The foundation of Christian faith is this, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again…” (I Thessalonians 4:14) But stop and think about this for a minute. How absurd does this really sound? You actually believe that Jesus was crucified, died on a cross, was buried…but 3 days later rose from that grave alive? How delusional can you be? And if you do truly believe this “fairy-tale”, you must be living in a fantasy-world! But this is exactly how the world views the Gospel Message…some far-fetched implausible story. Except, within this story is something that all of mankind is constantly searching for… peace, hope, and freedom from guilt and shame. For the resurrection of Christ is the basis of our hope as Believers, and it is only by our faith that we are set free from the penalty of sin and death.
The Greek word for fellowship is Koinonia. Now when we talk about fellowship or fellow-shipping together, our idea of it may be different from the true meaning. For many of us think of fellow-shipping together as fun social gatherings…where we mix and mingle, often with lots and lots of Potluck dishes, but little mention of God. But this word Koinonia has a much deeper and spiritual meaning. When as a Believer we learn to commune or share intimately with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ…it’s called Koinonia. And when the Body of Believers come together, it’s Koinonia when we share our love, faith, and encouragement with each other. For when we are truly fellow-shipping one with another, we are sharing what we have in common…our love and joy for the Lord.
As Jesus prayed for His disciples in John, He asked that “they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11) Later in that Chapter as He went on to pray for all Believers, He said, “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.” (John 17:23) In other words, to reflect the unity and oneness between the Father and Son, as Believers, we need to be perfectly united also. You can’t show the world Jesus when your bad behavior towards others is just like the rest of the world.
In other words…if you have the love of Christ within you, demonstrate it! Paul calls us here to be like-minded…the Greek word for this meaning the activity represented involving the will, the affections, and the conscience. This unity involves coming together as a whole in decision-making, with morally right passions, and motives. For being like-minded is thinking the same thing for the good of all, not just a few. Yes, being like-minded takes work on the part of everyone. It calls us to be peacemakers, bridge-builders, and servants to all – for His sake and for His glory.
The Lord is asking you this same question today…”Do you believe this?” Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved? Do you believe that He died for your sins that you may have eternal life? Maybe you’ve never been confronted to make a decision for Jesus…or maybe you’ve been resisting the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Either way, believing is a commitment of mind, body and spirit. It’s the start of an intimate spiritual journey of faith, trust, and obedience. The Lord is asking you today, “Do you believe?”
Unity and mutual care for one another…that’s what the early Church did on a daily basis. With steadfastness and faithfulness to the Gospel, they walked out their lives in very practical but focused ways. They approached each day with open hands and open hearts…looking for needs and filling them. The early Church was centered around goodwill towards others…of encouragement and sharing…of loving one another. And the Lord added to their numbers daily. For people saw the Gospel being played out in front of them and they wanted what these Believers had. The world is still looking for that today…for care, and compassion…for love and acceptance. For the Church of the present has the same responsibility and opportunity to impact the world for Christ as the early Church did…maybe even more.