[anzac] What on Earth is "KOINONIA"? - Andrew Strom

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <revival4@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 17:37:59 -0500
What on Earth is "KOINONIA"?
-by Andrew Strom.

The Greek word 'Koinonia' is the word that refers to the deep
"fellowship" that the early Christians had together. It is something
that many Christians today long for - and it really is the essence
of 'church life' in the Bible. But to a very large degree the modern 
church seems to have lost it.

When we have a 'service' or meeting today, where everyone comes
and sits in rows facing the front, sings some songs and listens to
the sermon, then says "Bless you" to a few people and goes
home - that is far from true 'koinonia'. Even in quite a few cell 
groups and house meetings today, there is little deep fellowship. 
-It is more like a miniature "church service" - where a few people
do all the 'ministry' and the rest sit around and watch.

We need to realize that 'koinonia' was at the very center of the
way the early church lived out their lives. Without this, I do not
believe that we truly have "church" at all. We may have a 'meeting'
but we do not have deep fellowship. And without this, we really
have nothing.

'Koinonia' relies on one thing above all others. It relies on a group
of people coming together who truly are "washed-in-the-blood",
Spirit-filled people. Because I believe that this kind of deep
fellowship and joy and unity involves a "heart connection" on a
real spiritual level - so the Holy Spirit can truly flow.

But the 'koinonia' of the early church involved other things, too. For
one thing, it is clear that in their "house to house" meetings they
gathered around a MEAL and also around the LORD'S SUPPER. I 
have a whole teaching on why the Lord's Supper is so much more
important than we are led to believe today - but there is no space
for that here. Suffice it to say, that sharing a meal together was
very important - it is a key to true 'koinonia'. And the early 
Christians partook of communion EVERY DAY in their homes - 
that is how important it was to them.

Now, do you have to be a "special person" or an Elder to pray
a blessing over communion and break bread with other believers in 
your home? -Not at all. We are ALL "kings and priests". We should
ALL be doing this kind of thing. We need to realize how important it 
is to break bread together with our families, our prayer groups, our 
house-fellowships and so-on. I don't believe we will ever get back to
true New Testament 'koinonia' unless we do this.

The other thing they did in their house meetings (-which were
really their main 'fellowship' meetings) was that they gave room
and encouraged EACH PERSON to move in the gifts of the Holy
Spirit. This was not a "one man band" - far from it!  Every single
Spirit-filled believer was valued for who they were, and the giftings
that they had. Read this very carefully:  1 Cor 14:26- "When you 
come together, EVERYONE has a hymn, or a word of instruction, 
a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these things MUST 
be done for the strengthening of the church." (NIV).

(Remember, this kind of meeting is quite different from the large 
open-air meetings that the apostles held. What we are talking about 
here are the more intimate "home fellowships" that they had).

Notice too how different this is from the 'discussion' groups and
Bible Studies that we often have today. This was a home meeting
very deliberately aimed at seeing the Holy Spirit move and the
members of the Body all ministering to one another in spiritual gifts. 
I believe we have to very consciously go down this path if we want 
to see this happen in our meetings. New believers need to be taught 
how to move in the gifts and there needs to be an environment where 
this is "normal". We need to choose whether we are just going to sit 
around 'discussing' things or whether we are going to invite the Holy 
Spirit to take charge.

Notice that Paul says 'EVERYONE' should be using their spiritual 
gifts in these meetings and that it is very important that ALL these 
giftings come forth. Spiritual songs, teaching, prophecies, tongues 
and interpretation - all these kinds of things. And I'm sure if there 
were sick or oppressed people present then there would be prayer 
for them also. This was a real "Holy Spirit" meeting, and to them
it was "church as normal"!

It seems that these house-fellowships would have had 'elders' to
guide things, and to step in if things got out of hand or if someone
was bringing in deception. But I believe the role of an elder is
more-or-less a "parenting" role. -Keen to see God's children step
out and flow in spiritual gifts and to grow up in the faith. I do not 
believe a true 'elder' would dominate such house meetings, but 
rather encourage others to come forward as much as possible. 
However, it certainly is his role to teach where necessary.

Imagine what it would be like if all our house-meetings were like this
today. Imagine if we shared a "pot-luck" meal together, then partook
of the Lord's Supper together - and then moved into a time where
the members of the body all ministered to one another in spiritual 
gifts. While we are all in prayer, there might be tongues and 
interpretation or prophecies coming forth. There might be spiritual 
songs or words of knowledge. Someone might share a testimony or 
a prayer-need or a word of teaching. 

What we are doing in such a setting is freeing the Holy Spirit to 
flow and move through us as He wills. And this is exactly what it 
was like to be part of the early church. So what are we waiting for??

God bless you, my friends!

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.