a fellowship with God - I John 1:3
3. To have something in common with God, we must become like him - I John 1:5-7
4. It means we must keep God’s commandments - I John 2:3-6
5. Christ went out of His way to further cement our common experience. God, the Son, came to this world to live as a human - Hebrews 2:14, 17-18; 4:15
B. Our fellowship with Christians
1. We share the same calling - Hebrews 3:1
2. We have received the same gospel - I John 1:3
3. There is no longer a separation between Jew and Gentile because of the gospel - Ephesians 3:4-6
4. We are able to share our faith - Philemon 6
C. We do not have fellowship with the wicked
1. Light and darkness have nothing in common - II Corinthians 6:14-7:1
2. Since we must expose sin, we have no fellowship with sin - Ephesians 5:11
3. This is why we are not to have close companions who are of this world - I Corinthians 15:33
IV. Forms of fellowship
A. We share in understanding Christ’s sufferings - Philippians 3:8-17
1. The Lord’s Supper is a weekly reminder - I Corinthians 10:16-17
2. Therefore, we walk together by the same rule - (Philippians 3:16-17)
3. We must speak the same thing. There must be no division. - I Corinthians 1:9-10
B. We have fellowship in the gospel - Philippians 1:5
1. Which we share with others - Galatians 2:2
C. We give aid to others - Hebrews 13:16, I Timothy 6:17-19
D. We have fellowship by agreeing about common points and holding a common plan - Galatians 2:9
E. We share in the works of others by supporting them - Philippians 4:14-15, I Corinthians 9:7-14
V. Fellowship is a state of being.
A. Either you are in fellowship, meaning that you agree, holding common ideas and experiences, or you are not in fellowship.
B. Fellowship is not the deeds. Instead, the deeds are an expression of the fellowship that already exists.
1. You cannot force fellowship by doing things that people do when they have fellowship.
C. Compare it to friendship. You cannot “do” friendship.
1. Those who are friends do things together, such as spending time together and talking about personal things.
2. Just because you spend time with someone doesn’t mean you are friends
D. Those in denominations have shallow relationships with each other. They go through the motions of fellowship, but it doesn’t really exist. Hence, they call the things they do what they lack inside.
E. Brethren, let us not fall into the same practice.