Today we mark a significant change in this study. As you can see, we have added a new word to the outline on a spoke in the horizontal position. This has tremendous significance. While God’s Word & Prayer are the two keys to making our “vertical” relationship work with God, our life isn’t one of an ascetic or monk – off by ourselves for the rest of our lives, reading the Bible and praying until Jesus comes back. Instead, there are two very important essential relationships that we will study over the next 70 days. If we don’t get these relationships right, our wheel will be completely “out of balance” and will not run properly. There are numerous passages where Scripture exhorts us to get our human relationships right as we walk and grow in relationship with Christ. The first relationships we will study have to do with what our connections to other believers should look like. And the first key word is… “koinonia.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2 has often been called the chapter that marks the birth of the Church. It certainly marked a significant change in the lives of Christ’s early followers. Represented were 12 disciples close to Christ and another 100+ who joined with them praying secretly in Jerusalem during the Jewish celebration of Pentecost. As promised, Jesus sent His Spirit to these timid followers. What happened next broke the “miracle mold” for God – fire over the heads of the believers, speaking and proclaiming the glories of Christ and of God in languages that they had not formerly known but others on the street recognized, boldness and clarity from frightened and unlearned folk. A community of over 3000 people coalesced in a single day. Dr. Luke tells us that this early gathering was held together with four basic things – teaching, praying, eating, and a concept the early believers identified as koinonia, and we today translate as fellowship.
As you can see above, the root word comes from the word for “common.” The early Greek trade language that had spread throughout the ancient known world was called koine Greek – meaning a form of Greek that was held in common by everyone. The word used here is one that marks a particular attitude or culture. In this case, a large group was formed out of a crowd that had nothing prior in common. Though all were Jews or Jewish converts, many probably spoke their own
particular local dialect, koine Greek, and possibly some Aramaic. They were not connected by family, yet they shared resources like family. This kind of “corporate culture” stood out to Luke and many other early onlookers. Some misinformed left-wing politicians have pointed here to an early form of communism; nothing could be further from the truth. Others see in the text a snapshot of what the hippie movement of the sixties tried to embrace, a type of communalism built around a utopian world-view, mutual need, and limited yet loosely held resources. Again, this totally misses the mark.
Look closely at Acts 2 and jot down your thoughts regarding the “glue” that held this early gathering together.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?