The Koinonia Calling

            The other night at small group, Garrett made an interesting observation that I want to dig into a little more. As we were discussing the idea of fellowship in 1 John 1:1-7, he made a great point that the same word “fellowship” (Greek, koinonia) describes the kind of relationship we are supposed to have with God (1 John 1:3) and with each other (1:7). Basically, if we are truly in a right relationship with God then we cannot help but be in a right relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We simply do not have the option to be a “Christian by ourselves”; if we are neglecting our brothers and sisters in Christ then we are ignoring those for whom Christ died.

            Next, we looked at Titus 2 and we discussed how for so many of us “sound doctrine” has almost always meant “We do X, Y, and Z on Sunday mornings.” But if we really pay close attention to what Titus 2 says and look at the context, we see that the entire chapter is about how we treat one another. That is to say, what John told his audience in 1 John 1 about the importance of fellowship, Paul tells Titus to remind the churches on Crete how they were supposed to have fellowship with one another too. Finally, we wrapped up the discussion by asking a serious question: given what these letters say about the importance of fellowship with one another, isn’t this important to our salvation?

            I would say “Absolutely.” But we don’t have to take my word for it. We can listen to what Jesus has to say. In Matthew 25 Jesus is revealing some details about the end of this age (sometimes revelations about the end time are called “apocalyptic eschatology”) and in Matthew 25:31-47 Jesus makes some fascinating statements about the importance of fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters. He says,

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me’” (25:31-45 NRSV).

 

Jesus makes it clear that His followers must look after one another: to do so is, according to Jesus, as if we were serving the Lord Himself. But if we’re neglecting our brothers and sisters in their need, aren’t we really neglecting Christ?
 
– Kevin 

2 Responses to “The Koinonia Calling”

  1. Jo says:

    We are our brother’s (sister’s) keeper.
    Remember this always.

  2. Fran says:

    Excellent article.

    I sometimes feel we forget about and neglect our brothers and sisters who are shut-ins. A simple card, short visit, a puzzle book or even a chocolate chip cookie can make one feel special, loved and not forgotten by their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

    And also, I feel that sometimes those of us who are shut-ins also neglect doing for others. It’s too easy to fall into the habit of forgetting about others when one is in pain, suffering from an illness, etc. But on “good days” it’s important to DO something to serve others and in doing so, serve the Lord.

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