Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Fellowship

When God created Adam and Eve, they were sinless and flawless. The weather was always perfect; never too hot nor too cold. Imagine living in a perfect garden setting with no weeds. The roses had no thorns. The animals lived together, tame and in perfect harmony with man. There was no sickness, pain or death. They were not even troubled with head aches or tooth aches or back aches. Best of all, they enjoyed walking and talking in perfect freedom and fellowship with God, their Creator, in the Garden of Eden. They lived together in total freedom and happiness. Oh, there was one fruit tree in the midst of the garden, of which God has warned them never to eat, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But that would be no problem- or would it?

Enters Satan
Satan, who had been cast out of Heaven for rebelling against God, was now freely roaming the earth, intent on corrupting God's new creation of Adam and Eve. In his cunning and wisdom, he chose to indwell a snake and approach Eve. Eve was not afraid of snakes, nor of any animal in the Garden. Why should she be? She had never known pain or suffering or fear or sorrow. Life was perfect in the Garden of Eden.

Satan brazenly and boldly dared to accuse God of witholding good from Eve. She listened to him and fell for his line and ate the forbidden fruit. By this time Adam came to his beloved wife and seeing what she had done, he joined her in disobeying God. Eve had been deceived by Satan. Adam knew exactly what he was doing, but in his love for his wife, he could not bear to be separated from her.

Fellowship Broken
After they sinned against God, by disobeying God's one prohibition, eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; they immediately sensed guilt and tried to hide from God in the Garden. The fellowship with God was broken and they must die and so must all their progeny. The entire human race inherited their father's sinful nature and the consequences, death. Satan had won a victory over God, but that victory was short-lived.

God desired fellowship with Adam and Eve and took the initiative.
God, in His love and grief; searched them out, found them, and confronted them with their sin. When they had confessed their sin to Him, He forgave them, killed animals (perhaps lambs) and clothed them with the animal skins and banished them from the Garden of Eden. Those slain animals were the first of millions of lambs and other animals that would be slaughtered on Israel's altars as God's temporary plan of atoning for sins. Leviticus 17:11 All those slain animals pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who would be slain for the sins of the world. John 1:29 Hebrews 10 Nine hundred and thirty years later, Adam died. Read the intensely interesting and important story of the creation and the fall of Man in Genesis chapters 2 and 3..

Fellowship with Christ and His Church is a blessed privilege into which each Christian is called.
God saved us because he loves us and longs for us to walk in fellowship with Him as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden before they fell into sin. Paul writes, "God is faithful by whom ye were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." I Corinthians 1:9

Our fellowship with Christ and with believers can be marred by sin.
God cannot have fellowship with us; nor do we desire fellowship with Him when we are living in sin. When we confess our sins to God by admitting that what we are doing is sin and that we have offended our Holy God, the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross, cleanses us immediately and the fellowship is restored. See I John 1.

Our fellowship should also be with all who have put their trust in Christ.
If we are in fellowship with God, we are also in fellowship with all those who belong to Him through faith in Christ. We are part of God's family, regardless of our church affiliation. It's not difficult for those who love Christ to recognize others who also love Christ.

Christians tend to limit their fellowship with others.
We limit that fellowship to Christians who think as we think. We so soon forget that Christ is our center of fellowship and we get caught up in our own little circles of friendship and shut out those who do not agree with us on every point.

For example, our denomination or association of churches can tend to restrict our circle of fellowship. We enjoy being with those who agree with us doctrinally. The more points on which we agree, the closer our fellowship. That's understandable, but it's wrong to hold fellow believers at arm's length. It's good to talk with and read the works of those Christians who do not hold to our doctrinal position. God gave pastors and teachers for the building up of His Church. I'm so thankful that early in my ministry I read the books of those beyond my doctrinal circle. If one holds to the doctrine of Christ, and if he is walking in fellowship with Christ, he probably has something worthwhile to teach..

Our preferences for Christian music and styles of worship, Bible translations and church government may or may not have biblical support; but none of these should be the reason for building a wall between Christians and cutting off fellowship.

Dr. Bob Jones Sr. used to talk to "his preacher boys" about fellowship with other Christians. He taught that if we magnify Jesus and His Word we can have fellowship with all those who love Jesus and His Word. I have found that to be true.

As much as I love God's people, I will not allow the pressure of a fellow Christian to apply a tourniquet of "separation" and restrict my fellowship with the rest of the Body of Christ.

In Heaven, all the lesser circles will be banished. There will be only one circle of fellowship and that will be around Jesus the Son of God who shed His blood and rose again from the dead to save us from our sins.

With those who reject Christ as Saviour and Lord, there can be no fellowship, though we can show love and friendship to them. But those who have received Christ as Saviour and Lord are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can enjoy sweet fellowship together as long as Christ is exalted and the things we disagree on are not made an issue.

In recent years I have learned that a true servant of God loves Christ's Church and guards the unity of the Spirit. A false servant of God loves his position more than he loves Christ's Church and he will do whatever it takes to promote his position, even if it means tearing apart Christ's Church. Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 17 to watch out for those divisive leaders who would promote their own agendas within the church, regardless of the damage they do to the Body of Christ.

Paul writing to the carnal, immature Corinthian Christians in his first Epistle to them, chided them for their childish sectarianism and pride. I encourage you to read I Corinthians 3:1-9 and join the ranks of those who magnify Jesus and are laboring to win a lost world to Christ.

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June 5, 2006 - Posted by | Fellowship

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