Koinonia is the new testament word for fellowship. Its fellowship with God vertically and with other fellow believers horizontally. It appears 17 times in the New Testament, it is a Greek word that refers to ‘community’.
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Matthew 22:37-40. Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If you carefully interrogate this text you will realize that our love for God draws us to a deeper fellowship with other believers. That our vertical love influences our horizontal love. If you want to know if someone loves God check the way they treat other believers.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
The way we love each other in a community demonstrates not only that we love God but it’s an influence on those who are not yet believers.
That the credibility of the message of Christ is dependent on the way we treat each other in “community”. Those people who are not yet believers are moved to believe by the behavior of those who claim they believe.
Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words.St. Francis of Assisi
With this two text, we can conclude that fellowship,
1. Fellowship Requires “Intimacy With God”
The beginning of genuine fellowship is a deeper love relationship with God. The more you connect with God the more you enjoy and experience Koinonia. The more you disconnect with God the more you will struggle to be in fellowship with others in a community.
The quality of your horizontal relationship is dependent on the quality of your vertical relationship with God.
I dare suggest that the mark of a spiritually mature person is the continued pursuit of this deep intimate relationship with God. As you grow in your love for God you mature in your faith. But it is important to note that intimacy doesn’t just happen, intimacy is a result of consistent relational deposit.
You cannot be intimate with God if you occasionally connect with Him. You must devote yourself to a consistent regular fellowship with God to experience intimacy. The goal is to love God with all your heart, your mind, and your soul.
2. Koinonia “Involves Community with Insiders”
Jesus says in John 13:34 Love one another as I have loved you so you must love one another. Unity among believers in a local church is a sign of maturity.
When you look at the early church,
Acts 2:42-47 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This church demonstrated unity with insiders, they even went to extreme levels of selling their possessions to help the needy in their midst. The community understood what it meant to be #bettertogether, it was not just lip service, people showed up and joined, and everyone no matter their status, their tribe, the level of education everyone felt like they belong.
Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
3. Fellowship “Has Influence with Outsiders”
The reason why the world is not interested in the church is not because of Christ. The majority of the time is because of the people who claim to be followers of Christ. When the church lives in disunity the world outside is watching, and the way we treat and relate with fellow believers either draws people to God or draw them further away from that love.
The world is watching..and that’s a reality that the church needs to understand. If we are to influence the world we need to live in genuine Koinonia.
Our commitment to genuine fellowship produces an influence with outsiders. Jesus says; in John 13:35 by this, all men will know that you’re my disciple if you love one another.
Our love for each other is a message to those who are not yet believers. We preach with our mouths but we broadcast the message with our behaviors. The outside world tends to listen more to what they see than what they hear.
That’s why Jesus said, by this kind of love for each other, the outside world will know that you are my disciples.
And when you look at the early church in Acts 2:47, God added to their number those who were being saved, the love and unity they had with each other resulted in multiplication.