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Fellowship (1 John 1:3, 6, 7)
1 John 1:3, 6-7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him and yet we are walking in the darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth; 7 but if we are walking in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Fellowship is a prominent theme in chapter 1 of John’s first epistle. Such fellowship may take place both between a Christian and God and between a Christian and another Christian. “Fellowship” (koinonia) means to share in common, to participate, to experience unity.
Other Scriptures refer to our fellowship with God. First Corinthians 1:9 tells us that we have fellowship with Jesus Christ our Lord when we are saved. First Corinthians 9:23 tells us that when we dedicate ourselves to sharing the gospel as effectively as we know how, we share (have fellowship) in the blessings of the gospel. Believers also fellowship with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14), which is important for spiritual unity in the church (Phil. 2:1–4). Finally, we commune (have fellowship) with the body and blood of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:16). When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we enter into communion or participation with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The fellowship we have with the Lord is intended to produce fellowship with other Christians: “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Cor. 10:17). Since we are one with Jesus, as symbolized by communion, so we are one with all other Christians. One loaf is a symbol of one body.
Fellowship with other Christians means more than just having coffee and donuts together. Fellowship involves practical considerations. First, it brings basic doctrinal agreement and interpersonal peace (Eph. 4:1–6). Second, just as Jesus gave himself completely for the sake of his body, the church, so are we to give ourselves for the sake of one another (Col. 1:24). Finally, we are to share financially with one another—and by implication, whatever we have to share with others in need. Paul used koinonia to refer to the financial contribution he was collecting from Gentile Christians for the sake of needy Christians in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:4; 9:13). “For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings” (Rom. 15:27).
We see from these references that fellowship—which means participation or to share in common—is much broader than the American concept of fellowship, in which we get together in a social setting to enjoy one another’s company. Rather, Christian fellowship means we share in one another’s lives. It is a matter of the will rather than our emotions. For example, the apostle Paul said, concerning James—the Lord’s brother—Peter, and John that they “gave me … the right hand of fellowship” (koinonia), and this happened right after a hotly debated controversy involving legalism and the status of Gentiles in the church (Gal. 2:1–10). Fellowship is serious business in the church.
 David Walls and Max Anders, I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude, vol. 11, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 165–166.