Painting Stripes Doesn't Change the Species
The word “Koinonia” (Fellowship) is used in the Bible, as well as in secular writings of that day, to describe a marriage relationship, co-ownership of land or a ship, and general oneness and commonness of lives and possessions, goals, and dreams. In the High Ground of God’s Heart and Mind, “Fellowship” is meant to be a daily oneness, merged Together in the SECOND Birth, and wrapped in the Oneness of Christ Himself with one another.
So, here’s the rub. If there is no evidence of “fellowship” in 100% of the “church” in the mutuality and interdependence of daily life—in time, and homes, and relationships, jobs, meals, travel, chores, projects, laughing, crying, and vulnerability—then there is no true Fellowship. In such a case, there will eventually be ransacked lives that “slipped through the cracks,” leaven throughout the “batch,” lost lives that could have been saved, and no one coming near to their true Potential in Christ.
“You can’t grow an Orange Tree in Alaska.” (More on that.) And so, without intertwined daily relationship, Koinonia, you have barely more chance of helping your own children choose Jesus than you do trying to save the life of someone else’s child across town who you bump into once a week. If we assume that Jesus would want us to help a person bought by His Blood, who is desperately diminished by stubborn sin, but there is little or no Fellowship in His Family, then there will be little recognition—or remedy.
In lacking the very Life of Jesus, it seems paradoxical that an organization would still call itself a Christ-ian “church,” ya know? We’ve heard from Christians in 120 countries or more who say that because of bad teaching, improperly motivated “leadership,” and catering to human flesh, Biblical Koinonia is nearly absent in “churches” around the world. His People are suffering dearly for this lack.
Since this lack of relationship in “churches” (and the subsequent quenching of the “Kingdom of Priests” by religious machinery, program, and hierarchy) has become so well documented in the last ten to fifteen years, some efforts have been made to “reinvent” the System. “Cell churches”; “House churches”; “Kinship groups”; “Simple church”; and a dozen more fancy names and down-sizing techniques of assigning groups, ordaining miniature leaders, and trying to “involve more people”—have all been sold and attempted. All sorts of attempts have been made to paint stripes on the donkey to create a zebra. But, as long as men will not daily lay down their lives for their brothers—in vulnerability and risk and self-sacrifice, lifting up Jesus as LORD in every circumstance, “whether food or drink”—then nothing can or will change. Leaven will still fill the batch and the enemy will continue to trash marriages and teens and businessmen and women.
There really IS a Solution in Father’s heart and mind. We MUST learn from the “shadow” of biological “family.” We must consider the intimate, nurturing, daily relationships that a natural “once-born” family would always desire to have, in order to comprehend what “Second-Birth Family” is meant to be. As long as we, under the guise of “freedom,” continue to justify being “deadbeat dads” and “deadbeat moms” in the church, then no fancy-named gimmicks are worth the whiteboard and internet forum they were hatched upon.
Is it really “freedom” to watch others die and care only about ourselves? No, that is the most pitiable form of slavery—bondage to self-love. That is not Christianity at all to watch lifelessly as 50% of all marriages and 80% of all teens are destroyed in the “churches” that do not have Koinonia as their defining quality. Religion, without daily Redemptive Christ-Life, can only be “a form of godliness denying the power of God.” And, no books marketed about clever ways to “do church” while leaving “men” in control will do any more than make a few men very wealthy—at the Lambs’ expense.
Until we are willing to “die daily” for our brothers and sisters, and are “in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in them,” there is nothing “more” to be had in our “church experience.” There is no “better mousetrap” or “innovation” in “how to HAVE church.” There never will be. Without Koinonia as its defining quality, Jesus’ Bride remains unprepared for His Return. As long as we panel our own houses—instead of building His with our evenings and weekends, our jobs, our errands, and our very substance, “from the least to the greatest”—we will only be “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
In the world of “painted donkeys” there are also the “Kumbaya” groups. These are still attendance-based, centered on individualism and “my ministry” ambitions. Folks still primarily see each other rarely and shallowly, on some special “meeting day.” Their trappings are more non-religious than most, creating somewhat more of a perplexing “illusion of life” to the undiscerning and independent and ambitious. Some people do find a level of contentment in an appointed sing-a-long and “deeeep teaching” beyond the norm. “Let’s all climb on our mats at the set time, for a story and to learn a new song!” And yet, is that what JESUS is satisfied with? Is our goal rrrrreally to “have neat meetings” and a “cool lifestyle” on the ranch? Or is it to know God better, and therefore to lay down our lives to help each other overcome painful Life-diminishing sin, that we can be all He desires us to be in His Son? If there is any refusal to obey God in Heb.3:12-14, these Verses themselves teach that the result of such disobedience is that leaven always fills whatever “batch” would disobey these Verses. It’s guaranteed by God (it sounds like by reading the Verses). Everyone is affected, even if they don’t realize it. “A little leaven leavens the WHOLE batch,” as God said (1Cor.5:6, Gal.5:9, Joshua 7). “I have no need of you until the assigned meeting day” is just NOT Daddy’s Plan.
GOD said we DO have to need one another. Why is that so bad if it is what HE planned and ordained? He put His “Treasure in earthen vessels” as part of His Plan. He Himself deposited Gifts within humans, parts of His Son deposited throughout in His Body. God said these gifts in humans, people with real names, are necessary for “growth,” and “stature,” and unity, and being “no longer infants tossed to and fro,” and intimate knowledge of the Son of God, and many other things. Read Heb.3:12-14 and all of Eph.4:11-16 and Romans 12, and then see if you can still say God intended that we function as “just me and Gawd.” I don’t think that’s what HE said. His PLAN is for us to be mutually dependent, putting each other’s hands into God’s Hand as a Kingdom of Priests, together. GOD says we NEED that, by HIS grand Design.