This Sunday, we explored the final chapter in our "with one accord" series: fellowship. The word used for fellowship in the Bible is the Greek word, "koinoneia." It means assoiciation, community, and joint participation or sharing, and implies intimacy and deep communion. And thanks to its association with the early church, it also implies a particularly Christian kind of community: one based on Christ's love and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Designed for Fellowship
God created us in his image and, as such, he created us for community. Our triune God exists in eternal communion and voluntarily reaches out toward humanity for a relationship. He created us with that same desire for community and relationship. We therefore have a responsibility toward ourselves and others to maintain fellowship among believers. Not only does such fellowship demonstrate God's love and the Holy Spirit's power, but it also meets important needs in ourselves and in each other. And what does such fellowship look like? Sometimes it involves meeting physical needs, but even more than that, fellowship involves openness and vulnerability -- a total sharing of ourselves and our lives that goes far beyond Sunday mornings and weekly Bible studies.
A Healthy Family
In many ways, the church is like a family, but sometimes we behave more like a dysfunctional one. We may struggle to communicate. We may hide our true feelings, harbor grudges, or allow insecurity to guide us. But church should not be a place for false smiles and emotional walls. In Acts Chapter 2, the early church enjoys fellowship "with sincere hearts." Sincerity is the opposite of hypocrisy. We should act the same with one another whether inside the church or in our homes or in the aisles of Target. There is no place for pretense in the healthy family of God.
Partners in the Gospel
Another word for koinoneia is "partnership." As Christians, we are partners in the gospel. Jesus ushered in the kingdom of heaven; our fellowship should demonstrate kingdom life. Our love for one another should proclaim Christ's love even as we work together to bring the gospel to the world in more active ways. That kingdom life and love, fueled by the Holy Spirit, will attract others to join us.
Christ doesn't want us to live our lives in isolation. Fellowship takes effort, but it is rewarding. Today, let us each choose to take advantage of opportunities to build Christian fellowship in our own lives.