42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
This occurrence of the Greek word for “fellowship” is used only in Luke’s writings (Luke and Acts). The idea of “fellowship” is to share in something with others (Ga 2:9; 1 Co 10:16; 2 Co 9:13; 13:14). The early church members operated in close association with one another (1 Jn 1:3). God does not view Christians living in separation from other believers as being in fellowship. The Bible does not restrict “fellowship” to formal gatherings, which is the major function, but fellowship can be individual with the Lord and others.
Fellowship with God and with other Christians is inextricably linked.
If we are to have proper fellowship with God, we are to fellowship with Christians as well (1 Jn 1:3); God Himself links the two relationships together. When we have God in common, that requires joint fellowship among believers (cf. Acts 2:44-45). We belong to each other. Christians have the life of God in them; that is a notable commonality that all believers share. Fellowship binds us together in one heart and purpose. No believer stands or walks alone. Each needs to give unremitting care (“continued steadfastly”) to associate with the local church.
Christians need the fellowship of a local church. It is not enough to fellowship with Christians in general. The local church provides teaching, the Lord’s Supper, discipline, structured fellowship with believers who have advanced in the faith. No church is perfect, including the early church. The church in Acts had its hypocrites and moral and doctrinal failures; nevertheless, it is God’s will that a Christian participates in a sound local church.