Take your Bibles, please, and turn to 1 John 1:3-7 in the King James Version of the Scriptures. The Bible says: 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
I want to speak to you today on the subject: "Relationship and Fellowship."
There is much confusion in the religious community and among the general public about this particular subject. These two terms must be understood in order to have a proper view of Biblical Christianity. If you can grasp the truth of these two simple thoughts today, you will be more firmly grounded in your Christian faith. If you are not a Christian, we pray that through this short message today you will come to know Christ as your personal Saviour and experience the joy of knowing you are in the family of God to stay for ever. First of all, we are going to talk about the Relationship that needs to Established - the Bible calls this the "New Birth," or being "born again." It also calls it being "saved." This relationship is established when you become a Christian. When a person is born into this world, he is born a sinner, who is spiritually and morally alienated from a holy God. The Bible teaches that"all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" in Romans 3:23, and that "there is none righteous, no, not one" in Romans 3:10. Man is a sinner because he has a sinful nature that he inherited from his father Adam. When God placed Adam in the garden and he sinned by disobeying God's command, he was cast out of God's presence, and Paradise was lost. Every human being born into the world since that time has inherited a sinful nature, a pre-disposition to do wrong, an inclination towards evil. This doctrine of the sinnerhood of man flies in the face of what is taught in the public schools and many liberal religious institutions. The modern-day teachings that man is born with a spark of divinity within him that merely needs to be kindled until it ignites into a flame of blazing human goodness, or that man is the measure of all things and will one day through meditation and harmonic convergence reach his full human potential and bring in a Utopian world-order of peace and love, are religious heresies that are the elusive dreams of the kind of people who live in "Fantasia," not the real world of sinful, fallen humanity. The Bible picture of man is negative, not positive. Man is lost, he is a sinner, and he stands condemned before God. The word of God says that: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15). It says that: "Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom. 5:6). Jesus said that He came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). The Bible says that before conversion, man is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1) The scriptures tell us that the natural man is "alienated" from God and lost mankind is an "enemy" of God "in their minds" (Col. 1:21). The ultimate insult to the pride of man is the fact that we are not all God's children. The Lord Jesus Christ said to a bunch of religious folks in His day:"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do"(John 8:44). The Bible tells us in 1 John 3:10 that there are only groups of people in the world - the children of God, and the children of the devil. That is, there are those who are saved and those who are lost. Those who are in the family of God, and those who are not. There is no such thing as the "Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man" in the sense that God is the father of all mankind and all men are children of God. The truth of the matter is that for man to be saved and be a part of the family of God, there is a Relationship that must be Established. The Bible speaks of this as the "New Birth," as being "born again" and "adopted" into the family of God. In John chapter 3, verses 1 through 8, the Lord Jesus explained the New Birth. In doing this, He taught that there are two births. There is the physical birth, the fleshly birth, the natural birth - Nicodemus recognized this first birth as being born into this world from his "mother's womb" in John 3, verse 4, and the Lord called it being "born of water" in John 3:5, a reference to the "mother's womb." A person enters the human family through the first birth, but to enter the heavenly family a person must experience the second birth. This second birth is a supernatural, spiritual one. The Lord called it being "born of the Spirit" in John 3, verses 5, 6 and 8, and called it being "born again" in John 3, verses 3 and 7. Jesus Christ told Nicodemus in John chapter 3, verse 7: "Ye must be born again." When a person is born again, at that moment they have established a relationship with the God of Heaven. How is one born again? Scripture with scripture, the Bible being its own best interpreter, we find in John chapter 1, verses 12 and 13, that "as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that BELIEVE ON HIS NAME: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." The New Birth is experienced by those who RECEIVE CHRIST BY BELIEVING ON HIS NAME. To "receive" Christ means to accept Him, to take Him as your Saviour. To "believe on His name" means to TRUST IN , to RELY ON, to DEPEND UPON, the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sins and get you to heaven. The Bible says in another place, Galatians 3:26 - "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." A person is not saved, not a child of God, not in the family of God, until they have been born again by faith in Christ as their personal Saviour. Not until a person has repented of their sin and trusted in Christ and His finished work on Calvary can they honestly say and genuinely know that they are saved and on their way to heaven.
Have you Established a Relationship with God? Have you received Christ as your Saviour? Are you personally trusting Him today? If not, why don't you accept Christ and be born again this morning?
Secondly, we want to speak about the Fellowship that is to be Maintained. Once a person has established their relationship with God by being born again, they will want to maintain fellowship with their heavenly Father. When we speak of maintaining fellowship, we do not mean "staying saved." Once you are saved, you are safe for ever. You cannot lose your salvation, you cannot forfeit the salvation God has given you. We are saved by grace, not grease. I am not worried about slipping out of God's hand and going to hell. He'll keep me until the end, and He'll save me to the uttermost. In the text we read at the beginning of our message, 1 John chapter 1, verses 3-7, the context is not salvation, and it is not relationship. The context is FELLOWSHIP. Fellowship, as one man said, is two fellows in the same boat getting along. If one gets out of fellowship with the other one, then that's what we call "rocking the boat." Fellowship with God is "getting along with God" and enjoying His presence and blessing in your life. When you get out of line with God, you are out of fellowship with Him, and that's what we call being "backslidden."
Solid Rock Baptist Church - Serving the Lord in the Memphis/Mid-South area