Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 80

From Handbook to God’s Promises


Costly Fellowship
(John 15:13)

What do you think of when you hear the words church fellowship? The unfortunate truth is that, to most contemporary churchgoers, this term often brings to mind the half-hour coffee time that members enjoy before or after the morning service. But the term fellowship is at the very heart of corporate biblical spirituality; fellowship should be an ongoing reality in the life of the church.

Tracing the meaning of fellowship to its biblical roots can help reposition it in our lives and identify its practical—and ultimate—manifestation. Fellowship inherits its meaning in New Testament Christianity from the Old Testament concept of covenant. God and Abraham entered into covenant; so did Jonathan and David. These covenants involved promises of mutual friendship and commitments of protection of each other’s possessions and reputations, come what may. 

We pick up this flavor in the New Testament with the familiar word koinonia, which has “oneness” as its root meaning and is usually translated “fellowship.” Because each believer is united to Christ by means of the new covenant (Heb. 8), so all believers are also united to one another in Christ. Therefore, all believers are to be in covenant with one another. The early church lived this out to its fullest, having everything in common and sharing with one another according to need (Acts 2:44–45).

What motivates covenant? With God and Jesus Christ it is love (Deut. 7:9; John 15:12). And our love for them is to fuel our covenant love for one another (John 15:12). Christ’s example of love—laying down His life for His friends—was a true demonstration of fellowship, of covenant oneness. His sacrificial love is the model of the love we are to have for one another (John 15:13).

As a beginning point, sharing a cup of coffee and a doughnut with a friend could be tangible evidence of our fellowship. But for Christians in true covenant fellowship, the costs can go much higher. Only Christ’s example, and God’s love in us, can lead us to lay down our lives for our friends.

God’s Promise:
Follow His Son’s example, and others will see God’s love through you.