(From the sermon entitled, “Ang Mabuting Pakikisama sa Lahat ng mga Kapatid” for June 25)
The word “koinonia” means fellowship, which describes communication, caring and helping with one another. Fellowship is a beautiful word. It means companionship, which a person cannot do without another person. It means communion, being united, intimate and close with another. It also means friendship, having a good relationship, camaraderie to another person, having solidarity and mutuality.
In other words, it is God’s way of letting us fulfill the law to love one another (John 13:34). It is important that each member of the church knows the importance of fellowshipping with one another because it is one of God’s reasons why we are called into His church. Apostle Paul mentions this; “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)
Having fellowship with others would mean that we need to live with and be involved with others as Apostle Paul did in Acts 20:18. He was with the brethren of the church the whole time he was there, in person, talking with them, laughing with them, and communicating with them. And he felt happy being with them (Romans 15:24). He saw the love and concern of all the members of the church, citing their amazing contributions despite their poverty (2 Corinthians 8:4).
What will happen if we allow ourselves to commune with others?
Not only we are fulfilling God’s command to love one another, but also as we go on with our lives connecting with others, we are actually having a relationship with Christ. Remember, He told us, “…whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45) These words are the same as whatever we do to another, we do it unto Him. If we show love to others, we are actually doing it to God.
And imagine the comfort that others could feel when we open ourselves to them, help them and inspire them to keep the faith burning at all times amidst many sufferings and trials we experience everyday. Apostle Paul experienced this, “For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn —conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever. “ (2 Corinthians 7:5-7)
Although God commands being united with others, this can be a way of making others uncomfortable, especially those who are not used to with this kind of relationship. It is better that a senior member of the church enlightens them regarding this kind of association.
Another thing, connecting with others can be bad too. Having a friendship with others can be misinterpreted. We all need to be careful about this. Not all who are connecting with others are doing it for the right reasons. Others are just taking advantage of the situation. Therefore, we need to put some limitations when we connect ourselves with others.
Apostle Paul warned all the members of the church, “Do not keep company with those who have not faith: for what is there in common between righteousness and evil, or between light and dark.” (2 Corinthians 6:14) We need to separate ourselves from evildoers. We are called unto holiness, and we are children of God, so we need to be aware of that.
Apostle Paul reminds us about God’s promise, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)
God’s command is to walk in love (2 John 1:6), not in darkness. Apostle John reminds us about this, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 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.” (1 John 1:6-7)