THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-20-05
LESSON TITLE: "WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT FELLOWSHIP: WHAT MUST BE OUR RESPONSE TO THOSE WHO FELLOWSHIP ERROR?"
The Psalmist said, "Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever! It is before this God of goodness and mercy which we assemble on this glorious Lord's Day. Thus may we praise our God!
Let me also say, good morning and welcome to our program. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God and we are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our Creator. Won't you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to the Lord, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let's begin our offering to God with a prayer!
As we continue to Worship before the throne of God, let's sing a song of praise that reminds us of just how loving and wonderful our God is. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "All Things Are Ready."
(SONG # 1)
There are many words in scripture which we often misuse or misunderstand. One such word I was reading the other day which is misunderstood is "vigilant." Christians are told in the scripture to be vigilant, but I think we often get this idea confused with being a vigilante or one who even goes beyond the law to accomplish their purpose.
So what is God talking about when the word vigilant is used in the scripture? In the dictionary, we would find the following definition for the word vigilant, "On the alert; or watchful." You see this simple word only means to be on watchful alert and to act on that which we know to be right.
Now let's place this in the context of several scriptures. In Colossians 4:2, Paul there talked about our need to be vigilant in prayer when he said, "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving." We are to be on alert and watchful in all things coming before the throne of God in prayer and with hearts of thanksgiving.
Another verse is found in 1 Peter 5:8, where this inspired writer tells us to be watchful and alert for the devil. There it says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." So we must be vigilant to beware of sin and the temptation of this life which Satan places before us.
Finally, I might mention another thing we are told to be watchful about. Let's read the words of Jesus as found in Mark 13:35-37. There we read, ""Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming; in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning; lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" The fact is Jesus is coming again so we need to be vigilant and ready for His return to take us home.
Yes the reality is that as Christians we need to be watchful and alert or vigilant in all things, so that we might be prepared and ready to face all the issues of life, and thus make the right decision as well as act in a way that will glorify our God and Father in Heaven. Are you vigilant for your Creator?
As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our study entitled, "What The Bible Teaches About Fellowship. Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with this question, "What Must Be Our Response To Those Who Fellowship Error?" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "All To Jesus I Surrender."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us today and now we want to look at another important topic about fellowship. We want to continue to build on these things that we have learned thus far and we so far have considered the fact of what fellowship is. We've also been able last week to look together at the fact and consider what is really the place where there can be no fellowship. And then today what we really want to focus on is one more piece to that puzzle, understanding how we react possibly to those who will fellowship error who are around us.
We want to review just a little bit because a lot of the heart or foundation of what we'll discuss today is based in the very same information that we have covered thus far. A few verses like 1 John, in 1 John 1 beginning in verse 5 I'd like to remind you there that it speaks about the fact that "God is light." In verse 5 particularly there how it talks about "as He is the light, in Him there is no darkness at all." I think that's such a clear verse in understanding that Jesus is the light and in Him there is no darkness that it really again gives us clearly two different approaches: the light, godliness, purity, righteousness, and then on the other hand, that which is dark which is just the opposite of God or light or righteousness which then would be unrighteousness, evil, those things which would be unpure, those things which would be contrary to His Will. So when we read here that God is the light and there is no darkness at all, completely no darkness, then we begin to understand better I think what is said in verse 7 that, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light," if you'll notice it states that, "we have fellowship with one another." Why? Because we at first had fellowship with God and where is the fellowship based? In the light. That's why it gives us the example there in verse 6 and it says, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we're liars." We don't practice the truth. Why? Because we're claiming fellowship but it's not based on the light. Why? There's a piece of darkness. There's a part of darkness. And so certainly we need to understand what that darkness is.
The Ephesian writer in Ephesians chapter 5 verses 8-10 tells us that that darkness or those things that are contrary, contrary to the Word of God. I hope you'll write these passages down. Because of time, we won't be able to turn to all of them, but certainly they are important passages. There again, Ephesians 5 verse 8 beginning.
We might also consider 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 9 where it again clarifies for us the fact that darkness is something that is contrary to the light, something that is the opposite thereof, and darkness is really pertaining to that which is sin.
One verse that I would like to also look to though and specifically read together is found over in the book of 1 John. There in 1 John chapter 2, John does such a good job in helping us to see the difference between that which is light and that which is not light. There in verse 8, I want you to notice what John says about light and darkness. In verse 8 he says again, "A new commandment I write to you which thing is true in Him and in you because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining." The true light. Now if you look in the context there and you look at verse 9 and following, you see that he gives us the clear example that again God is light. When we are right with God, we are in the light. And when we sin, for instance the example he gives here is when we do evil or we hate our brother, then we are in what? Darkness. So it's clear again this contrasting idea of darkness and light, of sin and godliness, and what we learn about fellowship is again based on light or goodness or righteousness or purity whereas darkness is everything contrary.
So what does that tell us then about those who will participate and practice darkness? Well it tells us from a spiritual standpoint that we can' have fellowship. You might remember in our first lesson that we talked that fellowship can be even in relationship of secular things, having a fellowship in a fraternity. That's not what we're discussing here. We're discussing the fellowship based on spiritual things, based on God, those things that pertain to eternal salvation and so therefore again it's based on God and where God is the light, and as God is the light, as there's no darkness in Him there can be no darkness at all in those who might expose error. And certainly then that is what we must learn in relationship to our lesson today.
As we think of the next step, the response to one who is in error. What must we do? Well, we learned last week, we cannot have godly fellowship with those in error. Well, what's the problem? The problem is that sometimes my brethren and those who are fellow Christians in the eyes of God will stand fellowship error, will still fellowship those who are caught up in denominationalism, caught up in a spiritual sense, they will extend the hand, the right hand of fellowship. In a spiritual sense, they will extend fellowship to other brethren who are erroneously teaching error and openly saying those things which are contrary to the Will of God.
What again do we find in scripture, what is it that the Bible tells us about those who practice darkness, about those who go along with such darkness again? We must read what is found there in Ephesians 5 and verse 11. The familiar verse again tells us that, "We have no fellowship with..." what? "...the unfruitful works of darkness." We cannot fellowship with that which is unrighteous, that which is dark, that which is unfruitful in the eyes of God and rather we must do what? Expose that darkness. We must expose darkness. And why must we expose darkness? Because if we don't, we're going to be affected.
I love how Paul puts it, if you'll turn over to 1 Corinthians chapter 5. In 1 Corinthians chapter 5, he helps us very well understand the discussion here by understanding how we will be affected. In fact, you might notice here how in verse 1 he's talking about someone who was actually caught up in sexual immorality who was a brother, and certainly in the church of the New Testament such as the church at Corinth, they had various members who had come out of sin and obeyed God but yet many had returned to it. And so now we have a man here as a brother in Christ, in the church of Corinth, who was involved in sexual immorality. And so what does he begin to encourage them in relationship to these things? Drop down if you will to around verse 4 and read with me. "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together along with my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus," notice verse 5, "deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." What a beautiful verse because this is saying here, "We've got a man whose involved in sexual immorality and they have no desire to repent, have no desire to change their lifestyle." Well, what do we generally do today in the church? We look the other way. We act as though it's not happening. What Paul said is that we are to do what? Expose it. Deliver such a one to Satan. And why? Because we love them. We want them to understand we will not fellowship what God will not fellowship and that is sin. That's darkness. That's exactly what it says here that they might be saved in the day of judgment. Well, I don't want to get on that too much because that's our topic next week to understand why we do what we do, why we withhold our fellowship, why we love individuals enough to try to encourage them to repent.
But go on there as it states in the next verse, verse 6. "Your glorying is not good," and he says, "do you not know that a little leaven leavens a whole lump." He says, watch out because when you allow that sexual immorality around you, and you turn your head and you act like you don't see it, eventually it is going to affect others. And they're going to say, "Well, you can practice sexual immorality in the church and it's no big deal because others are allowing sin. Everybody is overlooking the sin and turning their heads away from the sin." So we see here that when we allow sin amongst the camp, it affects the whole camp.
We see here further in verse 7 that they were then told "to purge out that lump," to get rid of it.
I want you also to notice with me what the example goes on further to show us as we move on down to verse 9 because it's there again in 1 Corinthians 5 and verse 9 that he says, "Then don't keep company with those who are in sin." And in verse 11, he actually mentions quite a few different sins and really says, "Any type of sin, don't condone such." Now if you can teach that brother and they repent, praise God. But if they continue in it and you've exhorted them and they will not repent, what does the scripture say? It states there clearly that we're to address it. We are not even to eat with such a person and we're to withhold our fellowship and even put that evil person away from amongst us (verse 13). Why? Because we love them. Because I don't want to be drawn in to that sin. I don't want to be made an evil companion of those who are evil (1 Corinthians 15:33). I don't want to be leavened with the whole lump. I want to remain pure. I want to remain righteous, godly. I want to be as the Bible says, in the light as God is in the light because that's the only place where salvation exists and where salvation will continue to exist.
Another example is found over in the book of Titus. There Titus in his book, as he received it from the apostle Paul, and if we'll look there in chapter 1 beginning in verse 9, he again deals with elders there and the responsibilities of elders. If you'll notice, there are things such as in verse 9 where it says, "You must stand on sound doctrine." There is the idea that in verse 13 as mentioned that "you must remain in a sound faith." In fact, verse 13 also says that, "You must rebuke those in error." Why? Because again, we don't want to fall into it. Because again, we don't want to be affected by it. Why? Because again, in verse 15, "we're to be those who focus on pure things, those who are holy and righteous," and in verse 1 of chapter 2, it goes on to say, because "we also want to speak that which is proper according to sound doctrine."
We're going to end with our thoughts this morning in 2 John. And now bringing the lesson full circle, we want to understand again. How do I react again to one who condones and fellowships error? Well, the thing that we must learn is that sin is sin, and what we read there in 2 John and we'll look specifically at verse 11, "When we condone error and sin and evil deeds," the Bible says, "we share in them. We are guilty of them." If I have a brother and he's condoning or going along with evil things and I go to that brother and I teach and I study with him and I work with him and I beg and I plead and I show them the love of Christ and I say, "Repent, repent, repent. I want fellowship with you." But yet they will not repent. Guess what that brother has become guilty of. Sin, because they will not repent. They have chosen darkness rather than what? Light. Now, let me ask you a question. Can God fellowship darkness? Is there any darkness in God at all? Whether it be the one who is initially sinning or condoning the sin who has also guilty of it. You see, the Bible also teaches us that once we have condoned or accepted or turned our heads away from the sin, we are guilty and share in its evilness and therefore, guess what happens. I don't have to wonder about fellowship because God has already broken the fellowship, not because of God, because of the individual. Who chooses to sin? You or God? You choose that. And so when you choose to disobey God or to condone error, you sin and thus by your sin, sin separates you from God. Isn't that what Isaiah said? And that sin keeps you from your God until you do what? You repent and you get your life back right. And so that's why we read here that we must beware of this and be careful. We need to take heed to that. We need to understand it. We need to believe it because we cannot have fellowship where God Himself has no fellowship.
What about in areas of worship? When our brethren are involved in error or worship that is error and our brethren are condoning error in others who are worshipping improperly. They're in sin. How can we fellowship what God cannot fellowship?
What about in the areas of salvation? What about if someone says, "You don't have to be baptized to be saved," and then my brother condones it. He has sinned and they have sinned. How can I fellowship the error that God Himself cannot fellowship? Well, the Bible tells us to stand with God. Be strong with Him because as long as we stand with Him, we will not only save our souls, but all those who hear and obey (1 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 16).
What will you do with Christ? What will you do as He commands you to stand firm in His Word? Be strong and courageous and be firm for your God.
(SONG # 3 - "Angry Words!")
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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As God determines fellowship, may we ever stand with Him in relationship to those we extend fellowship to. For the true Child of God can not participate with, condone or accept darkness of any type! Is your God the basis for Fellowship?