Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
Sunday morning messages have been focusing on the relevance of the Greek word “koinonia” in the earliest Christian writings. “Koinonia” means “to have all things in common” and is most often translated as “fellowship.” It reflects the commitment of the first Christians to each other as reflected in the Book of Acts.
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
These verses reflect a depth of commitment on the part of every Christian to sharing life in a regular and meaningful way with other Christians. Highlighted in their commitment were the following:
- Regularly eating together
- Taking care of each other’s needs
- Selling possessions in order to share
It is difficult in American culture to imagine this depth of commitment between most Christians. But it reflected the commitment of every first century Christian to the “family of God” so much so that sacrifice was worth the cost. What was it that Jesus said and did that inspirited this depth of commitment?
Our willingness to increase our commitment to sincere involvement in the fellowship of Christians requires understanding of the heart of Jesus. It should be the result of our commitment to pleasing Jesus because growth of Christian relationships is not always easy. Some lessons we can learn from Jesus include the following:
- Jesus prayed for His disciples and all future followers that we would enjoy a unity between each other reflecting the unity He enjoyed with God the Father (John 17:19-23). In the life of Jesus this unity involved regular communication and cooperation in doing the Father’s Work.
- Jesus gave His disciples a “New Commandment” to love one another as much as He had displayed His commitment to loving them (John 13:34-35; 15:12-14). He died for them.
- Jesus considered His disciples friends with whom He shared His life, commitments, and understanding of God the Father (John 15:12-17). Jesus revealed His heart to them.
- The most common place where Jesus shared his life with people and His disciples involved meals where there was time to relax and prioritize relationships. Even after the resurrection He displayed a continuing commitment to sharing meals with them (Luke 7:34; 14:1; John 13:1-17; 21:12-14).
- On the night before Jesus died, a night in which He was grieving because of what He knew was about to happen, Jesus prioritized time with His disciples (Luke 22:15; Mat. 26:36-44). He shared His burdens with them.
It was one of the greatest and most meaningful things that happened in the lives of the disciples that they had the privilege of knowing Jesus intimately. The intimacy was what John referenced as “fellowship” in I John 1:1-3. One of the primary reasons he told people about Jesus was so that they would enjoy a fellowship with Jesus and other Christians like he had enjoyed with Jesus.
Depth in our relationships with Christians is biblically informed “fellowship.” It seeks to duplicate the relationship Jesus enjoyed with His disciples. It represents a “oneness” for which Jesus prayed. It creates a “fellowship” reflecting a Christian family that is living consistent with the desires of God the Father. He longs for our fellowship.
Toward this end, I am encouraging everyone who is part of the VP family to get involved in our “7 week” commitment to Home Groups in October and November. Sign-ups are at the book table every Sunday morning. May God help us grow as a true and sincerely committed Christian fellowship.