Temple Baptist Church - 1-8-2012
1 John 1:1-10
A. One of the most important traits of the local church should be that of fellowship. In order to get the full meaning of the word fellowship, I want to give a simple English definition:
1. the condition or relation of being a fellow (A person of equal rank, position, or background; a peer): the fellowship of humankind.
2. friendly relationship; companionship: the fellowship of father and son.
3. community of interest, feeling, etc.
4. communion, as between members of the same church.
6. an association of persons having similar tastes, interests, etc.
7. a company, guild, or corporation.
B. Fellowship is vital to the unity and success of the local church, therefore, it is under constant attack from our adversary, the devil. I have often stated that the most dangerous enemy of the local church sits upon its pews: US! There is an old saying, “The family that prays together stays together.” Thus it is with the local church!
C. If we have the same Father; the same Saviour; the same Spirit; the same goals; etc., then why is there so much contention and division of fellowship in the church? The answer lies within the context of the verses read.
1. Verses 1-3 speak of our relationship with the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ—which is what God did for us.
2. Verse 4 speaks of our potential of fullness of Joy which is God’s desire for us.
3. Verses 5-7 set forth the basis of our fellowship with God and each other.
4. Verses 8-10 give us understanding of both the problem and the solution of fellowship.
D. Fellowship among the members of the local church is as important as worship! Without fellowship there can be no true worship.
James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (Confusion and evil works are devilish, not godly. God is not the Author of either.)
E. Fellowship is vital to the individual believer.
1. Fellowship Encourages the Believer - Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
2. Fellowship Strengthens the Believer - Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
3. Fellowship Supports the Believer - Ecclesiastes 4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
F. Now we understand that a lack of fellowship is a sin problem. When we fail to get along or have differences (other than doctrine) that divide us, we must look within for the solution. I still believe that the greatest enemy of self is SELF.
1. The Problem of Light! A lack of fellowship is a sin problem! Pure and simple! We are all subject to sinfulness but sinfulness needs to be dealt with. If we walk in light, we walk in fellowship with both the Lord and our brother.
a. There Needs To Be Recognition In Sinfulness - Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
b. There Needs To Be Repentance In Sinfulness - 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
c. There Needs To Be Resolve In Sinfulness - Psalms 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
2. The Problem of Love! A Lack of fellowship is a love problem! If we love God right, we will love our brother right. We are to love as God loves.
a. Love Commanded - John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
b. Love Commended - Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
c. Love Common - Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
3. The Problem of Lust! A Lack of fellowship is a selfish problem! When we put the Lord first, we will have no problem with putting fellowship with our brother above personal desires.
a. Others Become First - Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
b. Others Become Forgiven - Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
c. THEN Others Become Friends - Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.