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Bible Study Seven: Fellowship with God

After the crucifixion of Christ, we find the disciples assembled together “for fear of the Jews.” John 20:19. Then Jesus stands in their midst and shows “them His hands and His side.” John 20:20. Jesus speaks to them and says, “Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” John 20:21. After Jesus said this, the Scriptures record, “He breathed on them, and saith unto them, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’” John 20:22.

1. What happened to the disciples when Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit? John 20:21-22

When Jesus breathed on His disciples the Holy Spirit, He was imparting His peace to them. They went from having fear to having peace. Where did the “peace” come from? It came from Jesus. He imparted or shared His own peace with His disciples.

The impartation of the life of Christ in the believer is much like a blood transfusion, where person A shares his blood with person B, and now they share the same blood in common.

Let me illustrate it this way. Let’s say that there is someone that I hate. What can I do? I can ask for forgiveness, and I should. But I can do more. I can ask Jesus to share with me His love for that person. By nature, we do not love as Christ loves. But we can receive His agape love from above. Christ will share with us His love for people. He will share His mercy, longsuffering, temperance, kindness, and such, with us.

In fact, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to instill in us the life of Christ. When we pray to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are in effect praying to receive the life of Christ. The power is in the life of our Redeemer. There is power in the love of Jesus. There is power in the humility of Jesus. There is power in the patience of Jesus. The love, humility, and patience of Jesus is available to all of us through the impartation of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit we are asking to be filled with the life of Christ.

2. Where do we find this concept expressed in Scripture? Galatians 2:20

To help explain how God intends to share Himself with us I would like to introduce you to the Greek word, “koinonia.” It is the word for “fellowship.” It denotes something shared between two persons. Let us consider a few verses where we find the Greek word “koinonia.”

“God is faithful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship [“koinonia”] of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:9.

Notice that we are “called” to have “fellowship” with Jesus. In fact, it is when we allow Jesus to share Himself with us that we are truly Christians. Christianity is not merely a set of beliefs. It is a vital connection with Jesus Christ.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion [“koinonia”] of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” 2 Cor. 13:14.

In this verse the Greek word “koinonia” is translated as “communion.” We are to have “koinonia” or “communion” with the Holy Spirit, and “fellowship” with Jesus.

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship [“koinonia”] with us: and truly our fellowship [“koinonia”] is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3.

The Scriptures are clear, we are to have “koinonia” or “fellowship” with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In other words, God wants to share Himself with us, that we may receive from Him His patience for our children, love for our enemies, temperance in all things, kindness towards others, and such.

God is not asking us to improve our fallen natures, but to receive a new nature. We are to receive the life of Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to impart to us the life of Christ, so that it is no longer we who live but Christ lives in us. As Paul wrote, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” See Galatians 2:20.

When each one of us allows God to share Himself with us, then we are able to have true Christian fellowship with one another, where the Jesus in me meets the Jesus in you. What makes a church family the body of Christ is when each one of us is in fellowship with Jesus. We become one body, working together with various gifts and talents with that selfsame Spirit.

Because of our fellowship with both the Father and the Son, “we have fellowship [koinonia] one with another.” 1 John 1:7. Thus, the Bible speaks of “the communion [koinonia] of the body of Christ.” 1 Cor. 10:16. The church then becomes a body of believers who share “that one and selfsame Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:11.

3. When we receive the life of Jesus what do we receive? 1 John 5:12

When we have Jesus, we have life. As John wrote, “He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:12.

What is life? When the Father gave to this rebellious world His only Son—That’s life! When Jesus chose to leave the glories of heaven and became poor that we might become rich—That’s life! When He went through a town and healed all who were sick—That’s life! When Jesus had compassion for the multitude and fed them—That’s life! When He spent time witnessing to individuals like Nicodemus—That’s life! When He cleansed His Father’s House from unholy merchandising traffic—That’s life! When He passed by no one as worthless, but inspired them to become a son or daughter of God—That’s life! When He reached out to the downcast of society—That’s life! When He broke down social prejudice and healed the centurion’s servant—That’s life. When He desired the salvation of a Samaritan woman—That’s life. After they dragged Jesus through seven unjust trials and then nailed Him to a cross, He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”—That’s life! In God is life, and without God there is no life—for He is the life.
Life is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and truth. See Galatians 5:22. But hate, anger, impatience, violence, harshness, evil, pride, and lies are death. Therefore, when we pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we are asking God to share His life. In Him is immortality, eternal life. When we have Him, we know what it means to truly live. We hunger for those qualities of character that are eternal.

4. How did the apostle Peter use the word koinonia? 2 Peter 1:3, 4

Peter wrote, “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers [“koinonia”] of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:3, 4

In this passage, the word “partakers” is that same Greek word koinonia. We have fellowship/koinonia with God by “partaking of His divine nature.” By partaking of Christ’s life, which is eternal, we receive eternal life. Therefore, the Christian faith is more than a set of doctrines. It is a vital connection with God, whereby we are partakers of His altogether beautiful character.

5. How did Jesus share the concept of fellowship with Him? John 6:53-57

Jesus said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” John 6:53-57.

As we are physically nourished by bread and water, so are we spiritually nourished by partaking of the life of Christ. The Son of God became the Son of man, that we might become the sons and daughters of God. This can only happen if His life becomes our own. Paul said, “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them.” 2 Cor. 6:16. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9. “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.” Galatians 4:6

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” If we become one with Jesus in this present life, we shall be with Him forever. This work of oneness with God is the work of the gospel. It is to bring man back to his original perfection. The image of God is restored in man.

6. Where do we receive the life of Christ? John 6:63

Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. The words of Jesus in the Bible are as powerful as the words He spoke when He created the universe. The Word of God is like seeds of truth. In these words, is the unfolding of a new life. If the truths of God’s Word are planted in the heart, they will bear the fruit of a Christlike character.

7. Did God create us for fellowship with Himself? Ephesians 3:8, 9

Paul wrote, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ. And to make all men see what is the fellowship [koinonia] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” Verses 8, 9.

Paul had been taken to the third heaven and was shown the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” Imagine what beautiful things he must have seen. He no doubt saw things that our feeble human language cannot adequately describe. However, in the following verse, we are told that he was commissioned to help “all men see what is the fellowship [koinonia] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”

Before God had created the universe “by Jesus Christ,” He determined to have “fellowship” with all His intelligent beings. We do not fully understand how God is able to share Himself, but the results are seen in the character development of His true followers. By God’s grace, we are able to be an ever progressive revelation of His beautiful character. In fact, God wants to use the church to manifest His wisdom to the whole of the angelic order and unfallen worlds. As Paul wrote, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” Verse 10.

The Father would manifest His wisdom, through the church, via His fellowship with each member. When a sinner is transformed into a saint, obviously something miraculous is taking place. The impatient man becomes patient. The unkind man becomes loving. The man enslaved to various addictions is set free. In more than a thousand ways, the lives of men and women all around the world, testify that God must be sharing Himself with them, as they become more and more like their Redeemer.

When Jesus became a man, the universe saw how much God loved us. When they behold how we are changed into same image of Jesus, they behold the power of love. May it be our daily aim, to become more and more like Jesus by partaking of His divine nature. Let us communion each day with Him who loves us with an everlasting love. By having fellowship with Him, we are able to have true Christians fellowship with one another.