Koinonia Means Intertwined Lives
The very word koinonia—fellowship—means that our lives are totally intertwined. Do you have fellowship, yes or no? Most people would say, “Yes,” if they’re a Christian. But the answer to the question is really, “No.” Because the Greek word means having intimate, complete engagement in the very deepest aspects of another person’s life. It doesn’t have anything to do with eating food—that’s a different thing. Be devoted to the apostle’s teaching, to fellowship, to prayer and to the breaking of bread—food. That is something different. Fellowship has to do with my life belonging to yours. Your dreams are my dreams and my strengths are your strengths. My fears, you help me overcome, and my weaknesses, you absorb and cover me and carry me in.
If you and I don’t have a close enough relationship to the point that you don’t know what I’m afraid of, then you can’t help me very much and we don’t have fellowship. If I don’t know you well enough in your daily life—in your job, with your child-rearing, in your marriage—then I can’t help you very much. If I don’t know you well enough to know where your weaknesses are, then I can’t help you and we don’t have fellowship.
Let’s not throw around Holy words, Bible words, God’s words like “fellowship” loosely, okay? You don’t have fellowship if you don’t have koinonia, intimate relationship, where you can see it in their eyes when they are afraid. You can see it in their heart when they are stumbling.
You can see it in your child’s eyes, can’t you? How many parents know when their child is having a difficult time even though they’ve not said a word? They hang their head and walk around the house and they’re very quiet. You say to yourself, “That’s not my child. My child is not so very quiet like that. Something must have happened, and I need to find out what it is.”
That child never said a word, but you were able to know something happened because you love them and you know them. The child says, “Yes, my sister hurt my feelings.” How could you have known to even ask? They wouldn’t have told you about it, but because you love them and know them, you see in their eyes that something is wrong. “The eye is the lamp of the body.” When you really know someone you can see when there is something happening. All the mothers in the room are nodding, “Yes, yes.”
(Laughter : ) )
And some of the fathers are paying attention too. : ) The nature of Love is that we have an intimate, inner knowledge. That’s what the word koinonia means: intertwined lives. However, if we are meeting-based, even if it’s in a house, that does not mean we have fellowship. We have to go past that, brothers and sisters, and actually engage one another and look in the eyes. We look in “the lamp of the body,” and we know others in their daily life.
We know where they work and we know what their struggles are. We know some of their co-workers’ names because we’re praying with them for those people. We know when they have a conversation with a neighbor or someone that they work with. They call us up or come to our house after work and say, “You’ll never guess what happened today. Remember I told you about John, my co-worker? Well I talked to him about Jesus today, and he seemed to warm up to the conversation. Let’s pray for him now, okay?” So you drop to your knees together in the dirt. See how that’s a daily thing? It has nothing to do with meetings, does it? The meetings are all extra.
Yes, that is right. True. Amen.
So when you think of “house church” do not think of meetings. Yesterday, a brother we were with said one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever heard. Our mouths dropped open as he was describing what he had learned from our discussion with a group of pastors and leaders the day before that. He said, “I used to think house church was something that you attend in a house and that you take your family to the house church. Now I understand that we bring the family into the church rather than the church into the family.”
That means that if we’re not Family together just as a family would be—a hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters as Jesus said—then all we did was take a great big thing and break it up into a bunch of little small things and assign a leader. All you have is a big church thing in a little church scenario. In a way it’s just a program. It’s not the ultimate thing. It’s a good stepping stone because it has woken us up. It’s like if you were half awake lying in bed and someone comes and shakes you, your eyes pop open and you say, “Now I can be aware of what’s in my world.” But you still have to get out of your bed and go do it!
The home church or house church movement, which is fairly new to this country, has been in some countries for about 10 years now. Many people have been in what they would call a “house church movement.” But if you go to those places, you will find the movement has mostly failed. So don’t get excited about a home church movement. Get excited about Jesus and get excited about loving each other, because that will never fail.
That’s right! : )
Love Never Fails. : )