About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
6 reads as follows:
pray that your participation in the faith may become effective through
knowing every good thing that is in us for the glory of Christ."
words "participation in the faith" are important in relation
to the culture of church. The
word "participation" is translated from the Greek word
first discovered this Greek word in 1973 and soon learned of its New
Testament importance. The
common usage of koinonia in the first-century, Greco-Roman world meant
to hold something in common with others.
As it applies to church, koinonia speaks to all that Christians
hold in common, not the least of whom is the Holy Spirit who resides in
the individual believer and whose presence is with the believers when
they gather together. Besides
the Holy Spirit, there are many things Christians hold in common, but
the one Paul specified in the above text is our faith.
In other words, we don't just possess an individual faith, we
possess a corporate faith.
to the fact that the Greek word "pistis" translated as faith
in the New Testament means trust, each Christian holds his trust in
Jesus in common with those Christians to whom Jesus has placed alongside
in the Body of Christ. This
means that as an individual Christian trusts Jesus with his life, so the
church trusts Jesus with its life. It
is this aspect of faith that I believe Paul was writing to Philemon
about. Church, being the
community of believers who belong to Jesus and to each other, as one
unified community, trusts its corporate life with Jesus.
to Paul, our participation of faith, or holding our trust in Jesus in
common, should result in an effective productiveness that glorifies
Jesus. This means that
genuine corporate faith will produce an effective corporate ministry.
Since the word "glorify" means to speak well of someone
or something, our effective corporate ministry based on genuine
corporate faith will speak well of Jesus.
The church, will then, be the effective witness for Jesus it was
called to be.
to our western-world's cultural over-emphasis on individualism that has
filtered its way into church, we usually think of faith in Jesus in
individual terms. Paul adds
another dimension to faith in his letter to Philemon.
There is such a thing as corporate faith.
This implies that the local community of believers exist in a
supportive and functional unity with one another.
To the degree, then, that the church can exist in this unity,
will be the degree to which its corporate faith can produce effective
ministry that glorifies Jesus to the surrounding culture.