Fellowship With God Part 2
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 22, 2001 see it at toulonbaptist.com
Here is an awesome idea. That we are saved to have fellowship with God. Such a thought is too high for me, I can not attain it. I expect God to say, "Put off your shoes for you are standing on holy ground" Ex. 3:5
We would never expect such a grand privilege. That a King would consort with a stable keeper. That the CEO would be interested in the mail room clerk. Yet it is true.
It is more that true. For although the King might consort with the keeper of the stable, never would the keeper of the stable consider that his main purpose was to have fellowship with the King. And although the CEO might take time to speak to the clerk, never would the CEO give the impression that that was the goal for the clerk to have fellowship with the CEO.
But as Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, "here indeed is the whole object, the ultimate, the goal of all Christian experience and all Christian endeavor. This, beyond any question is the central message of the Christian gospel and of the Christian faith." ". . . Here is the very acme of Christian experience and at the same time it is a goal; it is the whole object of Christian experience and of Christian faith and teaching." Life in Christ Vol 1 Studies in 1 John; Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
If Lloyd-Jones is correct then how many of us are distant from the goal. I know that I am. I have lived my life very strictly in searching out the knowledge of God. I have spent my life trying to understand what it is that God expects and then trying to apply those principles to my life. But I have never seen as clearly as I do now that fellowship with God is the greatest goal.
Of course there have been those times when the fellowship with God was close and dear. There have been times when I felt almost in ecstasy as God drew me close to himself and I enjoyed the sublime seclusion with God. But I have to admit that I never understood that that was my goal. I always love to read God's word and hear Him speak to me, but very often I found myself simply seeking information about God rather than God Himself.
Every Christian will have a measure of fellowship with God for we have been created and re-created to that end. "This fellowship with Christ comes about through the creative intervention of God. It happens through the transformation of man to the very roots of his being. It is birth into a new existence, and can be expressed by the contrast of life and death." New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology
But I see so many Christians that even though they have a knowledge of God, and even though they have the assurance of forgiveness of sins, yet are not fulfilled in their life. They are still searching for something. I submit to you that that something is a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Although , "Its basis is in the apostolic preaching of the historical Jesus, walking in the light, and the blood of Jesus which cleanses from all sin. It thus excludes the sectarian pride which denies the incarnation and misrepresents the character of sin." New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. It is beyond that. Because you can have all the doctrines down pat and be very knowledgeable of the Bible and still not have a close continual fellowship with God.
"A thousand voices clamor for our attention, and a thousand causes vie for our support. But until we have learned to be satisfied with fellowship with God, until he is our rock and our fortress, we will be restless with our place in the world." Erwin W. Lutzer
- Fellowship is More Than:
- I do not diminish the importance of orthodoxy.
- Because if you do not have a correct view of God and His work in this world, you cannot have fellowship with Him.
- Orthodoxy will always be behind the healthy relationship with God, but it alone does not constitute it.
- The church at Ephesus was orthodox but had lost its first love.
- Rev 2:1-4 1"To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2"I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. 4Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
- Bible reading
- Reading our Bibles is the food for the soul.
- Psalm 119 97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.
- It is how God speaks to us in the most significant and irrefutable way.
- But we can allow it to become routine and mundane, covering chapters rather than allowing God to communicate with us through the word.
- It can become academic, and we find ourselves simply storing information away in our heads rather that taking the principles into our heart.
- John 5:39 39You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
- Church attendance
- God demands that Christians fellowship with one another in the church.
- Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
- But it is easy to make that more of a social event than worship.
- Isaiah 1:13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies--I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.
- It is easy to make worship an obligation rather than a rendezvous.
- We are more often conscious about who else is there than that God will meet us there.
- It is more than giving money.
- Fellowship means that we share things
- We are partakers.
- That meaning is rooted in the use of the word fellowship.
- We have become shares in the life of God.
- 2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
- We not simply better behaved than the lost, we are better connected.
- We are partners with God and partakers of His divine nature.
- Now that is by grace and not because of who we are or what we have done.
- It not a mechanical result of baptism or of communion.
- It is not something that our parents did for us when we were babies.
- It is really difficult to describe just how we have made this blessed transition.
- "There is only one safe thing to do and say and this is that we do not know; but in some amazing and astounding manner we know that we are partakers of the divine nature, that the being of God has somehow entered into us." Life in Christ Vol 1 Studies in 1 John; Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
- We are a part of Christ and He is a part of us.
- Gal. 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
- "We, somehow are in God and God is in us; a great mystical conception, staggering to the human mind and yet a reality which can only be expressed in some such term as this - sharing." Life in Christ Vol 1 Studies in 1 John; Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
- Fellowship is being partners, shares in His interests and His great purposes.
- It means we are interested in the things that God is interested.
- We have a desire to be part of His working in this world.
- We are touched by the things that touch the heart of God.
- We are disturbed by sin because we know how God sees sin.
- We meditate, pray and everything that we are capable of in furthering the kingdom of light.
- "We are shares in God's thought and in God's enterprise and in God's whole interest in this life and world." Life in Christ Vol 1 Studies in 1 John; Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
- Fellowship always means communion.
- It is the sharing of conversation, of idea, of concerns and sadness and of joy.
- From our side "It means, obviously and of necessity , that we have come to know God. God is no longer a stranger somewhere away in the heavens; He is no longer some stray force or power somewhere, some supreme energy. God is no longer some potentate or law giver far removed and away from us; god now is someone whom we know. Life in Christ Vol 1 Studies in 1 John; Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
- Galatians 4:9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
- That is the whole idea, that you cannot have communion with someone, you cannot have conservation with someone without knowing that person, there is an intimacy and a knowledge.
- We have come to know the intimacy of our heavenly father.
- To have communion with God is indicated by a desire to speak with Him and a ability to do so.
- How is our prayer life?
- Is it simply us bringing our list to Him for the filling.
- No we enjoy spending time with Him just for Him.
- How do know you are having fellowship with Jesus?
- Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
- It is a sense of His presence.
- Can we say that we have fellowship with Him if we do not experience His presence.
- Now I know that Baptists are too high on feeling and emotion.
- But can we say we have fellowship with the Almighty when cannot feel or sense anything different.
- Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
- You experience the presence of God as He works in our life ain in you circumstances.
- He opens doors and closes them.
- He leads by His providence because He knows you and you know Him.
Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Do we know God?
Do we know His desires and His plans?
Can we tell when God is working in a persons life?
Knowing Him is our greatest joy.
Knowing Him is eternal life.
Knowing Him what we were created for.
Knowing Him is what we were saved for.
Do you know Him, really know Him.
John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com