Fellowship of the Saints

Make Disciples Who Make Disciples

One of the sweetest aspects of ministry in the local church is the fellowship of the saints.  The early church both thrived and was greatly blessed by this fellowship.  The fellowship they understood came from the concept of koinonia, which could be defined as a “sharing in the common life.”  It is understood as property and money from Acts 2:44, which says, “All those who believed were together and had all things in common” [koinos].  The same Greek word is used in Acts 4:32—“The congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common [koinos] property to them.”  The verb koinoneo was similarly used in Romans 12:13—“Contributing to the needs of the saints” (see also Romans 15:26-27; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 9:13; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:15; Hebrews 13:16; 1 Timothy 6:18; etc.).

This commonality was not simply true of the early church’s property, but was the definition of their very salvation.  Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 1:9—“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship [koinonia] with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Paul also opens his letter to Titus by saying, “To Titus, my true child in a common [koinos] faith” (Titus 1:4; see also 2 Corinthians 8:23; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 1:3, 6, 7).  Jude affirms the same truth, but with a negative emphasis, concerning false teachers in his day: “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common [koinos] salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3; see also a similar context in 2 John 11 & 2 Corinthians 6:14).  The church needed to know and understand that their salvation was part and parcel of their dynamic and unified relationship to God.  Christians in this time also knew that to the degree they gave their common allegiance to Christ, they would also “share [koinoneo] the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:13; see also 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 5:1).

The fellowship of the early church centered around the devotion “to the apostles’ teaching to fellowship [koinonia], to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).  This kind of fellowship was a gathering together for the spiritual purpose of listening to the teaching of the Word of God, sharing a common meal (called the “love feast”) and to the ministry of corporate prayer.  The entire Godhead is involved in our common fellowship: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship [koinonia] of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14; see also Philippians 1:5; 2:1; Philemon 6).

The Bible Church of Little Rock, therefore, affirms the need to contribute financially to the needs of the saints, as well as promote an overall sharing/participation in the common salvation we all share.  This will include times of gathering together for the purpose of sharing in worship, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, informal interaction around God’s Word, and any event which specifically promotes a greater knowledge and application of the work of God in the world.  This is only where and when true, genuine fellowship can exist.

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