2 Corinthians 13:14
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Perhaps the greatest single factor SUPPORTING unity within the Church is our common “Spirit.” I capitalize the word “Spirit” because Paul emphasizes that it is not just the spirit (culture, emotion, energy, excitement) of the church BUT RATHER the fact that God, by His Spirit, lives in each member of the Body of Christ – the Church Universal. The verse in 2 Corinthians is important in a couple of ways. First, because it is a verse that affirms a foundational principle of our faith – the Trinity. Second, like the verses in 1 John show us fellowshipping with God and Jesus, this verse affirms our fellowship with the Spirit of God who lives inside each believer.
Paul uses the word koinonia when he writes to the Philippians. There are obvious divisions in that church as well, and Paul is addressing those by emphasizing what the Philippian believers have in common spiritually with each other. He points out that one of the BIG THREE commonalities we all have as believers is a common fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The very thought of a “Spirit” living inside of us may sound strange to rationalistic, scientific, and individualistic people. But there is no escaping the truth of this in Scripture. There is simply NEVER a moment when God is not internally close to His children. This means that there is never a moment when we can’t immediately talk and fellowship with Him. He hears our thoughts (scary huh?!). He is constantly seeing through our eyes and listening to our motives, monitoring our emotions. What is comforting though – is that He is LOVINGLY doing this.
Write down some of the issues that might divide some Christians?
Looking at these two passages, what should YOUR attitude be toward divisive or contentious Christians?
Describe a remedy for a group of divided Christians based on Paul’s recipes above.
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?