Fellowship – BT8
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Divine fellowship shows up in our giving and evangelism
Yes, our horizontal fellowship with others is also reflected in our giving and evangelism. Thus the Greek words for fellowship above can also mean: “the outcome of such koinonia fellowship/partnership, such as a joint contribution, gift, or collection of money that acts to communicate, exhibit, embody, or prove such koinonia fellowship/partnership actually exists, even to validate one’s trusting-relying-faith (a). A great example of this is Philemon 1:6 where Paul “proseuchomai conversationally-prays that the sharing-communication (i.e., evangelism) of your trusting-relying-faith may become active/energetic/effectual (b) by the means of genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of every good thing in you by the means of Christ.” Our vertical connection to the Lord directly affects the effectiveness of our evangelism. You can’t freely give out what you haven’t freely received (c)! Churches wouldn’t need their contrived evangelism programs, which are often just another “work for the Lord,” if their members were actually sharing in the life of Christ through intimate fellowship. For months after every Spirit-baptism I had, you had to stop me from sharing my faith! Another example is in Philippians 4:14-17 where Paul said: “It was kind of you to share my trouble (v. 13: hunger and need) . . . and you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel [preaching] when I left Macedonia, absolutely in fact, not even one church shared/partnered with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.” Our Donations page is patterned from Paul’s attitude of shared blessing. Paul was mystified that the Corinthians had been changed-sharers (d) with their financial giving to other so-called “apostles” but wouldn’t do this for Paul, the one who started their church (e)! <Notes> a) Philemon 1:5-7; Galatians 6:4-6; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; 2 Timothy 2:6, b) energes, c) Matthew 10:8, d) verb metecho, metochos adjective: changed due to sharing or being an active-partaker with, e) 1 Corinthians 9:12.
Generosity and evangelism all starts with conversational-prayer to intimately know Christ’s working in us to activate, energize, and make effective our trusting fellowship with Him in order to share/communicate this with others. Generosity and evangelism is an inside job, a bi-product of an intimate fellowship with Christ. Yet, you hear so many churches – so desperate for money and fuller pews from new members that would guarantee this income – constantly preaching sermons on giving trying to guilt Christians into obeying OT commandments about tithing, adding these commandments to avoid the displeasure of God. They simply don’t understand that “the Torah Law (a) made nothing perfect/mature/complete” (b), and so Paul asks: “Are you so foolish? Having begun [the Christian walk] by the means of the Spirit, are you now [attempting to] be perfected/matured/completed by the flesh” (c)? <Notes> a) of conditional-favor that is based on obedience to 613 commandments, b) Hebrews 7:19, c) Galatians 3:3.
As Christian musicians, will we trust God to bring people into our lives to share in the blessing of our ministry, or will we get desperate and start cleverly begging for support? Can we believe that the closer we get to the Lord, the more He will perceive His care for us? And what about us financially giving to others? Sharing the Lord will be naturally easier and easier as we actually share more in the life of Christ. Can we trust that by bringing people into the actual presence of God that God will direct people the way He wants them to? We don’t need to coerce people!