Coining a Koinonia Communion-ity

Key Principle #6: Communion-ity (part 1)

32 Now the multitude of those who believed
were of one heart and one soul;
neither did anyone say that any
of the things he possessed was his own,
but they had all things in common.  
Acts 4:32


        That is not a typo in the Key Principle, it is a word I coined to convey two words that have lost their meanings due to the faultiness of the church. I could have called it simply community, but many churches today are going by “community” or “fellowship” rather than “church,” but while they may have put it in their name, they are really a church, but just going by another name. They are not a communion-ity (pronounce it like communion and then put an “-ity” at the end). Or, I could have called the key word study “communion” but that would convey the Lord’s Supper. (Many Baptists think communion is for Catholics anyway, but I know I’m writing to a lot of non-Baptists. Also, “Lord’s-Supper-ity” sounds even stranger than “communion-ity.”)

        The early church did something extremely radical. Actually, virtually everything they did was extremely radical, so much so that 2,000 years later, we can hardly relate to what was a common occurrence for them. Churches even 100 years ago could do things like the New Testament church did, and several have tried, but such good-intentioned believers who want to go back to the New Testament church should be advised to remember this: the New Testament church wasn’t perfect and what it sometimes did was inadvisable in their day too and was soon abandoned. But what they did as described in Acts 4:32-Acts 5:11, was unusual even in their day but based with good intentions. Members within the congregation gave up all of their possessions and gave the proceeds to be distributed as needed within the church.

I Bet You Think I Wrote This About You

        I knew someone in a previous church that no matter what you shared with him, he would turn it around and make it about himself. No matter what you told him, he would, within a matter of moments, start talking about himself. You probably know someone like that. If not, you might look in the mirror and ask yourself if it is you who is like that. Some people can be so self-absorbed that they think they are being empathetic, but they are only thinking of themselves.

        After being around this person for a certain length of time, I came across Philippians 2 and committed it to memory, just so that I would always have a mental and spiritual guard rail up for myself so that I too wouldn’t become so egocentric.

        I smile as I write this, because I’m reminded of Carly Simon’s song You’re So Vain (you probably think this song is about you). If this book ever does get published (or if he reads this blog) and my brother in Christ reads it, he’ll likely think I’m talking about him.

        At another church where I served as pastor, one of my deacons would jokingly say, “Well, you must have had my picture on your desk when you wrote that sermon, because that’s exactly what I needed to hear.” The funny thing about that was that he only thought he was joking!

        It’s okay to be egocentric sometimes but at some point in our Christian life, we need to get over ourselves and put the needs of others first at least every once in a while. The early church did that in Acts Chapter five.

        That attitude of sacrificial sharing is essential in the church today and needs to extend beyond sharing materially with one another. In Philippians 2, Paul wrote about how we should esteem the needs of others as more important than ourselves.
         Read some excerpts from Philippians 2 below and put a check beside the ones that describes
you.
*            I’m like-minded with other believers in love and without conflict. (v. 2)
*            I don’t do anything for selfish ambition or conceitedly. (v. 3)
*            I look out for the needs of others as much as I do for my own needs. (v. 3)
*            I have a Christ-like attitude and mindset. (v. 5)
*            I purposely empty myself of privileges that rightfully belong to me. (v. 7)
*            It doesn’t bother me to be treated like a servant (v. 7)
*            I voluntarily obey others, sacrificially, even if I don’t have to. (v. 8)
*            I don’t ever complain or dispute with others. (v. 14)
*            I am really happy when I serve others, even if they don’t appreciate it. (v. 17)
*            When someone talks to me about their needs, I sincerely listen. (v. 20)
*            If I’m sick, I still think about what others need (v. 26)
*            I would be willing to die for someone else (v. 30)
        Now if you checked that all of the above apply to you, you need to quickly get involved in a Celebrate Recovery group for being co-dependent. No one could possibly be all of those things, but the problem is that in the church and as Christians, few are even trying to do even a portion of those things.

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