THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-13-05
LESSON TITLE: "WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT FELLOWSHIP: WHERE CAN THERE BE NO FELLOWSHIP?"
"Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart," Psalm 119:2. Are you among those who are happy today because you are keeping the commandments of God?
Thank you so much for joining us this day for this time of offering to our God. It is my hope and prayer that we are all doing our best, today and every day, to accomplish everything according to God's precious will and His eternal purpose. Furthermore, won't you do your part this morning so that God may truly be magnified and so that all we sacrifice toward His throne will be done in spirit and in truth.
With these thoughts in mind, will you bow with me before His almighty throne in prayer.
As it is time to begin with our first song of the morning, I ask you to consider once again the great importance of prayer in the life of a Christian. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Did you think to pray."
(SONG # 1)
It won't be long before the holidays are here and we all will be getting together with family and friends. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas is only a little over a month away. I always love this time of the year as we will take advantage of the opportunity to express our love and care one for another. I also know many are excited about the gifts we often exchange, in fact my kids are already making their list!
With this in mind, I want you to think about an even great gift than all that is in this world. In fact, Paul put it like this when He spoke to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 9:15. There we read, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" Wow, just thank of all that our God has done, is doing and has promised to do for us! He has certainly offered us all many gifts that are beyond our worthiness and are indescribable.
Think for a moment about the gift of God's grace. Didn't Paul say, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God," Eph. 2:8! We also read about the gift of God's righteousness, mercy, love and even the Holy Spirit. On and on we could go, and the fact is that all of these things are made ready and just awaiting our response to take them - through an obedient faith.
One other gift I would like to mention is clarified for us in Romans 6:23, this familiar verse reminds us, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Did you hear that? The ultimate gift of God through our Lord Jesus is Eternal life! Oh, what a truly loving and caring God we serve.
Have you responded to the gifts which God offers to those who choose to obey? Are you among the faithful this day, who have committed themselves to the things of God, and thus received the gifts that God promises to all who will follow Him?
It is great to have brother Andy Heavin with us once again this day, as our guest speaker. As you may remember, brother Heavin is the minister for the Edgar Springs Church of Christ. We thank brother Andy for being with us and we look forward to him guiding our thoughts on God's Word this morning.
As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our series entitled, "What The Bible Teaches About Fellowship." Our specific discussion of the morning will answer the question, "Where Can There Be No Fellowship?" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Heavin will be leading us in our main study of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Andy Heavin
The topic of consideration this morning, "Where Can There Be No Fellowship?" is a delicate one and must be handled according to God's Word. Many assume that not having fellowship with someone is not Christian-like or they even go so far to say it is sin. It seems harsh and cold not to have fellowship with someone who is named a brother or a sister and it even seems hard that we couldn't have fellowship with someone that is not a Christian, someone who we might convert or they might say, "How are we ever going to convert someone to Christ if we don't have fellowship with them?" We must understand this morning that what we are considering is Biblical fellowship. It shares the bond of common purpose and the devotion that binds Christians together in Christ. "It is the fellowship of the one faith, " as mentioned in Ephesians chapter 4 verses 3-6. "It is the fellowship that is based on the light and God," as found in John chapter 1 and verse 7.
So this morning, as a Christian, as an obedient and faithful child of God, we want to answer the question: "Where Can There Be No Fellowship?" We may not have Biblical fellowship with those who are in error.
Tun to Romans chapter 16 verses 17-18. Romans chapter 16 there in verse 17 it reads, "Now I urge you brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." These people that Paul is mentioning here in Romans chapter 16, he says (that) we are to mark those who are contrary to the Word of God who cause divisions contrary to God's Word. Why? Because he says they do not serve the Lord God, rather they serve their own desires. They practice what they want to. They preach what they want to and teach those things, and we must not have fellowship with them less they continue to ruin and disturb the church.
Paul wrote back to the Christians here in Rome. He was writing to them in chapter 1 verse 7, we see this, and one of the big threats that the church in Rome was facing at the time was the Judaisers. These people caused much trouble in the church. They caused division and hindered the work of the church here in Rome. They weren't concerned about what God wanted, but what they wanted. So these people were causing divisions in the church in Rome. So we must not have fellowship with those who are in error.
Turn to Titus chapter 3 and I'll give you another example of those who we may not have fellowship with. Here in Titus chapter 3 verses 10 and 11, it says, "Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned." We are to reject a divisive man because he sins. He is self-condemned, it says. A divisive man is one who chooses a teaching not approved by God. He will approve for himself what he wants to believe, what he wants to practice. He'll do the things that he thinks is right. We should separate ourselves from such a man, it says, after one or two warnings. The idea is that this person isn't going to change their ways. Therefore, we shouldn't have fellowship with that person because they're going to try to lead others into the way and into their following and their error.
Look at 2 Peter chapter 3. Look what Peter wrote here to these Christians in 2 Peter chapter 3 starting at about verse 14. He says, "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by peace in Him without spot and blameless; and consider that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation as also our beloved brother, Paul, according to the wisdom given to him as written to you, as also in all his epistles speaking in them of these things, which are some things which are hard to understand which untaught and unstable people twist to their destruction as they do the rest of the scriptures," he says, "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." So we shouldn't have fellowship with those who twist the scripture, who teach their own things.
The reasons why are those same reasons we've also mentioned, but there is one other warning that Peter is giving here in his letter to Christians. He says the reason that we need to be careful of those who are in error, the reason we need to watch our fellowship is because "they might cause us to fall or lead us away into error with them." So we must be careful of our fellowship with those who twist the scriptures.
Also turn to 2 John chapter 9 and look at verses 9-11 with me. It says, "Whoever transgresses and does not abide with the doctrine of Christ does not have God." So whoever does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, they're not in the light. They don't have God. It says (that) who abides in the doctrine of Christ has what? Both the Father and the Son. So to have both the Father and the Son, to bed in the fellowship with God, we must abide in the truth, walk in the ways that God has told us to. But look at verse 10. He says, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds." John is saying that we shouldn't have Biblical fellowship with anyone who is in error. Those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ do not have God. If someone comes to you and does not bring the doctrine of Christ, he says that we are not to receive that person into our house. If we might think of the 1st century church and what John is saying here. Those who meet in houses or keep in mind that the church in the 1st century often met in houses and even some do today, and so when he says not to receive them into your house, I believe the point that he's trying to get across here is the man teaching false doctrine. We cannot allow him to have our house as a forum to spread his false teachings. We must not let this man stand before the congregation. We must not let this man teach this false doctrine before the church and so we're not to greet this person who teaches falsely. We're not to allow them into our house. We're not even to greet them, he says.
Why? Why did he say that we should do this? Why not have fellowship with this man? Can we not turn him back from the error of his way? What I'm saying is this person who is bringing false doctrine is not going to change his way. He says the reason that we shouldn't receive this person as one of our own because we share in his evil deeds if we allow him to have the church, the forum, to stand up and preach his false doctrine, we are allowing him to put that doctrine before us as Christians, that false doctrine, and in a sense it's like saying, "I'm okay, you're okay. It doesn't matter what you teach as long as you're doing something and giving praise to God it doesn't matter if it's false. But it does matter. John said it mattered. Paul said it mattered. John and Peter, all these men said it mattered of those teaching error and that we're not to have any kind of fellowship with them. We don't need them to lead us away or stand there and let them teach their false doctrines.
We also may not have fellowship with Satan or the unfruitful works of darkness. I can't personally say of anybody that I would know that would want to have fellowship with Satan. Why would we want to have fellowship with such an evil being? Turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 10. 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul is writing to the brethren here. He says, "Rather that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons." So we're not to have fellowship with demons or we might say Satan here because when a person sacrifices things to demons or to idols, we're merely worshipping Satan. When we're doing these things, we're giving him, we're falling into his trap which is what he wants and we're worshipping him. Any kind of fellowship with Satan or sin leads us away from God, so we wouldn't want to have any part of this.
Also turn to Ephesians chapter 5. Let's consider what Paul writes to the brethren at Ephesus in Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 11. He says, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." We're commanded to have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness. Why? Because if we, we participate in their sin. We're allowing that sin to creep into our lives and tear us away, so we should not participate in sin or with sinners. We are not to have any part of it, any part of sin or unfruitful works. But Paul wrote there to these brethren, he says, "But rather expose these people." Make their false ways known. Let their sin be known. Expose them before the congregation rather than having any kind of fellowship with these people.
We also may not have Biblical fellowship with unbelievers. Turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 6. 2 Corinthians chapter 6, here Paul writing again, starting in verse 14, he says, "Do not be unequally yoked together with the unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?" Verse 16, "And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the Living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
So here in 2 Corinthians chapter 6 specifically verse 14, it says that "We're not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers." And verses 14 through 16 poses five questions about our fellowship. He said, "What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness?" Why would anyone who is righteous want to fellowship that which is unrighteous? He also said, "What communion..." or we might substitute the word there, "...fellowship has light with darkness?" Why would those in the light want to fellowship those in darkness? He also says, "What accord or what fellowship has Christ with Belial?" Or we might think of the word "worthlessness" there. Why would Christ be a part of these things? "Or what part or what fellowship has a believer with an unbeliever?" Why would an unbeliever want to fellowship with somebody who does not believe in God? Or what agreement the fifth question posed there in that text "Or what fellowship has the temple of God with idols?" What fellowship would God's house have with those who are worshipping a false God? The answer to these questions is none. There is to be no fellowship with these. Why can we not be unequally yoked with unbelievers? In verse 16, it says, "We are the temple of the Living God." We are the temple of God. We're Christians. We're born again and we're not to have fellowship with those things that could lead us away. What place do Christians have with things contrary to God? If God is in us and walks with us, we cannot also have that which is sinful in us. We can't walk both ways, walk in sin and walk in the ways of Christ. It is contradictory so we must have fellowship with things that are in the light. That is why it is so important for Christians to come out from among those who are unbelievers and be separate as it says in verse 17. We're to be separate from the evil ways, from error, from things that can lead us away from God. We're to be separate from the world and its corrupting influences.
Turn to James chapter 4 and verse 4. James gives us good insight on fellowship with the world. He says, "There are adulterers and adulteresses. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend to the world makes himself an enemy with God." If we decide that we want to fellowship the world, fellowship error, then we're making ourselves an enemy of God as James has said here in chapter 4 and verse 4. As Christians, we should be lights shining in the world of darkness. We should be that light that everyone sees standing for the truth of God, not allowing error to come into our lives, to come into the church and destroy what Christ has built, destroy His church. "Our service, our worship to God must be pure and undefiled," James chapter 1 and verse 27. "And it should be done in spirit and in truth," John chapter 4 and verse 24. There is no room for anything, for anyone in the church who chooses to teach error. You may be saying, "Well, we can't have fellowship with those in error or somebody who is not a Christian, who doesn't believe?" What I am saying is somebody who is teaching false, and we've gone through the steps in Matthew chapter 18, who are unwilling to repent of their false ways, who've made the decision that, "I'm going to teach this false way no matter what," or somebody who totally flat out rejects God and says, "I don't want to believe in God at any measure." These are the types of people that we're to break our fellowship with.
John in 1 John chapter 5 says, "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." If we're walking in darkness, we're not practicing truth, so let us walk in the light as God is in the light.
(SONG # 3 - "At Calvary!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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May we always realize that the basis of our fellowship begins and ends with God. Therefore may we never strive to maintain fellowship with those who have chosen to sever their fellowship with God! True fellowship is founded in the light, where God is!