Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Basis of Fellowship

Temple Baptist Church - 2-19-2014
1 John 1:1-3
A. As we continue with our introduction to 1 John, we find the basis for the rest of the book in the first 3 verses.
1. In verse 1, we looked at the eternality of the Lord Jesus Christ because He is the Foundation, He is the Chief Cornerstone, He is the Stone that the builders rejected, He is the Saviour of the World, and He is the Life of the child of God.
2. In chapter 1 of 1 John, the Holy Spirit deals with the fellowship of the believer. It is of the utmost importance that we understand the value of our fellowship! The greatest enemy of the local church is not doctrinal heresy or the worldliness that is encroaching upon the holiness and separation of the church. The greatest enemy of the local church is disunity!
3. Before someone “hangs” me, let me say that true spiritual fellowship swings on the “hinges” of doctrinal truth and separation but I have found good, solid, bible believing churches to have disunity which ultimately leads to their downfall. A house divided cannot stand!
B. The message that I get from this opening chapter is this:
1. Unity and fellowship do not come naturally to a believer just because they are saved. A person can be saved and out of step with the corporate fellowship found in the local church. Many churches split and splinter because of saved people, as Bro. Richard Rawls would have said, “Walking at a guilty distance from God!”
2. Unity and fellowship within the corporate body comes from our spiritual walk and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice with me these first few verses.
C. The beloved Apostle John begins this book (through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost) by setting forth the disciples’ interaction with the Lord Jesus Christ as they walked with Him for 3 ½ years on this earth.
1. Thus the message is this: our walk with each other depends entirely upon our walk with the Lord!
2. If we are right with Him, we are doctrinally correct! If we are right with Him, we are walking in separation from the world! If we are right with Him, we are confessing and forsaking sin! If we are right with Him, we are faithful to both the local church and in our testimony before the world!
3. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear” (Colossians 3:4) is tremendous statement because salvation is so much more than just going to heaven and missing hell; salvation involves our walk with Him through this sin sick world!
D. All of that being said, now let us look at that intimate relationship of the apostles to the Lord Jesus and make application to us as believers. You see, they saw and believed but blessed are those who have not seen and yet still believe!
1. They heard and believed! That which was from the beginning, which we have heard!” You will never walk with Jesus Christ and you will never have fellowship with the corporate body of believers until you KNOW Him! You may come to church; you may like or even love some of the people; but you will never know the love of Christ for the brethren as God wants you to know.
a. The apostles’ salvation came just as ours: not through sight for many saw and yet believed not but through hearing and believing. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
b. Our salvation comes the same way. John 20:28-29 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
c. Salvation is grace through faith, plus nothing, minus nothing, and mixed with nothing! Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; (7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
d. So many denominations add human merit to grace and faith: baptism, church membership, sacraments, good works, etc. To add any of these things to grace destroys it because grace is unmerited favor! Works of any kind makes salvation a wage earned!
2. They beheld Him with their eyes! “Which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” No, I have not seen the Lord Jesus Christ with my physical eyes and neither has anyone else since the completion of the bible. But, I have seen Him through His world and His Word!
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
a. As the disciples saw Christ, the incarnate Word of God, we see Christ, the inscribed Word of God! You cannot separate Christ the Word from the bible!! And, if you hold any other English bible other than the Authorized King James Bible, you do not have a “bible!” Things that are different are not the same and versions that disagree are not God’s Word. They may contain some of God’s Word but they err!
b. Our fellowship with Christ is dependent upon our reading, studying, and believing the bible. It is in the bible that we see Christ; it is in the bible that we find the Old Paths of doctrinal truth and separation from the world. You will be no more spiritual than your spiritual relationship with this old King James Bible that I hold in my hand!
c. It is through the bible that we see Christ and know Him!
Conclusion: Our relationship with God is found in the knowledge of and love for His precious Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! Our relationship with both the believers and the local church is found in the same! Without salvation, that knowledge of Christ, and our love for Him, we cannot be right with each other!

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