God emphasis over people emphasis and the body of Christ. John 13:33
Pray for the families of the 30 fallen soldiers whose remains have just returned home. Schedule – 7pm or 7:30pm or 8pm?
In describing the function of the body of Christ, each member to another, there may have been some confusion as to certain points or principles that I taught.
It was brought to my attention by a member of the body of Christ, a man that I respect in his wisdom of the word and his dedication to the plan of God, that I may have emphasized people over God or God’s word. I assure you that that was not my intent and if one person got that feeling then there may have been others and I want to clarify that while I expound more on the function of the body of Christ.
Never ever emphasize people over God. That is a mistake that usually leads to different forms of legalism.
I will expound on this in the coming classes. But there is something I want to share from my own experience in the last 21 years.
Pastor Bob, Col. Thieme, Ellen, Scott, Mike, Phil, Pastor John, GBC congregation, Susan, Margie, Kathy Hector, Marc, Rita, Oregonians…
This is what I think of when I think of the word fellowship. However, fellowship as a word has come to mean social life between Christians and therefore I have to be cautious when I use that term. With many of the people I have mentioned I have not had a social life, but they have impacted me.
So, do I owe my walk to them, absolutely not! They were motivated by God. God uses people. And that is my emphasis in John 13:33-34. The Lord was leaving. The disciples were filled with fear. The Lord was leaving His love so that while He was seated at the right hand of God they could fellowship with Him through reciprocal love and they would reap the benefits of the royal family of God.
"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' \
In context, this passage refers to the help given to the Jews during their great persecution during the Tribulation. Whey doesn’t Christ come down and give them water, food, clothing, and a place to rest? He will when He returns, but He uses positive people.
How much more should we have this attitude when our fellow believer in the Church age is in union with Christ?
So in the next few classes I will expound on our function towards one another as members of the body of Christ and every step of the way you will see that God emphasis and doctrine emphasis, always takes precedence over people emphasis.
Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
/Christ is the ultimate gift and grace means that the gift was given with no strings attached. You are in union with Christ forever and it didn’t cost you a thing. \
One of those gifts that come with the 40 gifts you receive at salvation is a spiritual gift which is to be used for the continued communication of the word of God to the body of Christ.
/1 Cor 12:26
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. \
The common good is not a pot luck dinner or a fellowship circle or a meeting for the singles or any type of social life amongst Chrisitans, but it is the use of your spiritual gift so that the local assembly can function in the clear communication of the word of God in a comfortable environment and can continue to produce doctrine to anyone who desires it without cost.
Therefore, we are called to Bible class. If we cannot be there for face to face, we now have the technology by which you can be a functioning member of a local assembly.
We gather together for the purpose of receiving Bible doctrine. That is the purpose of the local assembly. Christian fellowship can be fun, it can be rewarding, but it can also be dangerous.
Some people are lonely, some are seeking spouses, some are full of approbation lust, and some are seeking for a social club. The local assembly is none of those things. When these types of so called “fellowship” occur in a local assembly usually some form of legalism begins to build. I will not allow that.
What I was attempting to teach, and maybe not so well, is that we do need to be a part of a body or a local assembly with a pastor teacher. I was not trying to put any significance or spirituality on Christian social life.
We are to gather together to hear doctrine.
/We are to love one another as Christ loves us so that we don’t become a hindrance to anyone’s intake of doctrine. \
We can encourage one another and even encourage a person to attend Bible class, but our encouragement doesn’t keep them there. Only positive volition will keep a believer’s priority on the word of God.
We are not here to become best friends, and hang out with each other, and have a commune type of atmosphere.
Being a member of the body of Christ means that you gather together to listen to the word, which is receiving instruction from the head, and when you mature enough you exercise your spiritual gift to facilitate the communication of the word by fulfilling the needs of the local assembly. Whether we become friends or not is completely inconsequential.
/God emphasis must always take precedence over people emphasis. The Christian life is fellowship with God.\
In the momentum that occurs from consistent doctrinal intake coupled with reciprocal love for God we mature to the high ground of sharing the happiness of God and occupation with Christ.
In the application of the doctrine through which we have matured we do the following through the love of Christ:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore [they were judging one another], but rather determine this — not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.
So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
You are built up by doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit. The things that we pursue that make for peace and building each other up is the love of Christ, which only comes from the word of God.
God is the source of encouragement.
Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus;
that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
/1 Thess 4:18
Therefore comfort one another with these words.
/1 Thess 5:11
Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
/1 Thess 5:15
See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.
/1 Peter 4:8-9
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
/1 Peter 4:10
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
/1 Peter 5:14
Greet one another with a kiss of love.
/1 John 1:7
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.
/1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
I don’t have to know you well to do these things.
Fellowship with Christians has over the years come to mean social life with Christians, and I have to admit, I don’t think of it that way at all. But until now I’ve never really thought about using another word for what I’ve always seen as Christian fellowship.
In my mind I’ve always thought of fellowship as like mindedness, a common purpose, locking shields in the face of adverse attacks or schisms in the local assembly, and having the love of Christ towards another believer.
I have fellowship with Christ, but I don’t hang out with Him socially. This is how I have seen it.
But since fellowship simply means social life to many others I will from now on make that distinction.
Peter states what I’ve been trying to explain.
2 Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence [virtue], and in your moral excellence, knowledge [more perception of doctrine];
2 Peter 1:6 and in your knowledge, self-control [application under the F/HS], and in your self-control, perseverance [doctrine top priority], and in your perseverance, godliness [walking in a manner worthy of your election – executing the spiritual life];
2 Peter 1:7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness [love for the brethren], and in your brotherly kindness, love [I/U love for all].
/ “brotherly kindness” – filadelfia[philadelphia] = brotherly love or love for the brethren.\
So I would like to define true fellowship or brotherly love as it applies to Christians:
/Fellowship is an agreement of thought, an agreement of purpose, and through capacity for love it abolishes all possible hindrances that occur from mental attitude sins.\
Fellowship is not a conversation, though a conversation may occur. It is not a gathering, though a gathering may happen. True fellowship is far above the human forms of fellowship. It is the supernatural unity of the body of Christ with Christ as the head.