The word "Koinonia" is a Greek word that occurs about twenty times in the Bible. Koinonia's primary meaning is "fellowship, sharing in common, communion. " The first occurrence of the word is found in Acts. 2:42. Christian fellowship is a key aspect of the Christian life and a part of the necessary ingredients for a vibrant New Testament church. Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith, and mutual encouragement to share our blessings and burdens. In Koinonia we remind one another of our commitment to Christ and rehearse the importance of the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all that we do, we worship together.
Philippians 2:1, 2, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies. Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." Koinonia is being in agreement with one another, being united in purpose and serving in the Kingdom of God as partners with Jesus Christ. Our Koinonia is based on the common fellowship we have with one another in Christ. 1 John 1:6, 7, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Koinonia is about relationships. First, our relationship with God, and second, the resulting fellowship we have together in Him. Our fellowship is always intended to exalt Jesus, first, and to encourage one another in our common faith in Christ.
The best way to accomplish this is in small groups where people can get to know one another, encourage, honor, serve, and pray for our another. When Christ is glorified in our presence, Christians are encouraged and built up in their faith. We experience true and biblical Koinonia.
First Bible must be a “Vertical Church” in this sense; we must first “be” something before we can ever effectively “do” something for the Kingdom of God. The new birth brings with it not only salvation but the prospects and intent of total transformation. Being worshipers, prayers, and stewards precedes any of the “do” things by necessity.
As a Bible-centered, Christ-centered, Gospel-centered, disciple making church, we must focus on training up our children in the way they should go. Certainly, training and raising children is a primary parental responsibility, however, all parents are blessed with a corps of other individuals who have committed themselves to come along-side our youth to help them to come to faith in Christ and to go on to be teachers and disciplers themselves. This does not exempt parents of their responsibility or in any way take their place, but it does offer the luxury of having truth reinforced over and over again.
It isn’t a secret that many churches have lost their youth. There are too many churches that have small children and older adults as their main congregation of attenders, ONLY. Someone said that 80% of Christian young people leave church after high school graduation. There are many reasons for this for sure. We must do all that we can to win and retain our young people for the Gospel on Christ.
Several weeks ago in our iLive series we spoke of the “Church” component. In that message I broke “Church” down into what I believe are 10 major and essential components. We briefly mentioned these and spent the majority of that message on the personal and practical concerns of a church family and chose not to delve into the details of church. That message, along with other major things going on in my life and FBBC’s life, moved me to the series that I am beginning today, Back to the Basics of Church or “If I had to do it all over again.”
In the next several Sundays we will lay the foundation for the launching of our Focused and Purposed Vision for the immediate to middle range future. In this series, I will visit the main pillars and components of the New Testament Church living in the 21st Century while taking a look at our strengths and weaknesses considering the question, “What if I had to do it all over again?” The details will naturally flow from the self-evaluation process that we have undergone for the past several weeks.
Any and every fellowship, denomination or church has a tendency to become somewhat traditional. After a season of time, traditions have the tendency to morph into “doctrine” rather than personal preferences or “business as usual.” As we consider the future, the vision, mission, and purpose for FBBC, this is a time to clarify, focus and recommit ourselves to that which is truly biblical, important, appropriate and productive - Back to the Basics of Church.
All of us need to be encouraged and reminded of life’s priorities. Human nature forgets easily, particularly the most important aspects that deal with our character and integrity. Revival, a time of self-evaluation and refocusing is necessary in all walks and vocations of life. One must check and recheck, and ask the question, “What is really important?” My relationship and walk with God influence every area of life. To err here causes lack of focus and purpose.
The same is true for the church itself. Back to the Basics of Church will give me the opportunity to share with you what many of our leaders believe are some of the areas of ministry that we can and should agree to improve. Everyone needs to examine one’s self. We will surely profit as individuals and church as we go Back to the Basics of Church.
Someone once said that a Christian is only as strong as his prayer life. There is a good deal of truth in that statement. Prayer is simply our direct communication with God. When you read the Word, God speaks to you. When you pray, you speak to God. No relationship human or divine can develop and prosper without an effective and viable communication relationship.
Leonard Ravenhill wrote, “Poverty stricken as the church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer. . . failing here, we fail everywhere.”
The first of these four essentials or pillars of “church life” is CONNECT. This is what “Vertical Church” is all about. CONNECT consists of three spiritual truths or exercises: worship, prayer and stewardship. Although each of these could be classified as spiritual exercises or disciplines, more than that, they are intended to be a way of life! I am to live a life or worship, always doing everything for the glory of God. I am to pray unceasingly, that is living in the presence of God. My life of prayers, communication with God permeates every event of life. And I do not merely exercise stewardship, I am a steward, walking or sleeping, 24/7, I own nothing I merely manage the Lord’s resources — “on loan from God.” Stewards are managers not owners.
I live a life of worship, prayer as a steward of God’s creation. Here is where I CONNECT.
A steward is one who has been given the responsibility to manage another’s property and resources. In Scripture a steward was an administrator of a household or estate. He was an overseer, a treasurer, who was directly accountable to the owner for the wise and prudent management of the estate.
Christians are to be stewards of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 4:1, 2), spiritual gifts and ministries (I Peter 4:10, 11), and all that we “own.” (I Tim. 6:17-19). Today we will examine one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament, the parable of the “unjust steward” in the Gospel of Luke. Just as we all are required to give an account for the management of God’s belongings, we too may be personally confronted by these foreboding words, “Give an account of thy stewardship.”