Philippians 1:27 - Fellowshipping Together

Fellowshipping Together 2024
January 2024
Douglas Allison

As we begin 2024’s emphasis on Fellowshipping Together, Paul’s words in Philippians help to underscore just how important our relationships with each other are.  
First, however, it is wise to define what exactly “fellowship” is. What do we mean by the term? So far, we have emphasized reading together, praying together, evangelizing together, and worshipping together. These are all simple enough to understand. But fellowship is apt to be misunderstood. 
When we say, “Fellowshipping Together”, we intend to refer to the term used in Acts 2:42 to describe the activity of the believers when the church was being founded. Acts tells us that the believers devoted themselves to teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. 
The term “fellowship” means literally, “to hold in common”, “to have in common”, or, “sharing a part”. It is related to the term koine, as in “Koine Greek” or common Greek, the language in which the books of the New Testament were written.  
So, when we say we want to emphasize fellowshipping together in 2024, we are saying that we want to emphasize the sharing in life in Christ together with one another. Why is this important? This is where we come to the first memory passage of the year in Philippians 1:27:  
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.
There is one key observation to make for our purposes, which is that Paul equates having a manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ to the Philippians standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind, and, (from verse 28) not being frightened by their opponents.  
Why does this matter? It matters because believers should want to have a manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Part of the Great Commission is teaching believers to obey all the things that Christ commanded (Matt. 28:18-20). The gospel is not just about securing a ticket to Heaven; it is about granting new life in Christ (cf. Eph. 2:4-5)! When we are saved, we are new creations; and as new creations, we have good works to do (Eph. 2:10)! 
For these and innumerable other passages that could be cited, it is no wonder that Paul would be concerned for the Philippians to have a manner of life worthy of the gospel. But what may be surprising, and what we are emphasizing this year, is that the worthiness of our manner of life is inseparable from the life of the church body as a whole. Far too many believers fail to understand Paul’s point that our manner of life concerns not only how we live as individuals but also how we live together with other believers in the church. 
Paul makes this very clear when he elaborates on what it means to have a manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ. What he wants to find is not a bunch of individuals living their own lives of holiness in isolation from one another. He wants to find them united in spirit, having the same mind, and in that way standing firm together, striving side by side together. In other words, Paul wants to find a group of believers having a manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ together. They are to share in these things as equal participants. 
So, as we emphasize fellowshipping together in 2024, keep in mind that the goal is to share in our life in Christ together, to stand firm in one spirit, to strive side by side. To fellowship together does not just mean to share a meal but to share a life. We all have Christ in common, so we should live like it! This will take work to learn and practice, but the worthiness of our manner of life depends on it, so it is worth it! May it be the case in 2024 that as Christ looks on from Heaven, he finds a church in Little Rock that knows what it means to fellowship together.