The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Second Corinthians 13:14
So, we have seen that just as the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father are critical things for us to walk in as believers, likewise the communion of the Holy Spirit is just as important. Yes, all three of these things—grace, love and communion—work together and are of equal importance just as the Trinity works together and is of equal importance with one another.
So, we have spent time in this series defining this word “communion.” The first thing we noted is that it comes from the Greek word koinonia. We saw that in the New Testament, this word is translated as “fellowship” more times than as any other word, likely being the best translation of this word. But then we looked at the English word that is used in this verse and saw what it means in order to get a better understanding of what the communion of the Holy Spirit is. So, we saw that as communion is the word used to describe the Lord’s Supper, it describes a uniting of two things or people together. Therefore, the communion of the Holy Spirit could describe the “intimacy or union of the Holy Spirit.” Then we looked back at the root word for koinonia and saw that it means “common.” Therefore, having communion with the Holy Spirit is us having something in common with Him. In other words, we have something in common with Him and share a common goal.” Praise God, that is what it means to have fellowship with the Spirit of God.
Therefore, we learned that the Holy Spirit is not a goose bump—because you cannot have fellowship with a goose bump! Nor is He a cloud, a vapor, or a feeling! Yet if you asked certain believers who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this is exactly how they see Him. They relate to Him through these physical manifestations that He gives us—such as the goose bumps they feel, the cloud of glory they see, or the emotions they experience. But the truth is this: He is a person with a personality and emotions. The Holy Spirit is as much of a divine person as God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ because He is, in fact, the Third Person of the Godhead.
Therefore, we ended a couple of weeks ago with a quote from the late Dr. R.A. Torrey who once said, “If the Holy Spirit is a divine person and we know it not, we are robbing a divine Being of the love and adoration which are due Him. It is of the highest practical importance whether the Holy Spirit is a power that we, in our ignorance and weakness, are somehow to get hold of and use, or whether the Holy Spirit is a personal Being who is to get hold of us and use us...”
Church, it is time for us to recognize the latter—that He is indeed a Person who stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, desiring to use us. And when we decide to invite Him into all of the rooms of our life and give this perfect Gentleman full access, it is then that we, like both the Head of the Church and Early Church itself, will turn our world “right-side up.” Amen!
Now last week, we looked further into His personality by looking at some of the emotions that Paul used to describe the Spirit of God:
First of all, we saw in James 4:5 that the “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?” And what we learned from that is that the Spirit that has come to settle down, make His home and permanently dwell in us, is bent with an all-consuming, ever-growing, excessive, passionate desire to possess us totally, and is envious and filled with jealousy toward anything or anyone who tries to take His place. Then we saw in Ephesians 4:30 that the Holy Spirit can be “grieved,” similarly to how a betrayed spouse who has been hurt, wounded, betrayed, misled, lied to, and abused can feel because He is our partner and He hurts when we are unfaithful to Him. And we saw that, through having a personality, the Holy Spirit has the capability of being angry or sad. He is capable of being grieved or excited. Remember, He is the One who yields the fruit of the Spirit in us. Therefore, He is love, peace, joy, etc. In short, He is a Divine Person with a Divine Personality that we can and should have communion and fellowship with!
So then, we began looking at how the Greek word koinonia describes a partnership. We did this by looking at how an akin word was used in Luke 5:10 when James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were described as “partners” with Simon Peter. And we saw how this means that James and John were Peter’s “co-workers” or you could say, “co-owners” in Peter’s fishing business. So, we saw that just as the sons of Zebedee “partook” of the miraculous catch of fish because they were Peter’s partners, likewise we reap the benefits of being in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Yes, He throws the net, we help him pull in the miracle, and we are sitting on the beach with Him just relaxing and enjoying a tuna salad sandwich, sipping on an Arnold Palmer (sweet tea & lemonade)!
So, we learned that the word koinonia also denotes “partnering together with something or someone.” Yes, koinonia carries with it the idea of “joint participation” or a “partnership.” Church, He is there to help! And we learned this from Romans 8:26 when Paul said that the Spirit Himself also helps in our weaknesses. We saw that the word “helps” here comes from a triple compound Greek word that basically means that Holy Spirit has come alongside of us, partnering together with us against our weaknesses, and is resolved to take ahold of them with us in order to get rid of them. Therefore, we learned that to “help” doesn’t just mean that we ask the Holy Spirit to do it for us. This word in Romans 8:26 denotes that we have partnered together with Him. Yes, He is the One who brings the increase. Sure, He is the One who builds the house. But there is a cooperation with Him that must take place where we yield our bodies to Him and invite Him to work in and through us to accomplish His kingdom purposes.
So, we learned that we have a partnership with the Holy Spirit? We are a team! We work together to see God’s kingdom come and His will be done! And, finally, we saw in the Book of Acts that He has been given to us to make us Christ’s witnesses. Notice Jesus did not say that when we receive the Holy Spirit we will “go witnessing;” He said we will be witnesses! You see, witnessing is not just something you do; a witness is something you are. It is not just about going door to door, handing out tracks. Witnessing is testifying to something you have both seen and experienced. And the tragedy is when we go around trying to tell people about a Jesus that we’ve never experienced. Church, we need to see Him! We need to experience Him! We need to experience the power of His resurrection in our lives (see Philippians 3:10) so that we can be a true witness that Jesus is alive and still doing miracles in the earth today!
You see, the Holy Spirit is our partner, church! And when we begin to see Him as such and utilize this wonderful resource our Heavenly Father has given us, we will become better witnesses—witnessing both the power and presence of the Lord in us and through us. Amen and amen!
THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP
Now let’s look at another instance where this word koinonia is used in the New Testament--Philippians 1:5: In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he addresses a group of believers who understood the meaning of “fellowship.” In chapter one, Paul begins by saying how thankful and prayerful he was for them (vs.3-4), and then in verse 5, he explains why he was so excited about them: He says, “for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” Now when you consider the context, you will find that Paul was not just talking about their relationship in the gospel, but rather to their financial “partnership” in the gospel. So, Paul was filled with joy every time he thought of their faithful partnership in the gospel that God gave him.
So, let’s move to the end of his letter and pick up in Philippians 4:15 where Paul continues describing this church’s partnership in the gospel: “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.”
Now this verse is why those maps in the back of your Bible are so handy. Paul said that when he departed from the province of Macedonia that the Philippians were the only church to keep “sharing” with him. What makes this so significant is when you consider how far Paul was away. He was several hundred miles away from them yet they still gave consistently into his ministry. Now in our modern society this would not be that big of a deal but back then they did not have a telephone, fed-ex, e-mail, etc. The Philippians had to make a special effort to find out where Paul was even at, much less send someone to find him and give him his offering. For these Philippians to go through that much trouble teaches me several things. Namely, it teaches me that my seemingly inconvenient times to give are nothing compared to the inconveniences they had! And it was not like they were a prosperous people either. Actually, they were living in deep poverty while they partnered with Paul’s ministry (2 Corinthians 8:2)! This gives us no excuse to not be extravagant givers and faithful partners since we live in the most prosperous nation on the planet!
Now that leads me to my next point: We know that one church that we know Paul was making reference to here was the Corinthian church because he corrected them in Second Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 for their laxness in the area of giving. In Second Corinthians 8:1 Paul begins to tell the church of Corinth about how the churches of Macedonia (one being the church of Philippi, a city in the region of Macedonia) had been extremely liberal in their giving. He said that they had gone well beyond their ability and even implored Paul and his companions to take their gifts to their brothers and sisters who had needs (vs. 2-4). Paul used the example of the Philippians giving to spur on the church of Corinth.
Now notice that Paul did not just say “giving,” but he also said “receiving.” This is because Paul knew that “giving and receiving” go hand in hand. With giving comes receiving! This is the law of sowing and reaping! In Second Corinthians 9:6 Paul says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” This means that with the same measure that we use in our giving, it will be measured back to us in our receiving. (see Luke 6:38).
Interestingly enough, the term Paul used for “shared” here in Philippians 4:15 is an akin word to koinonia. Therefore, being in fellowship with someone describes also both partnering with them and sharing with them as well. Therefore, another possible definition for the word koinonia that is used in Second Corinthians 13:14 would be the word “sharing.” You find this word translated with the word “sharing or contributing” in several other passages of Scripture. So, let’s look at some of them:
Paul also used the word koinonia in Second Corinthians 9:13 when he said, “while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men,”
Now this is obviously referring to the sharing of material things. There is no mistaking that—for in Second Corinthians chapters 8 & 9, the subject is strictly on giving, where Paul was attempting to stir up the church of Corinth to get in on this “fellowship” of giving and “sharing” with God’s people.
For example, in Second Corinthians 8:4, Paul describes how the churches of Macedonia were “imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” Again, this is “fellowship” of ministering to the saints was obviously referring to them giving a gift to help these poor saints.
But do you see here just how excited they were to give in this verse? Paul didn’t have to work them up at “offering time.” No, they were imploring him to let them get in on this, not him imploring them to give. So, this verse shows us that these believers took the initiative in their giving. They did not wait for “offering time!” They actually approached Paul and begged him to let them get in on ministering to the other saints. You know why they were so pushy to get in on it? It was because they saw it as a “fellowship” with Paul’s ministry—that is, they knew they would get in on his reward for it. In other words, in their mind, “fellowship” was akin to “sharing and giving.”
In fact, it is also used this way in Hebrews 13:16 when the writer(s) exhort us to not forget to do good and to share for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. So, we can see that things like doing good and sharing with others is the kind of sacrifices that God is looking for under our new and better covenant—the sacrifice of giving to others.
Another example of this is found in Galatians 6:6 where Paul tells us that we who are taught the Word are to share in all good things with him who teaches. I think what some people have taken that to mean is that when someone teaches them the Word, that they are supposed to come share with the teacher their revelation or what they think. No, that’s not the kind of “sharing” that he’s talking about. The “sharing” there is talking about giving to them—no, not your opinion, but offerings. Amen. For this is befitting in the eyes of the Lord.
THE SPIRIT’S CONTRIBUTION
In Romans 15:26, Paul used this same word in the same context of financially supporting the poor saints in Jerusalem, stating that if these Gentiles (from Macedonia and Achaia) have “shared” in their spiritual things, then it is fitting that they, in return, give their material things (see verse 27). But in this verse, Paul says, “For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.” The word “contribution” here comes from the word koinonia.
Now it is clear that what he is talking about here is that these Gentile churches were happy to “give, sow, or share” their material things with their Jewish brothers and sisters. And this was apparently an appropriate time to use the word koinonia too. Therefore, we can see that one thing that is involved in “fellowship or communion” is a sharing back and forth between those who share this kind of relationship. Amen?
So, let’s consider this for a moment: First of all, how can we “share” with the Holy Spirit whom we are in fellowship with. How can you and I “contribute” to Him? Well, we can begin by simply acknowledging Him every day—giving Him the fellowship that He yearns for. Then, we can “contribute” to Him by (like we see here in Romans 15:26) ministering to the needs of the saints around us. Didn’t Jesus say that whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done it unto Me (see Matthew 25:40)? So, when we “give, share, or contribute” to others, God takes that personal, and I just love what He says in Proverbs 19:17— "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given.” In other words, when we give to the poor, it is like we are contributing to God Himself, and when we do that, God will never be any man’s debtor. He will pay it back (with interest, I might add)! Also, one of the benefits of giving is the giving of praise and thanksgiving from those who receive to the Lord for His provision. (See 2 Corinthians 9:11) We can cause God to be praised more!
So, this is how we can contribute with the Holy Spirit, but I want to primarily focus on how He contributes to us: What this shows us is that when you are walking in communion with the Holy Spirit, He is there to “contribute” to you when you feel poor and are spiritually bankrupt. Yes, when you feel broke—whether it be spiritually, emotionally, or physically—the Holy Spirit is there to make a “contribution” into your spiritual bank account.
For example, in Philippians 1:19, Paul says, “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”
The word “supply” comes from the Greek word epichoregeo which means “to fully supply” or “to abundantly provide.” This Greek word’s literal meaning is “on behalf of the choir,” as it was used in classical Greek to describe how a choir that had practiced hard and that had it all together received a “supply” that enabled them to perform. You see, this choir had practiced, they had prepared, they had done everything they knew to do on their part, but there was only one problem. They didn’t have the funds to travel and perform. That was when a very wealthy person stepped in and donated a large sum of money for their traveling expenses. He put the money in an envelope and wrote on it, “on behalf of the choir.”
You see, the choir had done all they could do to be successful but there was something extremely important that they needed in order to perform—they needed the finances. Likewise, we can do everything we know to do in order to be spiritually successful, but we need that extremely wealthy benefactor to step in and give us the “contribution” that we need. And we can clearly see here that this “supply” comes through the Spirit of Jesus Christ—that is, the same Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ had! Yes, the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and deposited into Him regularly throughout His ministry, is the same Spirit that will supply us with everything that we need to finish the task God has called us to. Yes, He is our wealthy benefactor who deposits the needed resources into our spiritual bank accounts that fully funds us to do what we are called to do. So when you come to the end of yourself, the Holy Spirit can come in and supply your need and get you through.
Yes, church, the Holy Spirit is a giver, a supplier, and a contributor! You know, there is a lot in the word of God in regard to us being givers. God is always encouraging us to give, give, give. But have you ever thought why God is so big on this? It’s because this is what He is! Yes, you have never met a bigger giver than God! Therefore, there is no one more apt to give than the Holy Spirit! Glory to God! He’s your greatest “contributor!”
This is something that when you are in the position that we are in here stewarding a local church that you better understand—because you can be tempted to look to man as your source. So, as much as we certainly appreciate everyone here who tithes, gives offerings, supports special projects, etc., we look at God ultimately as our “contributor.”
Now Pastor Trey and Shannon give here. Pastor Robert and Doreen give here. And hopefully everyone else gives to this ministry. But the truth is we’ve had people that have come here that gave generously to this church, but now they’re gone. But we haven’t lacked. In fact, we are doing better now than we were doing then. And do you know why? Because God sent you and put on your heart to give your material things here. Therefore, He is one who “contributes”; He just chooses to use you and I to meet the needs.
Oh, and what a privilege it is to be used of God—for when we are obedient and purpose in our hearts to give, we cannot out-give the Giver Himself. He will give it back—pressed down, shaken together, and running over will He give into our bosoms (see Luke 6:38).
WHAT MAKES LIVING WATER?
But I have personally found that the way that we tap into this fountain of living waters that supplies every thirst and meets every spiritual need, is by giving out like this.
Do remember the words of the Master in John 7:37-39 where we are told: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
You see, there is a reason that Jesus described the Holy Spirit as flowing, living waters here. It is because there is an activity that is expected. Church, we are not created to be lakes or ponds that just collect water but never give out. What happens to a body of water that doesn’t have a way of giving out and taking in? It starts to stink and it looks nasty. We are supposed to constantly be giving out while also taking in. This is what creates life in us.
ADDICTED TO GIVING
And, church, let me tell you, this koinonia of ministering to the saints is addictive! We see this terminology used in First Corinthians 16:15 when Paul said, “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)” Giving is an addictive thing. But it’s a good addiction! We always associate addictions with bad things, but we ought to be addicted to good things like the Word of God, prayer, and GIVING.
You see, when you start doing it—the joy you receive from giving cannot be obtained in anything else—and just that joy itself makes it all worth it. But that’s not the only benefit! You will also reap what you sow. Therefore, when you give, it comes back to you!
Bless God, it’s like sowing any physical seed. When you sow watermelons, you reap watermelons. But guess what else you get inside those tasty watermelons? You get more seed! Hallelujah! So, when you sow watermelon seeds, you reap watermelon fruit (which in this case would be joy), and you reap more watermelon seed to start the whole process over again. Glory be to God forever!
So, when you start getting a positive cycle of this working in your life, you don’t want to start giving less; you want to give more! Yes, you get addicted to giving!
So, when someone starts to notice the change in you, and pick up on the fact that you have gotten yourself addicted to something, get ready to give an answer to those who ask— “You look well. What is it that you have that I don’t?” Like it’s a disease, you just tell ‘em, “I got “the Stephanas” and there ain’t no cure!” LOL!
THE KEY TO THE COMMUNICATION OF OUR FAITH
Now, in conclusion, let’s look at another time where the apostle Paul uses the word koinonia in the Scriptures: It is found in Philemon 6. In this verse, the apostle Paul says, “that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”
Now the word “sharing” here in this verse is again from the word koinonia, but this sharing is not just referring to the giving of material things. Here, it seems to be referring to all aspects of the fellowship of our faith from the “communication, fellowship, partnership, and sharing of our faith—both monetarily and verbally.”
But I want you to notice how our fellowship is going to be more effective, energized and powerful; it is going be accomplished “by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”
Now there are certainly a lot of good things that Christ Jesus has deposited into us, but arguably the largest deposit that He ever made in all of us was the Holy Spirit. Yes, the mighty Holy Spirit—the One who works many of these good things in us—is who we need to begin acknowledging. Therefore, this applies to the communion of the Holy Spirit by showing the importance of a lifestyle that is enveloped in communication. We need to stir ourselves up to communicate with Him, and we need to be open to having Him communicate back with us. In other words, keeping the lines open (i.e. not hanging the phone up). When we learn to acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will be able to direct our paths (Sounds like a good Scripture😊). Sharing with Him opens the doors to Him being able to share with you. Amen.