January 17

1 Corinthians 1:6-9

“God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” vs. 9

When we think about the Church it has become second nature to think of it in terms of denomination–we tend to identify as Baptists, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, etc., or maybe generically as Evangelicals. Paul wouldn’t have known what we were talking about! In those days there was no common organizational structure. There was no fixed hierarchy; there wasn’t even a common creed or theology. The New Testament hadn’t been thought of–the only scriptures were the Law and the Prophets. For Paul the Church in its infancy was a fellowship (the Greek word is koinonia), in which believers experienced an intimate connection with Jesus Christ and with one another. There was a strong emphasis on generous sharing and members relied only on the Spirit of God and their mutual love for guidance in daily living. There’s an appeal to that vision of the Church, and many wish that we could be done with the constant doctrinal bickering and contentious divisions. They long for the simplicity of koinonia and a Jesus-centered life together. And it could be that some day, when the absurdity of denominationalism causes its demise, there will be a return to a Jesus-centered faith with no boundaries or distinctions. What a blessing it would be to simply celebrate our unity in Christ and not be torn apart by our differences! For many it would be a dream come true!

Thought for the Day: Where have I experienced Christ-centered koinonia?

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