Go Deep—Gift Of Koinonia

John uses the word “fellowship” four times in 1 John 1:3, 6-7. This is the Greek word koinonia, which means intimacy of relationship. The whole purpose of the motivational gifts, the operational gifts, and the leadership gifts is to bring maturity and unity to the Body of Christ. This maturity brings out the fruit of the Spirit. 

All of these gifts of the Holy Spirit are intended to help us demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in ways that make the Kingdom of God visible and desirable. A key component is our koinonia that draws us together as one Body. Two key phrases that appear generously throughout the New Testament Church are one another and each other. 

Download the participant’s guide for this lesson here → Gift of koinonia handout

Here’s how koinonia is supposed to be demonstrated—

  1. Loving one another—John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22, 3:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11-12
  2. Sharing in each other’s practical needs—Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-35 
  3. Devoted to one another—Romans 12:10
  4. Honoring one another—Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3 (AMP); 1 Peter 5:5
  5. Living in harmony with each other—Romans 12:16 
  6. Not judging one another—Romans 14:13 
  7. Building each other up—Romans 14:19 NLT 
  8. Empathizing with each other—Romans 15:5 AMP; 1 Corinthians 12:25 AMP; 1 Peter 3:8 TLB 
  9. Accepting each other—Romans 15:7 
  10. Instructing one another—Acts 2:42; Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16 
  11. Agreeing with one another—1 Corinthians 1:10 
  12. Encouraging one another—2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 5:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11; Hebrews 3:13, 10:25
  13. Serving each other—Galatians 5:13 
  14. Patiently bearing with one another—Ephesians 4:2; Ephesians 4:3 TLB 
  15. Speaking the truth in love to one another—Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 3:9
  16. Forgiving one another—Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13 
  17. Submitting to one another—Ephesians 5:21 
  18. Acting like Jesus toward each other—Philippians 2:5 
  19. Doing what is good for one another—1 Thessalonians 5:15 
  20. Spurring one another on—Hebrews 10:24 
  21. Regularly meeting with one another—Acts 2:46; Hebrews 10:25 
  22. Looking after each other—Hebrews 12:15 AMP 
  23. Confessing sins to one another—James 5:16 
  24. Showing hospitality to each other—1 Peter 4:9 
  25. Doing the hard work of getting along with each other—James 3:17-18 MSG

Those things lead to #26, which starts the cycle over again at #1. 

  1. Increasing our love for one another—1 Thessalonians 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 4:8 

Our koinonia in the church is encouraging for the saints and it is a blessing for the unsaved because of all of the good things a unified, strong, loving church can do. Koinonia ultimately becomes one of the greatest witnessing tools. Jesus prayed—

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. (John 17:20-21)

Links & Quotes

“This is one of the rewards of reading the Old Testament regularly. You keep on discovering more and more what a tissue of quotations from it the New Testament is; how constantly Our Lord repeated, reinforced, continued, refined, and sublimated the Judaic ethics, how very seldom He introduced a novelty.” —C.S. Lewis, Reflections On The Psalms 

I have shared quite often about the historicity of the Bible. Here is some additional evidence for that: Top 10 discoveries related to the Book of Daniel.

The folks at Fight The New Drug provide excellent research on the dangers of pornography as well as many helpful resources for folks to break free from a porn addiction. Pornography often attracts people when they are emotionally drained, but viewing porn actually increases feelings of loneliness and isolation.

If we ever start to think the Church is one or two ministers and a whole bunch of parishioners, it really won’t be a Church. According to Ephesians 4, all Christians should be ministers. 

You can check out the full message that this clip is from by clicking here.

Here is a word of encouragement for anyone in a time of spiritual warfare—

Check out my regular Monday Motivation series.

Wow, this post from T.M. Moore on how we respond to God’s “call” is a much-needed reminder. In the post, he wrote,

“Probably most Christians treat the calling of God as a kind of punctuated equilibrium. He breaks into their lives to ‘call’ them to some activity or task, but only from time to time, and only for that activity or task. He ‘calls’ us to believe the Gospel, and we do. He ‘calls’ us to this or that church, and we go. He ‘calls’ us to some ministry or other Christian activity, and so we participate. He ‘calls’ us to make a special gift, go on a mission trip, send a note of encouragement to a friend, and so forth. Our lives run on their own schedules, so whenever God ‘calls’ us to do something, we’ll try to get it done.

“But most of the time, other things have prior claims on our lives. We have jobs, families, friends, responsibilities, things we like to do or must do. We can’t respond to every calling from God because, well, there just isn’t enough time. We say, when friends press us to consider this or that Christian opportunity, ‘If God calls me to it, I will.’ But aren’t we just using the language of piety to relieve the discomfort of pressure to do something we’d rather not do?

“We are called of God. Of this there is no doubt. But for most Christians, the way they understand God’s calling is not the same as the way God issues it. And they have not yet learned to value His calling as He intends, as the defining and guiding value of our lives.”

Links & Quotes

“…and let us all hasten to approach to perfect manhood, to the measure of the completed growth of the fullness of Jesus Christ, in Whom let us love one another, praise one another, correct one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, that with Him in one another we may reign and triumph.” —Columbanus, Letter to Certain Bishops, Irish, early 7th century

This is pretty cool: Mastodon bones were discovered in our community. It is cool to think that these amazing creatures were wandering around in our neighborhood.

Have you ever wondered how the laws of the Old Testament era should be applied to New Testament Christians? Theologian T.M. Moore has an excellent series of articles on this, but I think his post The Church is not Ancient Israel is especially informative.

Here is one way the Holy Spirit can speak to us—

“It is not the body of truth that enlightens; it is the Spirit of truth who enlightens. If you are willing to obey the Lord Jesus, He will illuminate your spirit. He will inwardly enlighten you. The truth you have known intellectually will now be known spiritually. Power will begin to flow up and out, and you will find yourself changed—marvelously changed.” —A.W. Tozer

“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” —F.B. Meyer

This is pretty cool: some fossilized human footprints in the salt flats of Utah. “Both creationist and uniformitarian scientists agree that these tracks were made during the Ice Age, although they disagree about when the Ice Age occurred. Creationists think these footprints are just a few thousand years old. However, evolutionists think the tracks are more than 10,000 years old, because they believe the wet conditions needed to form and preserve the footprints have been absent from the Great Salt Lake area for at least that long. … wet Ice Age deserts are extremely difficult for evolutionary scientists to convincingly explain. However, the Bible’s real history makes much better sense of both these wet deserts and preserved Ice Age footprints.”

Don’t cut corners to get more. Instead, be faithful, do your best work, and the “more” will follow at the right time—

Thursdays With Spurgeon—The Mouth Of The Lord Has Spoken

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

The Mouth Of The Lord Has Spoken

…For the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 1:20).

     However this sacred Book may be treated nowadays, it was not treated contemptuously, nor negligently, nor questioningly by the Lord Jesus Christ, our Master and Lord. It is noteworthy how He reverenced the written Word. The Spirit of God rested upon Him personally, without measure, and He could speak out of His own mind the revelation of God, and yet He continually quoted the Law, and the Prophets, and the Psalms…. I am sure, brethren, we cannot be wrong in imitating the example of our divine Lord in our reverence for that Scripture, which cannot be broken. … 

     The New Testament writers sit reverently down before the Old Testament and receive God’s words as such without any question whatever. You and I belong to a school that will continue to do the same, let others adopt what behavior they please. As for us and for our house, this priceless Book will remain the standard of our faith and the ground of our hope so long as we live.

From The Infallibility Of Scripture

As I have discussed before, the 39 books of the Old Testament were called “Scripture” by Jesus and those living in that same era. The New Testament writers saw Jesus as the fulfillment of those Old Testament Scripture, and what they wrote for us then became Scripture also (Luke 4:18-21; 24:27, 44-45; John 2:22, 17:12; Acts 1:16, 8:35; Galatians 3:8, 16, 22; James 2:8, 23, 4:5-6; 1 Peter 2:6; 2 Peter 3:16). 

When we read the Bible, we are reading words from the mouth of God Himself! 

This Book is the measure of truth, the guide for our lives, and the blessed assurance we need as we anticipate the second advent of Jesus. We need to be much in this Sacred Book!

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Thursdays With Spurgeon—The Whole Counsel Of God’s Word

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

The Whole Counsel Of God’s Word

The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. (Psalm 12:6) 

     Beloved friends, consider the quality of the words of God. ‘The words of the Lord are pure words.’ From this statement I gather, first, the uniformity of their character. No exception is made to any of the words of God, but they are all described as pure words. They are not all of the same character. Some are for teaching, others are for comfort, and others for rebuke. But they are so far of a uniform character that they are all pure words. I conceive it to be an evil habit to make preferences in Holy Scripture. We must preserve this volume as a whole. …  

     Above all, do not drop into the semi-blasphemy of some, who think the New Testament vastly superior to the Old. … They are of equal authority, and they cast such light upon each other that we could not spare either of them. … In the whole Book, from Genesis to Revelation, the words of Jehovah are found, and they are always pure words. … 

     Whether the Holy Spirit speaks by Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or John, or James, or Paul, the authority is still the same. Even concerning Jesus Christ our Lord this is true. For He says of Himself, ‘The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me’ (John 14:24). In this matter He puts Himself upon the level of others who were as the mouth of God.

From The Bible Tried And Proved

Because my parents were such amazing hosts, we had a steady stream of evangelists and missionaries that dined in our home. As a young man, I was so blessed to sit at the dining room table and listen to some of the wisest and godly preachers of their time. 

One such evangelist was C.M. Ward, who hosted the “Revivaltime” radio broadcast for a quarter of a century. I remember listening intently to a conversation in our home when he turned and looked right at me. “Young man,” he said, “The Word of God is pure. You can devour it and feed on all of it. But anything else you read is like eating chicken: There’s some meat that’s good, but you have to watch out for the bones that can choke you.” 

Those words have stuck with me for nearly 50 years. I delight in reading my Bible as my daily Bread—both Old Testament and New Testament, the words of the prophets, the words of Jesus, and the words of the apostles. It’s all so beneficial! 

In a recent sermon, I talked about the value in reading and studying the whole counsel of God’s Word.

I encourage you not to pick and choose the biblical passages that you like best, but to read, study, and meditate on the whole Book. Find a study Bible to use, get into a Bible-preaching church, and make God’s Word your daily Source of wisdom. 

ALL Scripture is for ALL servants of God. ALL Scripture is applicable to ALL the circumstances we will ever face in life.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

The Holy War (book review)

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Many of the principles taught in the Bible are conveyed to us through graphic stories. Think about some of the imagery the prophets of the Old Testament used or even the parables Jesus used in the New Testament. In fact, even the Hebrew language of the Old Testament and the Greek language of the New Testament are very picturesque languages. John Bunyan takes full advantage of this in his book The Holy War. 

If you have ever read a John Bunyan book or sermon, it is quite obvious that the Bible is his Source Book. In fact, Charles Spurgeon said of him, “Why, this man is a living Bible! Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God.” Much like The Pilgrim’s Progress, The Holy War is steeped in biblical imagery that makes the story so engaging. 

The title and subtitle of the book alone tell you the essence of the story: The holy war made by Shaddai upon Diabolus for the regaining of the metropolis of the world, or the losing and taking again of the town of Mansoul. With the assault taking place on Ear-gate and Eye-gate of Mansoul by such combatants as Lord Incredulity or Mr. Forget-Good, and the servants of King Shaddai such as Captain Conviction, Mr. Justice, and Mr. True-Man drawing up battle lines against the town, you can quickly see how picturesque the language truly is. 

Much in the vein of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, Bunyan also lets us hear the correspondence and war counsels of Lucifer and his minions, as well as the conversation between King Shaddai and His Son Emmanuel. 

As with anything I’ve ever read from John Bunyan, The Holy War is entertaining and insightful. If you have read and enjoyed The Pilgrim’s Progress, I think you will thoroughly enjoy this book as well. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

The Best Commentary On The Old Testament

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Frequently, people will ask me what commentaries I consult when I’m studying for a sermon. Occasionally, I will consult a commentary—but only after I feel I’ve exhausted my own biblical studies. I discussed some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on the use of commentaries in a previous post. 

But let’s look at this from another angle: Before there was an Old Testament and a New Testament, what did those who lived in the days of Jesus call what we now refer to as “the Old Testament”? They called it Scripture. 

Here’s a clip from a recent sermon where I discuss more in-depth why our New Testament is really the best commentary we have on the Old Testament:

I invite you to check out a couple of other resources: 

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Rules Of Evidence

As I mentioned in my book review of David Limbaugh’s Jesus On Trial, he presents the evidence for the validity of the Bible and the historicity of Jesus Christ as if he were presenting a cae before the jury. As a trial begins, a judge will share with the jurors the rules for considering the evidence that is being presented. Here is a fantastic summary from Mr. Limbaugh—

“Applying the rules of evidence. … These rules are the ancient documents rules, the parole evidence rule, the hearsay rule, and the principle of cross-examination. 

“The common law ancient documents rule presumes a document is truthful unless it is self-contradictory, inaccurate, or there is internal evidence of text tampering. The one challenging the document generally shoulders the burden of proof. Unsolved problems or lack of clarity in the document don’t necessarily invalidate it as erroneous or unreliable. …

“The parole evidence rule provides that external, oral testimony or tradition will not be admitted into evidence to add to, subtract from, vary, or contradict an executed written instrument such as a will or a contract. This means the document, absent any applicable exceptions, will stand on its own. … 

“The hearsay rule precludes a witness from testifying as to what others may have said and, generally speaking, requires the witness to have firsthand knowledge of the matter to which he is testifying. As applied to the New Testament documents, this rule lends credence to New Testament authors who say they were eyewitnesses to the events they recorded. 

“The cross-examination principle holds that the more the testimony holds up once it is subjected to rigorous cross examination, the more credible we deem it to be, which, incidentally, is one reason for the hearsay rule, i.e., it excludes testimony from witnesses that can’t be subjected to cross-examination. … Law professor and historian John Warwick Montgomery, who rigorously applied all these evidentiary rules to an examination of the Bible, finds the witnesses who were challenged to confirm having witnessed Jesus’ resurrected body did so ‘in the very teeth of opposition, among hostile cross-examiners who would certainly have destroyed the case of Christianity’ had such accounts been contradicted by the facts. 

Josh McDowell summarizes Montgomery’s approach to New Testament examination as giving the document the benefit of the doubt, which is another way of saying the burden of proof is on the critic or challenger. So, Montgomery writes, ‘One must listen to the claims of the document under analysis, and not assume fraud or error unless the author disqualifies himself by contradiction or known factual inaccuracies.’ Applying this approach and similar ones, McDowell argues that we can’t just assume that what appears to be a difficult passage constitutes a valid argument against it. We must be sure we correctly understand the passage using accepted rules of interpretation.”

I present some evidence for the inspiration and validty of the Bible in these two posts: The inspiration of Scripture and Can we really know if the Bible is God’s Word?

Podcast: Leaders Are Healthy

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • the premier biblical historian Luke tells us how important it was that Jesus grew wholly healthy 
  • unhealthiness in one aspect affects every area of a leader’s life 
  • we need to guard against what we let in our minds and bodies  
  • our emotional/social health is what really shows our leadership health  
  • self-care is never selfish; it’s vital  
  • leaders can only give health to others when they are first healthy themselves 
  • stress can erode a leader’s health, so leaders need to be self-aware
  • the importance of getting feedback
  • most of us won’t change until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and iTunes.

Podcast: Leaders Vs. Loneliness

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • the winner of last month’s winner of our drawing  
  • busyness can actually lead to loneliness 
  • how leaders can guard against loneliness  
  • insight from Josh McDowell on how coronavirus impacts feelings of loneliness  
  • some strategies to eliminate busyness  
  • how leaders can empower others to overcome isolation
  • the importance of a leader’s presence
  • the New Testament only uses “saints” in the plural because we need each other
  • Greg tries to get me to name names
  • leaders need to boldly initiate even with people who seem closed off
  • the new coaching page on our website
  • more ways to be entered into our January drawing

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and iTunes.

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