Fellowship And Unity How is it possible for Christians from differing cultures, ethnic origins, educational backgrounds, professions, with unique problems and difficulties, to enjoy the privilege and wonder of Christian fellowship? The answer: We hold Christ in mutual esteem and pursue knowing His mind. Koinonia is the most widely used Greek word in the New Testament to express Christian fellowship. It means “a mutual sharing, or partnership, or common interest in something.” Paul exhorts the believers at Philippi to “be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil. 2:2 NKJV).
When believers learn to think like Christ, the lusting of their members is squelched, the pride of life diminishes, and their fellowship with each other broadens.
How is it possible for believers to have one mind? The answer is to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). When all believers have the lowly mind of Christ, they will be of one mind. It is a mindset that is not puffed up in vain glory, but is focused on the needs of others. Christ was the Servant of servants before He was the King of kings.
If we let this mind be in us, we will enjoy heaven before we ever get there!
Fellowship In The Early Church
The early church seems to have enjoyed one-mindedness: “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32). Only when believers have surrendered their minds, hearts, and souls will there be complete unity in the body of Christ. His Body, the Church, should not be composed of parts that adversely affect its divine operation through selfish ambitions. God has revealed to us, by the essence of Himself, that where godliness resides individuality and unity will also exist in complete harmony.
There is a sweet internal peace that captivates the believer’s soul when he is one with Christ in thinking and character. How is a local church affected when all in fellowship become thoroughly unified with Christ? Clearly, the early church obtained this unification with Christ; the consequences of which are still apparent today.
Results Of Unity
Note the following six examples of Church unity and the miraculous evangelical results.
- Unity: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication … When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 1:14; 2:1).
Result: Spirit filling (Acts 2:4), and 3000 souls are saved (Acts 2:41).
- Unity: “So continuing daily with one accord” (Acts 2:46).
Result: “The Lord added to the Church daily” (Acts 2:47).
- Unity: “Peter and John went up together into the temple” (Acts 3:1).
Result: A lame man was healed, and about 5000 souls were saved (Acts 3:8,4:4).
- Unity: “They lifted up their voice to God with one accord … those that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Acts 4:24,32).
Result: “All were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
- Unity: “They were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch” (Acts 5:12).
Result: “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women” (Acts 5:14).
- Unity: “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).
Result: “In those days … the number of the disciples was multiplied” (Acts 6:1).
Results Of Disunity
Now take note of but one example of disunity and its results.
- Disunity: “There arose murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected” (Acts. 6:1).
Result: For the first time, there was disunity, and the work of evangelism was hindered.
But after the apostles gave direction to the Christian assembly – to choose deacons to be in charge of the ministry to widows – which effectively resolved the problem, we read that this “pleased the whole multitude” (Acts 6:5). As a result of overcoming disunity and obtaining one-mindedness again, “The word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem” (Acts 6:7).
The Lesson Is Clear
The early Church was successful in evangelism when there was unity and Christ-mindedness among the disciples. When there were divisions and factions in the Church, their testimony was marred, the Spirit was quenched, and fruitfulness ceased. The lesson for us is clear: We should lay hold of the mind of Christ. This will bring unity to the Church, which will then have only one goal: That all things be to the glory of God.
On the eve of His suffering, the Lord acknowledged by His prayer the inseparable link between unity and displaying the glory of God. “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one, just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (Jn. 17:22-23).
When the Church is unified, the glory of God is displayed, the mind of Christ is in control and the unsaved are won to Christ!
By Warren Henderson
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org