What Does the Fellowship of Believers Entail?

Published Jan 20, 2023
What Does the Fellowship of Believers Entail?

We were made for fellowship with the Lord and each other, becoming like-minded in faith’s unity, pursuing the purpose of sharing the gospel through ongoing prayer while living in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

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They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42).

The Day of Pentecost is vitally significant to believers today as we devote ourselves to being people of the Word of God and enjoy the fellowship of believers as the body of Christ and with our Savior, Jesus.

It reaches new believers through fellowship in the unity of faith, shared purpose, and powerful prayer. As in Acts 2:42, being dedicated to the apostles’ teaching, breaking of bread, and prayer opens the doors of heaven.

The most significant event of all time was now history. The disciples witnessed their dear friend and teacher die. Still, in awe of the miracle of His resurrection, filled with joy and sorrow, they watched those nail-pierced feet lift from the ground and ascend to heaven.

The words continued ringing in their ears, “wait for the gift my Father promised,” “you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit,” “you will receive power,” and “you will be my witnesses.” Returning to Jerusalem, they went to the upper room to wait (Acts 1:4-5).

After 10 days of waiting, Acts 2 tells us a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the house where they were sitting.

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. They spoke in other tongues as the Holy Spirit enabled them — another miracle.

Miracles were familiar to the disciples. They saw blind eyes and deaf ears open, lame people walking, and the dead raised to life.

People from many neighboring nations celebrating the annual required Jewish festival of Pentecost heard these disciples speak and magnify God in the languages of their nations (2:5-11). Perplexed, they asked, “What does this mean?” (2:12). Others made fun of them, thinking they had too much wine.

Peter took the opportunity to preach the death and resurrection of Jesus with a call to repentance and forgiveness of sin. This “gift of promise” began bearing fruit.

Three thousand people accepted the message growing in number from 120 believers in the upper room to 3,000 — an instant family.

As new followers of Jesus, they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to breaking bread, and prayer” (Acts 2:42).

They met daily in the temple courts and broke bread in their homes, and shared possessions with those in need. Many wonders and signs performed by the apostles fascinated everyone and displayed the power of God through the Holy Spirit. 

Like-minded faith was essential for the followers of Jesus. Paul, the apostle, wrote, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse” (Galatians 1:8).

Unity in what they believed about Jesus and His teachings was crucial to the fellowship and unity of the faith.

1. Fellowship in Unity

Jesus exampled the value of unity: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Unity in the teachings of Jesus became the bedrock that connected them with each other and with Jesus.

This fellowship, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5), paved the way for transformation from the old self to a new self, being “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

The Apostle John wrote, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3, emphasis added).

Unity in the teachings of Jesus shaped and empowered the purpose of evangelism, “you shall be witnesses,” as they took the gospel everywhere.

2. Fellowship in Purpose

To further the purpose, God enabled the apostles “to equip the saints for works of ministry and to build up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).

With the Holy Spirit’s help and the apostles’ teaching, their purpose was clear: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). And “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

The work of the Holy Spirit within the lives of the believers gave them the power to live in faith and share the gospel. This fellowship of unity and purpose was strengthened through prayer.

3. Fellowship Is Prayer

The disciples knew the closeness and conversation with Jesus in the three years they walked with Him. The apostles’ discussion times with Jesus were precious encounters with the Divine, and the new converts were learning from them.

Jesus taught the disciples, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’” (Matthew 6:9-13).

The apostles continued those cherished conversations with Jesus, devoted themselves to prayer, and taught the new converts how to talk and listen to God.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16b). As the apostles, disciples, and new converts prayed and lived in the unity of Jesus’ teachings, the fruit of the Spirit helped them learn to control emotions, live for the eternal, forgive each other, love their enemies, boldly witness, and sharing in the sufferings of Christ through persecution.

When Peter and John healed a lame man on the way to prayer (Acts 3:1), the authorities threw them in jail, asking, “By what power or what name did you do this?” (4:7).

Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (4:12).

When the authorities saw the courage of Peter and John, “they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (4:13).

Reprimanded and warned to stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus, they let them go, unable to punish them because all the people were praising God for the miraculous healing.

The believers were devoted to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, breaking bread, and the Lord’s Supper.

They followed the pattern Jesus and the disciples did on the night before the crucifixion: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Through fellowship with God, prayer, sharing meals, communion, and caring for one another, the body of Christ continued to grow and thrive.

Jesus’ prayer was being fulfilled, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you… I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:21-23, emphasis added).

The oneness in faith, purpose, and prayer was the expression of the fellowship of the believers: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).

Today, we as believers are directed to live as they did in the Book of Acts, by the same unity of faith, purpose, and prayer. Through the Scripture, we “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus” (2 Peter 3:18) and are trained to live to please the Lord (2 Timothy 3:16).

In Know the Scriptures, Dr. Arthur Pierson tells us: “Our Lord is found in the Word, in the letter: the Word is found in Him in the life” (p 29).

We were made for fellowship with the Lord and with each other, becoming like-minded in faith’s unity, pursuing the purpose of sharing the gospel, “you shall be my witnesses,” through ongoing prayer while living in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

For further reading:

What Does the Bible Say about Fellowship?

Can We Have Fellowship with God Through His Word?

What Is the Meaning of the Body of Christ?

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/rosiesun

SWN authorJudy McEachran loves to worship the Author of life and love. She is an ordained pastor and gifted musician who writes and speaks to encourage believers. She pastored churches in the Midwest and after retirement moved to Arizona. She is humbled not only by the gracious love of God but by her devoted husband, two sons, and ten grandchildren. You can visit her website at God Secrets that Impart Life. Find her music on YouTube. Judy’s natural musical giftings invite worshippers into the presence of the Lord.

This article originally appeared on Christianity.com. For more faith-building resources, visit Christianity.com. Christianity.com