Much has been made over the years of the Greek word koinōnía – a word most often translated as fellowship in the New Testament.
“What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship (koinōnía) with us; and indeed our fellowship (koinōnía) is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:7 (NASB)
Koinōnía has multiple dimensions that all converge for us into a common theme – the shared lifestyle of fellowship, giving and devotion of those voluntarily bound together through the New Covenant in Christ. A sense of the depth of this word is found through the celebration of communion—our ongoing covenant meal.
“Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing (koinōnía) in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing (koinōnía) in the body of Christ?” 1 Corinthians 10:16 (NASB)
We’re talking about something here that far exceeds your typical potluck fellowship dinner. There is such a sense of unity between God and His people that we sometimes find ourselves wondering where one begins and the other ends. His presence fills us and binds us in a profoundly powerful way. There is so much more to fellowship and unity than meets the eye!
Unity releases life! We see it in the natural sense through the God-designed sexual union between male and female. In the paradigm of a God-ordered family that life goes far beyond the physical reproduction of children—a healthy emotional life is imparted as well.
Those who enter into fellowship with God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ are brought to life spiritually. As they continue a shared lifestyle with God, excess life is released, taking form as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Celebrating the bread and wine both requires and produces fruit.
Fellowship with God necessitates fellowship of some type with other believers. God then imparts a unique measure of life as we draw together in the unity of covenant through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing–life forever.”
Make no mistake about it! There is a supernatural element to Biblical unity as God anoints the intended culmination of His plans and purposes. The life of God released cannot be contained!
Can church structures affect koinonia? Most certainly! However, the greater question is whether the life of God is being continually released in our midst as we prefer one another in love and honor. Do we want to see the life of God transform the world around us? Then let us learn to honor and love all other Christians within and without the walls of our local fellowships!