The Right Hand of Fellowship

Text: Galatians 2:9

Leaders in the church in Jerusalem extended “the right hand of fellowship” to Paul and Barnabas. What does this mean? Obviously, it means they extended fellowship to them. But what significance does the “right hand” have in this? We will consider that in this lesson.

What is Fellowship?

  • Many have different ideas about what “fellowship” is – more than just a common bond in Christ; not about social interactions/associations, though many used the word this way today
  • Fellowship (Greek: koinonia) – means joint participation; sharing/partnering in a common work
  • Signifies partnership (2 Corinthians 6:14) – terms used for the same
  • Same word used to refer to the contribution for the poor saints in Jerusalem (Romans 15:26)
  • Philippi participated with Paul in the gospel (Philippians 1:5) – done through support (Philippians 4:15-16)

The Significance of the “Right Hand” in Scripture

  • Position of blessing (Genesis 48:13-20) – Joseph brought his sons to Jacob to be blessed by him; right hand laid on Ephraim’s head despite Joseph’s objection; signified a greater blessing
  • Position of power (Exodus 15:6) – part of the “song of Moses” after crossing the Red Sea; God demonstrated that nothing would stop Him from accomplishing His purpose (Exodus 14:13-14)
  • Position of strength (Psalm 20:6) – God saves His people through the strength of His right hand; word indicates the strength/might that leads to victory (Psalm 20:5)
  • Position of honor (Psalm 110:1) – prophecy of Jesus sitting at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3, 13); the right hand of God was a position of honor; all are to honor Christ

The Significance of the “Right Hand” in Fellowship

  • The blessing of fellowship – we have the blessing of being in fellowship with God (1 John 1:3); also a great blessing to have fellowship with one another (Psalm 133:1; 2 Peter 1:1)
  • The power of fellowship – much we can do individually in our service to God (1 Peter 3:15; Hebrews 3:13; Galatians 6:10); much more we can do when we work together (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; Ephesians 4:16; Acts 11:29-30)
  • The strength of fellowship – we gain strength from one another (Ecclesiastes 4:12); encouragement as we strive for our goal (Hebrews 10:23-25); we are able to help improve one another (Proverbs 27:17)
  • The honor of fellowship – we have the privilege of being in the kingdom of God (1 Thessalonians 2:12); in the end, if we are faithful, God will exalt us (1 Peter 5:6)

Conclusion

  • Fellowship is a privilege, is valuable, and helps make us better/stronger
  • We should recognize the great blessing of fellowship with God and His people – use this fellowship to build ourselves up, encourage others, and work together in the cause of Christ

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