As I write this third installment on devotion, I want to remind you of the passage in Acts that tells us about the start of the Church. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit has fallen upon the disciples, they spoke in tongues and the incident created quite a stir in Jerusalem. Peter ends up preaching to those who were there, and 3,000 people end up getting saved. What a powerful way to start the church!
In Acts 2:42, it states that these young believers were devoted to the apostle’s teaching (or doctrine), fellowship, the breaking of bread and to the prayers. In this installment, I want to focus on the word fellowship.
In churches today, we have all kinds of fellowship meetings. We have men’s fellowship, women’s fellowship, youth fellowship, fellowship dinners, and the list goes on. I remember one church I used to play softball with was having a King James Fellowship night. I actually had to ask them about this one because I wasn’t sure what it was about.
Anytime we get together for a meeting we call it fellowship. But according to the Greek definition of this word our gatherings are not really fellowship. They are simply get-togethers. While there is nothing wrong with getting together as a church family, I believe that we are missing something very valuable in the area of fellowship.
The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia. Unfortunately, there isn’t a really good, adequate word in English to translate the full nuance of this word. It has been defined as fellowship or community. You can even define it as intercourse. This is something I will come back to in a moment.
The word koinonia denotes a much deeper connection between people than just getting together. I get together with people all the time, but I have to say that I don’t really have true koinonia with them. Our relationships are good, and many I would consider friends. However, for most believers, we only have surface level friendships with others.
The reason this word is so critical to us is that God designed us to have deep, intimate relationships with each other. Remember, that it was God Himself who said that “it is not good for man to be alone.” We were never meant to live life outside of community.
Yet, for all the connections we have today with social media and the numerous activities we find ourselves in, we are the loneliest of people. Most of us do not have deep friendships with others where we can truly be vulnerable and “naked” without shame and guilt.
What I mean by that is we have become so accustomed to wearing masks and hiding our real selves for fear of rejection and being judged, that we are too afraid to be real and transparent with others.
Not to mention the ungodly amount of times most of us have been hurt by other Christians that we have become a people who don’t trust easily.
That’s where the definition of intercourse comes into play here. The Church, which is made up of people, human beings designed to live in community and be interdependent upon one another, should be the one place in the world where people can be naked and uncovered without shame.
Of course, I am talking metaphorically here, as I don’t think that we should have nudist churches. However, when it comes to our struggles, our issues, our doubts, then we should not be afraid to be spiritually naked and without shame in front of our true brothers and sisters in Christ.
Intercourse involves two people, a man and woman, willing to be naked and vulnerable in front of one another. It involves the woman being willing to receive the man into her body as well as the man being willing to be received. It’s a beautiful picture of how true fellowship works.
In the body of Christ, we should all have people in our close circle of friends to whom we can receive into our lives as well as being received into theirs…. with all our vulnerabilities, blemishes, scars, etc.
This is the only way that reproduction can occur. It’s only as we receive one another that things can be birthed into the earth. Why? Because no one man can do it alone. We must have each other in our lives. This kind of intimacy doesn’t take place in simple get-togethers.
This type of fellowship takes time, dedication and vulnerability to attain. This type of fellowship requires that we get to a place of not being afraid to “be naked” in front of one another.
This type of fellowship takes a great risk but that’s what love is…it’s a risk. God took a huge risk in creating man with free will. God knew that someone along the way could, and most likely would, reject Him. Yet, God took the risk. He made himself vulnerable to mankind in order to be loved back.
I believe that this type of fellowship is rare in the American Church today. Of course, I realize that you can’t have this type of fellowship with a large crowd. Truthfully, I think you can only have this type of fellowship among a close, small group. But if the Church were full of these type groups, I believe we would do what the first Church did and that is change our world.
They were known for their love one for another. The American Church isn’t known for our love but for our judgments and for what we are against. We have so much infighting and backstabbing that we don’t need the devil to devour us, as we have been doing a pretty good job of that ourselves.
The early Church was devoted to fellowship. I want these types of relationships in my life. I need these types of relationships in my life. What about you?’
source: Michael Wilson (michaelwilson).