Living In Community: Authentic Fellowship

May 28, 2024 | by Major Ed Lee

Living In Community:

Authentic Fellowship

Scripture: Acts 2:44-47

Major Ed Lee

Territorial Officers' Health Services Secretary

USA Southern Territory

            There is a trend in traveling these days. People desire more opportunities for bonding with family and friends in the face of uncertainty. It is a concept officially called “Togethering.” Walt Disney is picking up on this trend. In 2003, they launched their “magical gatherings” promotion, allowing groups of eight or more to escape the crowds and enjoy semiprivate catered events like boat cruises to watch the nightly fireworks, or African-themed dinner parties at Animal Kingdom that are designed for multigenerational groups. Cruise lines are offering special perks for parties that booked five or more staterooms for a group. The travel industry is working the “Togethering” concept. But it there is any group that I know that should do “Togethering” well, it should be that diverse and connected body known as the Church.

            Looking at the Church in Acts 2, we see a group of people who understood what it meant to live in community. They practiced authentic fellowship. The early Church devoted themselves to a few things: the teachings about Jesus, sharing common meals together, to prayer and they devoted themselves to fellowship.

            Let’s look at what true Christian fellowship is, and specifically three truths about it.

Christian Fellowship Includes All Believers – vs.43

            The word fellowship in verse 42, is the Greek word koinonia.  It means participation, partnership, social intercourse, and communion. One writer has defined koinonia as, “expressions of genuine Christianity freely shared among the members of God’s family.” 

            This fellowship was to be for everyone. No distinctions were to be made. Paul wrote to the Galatians about all being “one in Christ.”  All distinctions and differences would be cast aside. Our faith in Jesus should be the one thing that brings all our differences together!  

            Though the legendary Willie Stargell still holds several Pittsburg Pirates slugging records, he is remembered most for the heart he brought to the game. “I would have played for free,” he once remarked. “After all, the umpire says play ball, not work ball. It was never a job to me.”  It was Stargell who encouraged the 1979 Pirates to use Sister Sledge’s “We Are a Family” as a theme for the team’s togetherness. “We were products of different races, different income brackets,” he said of his fellow World Series champions, “but in the clubhouse and on the field, we were one.” He and his team made a long, productive, and successful journey, and they made it together. No one should be excluded who is a part of this fellowship. It cannot be an exclusive club only for certain members.

            You may have heard of “failure to thrive syndrome.” It is what happens to infants when they are neglected and not held by their mothers or providers as they should be. It often occurs in babies in orphanages in Eastern Europe. No contact, no cuddling, no holding. It can be devastating for the baby. So too, with a Christian who is a part of a fellowship, their must be that contact with other believers to survive.

Christian Fellowship

Holds Believers Together – vs.44

            Do you think it was easy to follow Christ in the First Century? Times were tough and persecution was rampant. Discouragement, temptation, poverty, and doubts were just some of the real difficulties they faced. But they discovered the secret that there is strength in numbers. They realized that drawing from each other could be a major source of encouragement.

            Acts 4:32a says, “All the believers were of one heart and mind.” Even though they were a diverse people, their fellowship in Christ brought them together. I cannot stress this point enough. It should be the one main thing that holds us together. Our common interest in living for Christ is what keeps us going from day to day. For me to know that there are others from which I can receive encouragement helps me continue in this life of faith.

            As we face inevitable trials, troubles, and tragedies of life, God intends that we be supported, strengthened, encouraged, and empowered through the community of believers.

            David was a man who had his share of difficulties and knew very well the heartaches and burdens of life. In Psalm 61:5 he cries out to the Lord for help. “You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.”  How had God strengthened him? Through the encouragement of others who believed in God.

            In Acts 4, God in His providence sends a wonderful man to the church. His name was Joseph, but the believers didn’t call him that. They called him Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement.”  He became especially important to the church. Without Barnabas, there would have never been a Paul.

            The huge redwood trees in California are amazing. They are the largest living things on Earth and the tallest trees in the world. Some are 300 feet high and more than 2,500 years old. You would think that a tree that large would have a tremendous root system, reaching down hundreds of feet. But that is not the case at all. Redwoods have a very shallow root system. The roots of the trees are, however, are tied with each other, interlocked. Thus, when the storms come and the winds blow, the redwoods still stand. The root system supports and sustains each tree.

Christian Fellowship

Meets the Needs of Believers – vs.45

            The idea of mutual sharing is a key to fellowship among the believers. Sharing is lived out in two ways:  We can share something with someone. We can give someone something such as money, words of encouragement. We can share in something with someone like sorrow, joy, or an area of mutual concern. The activities of the early Church were not socialistic. They gave voluntarily. And, instead of distributing the goods evenly, they gave them out as the need arose.

            Does God want us to sell everything we have and go and live in a commune together? No, but I believe selling of possessions was the means to the end. We have true fellowship when we demonstrate genuine caring for each other and meet each other’s needs. Caring is just an emotion that says, “I care for you.”  Fellowship is the action to those emotions.  

            In his book, The Connecting Church, Randy Frazee writes, “The experience of authentic community is one of the purposes God intends to be fulfilled by the Church. The writings of Scripture lead one to conclude that God intends the Church, not to be one more spoke on the wheel of activity in our lives, but the very hub at the center.”  The Church is essential to our overall well-being.

As we think about authentic fellowship, I want to ask three questions:

  1. Am I seeking Christian fellowship or forsaking it?
  2. Do I provide an atmosphere conducive to sharing and encouraging or guarding and criticizing?
  3. Am I sensitive and flexible enough to meet others’ needs when they arise, or am I so hard and unbending that I just pass the needy by?

Our Corporate Prayer

Gracious Lord, Thank You that You adopted us into Your family, first by becoming our Father through Jesus, Your Son. But then You gave us the family of believers with whom we can share this rich life in You. Help me to treasure my brothers and sisters in Christ, to help them and nurture them, even as they help and nurture me. Thank You that You allow this fellowship and I pray that in honoring my fellow believers, You will see that I also seek to honor You. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Our Worldwide Prayer Meeting
Canada & Bermuda Territory

Thinking it Through

As you have contact with fellow believers, stop to consider how the Lord blesses you through them. And then ask the Lord to show you how you bless them as well. Are you taking more than giving? Sometimes you may need that but is that the norm?

Notable Quotables

Put a burning coal or stick by itself and the fire will go out, and it will be cold and black; but put several sticks together and they will burn brightly. And it is so with hearts full of holy fire.  - Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle


We rejoice to think of the day the Lord delivered us with His great salvation! “Glorious Day!”


We would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions on how to improve these devotionals. Please email comments to: or by going to our website:
We would love to hear from you.

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

Territorial Spiritual Life Development Officer/THQ Chaplain
USA Southern Territory


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