Updated: Jan 24
Fellowship (Koinonia) Life- loving and serving one another
Jesus said I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
How would you like to have a church fellowship that is well pleasing to God?
Words sometimes change their meaning over time e.g. the word gay used to mean happy, pleasant, good company now it means same sex attracted.
In the same way the word fellowship has had its meaning changed when we use it to mean a cup of tea and a biscuit, or similar, after the meeting. In the New Testament the Greek word for fellowship is Koinonia (n=20 times). This word derives from the Greek word Koinonos whose primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion, community.” As you know the language of the NT is koine (common) Greek. Koinonia means having all things in common. In practice a group of Christians because of their common faith are willing to go beyond this and are willing to share in every area of the lives. This involves the sharing of one’s very nature and life force producing an intimate relationship of sharing and caring. It is a partnership, a sense of belonging to Gods family in a way beyond the bounds of our natural families. In the ancient world koinonia could be used of marriage where two persons loved one another, had so much in common, that their lives were joined into a mutual sharing of everything in their lives. The intimate sharing of all one’s life, joys and sorrows, pain and heartache like in a family situation. Our true fellowship begins when we come to faith in Christ and ought to develop with our brothers and sisters in the local church. God is calling us back to true fellowship, God is calling your church back to true koinonia fellowship.
Let us explore what true koinonia fellowship really looks like.
Koinonia is more than a club (or political party)
How many of us are in clubs, golf, bowling, darts, fishing, music, dancing etc.?
Usually we enjoy meeting our friends in clubs we enjoy chatting and sharing a hot drink.
Although we can enjoy this and that is OK, we cannot make the standard of behaviour in a secular club member, the same when we gather in Christian fellowship.
Many Christians think that fellowship is simply a matter of having tea or coffee with your fellow believers after a meeting but, it must go much deeper than this.
The first occurrence of koinonia is in.
Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship (koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
The four elements of the new and thriving Pentecostal church were.
Apostle’s teaching = bible study
Fellowship = sharing lives together
Breaking of bread = sharing meals together
Prayer = necessary to work with the Lord
Christian fellowship is a key aspect of the Christian life. Believers in Christ are to come together sharing in love, faith, and encouragement. That is the essence of koinonia. God himself lives in a dynamic sharing of life and fellowship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Part of Elim’s vision for 2020 is ‘One’, One Lord and one people and fellowship is how we show that we are one people.
The Methodist preacher W E Sangster put it like this; the fulness of the Christian life cannot be known except in fellowship - fellowship with God and fellowship with one another. Moreover, the purposes of God in this world require a social organism by which to express themselves.
Fellowship with God
1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship (koinonia) with us: and truly our fellowship (koinonia) is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
The Lord wants each one of us to develop an intimate sharing of life with Him and because of this we should begin to develop true and sincere fellowship and friendship with each other.
This could be summarized in terms of commitment to God and commitment to each other.
Jesus commands us to love one another in John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Well how does Jesus love us?
Testimony: about two years ago, we had a new couple in our church, someone stole their laptop during the service, and they were terribly upset by this. In the spirit of koinonia some of our people clubbed together and bought them a new laptop. This is the spirit of true fellowship; the couple were very touched. When a misfortune happens, sometimes we can add something that links to the unhappy memory, 9My Auntie Jennie, and my bike accident).
Galatians 5:22 The fruit of the spirit is love …
Fruit in nature is reproductive because it bears seed. A loving, caring and sharing fellowship will draw and win people to Christ because it is sowing the reproductive seeds of love. Apologies to the SAS but it is not ‘who dares wins’ but rather who cares wins (souls).
Part 2 will follow in two days from this post (28/8/21).