Fellowship With God

1 John 1:1-4

1That 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--2the 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--3that 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. 4And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

This sermon was preached by Albert Harmon at FBC Toulon on July 15, 2001 see it at toulonbaptist.com

 I Won't Bother You Again The following story appeared in "The Prairie Overcomer:" A fisherman who was out of fellowship with the Lord was at sea with his godless companions when a storm came up and threatened to sink their ship. His friends begged him to pray; but he demurred, saying, "It's been a long time since I've done that or even entered a church." At their insistence, however, he finally cried out, "O Lord, I haven't asked anything of You in 15 years, and if You help us now and bring us safely to land, I promise I won't bother You again for another 15!" Although this story at first evokes a smile, it is sobering to realize that prayer is often an escape mechanism rather than a way of life. This may be true even of believers who call on God only when they've reached the end of their rope and there seems to be no other way to solve their problems.

Vance Havner often told the story of a missionary who was one of the first to South Africa and seeing a group of boys gathered together kneeling on the ground thought they were playing marbles. But when he approached, he noticed that they were playing with diamonds. Playing marbles with diamonds. Vance Havner would then remark how similar that is to Christians in America and their attitude toward spiritual matters.

When we begin to talk about fellowship with God, it almost blows our mind. That God, who made the universe and all that we see would be even remotely interested in us.

  1. God desires to have fellowship with us.
    1. That evening they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and they hid themselves among the trees. (Genesis 3:8, tlb)
  2. Why do we act like God doesn't want to have anything to do with us?
    1. The thought of two humans covered with fig leaves trying to hide from the all-seeing, all-knowing God is humorous.
    2. How could they be so silly as to think they could actually hide?
    3. Yet we do the same, acting as though God doesn't know what we're doing.
    4. Do we have the courage to share all we do and think, with him.
  3. Why are we afraid to have fellowship with God.
    1. Adam and Eve hid from God when they heard him approaching.
      1. They knew they had disobeyed God and now all they can remember about His is the tone of judgment He had used when He warned them.
      2. Their conscience had awoke and although they had made aprons of fig leaves yet they knew God would know.
    2. God wanted to be with them, but because of their sin, they were afraid to show themselves.
      1. God was not ignorant of what they had done or surprised that they had done it.
      2. God was like the parent who has to clean up the mess that the baby makes but in no way does it lessen the love for the child.
      3. But unlike us who are messers and really have no claim on condemning others, God was perfect and His righteous will had been mocked.
    3. Sin had broken their close relationship with God, just as it has broken ours.
      1. Sin will always separate us from God.
      2. It was what separated us from God before we became Christians.
      3. But it can still separate us from God.
      4. When we sin our fellowship with God is disrupted.
      5. Psa. 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
    4. But Jesus Christ, God's Son, opens the way for us to renew our fellowship with him.
      1. By His sacrifice He provides forgiveness of our sin.
      2. He through the Holy Spirit wins our heart with love.
      3. He exemplifies the love that God has for us.
      4. And even when we sin today He is our sin covering.
      5. 1 John 1:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
      6. And He is the one who pleads our case. 1 John 1:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
      7. And He does all of that because he wants to be able to fellowship us.
    5. God longs to be with us.
      1. Now that is an awesome thought, that the Lord of the universe would ask me to fellowship with Him.
      2. But since the beginning God has desired fellowship with man and the purpose of redemption and our salvation is that God might have a people who are His and he can fellowship with.
      3. Leviticus 26:12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
      4. Jeremiah 7:23 "But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.'
      5. Jeremiah 11:4 "which I commanded your fathers in the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, 'Obey My voice, and do according to all that I command you; so shall you be My people, and I will be your God,'
      6. Jeremiah 24:7 'Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
      7. Jeremiah 30:22 'You shall be My people, And I will be your God.'"
      8. Jeremiah 31:1 "At the same time," says the LORD, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."
      9. Jeremiah 31:33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
      10. Jeremiah 32:38 'They shall be My people, and I will be their God;
      11. Ezekiel 11:20 "that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
      12. Ezekiel 14:11 "that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me, nor be profaned anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people and I may be their God," says the Lord GOD.'"
      13. Ezekiel 36:28 "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
      14. Ezekiel 37:23 "They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
      15. Ezekiel 37:27 "My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
      16. Zechariah 8:8 I will bring them back, And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people And I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.'
      17. 2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people."
      18. Hebrews 8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
      19. Genesis 5:22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
    6. He actively offers us his unconditional love.
      1. His unconditional love does not mean that He never finds any reason for correction in us.
      2. Rather it means that He loves us and corrects us as a father does a child.
      3. Hebrews 12:6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."
      4. But His loving kindness He does not take away.
      5. Lamentations 3:32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies.
      6. God's desire is not to destroy us but to humble us and bring us into His presence.
      7. Psalms 34:18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
      8. Psalms 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
      9. 2 Kings 22:19 "because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you," says the LORD.
      10. Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
      11. Matthew 5:3 ¶ "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    7. Our natural response is fear, because we can't live up to his standards.
      1. Some people get the idea that God is up in heaven just waiting for us to mess up so that He can punish us.
      2. But He is not that way.
      3. We cannot live perfectly, although that is what the Lord wants and if we have fellowship with Him that is what we want also.
    8. Understanding that he loves us, regardless of our faults, can help remove that dread.
      1. God's desire is that we might spend time with Him.
      2. This past week, Victoria came by my office and told me she wanted to do something with me, just her and me.
      3. What do you think I said. In years gone by I would have told here that I was too busy and had lots of things to do that were more important than her.
      4. But I didn't, we left the office and went to the park, just because she wanted to spend time with me.
      5. Do you want to spend time with God?
      6. Do you want to be in His presence.
      7. Do you want Him to touch you.
      8. It is the most important thing that you can do.
      9. John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
      10. Next Sunday we are going to get a little more practical about fellowship with God.  

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