Koinonia: Community and Fellowship in Christ

February 16, 2009

Community and Fellowship in Christ

  • Our task, given specifically by Jesus, is to "love one another", (John 13:34-35) 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  which we do when we:-

·         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.

  • do not judge each other ( Romans 15:13); 13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • accept each other ( Romans 14:1,1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. (15:7); 7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
  • do not stand in each other's way ( Romans 15:13); 13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • regard each other as more important than oneself (Philippians 2:3); 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.


Some Questions

  • In what situation in your life today do you do the most 'one anothering'?
  • Outside of bible studies and in-church activities, what do you do together with another who is a Christian?
  • For those studying this as a group :
    Those who are bold enough are to share with the group about when a congregation acted in a way that left you more alone, ashamed, or condemned. (It is best to speak of things from more than, say, five years ago, in order to make it easier to stop it from being a gripe session about your current church life.) Also, speak about these questions, and other questions of your own you might have :
    • Did anyone reach out to bridge that gap?
    • Was there a function of the church that gave you a place in it?
    • What was it that helped you keep faith while this was happening (or returned you to faith afterward)?


Here are some quotes to think about :

"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