Summary: A sermon on koinonia, fellowship of the church (Outline from John Stott in his book, The Living Church, Chapter 5 Fellowship, pages 91- 94; Seedthoughts from Daniel Overdorf's book, Rediscovering Community, Chapter 6 Intimately Connected)


Object needed:

A clear bottle with a top, water, vegetable oil, food coloring.

Scripture: John 17:11-16

There are two things in this bottle. Can you guess what they are? Colored water --- and oil. When we look at this bottle with oil and water in it, the first thing that we notice is that they remain separate from one another. Now, watch what happens when I shake the bottle. The water and oil appear to become one.

Have the oil and water really become one? Let's let the bottle stand for a little while and see what happens. Look! The water and oil have become separate again. That shows us that even when they were all mixed together, they were never really one.

This bottle is a pretty good picture of what Jesus wants us to be like in this world we live in.

Before Jesus was crucified, he prayed for his disciples. He prayed that as they lived in the world, they would not become part of the world. He wanted them to make a difference in the world -- just as the water added some color to the oil -- but he did not want them to become stained by the world. He wanted them to remain the person God made them to be. He wanted them to know his love and to share that love with others.

This prayer is for us too. Jesus said that just as his Father sent him into the world, he has sent us into the world. We must live in this world, but Jesus has called us to be separate. Just as this colored water remains separate from the oil, Jesus wants us to be separate from the world.

From this web page:


This has been the theme the past several weeks. Been focusing on the differences between us and the world, how we are to be distinct from the world. Also been focusing on the OT. At this point we are going to transition from the OT to the NT. We have talked about how the OT and the NT center on a covenant. Started with Abraham and then to Moses. Today our covenant is based on Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for our sins. The new covenant did not replace the old so much as it fulfilled it. ““Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17, NIV. The elements of the old covenant- God’s promise of faithfulness and God’s demand for our faithfulness- remain intact. No, our salvation is not based on our faithfulness that is why Jesus Christ came because we fall so short. Just as in the old covenant, when we respond to the gospel offered through Jesus Christ, God desires for His followers to live in community, reflecting His love and character in the ways we relate with one another and with the surrounding world.

When we talk about God’s community, God’s people, in our day we are referring to the church. This is correct (ekklesia) but it is interesting that in the gospel’s Jesus did not talk about the church very much. He mainly talked about the Kingdom of God or heaven.

Even though Jesus didn’t say a lot about the church, he did say several radical things about family. Look up and read Mark 3:21, 31-35

Though the nature of Jesus’ relationship with His immediate family at this point in time remains a mystery- Jesus’ provided significant teaching on this occasion concerning the relationships of his followers. In Christ, and with Christ, we are family. As family, we share relationships with the same Father. All Christians are brothers and sisters.

While many people hunger for such family closeness, we often miss the opportunities that stand immediately before us. Tammy Harris of Roanoke, Virginia, began searching for her biological mother when she turned 21. A year of searching proved fruitless. Tammy did not realize, however, that her mother, Joyce Schultz, had been searching for her for 20 years- the same Joyce Schultz who worked alongside her at the same convenience store. When Joyce overheard Tammy speaking with another coworker about her search for her biological mother, Joyce’s ears perked. The two compared stories and birth certificates. When the coworkers realized they were, indeed, mother and daughter, “We held on for the longest time,” Tammy said. “It was the best day of my life.” Christians often sit side by side in the church pews, week after week, and fail to realize the depth of relationship they share in Jesus Christ.

The early church used a term to describe the intimate relationships that naturally develop among followers of Christ- koinonia. In today’s English this translates as fellowship. Unfortunately, the idea of fellowship in today’s language fails to capture the depth of this word. Koinonia grows from the same root as koine, which means “common.” This means that people shared something in common. The NT use of koinonia indicates that Christians do not just share friendship with one another; rather, they partner with one another in Christ and for Christ.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion