- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -
FIVE KEYS TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
I. Biblical Fellowship Evolves From A Relationship With Christ (1Jo 1:3)
A. The word for “fellowship” is the Greek word koinōnía. Koinōnía, from koinós, has the basic meaning of having something in common or being in association. It was used for common language (Koine (common) Greek), common enterprises, business partnerships, and even marriage relationships.
B. In the NT, in regard to believers, koinōnía is used for having common spiritual associations, goals, and benevolence.
C. Koinōnía (Christian) is the common spiritual association with Christ between all believers whose common goal is to exalt Christ, as well as edify and meet the needs of one another.
D. The most important association the believer has is with Christ. John introduces that very purpose in 1Jo 1:3.
1. John has been testifying and proclaiming the “Word of Life (Christ)” to his readers.
2. His purpose (“so that,” h́ina - conjunction denoting purpose or result) was that his readers would have fellowship (koinōnía - common spiritual association) with John, who also had fellowship (koinōnía) with the Father and the Son.
3. Therefore, John’s ultimate purpose was for his readers to have fellowship (koinōnía) with the Father and the Son (1Co 1:9).
E. When a sinner places his trust in Christ as Savior, he possesses an eternal relationship with the living God. If the believer sins, his relationship is secure. However, unconfessed sin hinders our fellowship with God.
F. To have fellowship (koinōnía - common spiritual association) with the Father and the Son according to 1 John means to:
1. Have a relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior (1Jo 5:12-13)
2. Not walk according to sin, i.e. anything contrary to God’s Word (1Jo 1:5-6).
3. Walk in accordance with the light of God’s Word (1Jo 1:7).
4. Confess our sins to God regularly (1Jo 1:8-10).
G. In addition, the crucial point of biblical fellowship among believers is that Christ is their preeminent association and all that is said and done revolves around Christ (2Co 6:14). Biblical fellowship causes spiritual growth because Christ is its subject and source.
II. Biblical Fellowship Edifies The Church (Act 2:42-47)
A. Acts 2:42 outlines the priorities of the early church. Fellowship is one of the priorities to which the church was continually devoted.
B. In regard to spiritual growth, fellowship is as important as the Scriptures, prayer etc. That is exactly why we see a spiritually sound, healthy, and dynamic early church (Act 2:47). Some of their characteristics were:
1. Reverence for the power of God (43)
2. Regard for the needs of the saints (44-45)
3. Resolution to assemble together (46)
a) Note the word, “continuing” is the pres part of proskarteréō denoting their continual commitment to assembling together.
b) They assembled together in
the temple (híeros - here specifically the
c) They were of one mind (homothumadón lit. “one passion”) centered on Christ and furthering His Kingdom.
d) They also had fellowship with one another from house to house. “Breaking bread” here probably means regular meals though the Lord’s Table ceremony may have been part of their meal.
C. There is no question that fellowship is a necessity for a church that is going to be spiritually sound, healthy, and dynamic.
III. Biblical Fellowship Encourages The Christian (Heb 10:24-25; Ecc 4:9-12)
A. One of the reasons why assembling together at church causes spiritual growth is because individual believers encourage and stimulate one another.
B. Heb 10:24-25 begins with the admonition to keep on thinking (“consider,” katanoéō - pres act subj of katanoéō) of ways in which to help other Christians grow in Christ.
1. The believer is to stimulate other believers in Christ to grow spiritually. “Stimulate” (paroxusmós) is a word that in this context means to sharpen or provoke in a good sense. Believers are to come alongside of other believers and sharpen one another in love and good deeds.
2. Stimulating love and good deeds takes place in the church by believers sharing the Scriptures together, discussing spiritual things together, praying for one another, and meeting one another’s needs.
together (episunagōgế -
4. “Forsaking the assembly” may refer to some who were abandoning Christianity (1Jo 2:19). Or it may have referred to professing Christians who were faltering as evidenced by their “habit” (éthos - custom or habitual practice, or character) of not assembling. Where and how often a person assembles reveals their fundamental values and priorities.
5. The great purpose for assembling together is encouragement (parakaléō - “one called alongside;” - to comfort, to encourage, to exhort). Believers are privileged to take part in God’s Paraclete ministry (Father - 2Co 1:3-4; Son - Joh 14:16; Holy Spirit - Joh 16:7; and the believer - 1Th 5:11).
6. Discouragement could very well be the Devil’s number one strategy in causing discouragement. For even in nature we see predators targeting lone prey (1Pet 5:8).
7. The benefits of assembling together could be described in Eccl 4:9-12.
a) Assembling together can render more labor as a group (9).
b) Assembling together can restore fallen Christians (10).
c) Assembling together can rekindle spiritual fervor (11).
d) Assembling together can reinforce victory over temptations (12).
C. In conclusion, the reason believers should be committed to regularly assembling with one another is because it is an evidence of their relationship with Christ, it is a means to having a dynamic church in the community, and it denies the enemy his number one strategy to cause discouragement.