In fact, the Greek New Testament word which many bible versions translate, rather weakly, as “fellowship” has a lot more to it: koinonia. It’s about shared life, common unity or community; in fact, “everything in common.” (Imagine – “after tonight’s service, we’ll have an informal time of – everything in common”.)
Koinonia is displayed in all its glory in the early chapters of Acts: the first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to koinonia… all the believers were together and had everything in common.” (Acts 2:42, 44)
So what were those crazy, proto-communist, apostles teaching? Well, in fact, “all that Jesus had commanded them” (Matthew 28:20). The radical sharing in Acts is the direct result of Jesus’ teaching:
“Sell everything you have… and come follow me… Truly, no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:21, 29-30)
When someone like Barnabas threw his money at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36-37), personal ownership was over. But he gained “a hundred times as much”. He gained koinonia, the big spiritual family and all that it shared together (including persecutions; it’s not like the world doesn’t protest at its economy of death being so thoroughly challenged).
Jesus shared His money with His brothers (John 12:6); shouldn’t we? Jesus laid down His life for His friends (1 John 3:16-17); shouldn’t we?
Jesus taught, lived and died for koinonia. Shouldn’t we?
“This is my command: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)