Friday, 1 October 2010

The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen”
(2 Corinthians 13:14 Young's Literal Translation)

The last verse of 2 Corinthians is a powerful one and the Amplified Version says it like this: “The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship (the communion and sharing together, and participation) in the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (so be it).”

Everything in this verse points to a 3 fold companionship with God. Remembering that one of His names is also “Emmanuel” which means “God with us.” This is reflected in the Young’s Literal Translation above where it says “...the Holy Spirit [IS] with you all!” All three Persons of the Godhead; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are active in providing this companionship with us. Jesus brings grace and the Father brings love. Both, grace and love are so potent that they can only originate from God (Eph. 2:8; John 3:16). His grace allows us “entry” into divine companionship while His love “keeps” this companionship breathing and vibrant. However the Holy Spirit also plays a vital role in ensuring our companionship with the Almighty, and it is HIS “contribution” to this relationship that we focus on for today’s Truth for the Journey: “The fellowship of the Holy Spirit.”
We begin by looking into the Greek meaning for the word “fellowship” used in our opening scripture 2 Corinthians 13:14. This Greek word is “koinonia” that literally means: communion, communication, contribution, distribution, joint participation, intimacy. It could be said like this; “communion by intimate participation!” However it also involves words like partnership, (social) intercourse and (pecuniary or economic) benefaction – coming from the closely related words “koinonos” and “koinos” meaning sharer, i.e. associate :- companion, fellowship, partaker, partner (see Strong’s #G2844 # G2839)

So as we can see this Greek word for “fellowship” (koinonia) is a complex, rich, and thoroughly fascinating Greek approach to building community and teamwork. It has such a multitude of meanings that no single English word is adequate to express its depth and richness. Therefore however we look at this word, we can derive so much from it in order to help us decipher what is exactly meant or entailed by “fellowship” with the Holy Spirit. First of all let’s break this up slightly for easier grasp -“koinonia” has three superb applications.

A) We start with “JOINT PARTICIPATION:” The fellowship of the Holy Spirit is not a one-way street! It is a sharing of wills, feelings, and knowledge. We share what we have or know with Him and He shares what He has and knows with us! Jesus said, “He will tell you whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. (John 16:13b-14 AMP).

Just think, He knows the secrets of heaven and is willing to reveal those to whoever will “jointly participate” with Him. The Holy Spirit has direct access to the Father’s heart which means whatever the Father speaks; He hears and is able to communicate to us! In other words we can enjoy “inside information” if we will only “dare” to draw closer in fellowship with Him, as we are admonished to do in James 4:8; “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” The original Greek here for “draw nigh” or “come close” depending on what translation of the Bible you have - literally means: “approach” or “be at hand” for Him. Once we “approach” God like this, or in other words “make ourselves available by being at hand” then God can reciprocate with His presence! He approaches us in return and is always “at hand” for us! What an awesome reality this is. To have God Himself close by and always “at hand!” Can we fathom the beautiful implications of this and the impact that such fellowship can have on our everyday lives?

The only glitch or claws to this “drawing nigh” business of verse 8 of James chapter 4 is that we must “draw nigh” FIRST! Which quite plainly puts the overall “onus” onto us! The quality of the fellowship that we enjoy with God, or the regularity of such - largely rests with us and our willingness to “approach” Him or to be “at hand” for Him.

For sure “any” approach that we make towards God, could be seen only in terms of a “response” to what He has already “initiated” through Christ. For instance according to 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us...” it was God who “initiated” love – not us! In fact we initiated nothing in this context. It came from and started with God. However in terms of “relationship” (the two way street we are discussing here), our “willingness” is always a “prerequisite” and must always be evident (to God and especially to ourselves!)

As heaven’s divine distributor the Holy Spirit equips and prepares us for the future. Through Him we can face any challenge that life throws at us! And within this type of “fellowship” we are able to communicate our intimate and most personal needs; whether desires of the heart or heart concerns and is a type of fellowship that enjoys both “spontaneity and freedom” rather than dictatorial and dull monologue! In this respect we should always freely “welcome” the Holy Spirit into our lives; appreciating, respecting, adoring and fully recognizing Him in everything that we do.

B) Our 2nd application of “koinonia” is “POTENT PARTNERSHIP.” The type of fellowship that we are discussing here in this particular study - represents a most effective and potent partnership! All partnerships exist to enhance growth, productivity and profit. Partners strategize together and share in all successes and failures. However when we consider fellowship with the Holy Spirit in this way, then we must always recognise Him as the “Senior Partner” (simply because he brings so much more to the table than we do!)

For example consider the infinite resources and knowledge that He possesses; which can only make His strategies and methods perfect and above reproach! In addition regard the fact that no matter how much He outranks everyone, He still leaves room for us to be heard every time! Nevertheless we do well to “allow” Him to strategize on our behalf - as He knows best and the results are always more consistent! We must make ourselves available by always being “at hand” to fellowship with Him, so that He can communicate those strategies with us as He wants to do. We must always “live-ready” to listen to His instruction and be equally willing to receive His specialized help for the “follow-through” of that instruction! The best fact of all is that He not only lends us His expertise but also His “power!” Remembering that even as partners who share victories - the credit must all be His! He is unable to fail and neither will we if we learn to follow and yield in the manner that we are discussing here. It is elementary then, that in the degree to which we “cooperate” is the degree to which we will experience success in and through our personal lives.

Everything the Holy Spirit does, is to empower us. Therefore we can be certain that “fellowship” with Him, will only benefit our lives. Heaven’s intentions can then be realized. It is through deep fellowship like this that History can be changed as a result! NOT sitting in a lotus position meditating and chanting in tongues – that is not “fellowship” – but a religious ritual that some might like to call “fellowship!” But true fellowship with the Holy Spirit is very much “active” and part of our everyday lives. He talks with us “on the go!” Nothing restricts Him. Not time or space! He is always ready and always willing for us to “plug in” and enjoy our “living-connection” with Him. In fact it should never be broken. We should not spend our Christian lives “travelling-in-and-out-of-His-presence” but learn to LIVE there!

In fact the kind of “fellowship” we discuss here is very active and accountable simply because the Holy Spirit specializes in transforming what is “written” instruction from the word of God into practical application in our lives. Therefore it is vital that we learn to partner with Him on every level; being open to His input and advice before making decisions. (I’m not suggesting that we need the Holy Spirit to tell us when to clean our teeth – some things we can work out for ourselves! When to wash and to eat etc; and He gives us enough credit to do that sort of thing on our own!) However when it comes to the larger decisions of life – it is a “learnt” discipline – to pass things with Him first. It takes time but we must pursue such a discipline – especially when the end product of living in such a way – has the potential to change other people’s lives as a result.

Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit on this level means that He can depend on us to ACT in any given situation – no matter what the circumstances say. This is where we allow the “unction” of the Holy Spirit to dictate our thoughts rather than the conditions of the world around us. In addition to that is the fact that our obedience has always a good influence on others, even if we cannot directly see the results of it with our own eyes – we can guarantee that if the Holy is in control – He always has others in mind and an agenda that pursues their freedom and liberty! “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor 3:17 KJV).

It is important to add right now that the Holy Spirit does not just promote the “self-life” that the world does – rather He “demotes” selfishness and “promotes” selflessness! He is not just our spiritual maid, who picks up the pieces that we leave behind or our PR who deals with all the “damage-control” in our lives - for all those mistakes we make! In fact because we live in a generation of “self-help” coaches and gurus – who make millions off the back of people who have no identity of their own - we could easily confuse the Holy Spirit with our own “personal-trainer” but I would like to suggest that He is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! It is a danger to limit the Holy Spirit to such “earthly” status!

On the other hand, He never “closes-shop” on us and is always available for us. He shares in our failures as much as our successes, so that the challenges of life don’t overwhelm us. He moves in us, so that our spiritually-natural instincts are to “overcome” in situations rather than indulge in or enjoy “self-pity” too much! In fact the world around us is obsessed with “self” – yet in Christ we learn that life is not all about “self” and we soon learn that we don’t just exist to avoid or rescue ourselves from ourselves! Instead we learn to “overcome” in ways that help others as a result and with His divine influence upon our lives; normal temptations should be more easily overcome.

In fact this is generally how we know if someone is truly walking with the Spirit of God or not – because if they really know Him (and are known of Him), then the “conviction of Holiness” is always present. This means that they will not feel “well” with themselves, in the presence of sin and will conscientiously work on “adjusting” themselves; in pursuit of maturity and self control. Whereas those who are too comfortable around sin, are probably not walking too closely with the Holy Spirit at all!

For the sake of balance here and in the context of “evangelism” we cannot afford to be overly “delicate” about sin. It is then that we must be open to “embrace” those in the deepest sins - without becoming “one” with their sins in the process. For example Gal 6:1 says this, “...if a person gets trapped by wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should help that person turn away from doing wrong. Do it in a gentle way. At the same time watch yourself so that you also are not tempted.”
To continue however, with this application of “potent-partnership” - one of the greatest chapters in the Bible that describes this privileged partnership we have with the Holy Spirit, is Romans 8. The entire chapter is a treasure in fact, but verse 26 just says, “So too the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness...” What comfort this offers us? With the Holy Spirit “close at hand” like this, everything truly can “work together for good for those who love God” (vs. 28).

C) Our final application is “UNITED MOVEMENT.” This third and final application of “koinonia” is taken from another literal translation meaning; “moving together with...” We could say “travelling together with...!” As we know, the Holy Spirit excels in the area of “distribution” which can be seen in the context of our prayer lives. For instance He moves or travels with us “as” we pray, by “moving or transporting” our prayer from earth to heaven. This is indicated in Romans 8:26. As usual the Amplified Version of the Bible puts it more poignantly like this: “So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.”

So with all this in mind, when it comes time for the “Grace” (2 Corinthians 13:14) to be declared over the people at the end of a meeting again – we must all say it with much more “conviction” because now we possess a better grasp on its original meaning. Fellowship (koinonia) is our greatest life’s honour – because it represents a living “companionship, intimacy and working together with” Almighty God. We must never forget that “KNOWING HIM - IS LOVING HIM” and we must always thank Him for the GRACE, LOVE AND FELLOWSHIP that He has placed in our lives. Hallelujah!
Father I want to walk in divine partnership with Your Spirit. Your provision for my life is complete. He helps me to live for You. Thank You Father for all that You have done for me – especially for giving me Your Holy Spirit. Help me never to grieve Him – as I pursue this life for You. Amen.

Today I am free because of the Holy Spirit. He takes the freedom that Christ purchased for me at the expense of His own blood and makes that freedom a reality in my daily life. Where He is - there is truly liberty – as Your Word says. I confess right now that the Holy Spirit is at the “helm” of my life. I follow His divine instincts and impulses rather than my own “earthy” ones! I have victory today and EVERYDAY because I follow His leadings and make myself available to Him. When I make myself “at hand” for Him, He reciprocates, as a result I WALK IN FREEDOM. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries


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