In the first three parts of this series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), I have suggested that ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± (koinÅnia – often translated “fellowship”) is not produced by various activities, but instead represents a common bond/sharing among believers that is created by God through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit binds believers together creating ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î±. Also, I suggested that there are two reasons that someone may not be demonstrating ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± in their lives: 1) They are not regenerate, or 2) they are quenching the work of the Spirit in their lives.
A friend pointed out that there is another reason that a person may not demonstrate ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± in his or her life. If a believer is isolated from other believers, ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± may not be evident. However, even in this rare instance, the Spirit would be working through the believer to bring others to God and, thereby creating ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î±.
There is also a fourth reason that someone may not demonstrate ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± in his or her life: a lack of discipleship. In other words, many people are taught that “fellowship” is when a church meets together in a certain building under the proper authority to share food. Other activities are simply social interaction, but they are not proper forms of “fellowship.”
However, ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± expresses itself in many different activities, in many different locations – as long as believers are demonstrating their care for one another and common bond with one another prompted by the Spirit of God. This could be expressed in a common meal among a large number of believers, but it could also be expressed by two believers sharing common interest. In fact, it is possible that large, organized gatherings disrupt or hinder true expressions of ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î±. Believers should express their common bond with one another in intimate, spontaneous, Spirit-led encounters where the “one-anothers” of Scripture are practiced – not out of duty, but out of love and concern.
If this is correct, then neither the location nor the activity is most important. Instead, Spirit-induced conern for one another leads to these expressions of ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î±. Perhaps more importantly, while we can teach the importance of expressing our love and concern for one another, demonstrations of ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± cannot be taught. Instead, they must be modelled.
As an example, a friend of mine is a great model of hospitality. She has demonstrated ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± with brothers and sisters in Christ many times by opening her home spontaneously. I have learned much about hospitality from observing her actions. However, if I simply copy her actions out of duty, there is no expression of ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î±. If, instead, the Spirit prompts me to demonstrate ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î± through hospitality, her actions become examples for me and others. In other words, she has “stir[red] up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24) in myself and other believers by her encouraging expressions of ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î±.
If you have anything to add to this discussion of ÎºÎ¿Î¹Î½Ï‰Î½Î¯Î±, please comment. I look forward to learning from others as we study this important concept together.