The Importance of True Biblical Fellowship
1 John 1:1-10
by Cooper P Abrams III
INTRODUCTION:   Last week we look at the Acts 2:44-47 which shows us what is the meaning of true biblical fellowship. When Christ founded the institution of the local church He set the example for what all churches should be in the future. The example is that:
Fellowship is an important word for the believer in Christ. It is a key word in 1 John.
Fellowship The prevailing truth this Epistle reveals is that salvation should bring men together with God in a close relationship and together with other believers. Fellowship with one's brothers and sisters in Christ brings happiness, purpose and strength and comfort. It is God's plan and also His command. From many years of experience I think I am correct by saying that you can gauge whether a person is in true fellowship with the Lord, by their fellowship with their fellow believers. Their attendance and participation in their local church indicates their fellowship with the Lord.
Fellowship In affect the Apostle John is saying, "You and I may be in fellowship one with the other, IF we are in fellowship with the Father and the Son. This Epistle is written to help you get and keep that fellowship."
I. Question: Why is the world not in fellowship with each other?
ILLUS: We saw the looting in New Orleans after the hurricane. The unsaved man is ruled by his carnal nature therefore is selfish and in truth unloving. I was also noted that many of those who are helping the victims, are making a great to do of their acts....seeking to be patted on the back for helping someone it need. Folks...biblical love does not seek a pat on the back or recognition, it serves its fellow man and does acts of love because it is the right thing to do...in showing God's love to others. It is in truth...walking in the light.
2. God made the family, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. The result of the Fall of Man into sin man was that man became separated from God and his fellow man. There relationship with God was broken and man became selfish.
Change to moral and family values comes with turning to God. It comes when men begin to walk in God's light. America is not doing that. The Supreme Court, has ruled that killing of an unborn baby in a mother's womb is legal. Today, the Congress is grilling John Edwards, President's Bush's nomination to the Supreme court. The Democrats are openly stating they will fight his confirmation if he plans to rule to overthrow Roe vs Wade that legalized abortion. The liberals in our society hate God and want to remove every mention of Him publicly. They as said that prayer is not constitutional in schools and public meetings. Our courts have taken the Ten Commandments from public view. They have made rulings which established the foundation for same sex marriages. It has affirmed the right of pornographers and pedophiles to put pornography on the internet under the guise of free speech. That is not turning to moral and true values.
Many are pleased with having a President who professes to being a Christian. However, he seems to have no influence in turning America back to its biblical roots.
Man has been doing just that now since that fateful day. We all hide from one another. We wear masks trying to hide what we truly are but deep down we are ashamed.
Cain and Abel were brothers. We say, "blood is thicker that water." But for many that is not so. Sin separated Cain and Abel and led Cain murdering his own brother.
The results of sin grew and men became more and more perverse. Men built cities to protect themselves from one another.
It became a matter of what is mine and what is yours, as each man lived for himself. Man's ruin became very apparent.
The fact the world walks in darkness is one reason God instituted the local church which Ephesians 5:22 says he gave his life for. The Lord provided for us a haven of rest away from the world and its sin, with fellow believers. The local church is a refuge in the perverse world we find ourselves in. Sadly, many do not avail themselves of God's provision for us.
A. Christ came to restore fellowship of man with God and always with one's fellow man. He did it first by providing the means whereby man can be in fellowship with his Creator.
2. Most of the organizations of man are little more that mutual admiration societies, or platforms for to strut.
One of the purposes and responsibilities of personal and public worship in our church is to enable us to keep tuned to the Great Shepherd. One of the joys of the Christian life is to help others recapture the missing note! What a blessing to be in tune with God and in tune with one another. What a tragedy it is that some people seem bent on seeking to cause divisions and have not real interest in being in fellowship with those around them.
D. It worked for awhile. But sadly and with deep regret we know that there are always the Annaiass and Sapphiras. It is true that Ananias had attempted to deceive the apostles, and it is true also that this was a crime; but still, the principal magnitude of the offense was that he had attempted to deceive God. They wanted the praise of men, forgot about God and lied to God, saying they were giving this great sacrifice to God and yet keeping apart of it for themselves.
There was young woman there in the service and she looked familiar, but I could not place her. She immediately came to me and beamed as she explained that I had lead her to the Lord almost ten years earlier. She seemed so happy to see Carolyn and myself. WHY? We have a common, and ETERNAL bond! We are children of God.
It is a poor reflection on a father, mother, sister or brother who does not show care and concern for their family. The same is true for a local church as well.
2. Note that I said the relationship between believers is an eternal one. It will surely be greater in heaven.
3. "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father." Gal. 4:6
Do you see the truth here? One result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is fellowship between brothers and sisters in Christ. Believers are the family of God and the Holy Spirit binds us together.
2. Selfishness, pride, having an unforgiving heart, criticism all destroy all the blessing God means for us to have even now. Have you ever seen selfishness bring folks together, Have you ever seen pride, holding a grudge, demanding to have your way, gripping, nagging or criticism bring people together? Have you ever seen it make people happy. Have you seen it produce love and a common bond between people?
The answer is NO! True love seeks to be in fellowship with others.
3. I have preached several messages on the joy that God intended be in the believer's life. The heart searching truth is that with fellowship in you life with God and with other believers, you can not be used of God!
NOTE: V4. John wrote these things so their joy would be full. Not the phony faked kind we see so much of, but the real thing. God cannot bless a person, even his own child, who harbors a bitter spirit.
2. The ability to show love is based in one's character. The Bible says to the person who has by faith trusted in Christ and been born again, "because we are sons, He has sent froth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts." The character of a believer comes when he is saved. It comes from God!
3. We can not have fellowship and unit or experience truth love unless we acknowledge and live according to the Godly character God gives us.
2. Why is this local church and most across the nation so poorly attended and supported by some?
Lots of professing Christians are more interested in temporal things than in having true fellowship with the Lord and with their fellow church members. The fact is it is not important to them and if it were they would be in church and be a vital part of what the local congregation is doing.
2. For the present it is greater than the promise of heaven, because what would heaven be without a fellowship and communion with our Savior?
3. I am not impressed with streets of gold, but I long for that perfect communion with Christ my Lord! I long to be free from this sinful body. Thank God, for this verse, that I can NOW be in fellowship with my Lord. It is a present reality, not a future promise.
If I confess my sin, he will forgive and cleanse me!!! What a wonderful verse.
Have you ever tried to make up with someone with whom you had a disagreement and they flatly refused to settle the matter and restore friendship.
Not so with our Savior....! If we genuinely repent...meaning to turn from our sins...He will forgive readily restore our fellowship with Himself and all the blessings that go with that relationship.
2. How empty is life when there are walls between us and what loneliness there is in being separated.
2. What is "walking in the Light." Light means truth! We walk in truth.
What does truth do to pride, selfishness, bitterness, hypocrisy? When one accepts the truth, he sees himself as God seeing him.
The light of God's word is truth and truth exposes what is wrong.
D. Folks darkness is no choice for the true Christian! It is light that enables us to see things clearly. We believe the Bible and follow it.
2. ILLUS: There have been times in my life since I trusted Christ and became a child of God, that I have sinned and have been out of fellowship with God. One time that comes to mind lasted for several months. I had made a promise to God concerning giving some money for building a needed building at a church I had visited in March 1977 before the Lord called me to preach.
I did not keep my word and made all kinds of excuses trying to justify me not keeping my promise to the Lord. While attending my church, my pastor preached a message from God's Word and the Holy Spirit brought deep conviction to my heart. For a time, I tried ignored the Holy Spirit that was bringing conviction, and fought Him and stubbornly refused to admit by sin. It was destroying me in side, and I had no relationship with God. Oh, I went to church, I even taught a Sunday School class, but deep inside I knew!
What a joy, the day God broke me! What joy to confess it and have God to forgive me! Two months after I got the matter right, God called me to preach! What a joy has been this path God has given me.
It is not all roses and honey, there have been many valleys and hard times. I have often wanted to quit, but because I was in fellowship with Christ, I can say,
2. As a believer, fellowship and unit with others is only available to those who walk in the truth of God's Word. Who live obedient lives unto Christ.
Further, when the fellowship is broken it can only be restored by confession of the thing that broke it...which is always some sin...
3. Then God restores fellowship, to Himself and for you to others.