Koinonia (koy-nohn-eé-ah) is a transliterated form of the Greek word, κοινωνία, which means communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc.
The early Christians enjoyed a Koinonia fellowship of sharing with one another. This would include prayer and meals together. Pastor Andy mentioned the word “swallowship,” a food in mouth term to indicate a gathering together in the church to enjoy a meal. Baptists and probably most Christians tend to enjoy such fellowships. We tend to gather together with others to eat when we have something in common—with people such as business associates, family, loved ones, neighbors, and friends.
The Bible has much to say about the joining together of believers. In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul writes,
“I appeal (beseech) to you, brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
While it is virtually impossible for everyone to agree on everything, the goal for our church (and Christians in general) is to have a common thread running through all worship activities.
Pastor Andy has been promoting the idea of making disciples; I believe that also includes the notion of growing disciples. Many of us have been followers of Christ for many years but can point to precious few times when we have been diligent in sharing the Word of God with others. To be successful in mentoring disciples, we must be of one mind, of one accord, hence, we must be united with something to share, namely the Love of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit.
Paul writes in his letter to the church at Philippi,
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in Spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)
This scripture points to a oneness in worship towards which we all should subscribe. As we strive to grow in strength with the believers in our church we should strive to copy Paul’s petition for the Philippian Christians. We are to be trustworthy companions on the road to an eternity with Christ.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 133,
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon where falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.”
Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, and by extension for all believers, is quoted in John 17:20-23:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
This may truly be the Lord’s prayer.