Thursday, August 10, 2017

THE FOUNDATION FOR FELLOWSHIP

Christian fellowship is the most wonderful relationship possible for any and all people. There is no organization, club, fraternity, sorority, or religious sect which can compare with the Christian family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. The church is our mother and God is our father. We have been united together by a new birth whereby we are adopted into the loving family of God.

The new birth is the experience of being born again by faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. We are united by faith, by His blood and by His Word. There is no power greater than the power of God's love in salvation. We are the only ones who can break that fellowship. We make the decision to unite by obedience and we make the decision to separate by disobedience.

John 17:20-23
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

This fellowship and unity of the Christian family has never been equaled by any group of like-minded people in all the history of mankind. We must recognize the beauty and value of our fellowship in Christ and never let anything or anyone separate us from each other. We need each other to have the fullness of joy which God has ordained for His children.

Matthew 19:16-19
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


Having a loving attitude, a heart full of compassion and tenderness, meekness and patience will enable you to work with other people and enjoy this Christian fellowship. This life style has been imitated by other religions, but never duplicated. No other religion has ever been able to produce this heavenly fellowship.

There are some requirements which must be met to produce this Christian fellowship.

John 8:41-45
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

You choose your father and your father then chooses your life. In order for us to have Christian fellowship, we must have the same Father. If God is your Father, then you will keep the commandments of Jesus Christ. You and I will live by the same family rules. God has the same rules for all His children. He does not teach His children contrary rules and doctrine.

Amos 3:3
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

God is speaking to the children of Israel by the prophet Amos. In this passage of scripture, God is chastising the children of Israel for their rebellion and disobedience. He is telling them that they can not have fellowship with God because the people of Israel rejected the counsel of God and would not keep His commandments. If we don't believe God and obey God, we can not have fellowship with God or His people.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Carnal people need to get sanctified and have that carnality purged or else it will always lead to envy, strife and division. Carnal people will not be able to consistently produce unity. A justified person will enjoy the unity of the body of Christ until his carnality causes him to prefer one brother over another which leads to envy, strife and division.

1 John 1:1-3
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, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

John is confirming his conviction that He has seen and heard the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was John's desire to show this truth to others. Fellowship with John was built upon fellowship with Jesus Christ. If someone does not have fellowship with Jesus Christ, I can not have fellowship with them or they with me. Ye must be born again to have fellowship with the family of God. Many people are claiming to be born again but they can not have fellowship with people who are living holy. If someone is holy and you can not have fellowship with them, you must not be holy.

1 John 1:4-7
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 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 cleanseth us from all sin.

Fellowship with Christ must be established first before people can have fellowship with each other. The church of God is an exclusive family. Many people want to make it an inclusive family. Many people think we ought to just accept everyone who claims to be a Christian even though they continue to commit sin and teach other people to reject the requirement of holiness.

There is no fellowship without holiness. You may have a religious organization without holiness; but, you can not have fellowship with Jesus Christ and His people without holiness.

No doctrine (except repentance, regeneration and remission of sin) is the initial test of fellowship. Doctrine is important and absolutely necessary. But fellowship begins with being born again. Justification puts us into the family of God and makes us holy, free from sin. Upon this foundation of holiness we can build fellowship. We can not build fellowship upon a sinful life.

For you to reject fellowship with me is a rejection of my testimony of salvation. By denying fellowship with me, you are making the charge that I am a sinner. The body of Christ can not be divided.

Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

First things must be first. There is a critical requirement that certain things must come first and be observed first. Before there can be a unity of the faith (i.e doctrine and instruction), there must first be a unity of the Spirit (i.e. the fruit of the Spirit:") 
Galatians 5:22-25
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Following this laying of the foundation of the fruit of the Spirit in justification, we continue to Paul's conclusion:

Ephesians 4:11-16
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

This is the fellowship of the Christian family.
It should be enjoyed by all who have been regenerated, born again, justified.
It is the rightful privilege of every newborn child of God.
Woe be to the person who claims to be a Christian and denies fellowship to an innocent and holy child of God.

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