And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Act 2:42-47)
When the ekklesia gathered together shortly after Pentecost, they devoted themselves to:
- Breaking of bread
Of course, there are several different ways suggested as how to implement these practices. The primary point is that when the ekklesia gathered together, there was significant personal interaction. “All who believed were together and had all things in common.” They regularly (“day by day”) met together in the temple and also in homes. One important aspect of this personal interaction is fellowship (koinonia).
Koinonia is the Greek word that is translated “fellowship” in this passage. Koinonia is about sharing & receiving, contributing, giving, partnership, and even participating in the gospel. It is also used to describe bringing someone into the fold, from an outsider to a companion…
and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship (koinonia) to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (Gal 2:9)
…having fellowship/partnership in the gospel…
and I pray that the sharing (koinonia) of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. (Phm 1:6)
because of your partnership (koinonia) in the gospel from the first day until now. (Phl 1:5)
…and koinonia is also related to the giving of monetary funds:
For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution (koinonia) for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. (Rom 15:26)
begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part (koinonia) in the relief of the saints– (2Co 8:4)
By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution (koinonia) for them and for all others, (2Co 9:13)
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have (koinonia), for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Heb 13:16)
Imagine inserting “fellowship” for koinonia in the above passages: “…pleased to make (fellowship) for the poor among the saints…”, “…(fellowshipping) in the relief of the saints”, …”the generosity of your (fellowship) for them and for all others”, and “do not neglect to do good and to (fellowship by sharing what you have)…”
We’re even instructed who we do not have koinonia with:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship (koinonia) has light with darkness? (2Co 6:14)
But even above all this, we are to have koinonia with Jesus Christ Himself through His Spirit!
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship (koinonia) of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1Co 1:9)
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation (koinonia) in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation (koinonia) in the body of Christ? (1Co 10:16)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship (koinonia) of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2Co 13:14)
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation (koinonia) in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, (Phl 2:1)
that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share (koinonia) his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Phl 3:10)
that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship (koinonia) with us; and indeed our fellowship (koinonia) is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship (koinonia) with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship (koinonia) with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1Jo 1:3-7)
John makes it abundantly clear that believers join into fellowship with one another because we have fellowship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Paul included experiencing koinonia with the Holy Spirit in two other passages above. Fellowship with one another is not exclusive from fellowship with God; they are inseparable!
God is a God of fellowship. The three Members of the Divine Godhead exist in perfect divine fellowship. So perfect is their fellowship that They are one. One God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Spirit abide in one another in perfect oneness, perfect agreement, perfect fellowship. The three Persons exist with perfect interaction, perfect partnership, in perfect koinonia. God is koinonia; three Persons in perfect divine fellowship.
John emphasized that believers are brought into the very fellowship of the Godhead. As Peter stated, we have been made “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). Peter uses koinonos (translated “partakers”). Whereas koinonia is the function or act of fellowship, koinonos is the person who engages in koinonia. For example, welding is a function that is performed; a welder is one who performs the welding. Both Peter and John advocated that believers enter into the fellowship of the God who is fellowship. This is saturated throughout Paul’s writings also.
When the ekklesia gathers together, it is to fellowship with each other and with Christ through His Spirit. Our fellowship with one another is a reflection of the God who is fellowship and has brought us into His divine fellowship. Experiencing koinonia with each other is an extension of experiencing koinonia with Christ. Being in koinonia with Christ results in our having been brought into koinonia with each other!
We do not have a choice as to which believers we are to partake in fellowship; we are already in fellowship with all believers. We’re all part of the same fellowship; the fellowship that is the Godhead. It’s just a matter of whether or not we will accept that fact.
Observe John’s connection of our mutual fellowship with each other and with God. In 1 John 1:6 (above), he states that if you think you have fellowship with God but walk in darkness, you really don’t have fellowship with God. Then, in verse 7, he adds that if you walk in the light you have fellowship with one another.
After stating that a person who walks in darkness does not have fellowship with God, we would fully expect John to say that if you walk in the light you do have fellowship with God. That is true, but it’s not what he states: “if we walk in the light…we have fellowship with one another.”
John does not distinguish between fellowship with God and fellowship with one another. They are interconnected to him. Verse 3: “…that you may have fellowship with us and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Our fellowship with Christ results in our fellowship with one another, and our fellowship with one another is an expression of our mutual and corporate fellowship with Christ.
It’s true that we are in fellowship with Christ individually. We should fellowship with Christ individually, in perpetuity. Even better, the greatest richness of fellowship with Christ is experiencing fellowship corporately, with one another, members of His body, Christ’s physical manifestation on earth. As each member of Christ’s body displays the life of Jesus within, the entire body is edified.
May we seek genuine koinonia fellowship; not only with personal interaction with one another, but also experiencing koinonia with Christ. By partaking in personal interaction with Him, we will be drawn into deeper fellowship with one another.
Part 1 – When the Ekklesia Gathers Together: One Another
Part 2 – When the Ekklesia Gathers Together: Fellowship
Part 3 – When the Ekklesia Gathers Together: Headship