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I was reading a book by a man named Larson who said this: "The neighborhood bar is probably the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give his church. You can tell people's secrets and they usually don't tell others or even want to. He said, "Love one another as I have loved you." And how had he loved them? As soon as we start bending down and washing each other's feet, the world's going to take notice of us. So the Communion which reminds us of that death becomes the symbol of our fellowship. In other words, you can't say oh, yes, I want to celebrate the Cross while you're entertaining sin in your heart because that would be a mockery. No matter what they do and no matter how sternly they're disciplined, and no matter how many times they are spanked and no matter how they violate the relationship they have with mom and dad by disobedience, they are still our what? You see that's why when a Christian sins, he's to repent. "I say the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons," to no God. You told me the nature of the fellowship is togetherness and sharing.
It's an imitation dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is a permissive, accepting and inclusive fellowship. The bar flourishes, not because most people are alcoholics but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, and many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers."Well, I think he's right. He has a deep need to be with people in a meaningful way. We desperately need to be a fellowship and as I look at Grace Church becoming larger and larger, with all of the mass of people that God has sent to us and I see the tremendous increase in the family of God at Grace, my heart cries out that we would never lose the sense of fellowship, we would never become an organization and I can see this even happening in my own life. Aristides' writing on Christianity in the second century wrote these words. "They obtain from all impurity in the hope of the recompense that is to come in another world. Paul writing to the Corinthians says, "The cup of blessing, which we blessed, is it not the fellowship of the blood of Christ? How could you entertain the very sin for which He went to the Cross? Kevan in a very fine book on the subject says this. And if he doesn't repent, somebody's to go to him and them somebody else is to go to him and then the church is to go to him and then if he still doesn't repent, he's to be disciplined. In other words, he's saying, Gentile religion is not just neutral, it's demon-worship.
And the more well-known our church becomes and the more I am known, the more people say well, come over here and do this and come over there and do that and come over here and speak to this group, and pretty soon I begin to float away from the people I love the most and the people who mean the most to me and the people I need the most. Now you often hear people say well, Brother So‑and‑So is out of fellowship. I don't think a Christian can ever be out of fellowship. To be out of fellowship, in the New Testament use of koinonia would be to lose your salvation. Well you say well, what do you, how do you describe it when a Christian just doesn't seem to have it? "And these things," that is, all the spiritual principles of 1John, "write we unto you," not that you may stay in fellowship but that your what? They do not worship strange gods, and they walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them and they love one another. The pastor looked at his member and said, do you understand? Since God is holy and according to Habakkuk, "of pure eyes and to behold evil, cannot look upon inequity." Since God is holy, sin violates your relationship with him. You can't drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You're looking at a crucified Christ who was crucified for your sin, and you've got to deal with the reality of that. Now, we're not going to take time to develop all of these but I am going to run them by you for a moment.
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Because if I spread myself so thin then I can't be to you what God has primarily called me to be. As I mentioned this morning, four of us on the staff spent three or four days together this week just reiterating what our commitment has to be. Are we a part of a fellowship simply because we happen to live in the same place? Anybody in fellowship with Jesus Christ is also in fellowship with anybody else in fellowship with Jesus Christ. Anybody in fellowship with Jesus Christ is also in fellowship with anybody else in fellowship with Jesus Christ. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. it says this, "That Paul was called by the Holy Spirit to open their eyes," the eyes of the Gentiles, "to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God." In other words, now listen to me, salvation is turning someone from darkness to what? All Christians are always walking in the light because they are in God. "Having the same love." How are you going to have the same love?
We have to set the pace for you in reaffirming our love to each other, and reaffirming our honesty and openness with each other, and reaffirming the need that we have to hold each other up and to bear each other's burdens. Are we a part of a fellowship because we happen to dress the same way, or think the same way, or vote the same way or whatever? Or when we talk about fellowship in the church, are we just trying to stir up ecumenical hash? But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."Now some people find a great deal of difficulty in these few verses here. And earlier in the second chapter he says, I want you to have fellowship and I want you to have the same love.
But what it does say is to confess your sins one to what?
It doesn't mean go down and stand and talk into a little box. It doesn't mean go through a lot of Hail Mary's and beads and things.
In fact, any of you who know me know I'm either the fourth or fifth generation of preachers. "Fellowship, and breaking of bread and in prayers." Fellowship. Well here we find the beautiful picture of togetherness. What they had in that church that was so bad was they had the true and the false, the believing and the unbelieving, the Godly and the godless. The basis of, listen, the basis of fellowship is salvation and the nature of fellowship is it's togetherness. I think that there are variations in pay for the pastorate.
We can't quite remember that far back, but somewhere around the fourth or the fifth generation. When you get 3,000people saved and 3,000people who continue steadfastly, that's some kind of evangelism. Now this is the experiential element of fellowship. No sooner was the Church born than it had fellowship. And that's why he says in Verse16, "you'd better repent or I'll come unto thee quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth."You see, God wants His Church pure. But that togetherness begins on a practical basis with regeneration. After all, ITimothy says that those who labor diligently and hard in the Word and doctrine are worthy of double honor.
And if you were to ask me out of my own background to define the term fellowship, I'm afraid what I'd come up with might not be Biblical. Fellowship is much more than that and I want you to see tonight as we examine the pages of the Word of God just precisely what the Spirit of God delineates to us as the truth about fellowship. God said, "It is not good for man to be alone." God created man to be a fellowshipping preacher. I don't think the church ever is teaching communism, where you dump it into one pot and dole it out equally. How long has it been since you had somebody from the fellowship of Grace Church over to your house and you had dinner with them and broke the bread around the Lord's table right there in your meal together? Now, you know, we have a lot of people at Grace Church but I wish we had 100,000 more that knew Jesus Christ as part of the crowd in here. Or crowded in somewhere where they could get taught. Listen, He's not just saying is it not the remembrance of it, it's the very fellowship of it. Just all sinners with nothing to offer and nothing to bring, saying before God, we have this in common. Paul Chilick, who was a well-known theologian to some, said "Fundamentalism has spelled the death of the sacraments." It's an interesting quote. And we ought to just remind ourselves that that's what started it all. Because for one thing, it debilitates you from ministering to somebody else.
Fellowship to me was a linoleum floor in the basement of the church with a shuffleboard court on it, red church punch and stale chocolate chip cookies. Now to begin with, just a definition, the word fellowship in the Greek is koinonia, a very familiar term to those of us who've been Christians for any length of time. He created man for a relationship with other men and other women for his fulfillment and, in fact, with God Himself. What it's saying is, those people, out of their togetherness, were selling possessions to give money to people when the people had the needs. And if we want Grace Church to grow, it isn't so much that we've got to go out and put up big posters and stuff and put up big sign boards, Repent or Else. If we want to just knock the world off their pins, all we've got to do is just get together. I love, I love to come to the Lord's Table better than I love to preach and that's saying a lot because I really love to preach. When you come to that table, you commune with Christ and you commune with every other believer gathered there. Fundamentalism with all of its zeal, fundamentalism with all of its evangelism, has maybe gone flying right on by the whole concept of worship, the whole concept of communing with Jesus Christ at his table. Beloved, when we have a communion service here, you ought to be here. I don't care what your plans are, you ought to be here. If you're in the family, you ought to be here, gathered with the rest of us worthless sinners, drowning in grace at the foot of the Cross. You know, when you come to the Lord's Table, it kind of visualizes the fellowship. If you're a Christian and you're in the fellowship, you can't sin without affecting the fellowship. And that's to their loss, because you're uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit to minister in a special way. But where you continue in sin without really dealing with it and repenting of it and turning from it, you put yourself in a situation where you violate the fellowship with God and you violate the fellowship with other believers. If I had some sin in my life, if I started doing something on the side that, you know, I don't know, get in some crooked business deal and I'm making money on the side and all of sudden sin starts taking over my life and I stand up here, believe me, I will not minister in the power of the Spirit of God. You can't be the family priest, dad, and minister in holiness to your family unless you live in holiness.
And as you look at this text you find some wonderful things. If they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us but they went out from us that it might be made manifest they were not of us." True believers continued. And so I said well, I just think we ought to use God's people to sing God's praises because I think that's the way a church has to be. He says, half my board is saved and the other half aren't. Repent or else I will come unto thee quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth."Now, it's interesting in Verse14 He says, "I have a few things against thee because thou hast there them." Immediately you've got the problem in the Pergamus church. "And you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam."And if you go back to Numbers22 to 25, you can read the doctrine of Balaam. Balack, the king of Moab, wanted to get rid of Israel. You could hire Balaam and he'd go curse somebody for the right amount of money. And three times he tried to curse Israel and every time, he failed.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating