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Scripture Reading: 2 John 6-11

When and How Do We Have Fellowship with Others?



1.  "Open" fellowship is an increasing epidemic among Christians that is undermining the standard of truth and compromising the integrity of the church.

2.  A yearning for unity and peace has led some brethren to give lip service to 2 John 9-11 while opposing its practical application. An array of rationalizations and standards that differ from God’s word, which is our God-given basis for fellowship and unity, John 17:20-21; Eph. 4:3-4.

3.  God does not have fellowship with everyone who says they are in fellowship with him – even Christians, cf. Matt. 7:22-23; 1 John 2:18-19.

4.  No justification to conclude we may have fellowship with any brother or sister regardless of their lifestyle and doctrines. (1 Cor. 5:1-2)

5.  When and how do we have fellowship with others?



  A.  Fellowship with God Depends on Walking in the Light, 1 John 1:6-7; John 14:23.

    1.  One must walk in the light to have fellowship with God, 1 John 1:7.

      a.  Practicing the truth equates with walking in the light, 1:6-7.

      b.  One who is not practicing the truth is not walking in the light.

      c.  That person does not have fellowship with God and is lying when they say that they do, 1:6.

    2.  Knowing God is having fellowship with God, John 10:27.

      a.  If we keep His commands we know that we know Him, 1 John 2:3.

      b.  The disobedient do not know God because the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:4.

      c.  Therefore, the one who keeps the word of God loves God and has fellowship with God (is “in Him”), 1 John 2:5.

  B.  We Are Commanded Not to Have Fellowship with those who are Not in Fellowship with God, Eph. 5:11; 2 Cor. 6:14.

    1.  First, this shows that Bible fellowship is not social interaction, 1 Cor. 5:9-10.

    2.  Bible fellowship is spiritual interaction (partnership, sharing together, association, harmony, agreement), Acts 2:42.

  * Our fellowship cannot be more open or restrictive than God’s.



  A.  Bible Definitions of Fellowship:

    1.  Fellowship is partnership (metoche): “partnership, sharing in, partaking of.”

    2.  Communion is sharing (koinonia):  “sharing in common, joint participation, association.”

    3.  Accord is togetherness (sumphonesis):  “a sounding together” (concordkjv).

    4.  Part is having a portion (meris):  “a part as distinct from the whole, an assigned part, portion.”

    5.  Agreement is approval (sunkatathesis):  “a putting together or joint deposit, approval.”

  B.  When and How Do We Have Fellowship with Others?

    1.  With the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 John 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Cor. 13:14).

      a.  By obeying Christ, John 14:23; 15:4-8.

      b.  Fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, Phil. 3:10 (1 Pet. 4:13).

    2.  Concurrent spiritual work of preaching truth, Gal. 2:9. (Agreement)

      a.  Fellowship in preaching the “truth of the gospel” (2:5).

      b.  Conversely, not to have fellowship with those who do not teach the sound words of Christ, 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 John 10-11.


        (1)   Work with / endorse brethren who teach the truth.

        (2)  Do not do so with those who teach error, Eph. 5:11.

        (3)  Cannot join ecumenical councils, crusades, etc. (violate gospel)

    3.  Benevolent “contribution”.

        a.  One church to another church, Rom. 15:26-27 (2 Cor. 8:4).

        b.  Churches were relieving needy saints, 2 Cor. 9:1.

        c.  Sacrificial sharing by individuals to fellow Christians, Heb. 13:16 (Rom. 12:13).


        (1)   By giving our contributions we have fellowship with the Christians who receive benevolence.

        (2)  Conversely, if we share in unscriptural arrangements (no pattern), we violate God’s will, forfeiting His fellowship. (Sponsoring church arrangements)

        (3)  To be a member of a church that practices “general” benevolence means we have fellowship with the error.

    4.  Financial support of a preacher, Phil. 1:5; 4:15.

        -Sharing between the one taught and the teacher, Gal. 6:6.


        (1)   We participate in the gospel with the preacher we support.

        (2)  This is why we cannot support one who teaches error (2 John 10-11).

    5.  Worship and work of the local church, Acts 2:41-42.

        -Lord’s Supper, 1 Cor. 10:16.


        (1)   Participate in the work of the church when we worship with it.

        (2)  Worshiping with churches that violate the Scriptures in worship and work is a sin, 2 John 10-11 (Eph. 5:11).

    6.  Sharing of faith through acts of love toward the saints, Philem. 6.

    7.  Fellowship with the apostles, 1 John 1:3-4.

    8.  If, by our conduct, we condone, endorse, approve others in their sin, 1 Tim. 5:22 (2 John 10-11).



1.  God is vigilant about His fellowship – it is not “open” (without boundaries), it is defined by revealed truth (Matt. 7:21, 23).

2.  The fellowship we have and maintain affects our souls:

  a.   No fellowship with sin (the world), Eph. 5:11.

  b.  Fellowship with God and the people of God, 1 John 1:3; 2 John 9.