Friday, December 17, 2010

What Fellowship Is

Adapted from a sermon on December 15, 2010

“ make all men see what the fellowship of the mystery is,

which from the beginning of the world has been hidden in God...

Paul, in Ephesians 3:8-9

The ultimate goal of everything Satan wants to destroy, or envies (he actually doesn’t want to destroy it; he wants to have a part in it, but he can’t) is the fellowship of the saints. And I dare say just a few of God’s people on earth really understand what fellowship is.

Fellowship is when we feel the same thing, when we have the same mind - without talking it over beforehand. It is when we have the same judgment concerning situations and people, and the same love for one another. And that fellowship is created when Wisdom comes down upon us. It is something created by God. It is not voted on by men. It is not of the will of man.

The apostle John taught that when you are born into the kingdom of God, you are born “not of blood [that is, of human blood, or human origin], nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man” (Jn. 1:13). What is so difficult to get across and to really get anchored in the hearts of believers is that, in Christ, the kingdom into which they are born is a kingdom where every thing that counts is not of human origin, or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man. If something counts in the kingdom of God, is it not of the will of man, not of the will of the flesh, and not of human origin, that is, not of the blood of this world - no human race, no human genealogy, or any such thing. Those are the three things John said that those in God’s kingdom are not of: you’re born not of the will of man, not of the will of the flesh, and not of “bloods” (actually, that word is plural in the Greek). That means, you who are in Christ are not of any human race, not of any human genealogy, or anything like that. You no longer have any national earthly identity.

But what God’s people, in the main, do not understand is that when you are born, you are born into a place where everything is that way - not just you. It is a kingdom where your communion with God and with one another is not of the will of man, or of the will of the flesh. It is not a physical thing. It is not of earthly origin. If you have communion in the kingdom of God, it will only be of God, just as your birth into His kingdom was only of God. Communion with god happens only when God creates something to eat with you. It is when He creates something invisible for you to share with Him. And when He creates something within me and within you for us to enjoy together in Christ, we have fellowship. It may be a common judgment of people, or of some circumstance, or the times in general.

But the important thing to understand is that if God doesn’t create it, we don’t have it - even if we both want it, even if we both vote for it, and even if we both claim to have it. Nothing of earth matters; nothing of earth makes anything happen in God’s kingdom. Nothing in God’s world is of the will of the man. It’s not of the will of the flesh, but of God. Everything. The doctrine. It cannot be of the will of man. It’s not, not in God’s kingdom. It cannot be of the will of the flesh. It cannot be of human origin. Nothing in God’s kingdom is any of those things. We who believe are in a different universe now. In Christ, we crossed a line into a heavenly kingdom that is in no part human. We are in a different world. We are in a different universe. Paul’s famous phrase, “Behold, all things become new”, is real. You are not even yourself anymore. Paul said, "I die daily" because he was living in that new realm, where his thoughts and his feelings were not of human origin. His very life was not of his own will or his flesh's will.

Our feast days, our baptism, our holy places, the robes you put on for worship - nothing in our kingdom is of the will of man. You know as well as I do, when you see those colorful choir robes in Christian churches, some man has willed to buy those pretty robes as opposed to what he considered less pretty ones. And because that choice and that purchase was of human will, it cannot be a part of the kingdom of God, which means that means that pretty choir robes do not belong in your world. God called you out of that world; now stay out of that world! Jesus is saying, “You were born into my world. Stay in my world and be satisfied.” Godliness with contentment will make you rich.

Many of God’s own people are not content with the world into which they were born when they were baptized with the holy ghost. They are not content with it because God’s world is not of the will of the flesh, and they are still in the flesh. Or they are not content with it because God’s world is not of the will of man, and they are still self- willed. Or they are not content with it because it is not of human origin, and their hearts are still attached to this world. Discontented and divided saints are still enamored of things that originate on earth; some ceremony, some doctrine, some familiar form that is not a part of God’s kingdom.

We, here, do not want any of that. We will not have any of that. The holy ghost will not have any of that, and if we’ll deny ourselves and have the holy ghost in our midst, he won’t allow us have any of that. He’ll save us from worldliness. He’ll save us from the religious system of Christianity, which is altogether of the world. He’ll save us from that unclean spirit so that when we can experience true fellowship in Christ, and so that we can come together as a body and have it be for our good and not to our harm. We benefit from our gatherings only when we live close to God, and we live close to God only as we follow the Spirit that is in no measure of this world.

Our sweet, shared life in the Spirit is the mysterious fellowship that Satan hates above all things because it is not of the world, and he cannot possibly participate in it. He has been cast out of God’s kingdom, and he is very angry about that. He envies and slanders everyone God still welcomes into the pure fellowship of that holy kingdom. Even if a body of saints were fooled into making room for Satan, even if they would be foolish enough to welcome him into their assembly, Satan could not participate in the fellowship of holiness because wherever he is, the fellowship is not, and he will never understand it.

If we are to continue to enjoy our fellowship in Christ, we must walk together in the Spirit and refuse those things that are of the will of man, or of the will of the flesh, or of human origin. Instead of trying to serve God in those things, let’s all do the will of God and serve him “in spirit and in truth”. Doing that, neither the things of this world nor Satan will ever pollute our communion with Christ and with one another.