“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1 NIV)
As I read this scripture this morning, I was drawn to the phrase “the blowing of a violent wind” because where I live in coastal North Carolina we are awaiting Hurricane Isaias. This violent wind of the Holy Spirit caused quite a change in the direction and impact of the Church of that day.
After that violent wind of the Spirit (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) came upon believers, the Bible says they were “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
Lee Grady, in his book Set My Heart on Fire: Ignite Your Confidence, Boldness, and Passion for God, explains how we need to return to true koinoia in the modern day church.
“The Greek word used for fellowship, koinonia, appears here for the first time in the Bible and then is used 18 times throughout the New Testament. Koinonia was an essential ingredient in the New Testament church. We must return to koinonia—but you can’t download it or fake it. We will have to scrap artificial, event-driven programs if we want to have the relational Christianity of the Book of Acts. And we will have to invite the Holy Spirit to do His work of connecting us with our brothers and sisters in Christ with His supernatural bond.”
Perhaps God is using this time during COVID19 to direct the Church back to what really matters. Do we have to go to a church building to have koinonia? Do we need church programs to have kononia? Will we lose our faith if we can’t meet together in large groups? I don’t think so. Look at the underground churches in Communist countries. Christians have learned to really trust God in spite of their circumstances and are experiencing the power of God in ways the American church is not.
The American church has become too comfortable, too absorbed into our anti-God culture. I think God is trying to wake up the Church, forcing us to reconsider what’s really important, shaking us out of our complacency and calling us to go deeper in our faith.
I am fortunate to have a small group of Christians who want to go deeper in God. We meet in our homes for worship and prayer. We enjoy meals together and we are learning what real koinonia is all about. As we do this, I believe others will be drawn to our faith and the American Church will again demonstrate the power, the authority and the holiness of God.
Your words confirmed as my heart has been leading. For some time I have felt that “church” is not the organization, not the brick and mortar building. Church is the body of Christ, the people. Any body of believers that gathers together to worship, study the word, encourage each other, have fellowship, breaks bread and prayers together is the church. I have discovered that, sadly, many who are part of the organized church are more loyal to it than to their Heavenly Father.
This is only a small point of the confirmation your words gave me. Not long ago I was led to the verses 2 Chronicle 7:13. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” This is a time for us to examine our hearts, humbly seek our Lord, confess our sin, and He will listen. This is not just a directive for individuals but for organizations that label themselves Christians. Not long after that I hear our Father tell me, “My children are not listening.” Thank you for letting me know that someone else hears His message.
I too belong to a small group that normally meet in homes, but now meets via Zoom. We also are learning the meaning of koinonia.
Thank you so much for your encouragement! And yes, I take 2 Chronicles 7:13 as God’s word to the Church. We are the answer to the healing of our nation! We must humble ourselves and repent and cry out to God. We are praying for more and more small groups and intercessors to be raised up across our country. 🙏