Koinonia: Community and Fellowship in Christ
February 16, 2009
Community and Fellowship in Christ
- All believers in Christ are united through Christ.
- the Holy Spirit brings Christ into us, reveals to us the truth in the Scriptures and the falsehoods in the world around us, and gives us gifts to build each other up and help others find God's grace, mercy, and good news.
- The time that Christ most clearly binds us together is when we are taking in the Bread and Wine (the Body and Blood of Christ) together.
· build each other up ( 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Hebrews 3:13); 11So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.' 12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. (see also Psalm 95:7-11)
· look out for each others' best interest ( Philippians 2:4); 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
· bear one another's burdens ( Galatians 6:2); 2Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
· are kind to each other ( 1 Peter 4:9); 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (this is often linked to the traditional Jewish virtue of hospitality);
· honour and respect one another ( Romans 12:10); 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves.
· serve each other ( Galatians 5:13); 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! 13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature [see footnote]; rather, serve one another in love. [Footnote] Galatians 5:13 Or the flesh; also in verses 16, 17, 19 and 24.
· admonish each other ( Colossians 3:16; 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Romans 15:14); 14. I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
· confess your sins to each other ( James 5:16); 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
· forgive each other ( Ephesians 4:32); 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
· think of one another ( Hebrews 10:24); 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
- This 'one anothering' is done in a wide variety of settings. Some of it is done through caring ministries, twelve-step groups, prayer groups, home bible studies, and sometimes just being together and having fun. The core of it is done through groupings that are specially set aside for God; these include house churches, cell churches (house groups with larger group settings for worship, pastoring, and ministry), congregations, parishes (churches for a specific community), campus/student groups, and intentional Christian communities. The church takes different forms to embody Christ in a different cultural or functional setting. You can't "one another" by yourself! It takes another!
- The church that prays together stays together; the church that sings together clings together. The church that shares, cares.
- As a believer in Christ, you are never alone; you are a citizen of the
, with billions of others throughout history, today, and days to come. This is what Christ says we will be known by. Yet the Church has made a lot of people more alone, ashamed, or rejected. If that's you, you are not alone in feeling alone. And there really are Christians who will accept you, forgive you, perhaps even love you -- and not just a few, but many. We need you; we cannot learn or change that part of us without you, we would not be whole without you. Kingdomof God
- Most people tend to be drawn to a church of 'people like me' -- acting like me, thinking like me, looking like me, working like me, holding to the same doctrine and the same practices as me, having the same needs and corruptions and lunacies as me. Some church growth theorists see this as a good thing. To me, it sounds like something out of a space alien movie -- the Borg Queen would love it. Eeeeeek. Worst, it would have its full share of self-seeking hypocrites, because sometimes I am one. When our different and very-human behaviours and motives get me frustrated, thinking on that image makes me less arrogant about it.
- Because it belongs to a realm other than today's world, the church must be a place where people can still belong. We need to spread the word that life is not about "me". It is about God. And God wants us to be a "we".
- An AIM2040 challenge : break the social rules and reach out to someone who is isolated from the rest. (Be aware that they may not be easy to get along with. But it is worth a try.)
"If love is the soul of Christian existence, it must be at the heart of every other Christian virtue. Thus, for example, justice without love is legalism; faith without love is ideology; hope without love is self-centeredness; forgiveness without love is self-abasement; fortitude without love is recklessness; generosity without love is extravagance; care without love is mere duty; fidelity without love is servitude. Every virtue is an expression of love. No virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated, or informed, by love (1 Corinthians 13)."
---- Fr. Richard P. McBrien, *Catholicism*.
"Koinonia refers to the internal character of the church community. It is the solidarity of that community in which a common purpose is strong enough to render all other stratifications among human beings of only secondary importance .... ...Koinonia refers to the character of the church as the embodiment of the reign of God."
---- James Evans, *We Have Been Believers*, p.136
"Unless the role of community is grasped one has failed to understand what the renewal is saying. It seems to me that the primary consequence of the resurrection and of Pentecost is not the exercise of gifts but community formation."
-------- Kilian McDonnell, *One In Christ*, v.16 #4, p.331
"Communion is strength; solitude is weakness. Alone, the fine old beech yields to the blast and lies prone on the meadow. In the forest, supporting each other, the trees laugh at the hurricane. The sheep of Jesus flock together. The social element is the genius of Christianity."
-------- Charles Spurgeon
"Contrary to general expectation, highly individualistic Pentecostalism is remarkably corporate and congregational in its life. The Pentecostal church-meeting or assembly where the individual gifts are principally exercised is close to the center of the Pentecostal movement. Here the experiences of the many merge into the one and by this confluence the power of the Holy Spirit is felt in multiplication."
---- Frederick Dale Bruner, *A Theology Of the Holy Spirit*, p.22
"It is dark at the foot of the lighthouse."
-- proverb of unknown authorship
"The Church is not an institution which has sacraments; the Church is a sacrament which has institutions."
-- Alexander Schmemann.
Teach us to utter living words
Of truth which all may hear
The language all shall understand
When love speaks, loud and clear
Till every age and race and clime
Shall blend their creeds in one
And earth shall form one brotherhood
By whom Your will be done.
-- "O Spirit Of the Living God", v.3, by Henry H. Tweedy