Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Most churchgoers are familiar with what it means to extend the “the right hand of fellowship”; however, the actual biblical meaning is not so well known. Our passage shows James, Cephas (Peter), and John offering the “the right hands of fellowship” to Paul and Barnabas. What was the significance of this act? By giving the right hands of fellowship, these believers were agreeing to serve God together. James, Cephas, and John would focus on reaching the Jewish people (the circumcision), while Paul and Barnabas would focus on reaching the Gentiles (the uncircumcision). When we offer someone the right hand of fellowship, we are agreeing to serve God with that believer.
- (For children): 1 Timothy 5:1-2 tells us that our church is a family. When people join the church, we are to love them as family (1 John 4:21). As family, we should pray for them, encourage them, warn them, help them, and work together with them to serve God.
- (For everyone): When people join the church, members are invited to come forward and offer the new members the right hand of fellowship. What does this suggest? What are you agreeing to when you give the right hand of fellowship?
- What are some times that would be appropriate to extend the right hand of fellowship? How can this be encouraging to both parties in their service to the Lord?
- Ask God to show you the importance of serving God with others.
- Ask the Lord to give you godly people with whom to serve.