To have great things in common, to be able to come together and overcome the petty things of this world and embrace one another based on a common faith in God and love for Him and each other–these are the blessings of fellowship. Watch part two with Robert Dodson.
ROBERT >> Most all of us are a part of some kind of fellowship, some kind of team, some kind of group or society where we interact with other people and we have common goals, and those things bind us together. But today I want to continue to talk to you about a very special fellowship, a unique fellowship, a fellowship that’s more wonderful than any other fellowship in all the world. I hope you’ll stay tuned. I’ll be right back.
>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:9, God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Those of us who are Christians, we know how that God has called us into the fellowship of his son, Jesus Christ. It is a divine fellowship. It’s not of man. It’s of God. It’s different and it’s more wonderful than any fellowship in all the world.
We noticed last week that it is a fellowship made possible by Christ. You see, it was only Jesus Christ that could pay the price for our sins so that we could be reconciled to the just and holy God. It’s because of our sins that we were separated, but it’s because of Jesus Christ that fellowship with him has been made possible once again.
We need to remember the great sacrifice that Christ made in order that we might have fellowship with our God not only now, but throughout all of eternity. But we also learned last week that this fellowship made possible by Christ is for those who have been baptized into Christ. We learned that baptism is a lot more than just getting wet. It’s not enough for us simply to be immersed in water; but in baptism, we actually identify with the death and the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Paul said in Romans 6 that we’re baptized into Christ, into union with Christ. Spiritually we are united, we become a part of the fellowship of Jesus Christ. We’re baptized into his death, we’re buried with him, we’re raised with him to walk in newness of life. Just as he died for us and he was buried and he was raised, so in baptism we spiritually die to sin. The old sinner is put to death and buried with Christ. And just as Christ was raised, that same power raises us up so that we can begin a new life in him.
What a fellowship we have in Jesus Christ. I want to go on and talk to you a little bit more about that fellowship today, and I want you to see first of all that it is the fellowship of those from every walk of life.
If you would, turn with me to Galatians the 3rd chapter, where the apostle Paul writes to the church there about their baptism and reminds them about this wonderful fellowship that we have in Jesus.
In Galatians chapter 3, beginning in verse 26 it says, For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus; for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Let me stop there for just a moment, because we see here how we became children of God’s family, a part of Christ’s fellowship: When we by faith were baptized into Christ. Again, many people have gotten wet, they’ve been immersed; but when you were baptized, were you trusting Christ? Were you trusting God to save you from your sins, to put you into fellowship with Jesus Christ? Well, those of us who have truly been obedient to the gospel by faith, giving ourself to the Lord in baptism, we’ve been united with Christ. We’re a part of his great church, of his great fellowship.
But look what it says about that fellowship going on in verse 28. He says, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
No matter your ethnicity, doesn’t matter your background, where you came from, the color of your skin, no matter your social status, doesn’t matter if you’re rich, you’re poor, you’re educated, you’re uneducated; and it doesn’t matter your gender, whether you’re male or you’re female. No matter who you are or where you came from, in Jesus Christ, in that fellowship, we’re all a part of the same family.
I love how Paul put it with these simple words in Romans 3:22 when he said, There is no difference. And then he reminds us in verse 23, For we’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Yes, you see there at the foot of the cross, when we see Jesus and what he did for us, we all stand on level ground. One’s no better than the other. We’re all sinners in need of the grace of God.
There, folks, is the answer. There at the cross of Jesus Christ is the only answer to our problems. The problems we see in our world of racial prejudice, the divisions that we see of class warfare among us, the battle of the sexes, the answer is found in the fellowship of Jesus Christ.
What a fellowship we have in the Lord. In the fellowship of Christ, bound together by a common faith that comes from God’s word, a common love for God, who gave us his only son to die for us, and a common spirit of God, the Holy Spirit that dwells in us.
Every time that I speak to people about the Lord and they come to Jesus Christ and are baptized into him, I remind them that you’re now a part of the greatest family on earth. Everywhere you go, you’ll find people who love you, who care for you in the fellowship of Jesus Christ.
What a fellowship, a fellowship of all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. No matter who you are, no matter where you came from, you can have that fellowship in Jesus Christ, in his church. Let me remind us of something else about this fellowship, especially those of us who come together each Lord’s day to remember the Lord’s death.
Let’s remember that it is the fellowship, the fellowship of Christ, that it is the fellowship expressed in the Lord’s supper. The Lord’s supper. The fruit of the vine, the juice in the cup, the unleavened bread, the bread that we partake of, the Lord’s supper, it is a communion. It’s the Greek word koinonia. It’s a sharing, it’s a participation with.
Look with me in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. And I want you to notice here in this passage how we see the Lord’s supper is in fact the fellowship of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 10, beginning in verse 16, The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread.
The Lord’s supper, he says, this cup, this bread, as we partake of this, it is a communion, it is a sharing, it is a fellowship of Jesus Christ; but not only a fellowship with Christ, but with one another, who also share in that fellowship of Christ.
You see, it’s Christ that brings us together every Lord’s day in the Lord’s church to partake of the Lord’s supper. We partake of that bread, and we do as he said, In remembrance of me. Remember his body that was given at Calvary for our sins. And then we partake of that cup, the fruit of the vine , and that juice is also taken in remembrance of his death.
Every Lord’s day we proclaim his death till he comes again. Let me read to you from 1 Corinthians chapter 11 beginning in verse 23, where the apostle Paul reveals to us what had been revealed to him concerning the Lord’s supper.
He writes, For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread. And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me. And in the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me; for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
What a beautiful, what a wonderful memorial Christ has left for us to remember his death and to proclaim his death until he comes again. You see, at the Lord’s supper each Lord’s day in the Lord’s church, he doesn’t just bring us into the same place, gather around that same table, but he brings us into the same heart, into the same spirit, into the same faith, into the same love, into the fellowship of Jesus Christ.
But there is another thing that I want to remind us of today concerning the fellowship of Jesus. It is the fellowship of the worship and the service of the Lord. And we find this in 1 Peter 2:4-5.
Listen to what Peter wrote here, 1 Peter chapter 2, beginning in verse 4, here’s what he says: Coming to Him, that is, coming to Jesus Christ, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, and precious, you also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
When we come to Christ, that living stone upon which God builds his spiritual house, the church, when we come to Christ, we come to worship, we come to serve him. Peter said we are a spiritual house, we’re living stones, built up on Christ, a spiritual house. He’s using a figure to describe the temple of God. It’s not a building like that in Jerusalem. It’s made of Christians. It’s not brick, it’s not mortar; but you see, we, God’s people who have come to Christ, we are the temple of God today, the greater, true spiritual house of God. And in that house we are a holy priesthood. A holy priesthood, Peter said. Built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood.
Every Christian has been separated from the world to be God’s priest. If you look in the New Testament church, you’ll see there’s no clergy/laity distinction in the fellowship of Christ. Not that church you read about in the Bible. You don’t read where some are elevated above others by titles of distinction, like Father or Reverend, or by wearing special garments, or taking special seats in the house of God, no. We’re all priests of God, serving in the house of God. And Peter says that we offer up spiritual sacrifices. Not animals like they did in the Old Testament at the old stone altar there in the city of Jerusalem there in the courtyard of the temple, no; but we offer up spiritual sacrifices, the sacrifice of worship and service to God every day and in every place. I love how the apostle Paul put it in Romans 12:1.
As we look through the book of Romans and we’re reminded of how the Lord has provided for us in his great mercy, salvation and forgiveness, we look through the wonderful teachings of God concerning salvation in the book of Romans, and we come to chapter 12 and verse 1, and Paul says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Yes, you see, because God has been merciful to us and has provided salvation for us through Jesus Christ, we ought to then offer ourselves to place ourselves upon the altar of God’s service, upon the altar of God’s worship.
We ought not let this world press us into its mold, but we ought to get into God’s word and let that word transform our minds to make us anew so that we can be truly holy and acceptable to God. This is how we as priests, as God’s house, as God’s priesthood offer up spiritual sacrifices to God.
There’s another passage in Hebrews 13:15-16 that also alludes to the old sacrifices of the temple worship and reminds us of how that we now in the greater temple of God, the church, offer up these greater spiritual sacrifices to him. Hebrews 13:15, the Bible says, Therefore by Him, that is, by Jesus Christ, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name; but do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
And so you see when we are praising God and we’re out here doing good, we’re sharing with others, we are in fact serving as priests in the house of God. The fellowship of Christ is much more than some social club or some athletic team or some educational institution. We are the worshipers and the servants of God, and God has given us a mission to do all that we can to help one another and all others towards heaven.
In Matthew 28:19 the Bible tells us to, Go and to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And Jesus says, I’ll be with you always, even to the end of the world.
Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ who are listening today, if we could just get serious about that. That’s what being a Christian is. That’s what the church is about.
If we could just get serious about every day and every place with everyone, trying to influence them for Christ, how that would change our lives, how we treat others, how we talk to others, how we carry on each day. And how that would change our churches to be a soul-conscious, evangelistic group.
And how that would change our world as we leave those buildings each Sunday morning and we go out into this world, remembering what Christ has done for us, realizing that the fellowship of Jesus Christ is a fellowship of service and worship to God. God help us to be that church.
But let me close with this final point concerning the fellowship of Christ. It is the fellowship of the faithful. I want to go with you to 1 John chapter 1 beginning in verse 5, because John wants us to know that we are really lying to ourselves if we think that having been saved by the blood of Christ, we can go on living just as we please and still be a part of the fellowship of Christ.
1 John 1:5, he says, This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Did you notice the many ifs in these verses? If we have we say we have fellowship with Him, if we walk in the light, if we say we have no sin, if we confess our sins? You see, our fellowship with Jesus Christ is conditioned upon these various ifs. If we walk in the light, if we confess our sins. Understand that darkness is associated with sin, with ignorance, with lies, with death; but light, it’s associated with righteousness, knowledge, truth, and life. The darkness, it hides; but the light, it exposes. And those who walk in darkness, they run from God to hide.
They’ve quit trusting Christ for salvation. They live in high-handed rebellion against God. They’re no longer in the fellowship of Christ. Oh, but those who walk in the light, they run to God for forgiveness. They keep their faith with Christ, and they make a sincere effort to live according to God’s will. They’re honest about their sins. They remain in the fellowship of Christ.
And it’s in that fellowship, folks, that we are assured of eternal life.
Let me turn over to 1 John 5:13 and notice what John writes to us here. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Yes, you can be saved by faith through Jesus Christ in your obedience to the gospel. In baptism he’ll put you into Christ, he’ll put you into his fellowship.
And if you continue to keep faith with Christ, then you can be assured of eternal life in that fellowship with Jesus Christ. That’s the confidence and that’s the certain hope that we have in Christ and in fellowship with him. So are you a part of the fellowship of Christ? Remember, there’s no other fellowship like the fellowship of Christ; and in the end, it’ll be the only thing that will matter to you. So come to Christ if you haven’t, and return to Christ if you’ve left him. And please let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.
>> Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, when the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift and the cables strain, will your anchor drift or firm remain? We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the savior’s love. It is safely moored, twill the storm withstand, for tis well secured by the savior’s hand. And the cables passed from his heart to mine can defy the blast through strength divine. We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the savior’s love.
>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me. I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free. I know, I know that my redeemer lives. I know, I know eternal life he gives. I know, I know that my redeemer lives. I know that over yonder stands a place prepared for me, a home, a house not made with hands most wonderful to see. I know, I know that my redeemer lives. I know, I know eternal life he gives. I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
>> We place you on the highest place, for you are the great high priest. We place you high above all else, all else, and we come to you and worship at your feet. We place you on the highest place, for you are the great high priest. We place you high above all else, all else, and we come to you and worship at your feet. And we come to you and worship at your feet.
ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you, so let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. You may e-mail us at email@example.com. Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966. And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.
All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace. From the toils that bind me it will bring release. Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall. Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go. When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall. Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.