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Fellowship With God Must Come Before Fellowship Can Come Between Men
God’s fellowship with a Christian. The target group of this paper is the Born
Again Believer. Here are some of the questions that are covered.
1. Can a born again christian get out of fellowship with God?
2. If you can get out of fellowship with God, How do you get out?
3. How do you know if you are out of fellowship with God?
4. When out of fellowship, How do you get back in?
5. Can you feel out of fellowship with God when in fact you are not?
6. When you feel out of fellowship with God, does God feel out of fellowship with you?
7. What does the Old Testament say about fellowship with God?
8. What does the New Testament say about fellowship with God?
9. What difference does it make?
Fellowship With God and then with Christians
The subject in the first chapter of 1 St John is written to someone not knowing basic gospel facts about (sin) and (Jesus the Son of God.) A church established by Paul would have no question about these two subjects.
John is talking to a group wanting church membership (fellowship). In later chapters of the three letters, John does switch to subjects more suitable for a born again believer; therefore, the wrong assumption has been made that all the subjects were for born again believers.
For purpose of this study, consider this written to members or past members of one of the sects, (DOCETISM and/or GNOSTICISM) asking to become part of the christian church. Some very important facts they did not believe: (Click
HERE to read about Gnosticism)
(1) that Jesus was the Son of God come in flesh and (2) that they had any sin. For your information, find below more historical information pertaining this subject.
(1 John 1-10) ASV
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested do us- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness (unsaved), we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light (saved) as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
He keeps us cleansed for we now walk with Him in His light.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; (unsaved or self righteous) but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins. He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Statement to a lost person: (1JO 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just toforgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Dealing with this subject is not an attempt to make the teacher more popular. Famous maybe, but not popular. To even talk about (first John 1:9) in its own context, is asking for wrath from critics.
The basis for this study is an attempt to understand why so many things were taken care of at the cross while making sure "fellowship" was not.
We are clearly shown that most everything (list attached) in the Old Testament, were a "shadow" of things to come. "To come", clearly meaning from Christ’s coming and there after.
Why are "fellowship sacrifices" in the old testament not considered a shadow of things to come when "Jesus clearly is the one and only sacrifice in the New Testament Covenant.
Seems the hardest thing for Christians to give up is the need to do something, when God shows that did not work in the old testament. Consider that God left nothing to chance where his plan of grace is concerned.
If wanting to feel good is the reason for you working to get back into fellowship, then knowing you can not get out of fellowship, should make you feel even better.
1) What sins were forgiven at the cross? All! How many? All! Past? Yes! Present-now? Yes! Future? Yes!
2) Who is the believer? One that believes! Whose sins were forgiven (all taken away)? The believer!
3) One time, once only, forgiveness for sins; (Hebrews 10:17 & 18) And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.
4) The work at the Cross was Final. Jesus said, "it is finished!) The sin question was answered. When you came to the cross for forgiveness of your sin, please consider that, you got more than you bargained for, not just your past sins but all sins past and future. You died with him therefore removing (not just covered as was the first covenant) all sin from your life.
5) The work at the Grave was finished. Christ was resurrected and is resurrected in you.
6) The work Jesus did at Cross and Grave was Eternal, Finished, Complete and Permanent. This work is described, in the bible, in many ways so we may understand the scope of what God has done. Read on and be reminded of some of the permanent things that God did.
This list is several things that were only shadows in the Old Testament but the real thing in the New Testament.
SECOND ADAM JESUS (saved / raised)
GOD'S NEW COVENANT (Not God and man, but God -to- man) (man has only to say yes)
NEW WILL (SECOND) (LAST)
NEW TESTAMENT (bible) (will / testament)
PAUL’S MYSTERY MESSAGE Christ in us)
HAVE HIS LIFE saved)
NEW WINE SKINS new wine of grace)
NEW CREATION 2CO 5: 17 saved)
IN THE WAY saved)
IN THE LIGHT saved)
MORE GLORIOUS (saved / grace)
CAN SEE saved)
BELIEVER can not be both / one or the other)
GRACE (2nd covenant / saved)
SON children / saved)
FREEDOM saved / grace / life new)
YOKE EASY saved / love / rest)
CIRCUMCISED spirit / saved)
OBEDIENT under grace / life / love)
KINGDOM OF LIGHT (saved)
SONS OF DAY saved)
When we read the Bible, we need to look at the context in which each book was written. If we don’t do that, it’s easy to misinterpret what a particular book or chapter is really saying. When that happens, we can easily come to wrong conclusions, which can then cause a lot of misunderstanding about the work of Christ on our behalf.
When at all possible the following should be determined in order to draw proper conclusions:
1. The author of the letter.
2. ‘When the letter was written.
3. To whom was the letter intended.
4. The purpose of the letter.
There are many such misunderstandings. This is an example of one.
1)Many born again christians believe (that although their past sins prior to salvation, have been forgiven), it is up to them to obtain future sin forgiveness through their continual confession or lose salvation.
2)Others believe that all their sins have been forgiven at the cross, however, they cannot experience / feel forgiveness (they call fellowship) unless they confess each time they sin.
3)The (out of context) verse both parties use to defend their belief is 1 John 1:9. Out of context this verse is so strong, one could frustrate such verses as "God is Love."
Let’s read the first chapter of (1 John), and keep in mind the four test listed above. 1. The author: Most think the 1 John epistles were written by John, (the one the lord loved). Paul referred to John as (Elder). The character of the writing points to John.
2. When: Most think the epistles were written after Asiatic churches were established.
3. To whom: Even though the letters seem to be directed to one church, it’s subject was pointed to where several religious sects were present in the churches.
See DOCETISM; Gnosticism; Zoroastrianism; and Stoicism),
From "The New Grolier Publishing, Encyclopedia.
4. (A) The primary purpose of the letter was to tell the peoples of these sects such as Gnosticism, that they were wrong about "Sin and Jesus", and what must be corrected in order they could receive fellowship with christian churches.
(B) A secondary purpose was to warn the believers about the Gnosticism
Type Teaching and to not extend fellowship nor be pulled into error.
The message is about life, meaning eternal life, life in fellowship with God through faith in JESUS CHRIST. The message was to give a series of standards by which people can know that they possess eternal life. Two (Gnostic) failures stand out in the series of tests. First, the validity of the INCARNATION is affirmed against the (Gnostics) beliefs that Christ did not come in the flesh and second, that all sin, in contrast to the (Gnostics) that sin was not real because flesh was not important.
(Gnostics) did not believe that Christ or Sin was real. The believers of Gnosticism were mingling with the christians in the Church. They wished to be a part of the church but only if they could continue with the, "not real idea".
It was brought to John’s attention of the "Gnosticism Heresy". He does not exclude anyone from being saved but he does layout what one must do in order to be saved.
John clearly states that we (all of us-everyone) must believe that JESUS CHRIST was the Son of God, and that He came in the flesh and died and was raised from the dead to live in his children.
The people from the Gnosticism belief were said to have some Special - Superior Spiritual Knowledge, and thought this could be added to Christians. They thought because only (spirit) was real, that Sin and Jesus had to do with flesh and therefore not important.
The established christian church pastor knew the following information and would not have requested same from John.
This information was to head off misunderstanding pertaining church fellowship with unbelievers. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life"
(1 John 1:1). In other words, John is establishing that he was an eyewitness to the fact that Jesus truly did come in the flesh. He had no need to write this to the christians except to protect them while trying to convince the (Gnostics) that Jesus was not an illusion.
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (verse 3). This verse says two things. First, John repeats the fact that he, the rest of the apostles and other people saw Christ in the flesh. He wanted the Gnostics to realize that there were many people who could testify to the reality of Christ.
A well established church would have no need for this except for the Gnostic Presence. Second, he is saying that there are some people in this letter audience who were not in “The Fellowship - Saved” with Christ and therefore; could not be in fellowship with us.
So, what do I do? What do I do when I do not feel in fellowship with my Father?
1. The sins you have committed that are making you feel out of fellowship are forgiven and behind the Father never to be seen anymore.
2. Now that you know that, you should be feeling better all ready. But, you say I gotta do something. O.K., go to your Father and tell him what you did.
3. Your Father will say something like this, (Don, why do you think you need to steal, did I not tell you that I will supply your every need? Well, yes you did. Then why do you need to steal? Well, Father I guess I don’t. Don, you were forgiven at the cross. Don, quit stealing and go to work to make enough for you and someone else in need.
4. How can I go boldly before my Heavenly Father? Have I committed too many sins? How many is too many? Was that last one the one or do I have one more? How long may I stay in fellowship? How long is it before I know I am out? If All my sins are forgiven, do I ask for more forgiveness?
How does my Father FEEL, when I come repenting with sins that have all ready been forgiven? As a father, how would you feel?
You see, we got more than we bargained for when we met Jesus Christ at the Cross, followed him to the Grave and arose with Him. When our GOD lays a plan, He takes no chances on us.
That's not all! We even get to continue growing in Grace and Knowledge of our Father and our Lord Jesus for all eternity.