“I long to see you so that I may impart to you
some spiritual gift to make you strong—
that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged
by each other’s faith.”
Romans 1:11-12 (NIV)
The English word “fellowship” carries the idea of people sharing together some common experiences, ideals, or cause. So to fellowship as Christians means to share with each other our common love for the Lord and to encourage each other to live the self-denying life we are called to as believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
What often passes today as Christian fellowship is nothing more than the fellowship of the world. For example when the church gathers on the Lord’s Day some believers will discuss sports, issues at work, family stresses and so on. Anyone who wishes to discuss the sermon of the morning may find few people who are really that interested.
Paul makes my point clear when he says in Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.”
Real Christian fellowship involves discussion of those things that will strengthen the faith of the listeners. Paul also narrows the focus of discussion of Christian things to those things which meet the needs of the people to whom we speak. How very important it is that we consider how to build each other up in our faith.
Perhaps you know of some child of God who is struggling with a particular issue in life. Through prayerful consideration, the Holy Spirit may guide you into a specific passage of Scripture that would bless and strengthen the person in their faith (Hebrews 3:13; 10:25).
So real Christian fellowship includes thoughtful conversations with each other about the faith we hold dear to our hearts. Good Christian fellowship involves discussion of biblical passages that speak to the challenges of today. Many preachers are greatly encouraged when a member of the congregation will ask them to expand on something said in the morning sermon.
I know that I receive great blessing as a preacher from someone who will engage me in conversation about the sermon I preached. That means more to me than the kind words of thanks given for my sermon after the service is concluded.
How Christian is your fellowship with believers when you gather to worship and praise the Lord? Have you missed opportunities to strengthen someone in their faith as they go through problems of every sort? Why not resolve to speak to someone this coming Sunday with a thought from Scripture that will bless and encourage them in their faith journey? Be an encourager next Lord’s Day and you will also be blessed by such conversation.