David began this second sermon in the ‘Devoted’ mini-series with the key text:
This week we are focusing on being devoted to ‘fellowship’ – but what does the word actually mean? John Stott has called it ‘an overworked and undervalued term’ and certainly it seems to have many dictionary definitions and theological interpretations. David presented a few of these and also challenged us to express our own understanding of the term.
The Greek word used in the New Testament for ‘fellowship’ [KOINONIA] has 2 key aspects:
- Sharing IN a common life
- Sharing WITH one another
Sharing IN …
Fellowship means belonging to one another in Christ – both vertical and horizontal dimensions. It is essentially a relationship rather than an activity – what we are rather than what we do.
David reminded us that the believers in Acts 2 came from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and were very numerous – there were 3000+ believers present, yet they recognised their unity in Christ and with each other.
This aspect of KOINONIA involves both practical/material sharing and relational sharing.
David mentioned examples throughout the New Testament where individual believers and churches are urged towards practical/material sharing and are commended when they do so, such as:
We need to have open eyes to see where there is need and open hearts to meet that need, recognising that all we have has been entrusted to us by God. David commended practical fellowship ministries already evident in Windsor and encouraged us all to continue in this practical sharing with one another.
Some time ago, David led us in a sermon series considering some of the ‘one another’ references in the New Testament that consider relational sharing. Today he reminded us of some of these:
- Serve one another humbly in love (Galatians 5:13)
- Encourage one another and build each other up (I Thessalonians 5:11)
- Teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
- Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Be kind to one another… forgiving each other (Ephesians 4:32)
- Accept each other, just as Christ has accepted you (Romans 15:7)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10)
This is KOINONIA. This is what fellowship amongst believers needs to look like. When this is the mark of a local church, God will be glorified and a watching world will see who we are and Whose we are.
Reflection Point: How much am I truly devoted to fellowship? Focus on ONE of the references above and take prayerful, practical steps to develop this KOINONIA