Church Isn't Where We Go. It's Who We Are!
The church is what God uses to grow us and use our gifts for His glory. It’s how we encourage in Christian love the family of God. The church matters. Jesus chose it to show the world His love toward us. We were never meant to live our faith in isolation.
Fellowship is why we do it. Not to glorify a leader or a building. But to glorify our risen Savior!
Fellowship, ‘Koinonia’ means “sharing, drawn together, communion.” The first occurrence of koinonia is Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Christian fellowship is a key aspect of the Christian life. Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith, & encouragement, united in purpose, & serving alongside each other. Our fellowship with each other is based on our common fellowship with Jesus. This is the essence of Koinonia. Easy to read, difficult to execute. I ask myself often how am I doing here?
I found a powerful example of what koinonia/fellowship looks like using the phrase “one another” in the Bible. Are you ready for this? Scripture commands us:
- To be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
- Honor one another (Romans 12:10)
- Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16; 1 Peter 3:8)
- Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
- Serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13)
- Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
- Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13)
- Spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
- Offer hospitality (1 Peter 4:9)
- Love one another (1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11; 3:23; 4:7; 4:11-12)
Whew! This is what true biblical koinonia looks like. Lord please help me as I cannot do this without You.
Jesus calls us the Bride of Christ. Are we seeing the church from Jesus' perspective, the bride He died to redeem? The church was God’s idea. Not some plan or program invented by human minds. We are called to be imitators of our Lord (Ephesians 5:1). If Christ's love extends to the point of death for His church, should our passion & heart be the same for the church? Our love for the church should imitate that of Christ's love for us. RBC should be an environment of connection and sanctuary for all of us.
The mystery that is Christian fellowship is that it exists because God has enabled it by His grace. We are united in the Spirit through Jesus to the Father, and that unity is the basis of fellowship. This relationship is described by Jesus in His prayer for His followers: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” John 17:23. The “complete unity” He refers to is the oneness that Christians experience in true fellowship, oneness with one another, with Christ and with the Father. Just as the Father is in Jesus, so is Jesus in us. We have unity with one another because of the uniqueness of that relationship (1 John 1:3). Whoa!
When we worship & open God's Word together, we are expressing what it means to be His followers. True Christian fellowship reinforces these things in our mind & helps us to focus on Christ & His desires for us. The older I get the more aware I become that I can’t live the Christian life on my own. In Christian fellowship we sharpen one another's faith & stir one another to exercise that faith in love & good works, all to God’s glory. Do we have the urgency as God’s people to be the light we’re called to be? Do I have the commitment & passion for this call? Lord, if You will, please grant me this every day. Amen.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2
Ambassador to the KING,
Steve Norris (RBC Elder)