And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 45 September 09, 2007
In this issue:
September 23-28, 2007
lessons Nightly Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
-WHAT KIND OF PREACHING?
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Brethren, where have we missed it? I continue to receive social/recreational activity announcements that advertise them as fellowship activities. Following are two examples.
● In July of 2003, a church in northern California advertised their Third Annual Youth Gospel Meeting with Fellowship Activities, including such things as BB-Q, games/videos, sports, pizza and pipes, laser tag, and bowling.
● In March of 2005, a church in Central California advertised a Youth Forum with Activities.
In these instances, those who wished to participate in the Fellowship Activities were required to complete registration forms containing emergency medical information and submit $10 registration fees made payable to ___________.
More recently, I received an advertisement for a Women’s Retreat. There is a scheduled time for a Get-Together and Fellowship. Of course, those who are interested in participating must complete the necessary registration form and submit a $50 deposit made payable to ___________.
In two of the above instances, the church sent the advertisement, accompanied by a disclaimer which stated that the Fellowship Activities would be provided by individual Christians. In the other instance, the advertisement was published by a group of Christian women, all members of a particular local church.
Brethren, I fear that we’ve become so conditioned to the denominational/liberal practices of others, that we are blurring the lines of distinction between Scriptural terms and practices and resigned ourselves to being comfortable with the language and practices of Ashdod.
To be fair and clear, I am not opposed to arranging for Bible classes for the purpose of teaching young people the truth, or to special classes designed to teach men or women. That is not the issue. Clearly, we need these types of classes. The apostle Paul instructed Titus, “But speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine: that aged men be temperate, grave, sober-minded, sound in faith, in love, in patience: that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, (to be) sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed: the younger men likewise exhort to be sober-minded.” (Titus 2:1-6)
However, to avoid the “language of Ashdod” and be sure our practices are Scriptural, we need to be clear in our use of Bible terms. I fear that we have lost sight of the Bible meaning of the word fellowship and have been led to be comfortable with the denominational use of the term, i.e., get together and have a good time. How is the word fellowship used in the Bible?
Twelve different times in the King James Version, the word fellowship is taken from the Greek koinonia, which according to Thayer’s Lexicon, means:
1. “The share which one has in anything, participation” ‘fellowship of the Spirit’ (Philippians 2:1). ‘The fellowship of his sufferings’ (Philippians 3:10). ‘The fellowship of ministering to the saints’ (2 Corinthians 8:4). ‘To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery’ (Ephesians 3:9). ‘Ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord’ (1 Corinthians 1:9).
2. “Intercourse, fellowship, intimacy” ‘They gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship’ (Galatians 2:9). ‘For what fellowship hath light with darkness’ (2 Corinthians 6:14). ‘They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,’ (Acts 2:42). ‘For your fellowship in the gospel from the very first’ (Philippians 1:5). ‘That ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ’ (1 John 1:3). ‘If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another’ (1 John 1:7). See also 1 John 1:1-6.
3. “A benefaction jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution” See 2 Corinthians 8:4 as referred to under Number 1 above. 2 Corinthians 9:13 renders the word liberal distribution, for the benefit of one. Hebrews 13:16 uses the term communicate.
The word koinonia is actually used some twenty times in the New Testament, but it is translated fellowship only twelve times (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:9; Philippians 1:5; 2:1; 3:10; 1 John 1:3 twice; 1 John 1:6; 1 John 1:7).
In the other instances, it is translated communion four times (1 Corinthians 10:16 twice; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 13:14); communication once (Philemon 6); contribution once (Romans 15:26); distribution once (2 Corinthians 9:13); and to communicate once (Hebrews 13:16).
Thus fellowship, Gk. koinonia, refers to our spiritual relationship with God, with Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with one another. In each instance, it is used to refer to the Lord’s work and worship. This is a fellowship into which we are called. “God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9 ASV)
Fellowship is established and maintained on the basis of continuance in the declared message.
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
“If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:3, 6-7 ASV)
The word never refers to a gathering for social, entertainment, or recreational purposes.
1) Though sincere
in his beliefs (Acts 26:9), he was “sincerely” wrong!
● Where are you headed in your life?
● The Bible will show you the way to God! (Psa. 119:105; Jno. 14:6; 17:17)
Southside church of Christ
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 09/07/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA