Revelation the Basis of Biblical Fellowship

1 John 1:1-4

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life----

2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us----

3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Preached by Albert Harmon FBC Toulon, IL June 3, 2001 find it at toulonbaptist.com

 

"Two dozen dissidents have charged the nation's most famously accepting church with, of all things, being "extremely intolerant." The Unitarian Universalist Association, they contend, may welcome humanists, pagans and Buddhists, but it has little room for people who want to talk about God.

"The Unitarian tradition ... draws inspiration and sustenance from the divine," said attorney David Burton, a co-founder of the new Virginia-based group. "But Unitarian Universalism as it's practiced today is almost devoid of religious content." Atheists and theists, he said, "can't be in the same religion."

The association, based in Boston, says it's not true that believers in God are unwelcome in its ranks. An estimated half its congregations are theistic in some form, according to one church leader."

Many churches and religious groups have become so secular that God is more of a euphemism for their own private perspective on religious matters. The Bible becomes a text of quaint sayings taken out of context to support the political agenda of the group. And all of it so robed in beautiful colors so as to keep the unsuspecting from realizing that their so called church may not even believe that there is a God at all.

John takes a different view of faith and the purpose for which Christians are to fellowship together and to do the will of God.

  1. BIBLICAL FELLOWSHIP IS BASED ON A DIVINE REVELATION.
    1. John is demonstrating that genuine fellowship must be anchored in a revelation.
      1. John is referring to a Biblical Christian, God defined fellowship.
        1. We can fellowship with the other parents of the little league team members but not in the way John refers to.
        2. There is a good deal of fellowship that takes place at the tavern, but not what John has reference to.
        3. We can fellowship around, computers, crafts, sewing, golf, racing, running, and a host other things but that fellowship is not with God and with His Son unless those things also have a Christian basis.
      2. As we will see John sees our fellowship with other Christians is based on the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
        1. John does not have a vague idea of that fellowship.
        2. He sees Jesus Christ as the only basis of Christian fellowship.
      3. It is the commonality that we have together.
      4. In our church covenant found in the front of each hymnal we find a written view of our basis of fellowship together as a church of Jesus Christ.
      5. The first paragraph says, "Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
    2. What does John not base our fellowship on.
      1. It is not based on our common humanity.
      2. It is not based on our labor together.
      3. John was not interested in social justice but in righteousness.
      4. John didn't want to clean up the environment but to clean men's hearts.
    3. All these causes are good but they are not the primary purpose of our fellowship.
      1. John didn't want to make the world a better place but to make people ready for a better place.
        1. Now through the power of the gospel by the conversion of the pagans, the world became a better place.
        2. Whenever a people is centered on Jesus Christ and the Word of God, that people will always be the better for it.
      2. The world in which John lived was filled with things that needed changed.
        1. Since he was at Ephesus John could have started a "Save Our Harbor" campaign.
        2. That would have been both an environmental & social economic cause of great importance.
        3. But I don't think he was interested in that type of thing.
        4. The harbor eventually would be filled in and Ephesus would become an inland city rather than a harbor city.
    4. What am I saying in a somewhat sarcastic way?
      1. It is that John had a central message.
      2. Jesus Christ was that central message.
    5. John has a very clear and singular message.
      1. That message centers on Jesus Christ the revelation of God.
      2. John is concerned about our relationship with Jesus Christ.
      3. To John it is that revelation that makes the difference, it determines our eternal destiny.
    6. So many Christians are involved in so many good things but are not building on the right foundation.
    7. The basis of fellowship here at FBC is nor environmental issues although we are concerned about the environment. Nor is it social justice although we believe all men were created equal.
      1. Our fellowship is based on a revelation.
      2. If not we are left to define our own basis of fellowship.
      3. Christians are not on the journey of life without chart or compass.
      4. We have divine directions, a holy light that shines on the path we are to go.
      5. That basis is the Word of God, our infallible guide.
      6. It is based on the fact that God has revealed Himself to mankind with the purpose of making us acceptable for fellowship with Him.
  2. THE HISTORY OF THE REVELATION
    1. We have a commonality with Abraham.
      1. It was by divine revelation that God spoke to him, calling him from his own country and away from family and life as he knew it.
    2. But along came Isaac & Jacob and although they were descendants of Abraham their commonality came in the revelation from God.
      1. Abraham had other children but there is no evidence that God revealed Himself to them as He did to Isaac & Jacob.
    3. After years of silence God once again revealed Himself in the person of Moses.
      1. It was through Moses that God brought them up out of Egypt and revealed the plans He had for them.
      2. He revealed not only His holiness & justice but also His love and mercy.
      3. Those first books of the Bible tell us of the nature and character of God and all He demands of us.
    4. Although in Israel's history there were gaps in that revelation they continued to build on the revelation already given through Moses and the other prophets.
    5. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the ultimate revelation was the person of Jesus Christ.
      1. It was through Him that we have received the clearest revelation of God, His nature, His plans for us and what He requires of us.
      2. Heb 1:1-3 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, NKJV
    6. And if we are real Christians, God has spoken to us by His Word and through His Holy Spirit.
  3. THE NECESSITY OF A REVELATION
    1. Without a revelation of God we could never know Him fully enough to have fellowship with Him.
      1. God has not left Himself without a witness.
      2. Acts 14:17 "Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."
      3. Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
    2. The nature of God seen in the creation was soon corrupted by mankind who rejected the authority of the creator.
      1. Man became vain and worshiped the creation rather than the Creator. Rom 1:22-23
      2. Within a few generation mankind had almost completely corrupted themselves and God needed to destroy them.
      3. Gen 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 ¶ And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them."
      4. But soon after the flood man once again had turned away from what they knew of God.
    3. Next God revealed Himself to Abraham.
      1. Without that revelation, the truth concerning God would have forever been lost or perverted.
      2. Abraham did not find God but God found Abraham.
      3. Abraham did not develop a system of theology concerning God but God revealed Himself to Abraham.
    4. What happens when we do not base our faith on a revelation?
      1. Today when a person refers to God they may be talking about some vague power they think lies withing themselves.
        1. To others, everything is God.
        2. So many so called Christians are really poly-theist considering that there is equal validity for all religions in whatever their idea of God is.
      2. Some Christian groups have joined with Buddhists and New Agers who worship the creation as God.
        1. The problems is that they have rejected the special revelation we have from God in the Bible.
      3. A conservative pastor asked a liberal pastor if he beleived the Jesus was the answer to the worlds problems.
        1. The liberal answered yes.
        2. This surprised the conservative for he knew the liberal didn't even believe in Jesus.
        3. After further questioning he came to understand the liberal, that the liberal believes that Jesus is that good part that every person has residing in themselves.
        4. You need to sometimes listen with critical ears.
    5. We may be seen as arrogant because we claim to have a corner on the truth about God but we are not.
      1. We are not claiming anything for ourselves but for the Bible, the Word of God.
        1. Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
        2. Psalms 19:7 ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
      2. We are claiming that the Bible is authoritative and final and beyond judgment or scrutiny by men.
        1. We are not judges of the Bible it will be our judge.
        2. It is the final authority in the area of God and religion.
  4. THE EXCLUSIVENESS OF THE REVELATION
    1. The problem the world has is not really with us, but with the Bible.
      1. The Bible claims exclusive knowledge of God and all He is and has done and His very nature.
      2. Without a knowledge of the Bible one cannot have a correct knowledge of God.
    2. Their problem is with Jesus Christ who claimed exclusive access to God.
      1. He claimed exclusive knowledge of God.
        1. Luke 10:22 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." NKJV
        2. 1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. NKJV
      2. He claimed exclusive knowledge of the truth.
        1. John 8: 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."NKJV
        2. John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." NKJV
        3. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. NKJV
      3. He claimed exclusive power over life and death and over eternal life.
        1. John 10:17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." NKJV
        2. John 5:25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, NKJV
      4. He claimed to be the exclusive bestower of eternal life.
        1. John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 30 I and My Father are one." NKJV
      5. No the problem others have is not with us but with the exclusiveness of Jesus Christ.
    3. Our fellowship is centered in our relationship to Jesus Christ.
      1. Our understanding of Jesus Christ is based on a revelation, not on public opinion or human philosophy.
      2. Has God used His Word to speak to you of your sin and your need of a Savior?
      3. Has God used His Word to reveal to you that you need Jesus Christ?  

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com