THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-4-05
LESSON TITLE: "FELLOWSHIP: IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE FOR ALL OF GOD'S PEOPLE TO BE OF ONE MIND?"
Who or what are you seeking on this wondrous Lord's Day? Well, the Psalmist David said we should, "Seek the Lord and His strength," furthermore, we are encouraged to, "seek His face ever more!" It is my hope and prayer that we are all seeking the one and only true God on this His Holy Day!
And now may I welcome you to our program. We are glad that you have chosen to assemble before almighty God today. Furthermore, as those who love and desire to serve Christ, what a privilege and opportunity this is to worship His glorious name. I hope and pray that we will each do our best to participate in this worship to God and to offer those sacrifices which are acceptable in His sight.
So, as we begin our reverence to God the Creator of all, won't you bow with me before His throne at this time.
Well, its time to begin our first song of the day. So, won't you do your part in praising God at this time, as we sing together, "God Is Calling The Prodigal!"
(SONG # 1)
As we mentioned earlier this morning, there are many things which we are required to seek as those who love God. Another great verse to help us with this discussion is found in Matthew 6:33. There we read, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Here we find that we are also commanded to seek God's Kingdom first. However, what is really wonderful about this command is the promise which is attached to it. As you notice, Jesus went on to say, "and all these things shall be added to you!" What things? Well the context tells us that the things we have need of both physical and spiritual. In fact the point is made in the text that if God will care for the rest of His creation how much more will He care for a living, breathing soul? Wow, we truly serve a loving and caring God.
Finally, let's mention a verse found in 1 Peter 3:11, which brings up another thing we must seek. There we read, "Let him seek peace and pursue it." Are you a peacemaker and do you seek to be peaceable with all men? The first part of this verse actually says that we must "turn away from evil." You see the reality is that if we want to be pleasing to God we must leave those things which are contrary to His Will and do what? Seek peace!
So the question is your's this day, "just who or what are you seeking?" Are you seeking the things of this life or the glory of this world. Or are you seeking that which is according to the teaching of Christ, that which leads to eternal life? May we all seek God, His Kingdom and peace in this present world!
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our lesson, we are still engaged in our series on "Fellowship!" Our specific lesson of the day answers the question, "Is It Really Possible For All Of God's People To Be Of One Mind?" So please stay with us for this study from God's Word, and I will be leading our thoughts at the appropriate time. Now let's join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Hark The Gentle Voice Of Jesus."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us this day as we now go to God's Word and look at our specific lesson of the day.
We'll begin, if you will with me, in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 in verse 33 where we read with Paul in the words that he gave to the Corinthian brethren. "For God is not the author of confusion, but peace, as in all the churches of the saints."
It's exciting to note here that God is not a God that desires confusion. He doesn't want there to be problems or there to be a lot of discord or really issues that really divide us as those whom He loves or those who love Him. So therefore, it's spoken here that God is a God of peace and not confusion or division.
We might also notice in verse 40 of the same opening there in 1 Corinthians 14 that it says, "Let all things be done decently and in order." You see, as God is a God of peace and doesn't want confusion or things not to be done in an orderly way, He has given us a pattern. He has laid down for us want He wants through command and example and as well inference and He shows us exactly what we must do in order that we might not only have peace with Him but peace with one another in doing those things which He requires. So He does want things to be done according to His order.
But then think about the world that we live in. Ask ourselves the question: Why are there so many religions? Does it seem as if there is peace or as if there is confusion in this world or the religious world? Does it seem as if maybe there is a possibility that there is rather division than a common bond in Christ Jesus? When we look around and we find so many who are preaching different things yet claiming to all be of Christ and followers of Christ, yet you speak to one and they say you must do this for salvation. Then you speak to another and they say you must do something else for salvation. Is this peace? Is this unity? Is this what God speaks about of common and pure and righteous fellowship?
I want you to notice as we have already begun that the question must be asked and considered: Can we understand things alike? When God speaks in the Word about the need to have peace and we see confusion, is it possible to have peace? When God speaks of unity and we find division in the religious world, is there a possibility of unity? And when we look around and see that there is to be order but yet there is often no order and rather those who worship and follow Him have no limits and really are without limit. Again, we look to a God who asks for order. Is that possible? Is it something that God has asked for that is impossible? That's the first point that we might want to consider this morning. Does it make sense that a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, a great and mighty God such as the one that we serve, does it make sense that He Himself actually requested and asked of us something that is impossible? Does that sound like a just God? Does that sound like a loving or a caring God who says, "I want you to be one who is orderly. I want you to not have confusion, but peace and to have unity," and yet you can't achieve it. Does that make sense? Does it make sense that God would be so uncaring? That God would trick us in some way? Certainly it does not. So when God asks for these things, it's not by some chance or by some reaching for a star as if we can grasp it. It is something that is simply in our grasp if we choose to serve Him, love Him and put Him first.
So we want to consider this day: Is it possible that we be like-minded? Is it possible that we are what God wants by having the same mind, the same heart, by speaking the same things, in that all people know that we're one? You see, in our grand discussion of fellowship, this is where we are in our discussion because we have seen the Bible says we must have pure fellowship. We must be unified. We must be one, and it is based on our likenesses, not our differences, and at the end of the day we have seen that we withhold fellowship at times because of a great love and a great desire that we have for people to come back and to repent and follow God. But then what the religious world shows mankind today is that it's not possible to be one. It's not possible to be unified.
I want you to look with me at what John said in John 17. We often refer to this as the prayer of unity for Jesus, that is Jesus in the Father and then he also mentions His disciples and then furthermore even those who would believe someday. But I want you to notice what Jesus said there in verse 20 when He says, "I do not pray for these alone but for all those who will believe in Me (notice) through their word." Notice verse 21. "That they all may be (what?) one as you Father are in me and I in you, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me." You see there, if we want the world to know that God sent us, if we want verse 22 to tell the world and to show glory to God through all that we do and say, how do we accomplish that? By being one! By being one in what manner? In like manner as to the Son is one with the Father. We are to be one just as Jesus and the Spirit and the Father are one.
Let me ask you a few questions in relationship to that. Would you say that Jesus comes up with His own ideas, that Jesus says, "Well, Father, I want to do it this way? I'm not interested in your way." Can you imagine Jesus saying, "I think it would be better this way, Father." Can you imagine the Holy Spirit saying, "Well, I don't agree with either one of you because I like this color..." Can you imagine that type of an attitude in the godhead, that somehow there is disunity and disagreement and discord rather than like-mindedness? Certainly this is not the case because even the Lord in the flesh as He lived on this earth clarified for us that He was all about not His own Will, not His own authority, but guess what. The Fahter's. He says, "What I came and spoke was not mine. It was His, exactly what He said." That's unity. That's fellowship. That's the love that we're talking about that says we can be alike, just as the Father and the Son were alike.
Read with me if you will in John 12. That's the point where Jesus confirms here in the discussion the things that we've just made mention of. Verse 48 or rather 49 beginning, He says, "For I have not spoken of my own authority," this is Jesus speaking, "but the Father who sent me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak." Who gave the command? The Father. Jesus said, "I'm not doing it of my own. What I speak is from the Father. What I say is from the Father." Verse 50 continues, "And I know that His commandment is everlasting, therefore whatever I speak, just as the Father has told me, I speak." That's not hard to understand is it? They were able to speak one thing. They were able to have one mind. Why? Because they were unified. They had pure and total and complete fellowship. Certainly that's the same thing that our God asks of us.
I want you to turn over also in the book of John chapter 4. There in John chapter 4 we'll notice together in verse 34 that Jesus said that His work was about the Father, not His own work, but the Father's work. Jesus said, "My food is to do the Will of Him who sent me and to finish His work," John 4:34. Finish His work. My work is not my own. It's the Father's work. I came to do what? His work. I came to speak what? His Words. I came to say what? What He told me to say, not of my own authority, but His authority. What does that tell us? Were the Father and the Son and the Spirit one? Certainly they were. And therefore is it possible that the same Jesus who said, "Father, as you and I are one, I would that they, my disciples, be one just as we are (what?) one." Well you see, it just makes common sense.
But we don't have to stop there because the scriptures go on continually to talk about the need for a oneness, a like-mindedness and a working together and a fellowship based on the like, God, and not based on what we want, what we think, what we like or what we feel, but again on the ability to be alike, not to be different, not to accept or condone or to say, "Well, we can all do it the way we want to and it is still okay," but to say, "What does God want?" and to find His way and to do it His way.
There's several verses we want to look at at this time and I'll encourage you to get out a pen because we're going to move through these fairly rapidly. I want to look together at these. They're very short, but they all make similar points to prove the discussion that we're now having beginning there with Paul in Romans chapter 12.
There in Romans chapter 12, Paul was talking about our need to again have the same mind or be of the same mind toward each other. In chapter 12 and verse 16 when he said, "Be of the same mind toward one another and do not set your mind on high things but associate with the humble and do not be wise in your own opinion." Here it states that we are to do what? Have one mind.
I'd like you now to turn over to the book of Corinthians with me in 2 Corinthians 13 and verse 11. To the Corinthian church, Paul said, "Finally brethren, farewell. Be complete." Paul, how do we be complete? "Be of comfort, and be of one mind, thus, living in peace." Again we find that one-mindedness was really encouraged in the brethren.
In Philippians, if you'll turn there over in the book of Philippians, we have several verses. Chapter 1 verse 27 tells us that they must be those who he said, "Stand fast in one spirit with one mind striving together in the gospel." One spirit, one mind, one gospel.
There again in chapter 2 and verse 2, he says that, "They might have the same mind and be of one accord in one mind." Well again, these aren't difficult things to understand.
In chapter 3 again, we find in verse 16 that he says there that, "We must strive to obtain (what?) a walk according to the same rule that we might be of the (what?) same mind." Well there's a rule. There's a pattern. There's something that He has established, that we might have the same what? Mind. The same heart. The same thought process, so that we might be one. So that we might be one as the Father and the Son are, that we might be one.
Peter, as well, helps us to understand there in 1 Peter 3 and 8 that, "We all must be of one mind," as the apostle said there.
I want to end over in 1 Corinthians, possibly one of my favorite verses in relationship to this discussion because I think better than any other in the context, Paul deals with the situation that we're talking about, with fellowship because he doesn't want there to be division as we'll see. But he says there was division and so he's trying to help them that they might not have division, but he says there is something required that there be no division. If you'll notice there in chapter 1 of 1 Corinthians and verse 10, he says, "I plead, I urge, I beg you, brethren, by the name of (what?) the Lord Jesus Christ that you speak the same things." Why? He goes on to say, "That there be no division among you..." If we speak the same things, if we have the same mind, guess what. We're not divided. Then he goes on in the same verse to add this, "...Among you that you might be perfectly joined together..." Paul, how are we perfectly joined together? We speak the same things. But he doesn't stop there because he says that we "...be perfectly or completely joined together in the same mind and the same judgment." Wow! What could be clearer? He says, "I don't want division." But guess what. Divisions only based on one thing. God. Division is not based on the fact that I will stand for God. It's based on the fact that you won't follow God or you won't adhere to His Will. Why? Because division is only found when people won't speak the same thing, when they won't have the same mind, and when they will not follow the same judgment.
What's the foundation? What's the basis? Where must the fellowship must be again started? With God. The light. When we know the light is there and we are of the light and I speak according to the light because I've learned it directly from the light, I speak the things and I say the things and my judgment is based on the light, on God. And thus, when you do it, it's the same and then we have fellowship. Why? We speak the same things. We have the same mind, the same judgment and there is no division, but yet we are perfectly joined together because what we're about is not each other, not about what you think or I think. It's about God. And so that's the importance of our study together, to understand that over the last many weeks that certainly fellowship is at the heart of a life of a child of God. It's so important, of the utmost importance, but it's based on only one place and that is God and that we can today as His church just as Jesus and the Father did, speak the same things, have the same mind and be of one accord. And so we must do that because God commands it. And if we do it, we will be one in God as He is with us and we will have the promise of eternal life to live with Him forever and ever. Amen.
(SONG # 3 - "How Great Thou Art!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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May we all strive to be one in mind and soul, just as God commands us through His word. For there is no other way to be pleasing before our Creator, that to strive to "speak the same things," just as God requires!