The word fellowship carries with it the idea of a common bond and commitment in Christ to the will, work and walk of God. There is a profound sense of identity (“a common bond and commitment”), belonging (“in Christ”) and participation and sharing (“to the will, work and walk of God). Fellowship is vertical – it involves God and us (1 John 1:3). But fellowship also is horizontal – it involves our relationship with other Christians (Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:6-7). Few places in the New Testament bring the beauty and breadth of fellowship out more than Philippians 4:10-23. At least 7 qualities of real fellowship can be observed in this passage.
- Fellowship is experiencing great joy (4:10).
- Fellowship displays qualities of concern, participation, and sharing (4:10-11). There ought to be an absence of pride, pettiness and personal agendas because the will, work and walk of God are emphasized.
- Fellowship conveys a sense of contentment that may well have been learned over time (4:11-12). Life and circumstances can be viewed through the eyes of faith in the promises of God.
- Fellowship is about cooperation and partnership – giving and receiving (4:13-18). There is a deep sense of togetherness and mutuality.
- Fellowship constantly reminds us of a “heavenly account” from which our needs are richly supplied (4:19). If that isn’t encouraging, I don’t know what is!
- Fellowship expresses greeting and grace to others (4:20-23).
- Fellowship is all about the realm or environment in which we live – in Christ (4:10, 21). The fact we are in Christ has tremendous impact on how we think, speak and act! We relate to others positively and appropriately because of the relationship we have with Him.—Mike Vestal