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FELLOWSHIP

Peter 1:1-7 Building a godly Life
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS OF A GODLY LIFE

LOVE________________
KINDNESS___________________
GODLINESS__________________________
PATIENCE/ ENDURANCE___________________________
SELF-CONTROL_____________________________________________
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD______________________________________________
VIRTUE/MORAL EXCELLENCE______________________________________________
FAITH/DILIGENCE________________________________________________________________
GOD’S PROMISES_________________________________________________________________________

2Peter1:8-13
For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,

WHAT’S THE POINT?

Living a godly life. Yes, but Peter goes further and defines what that looks like so we can know when we are living a godly life. It is clear that the end is not to just do religious things but to do whatever we do because we love people. Peter exposes the clear path to that. The process starts in a specific place and ends with a specific mode of living.

As I experienced the journey through life, I developed a cynicism about people that kept me from feeling anything toward them but pity. The whole human race, to me, was just a pitiful, disgraceful humiliation. Maybe that is necessary discovery for some of us “realists” to ever get to a point of repentance. We must have to have a thorough understanding of what repentance is “from.”

Though that is a truthful and realistic appraisal, it is only half the story. It is because of that truth that God’s love for His prize creation had to either abandon them or act to save them. For love, His kind love that knows the truth but still loves, to be shared with and reciprocated from huMans there had to be a system through which it could be chosen. His kind of love is a determination of the will. For there to be FELLOWSHIP between God and huMan beings it must be chosen, treasured, guarded and permeating every thought, word and deed. A determined choice as opposed to an obligatory chore.

True love is not a set of things you do or a feeling you have. It is a life form. And those of us who have tasted the transforming power of that life are convinced it actually is the one and only real thing, the brand name, the capital L – LIFE! But, for there to be a choice to make, there must be an antagonistic opposite. We take that for granted don’t we. There sure is an abundance of hatred, greed and self worship in our world. We’ve grown up in it and “that’s just the way it is.” Most people either go with the flow and learn how to take all they can, while they can – OR – they do their best to fight the flow and do the “right thing” and care for other people as much as they can.

The problem is that both of those groups are rejecting the installation of the capital L – Life, the real thing, and they are doing it for the very same reason. That reason permeates all life outside of intimate FELLOWSHIP with God. Their reason is that they will not give up the illusion of their right to control. We can call it “the right to Personal Sovereignty.” While the bad guys are having all that “fun” as they ignore that they are killing themselves, the “good guys” are wearing themselves out.

FELLOWSHIP? Isn’t that just a side product of being in the Christian Family? The church has an extra room called the “fellowship hall” and that’s where we go to do that. John isn’t saying that the whole purpose of announcing the good news of Jesus Christ is for the purpose of going over to the fellowship hall after church and having some punch. If you think that, you deserve a punch. In the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary, there is an interesting definition that isn’t in the new dictionaries.
8. In arithmetic, the rule of proportions, by which the accounts of partners in business are adjusted, so that each partner may have a share of gain or sustain a share of loss, in proportion to his part of the stock.

“Buying into” something together as partners is a good picture of the Biblical meaning of fellowship. So our fellowship is around, and our partnership is in, that which we have a share in together, whether in loss or in gain. John is pointing out that the purpose of sharing what He has touched and seen is that we would buy into, with the apostles, what they have discovered is the single greatest, the only source of life, Jesus.

Peter’s buddy, John, focuses on the goal of the apostles’ ministries –
1John:1-3
The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life. This one who is life from God was shown to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and announce to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was shown to us. We are telling you about what we ourselves have actually seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Paul points out that his ministry is connecting people with God and each other. He calls it a ministry of reconciliation.

Ro 5:9-11 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

2Co 5:18,19 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

They are saying that the purpose of giving their lives to announce Jesus and glorify Him is to connect you and me with that experience, with that person, that life, with Jesus. He wants us to have a share of the life of Jesus which is just what Jesus was praying for in John 17. “Thank You Father for these that you have given me and all those who will believe, buy into Me, because of their lives.” Then He prays, “I want them with me. I want them to be one as we are one.” Connected, fellowshiping with us and with each other.

Right there is where I find myself saying “Amen!”, enjoying the warmth of the words and sentiment, then shaking it off and going on about my business. I like the words but the concept is not practical to me. I care too much about what I think. I cherish to much my anonymity, my independence, my personal sovereingty. The most impossible thing in the world for me to do is to give up my claim to my right to myself and become absorbed into a group identity, a fellowship. I hear myself defending my snobbery with, “You gotta be kidding me! Fellowship with him? That guy is out to lunch,” or “We’re just on different frequencies.” Having given up my claim to my right to myself, I would be able to see that Jesus knows we’re all out to lunch. We are all on a different frequency when it comes to His point of view.

Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

His reaction is to lay everything down for the sake of making the connection, to even endure the extremes of human pain and sacrifice for the joy of having fellowship with me? JOY? Wo! Now that’s a different frequency! BUT, that is exactly what He has commanded that we do. Love like He loves. See what He sees. Act, motivated by His perspective.

God is love. Yes, real love. And He offers it to us. He offers LIFE with a capital L. Fellowship.

Paul’s narrative of the COMMUNION, another word saying the same thing as FELLOWSHIP, found in 1Corinthians 11 is not there just to give us a more concise ritual. His point isn’t really the Communion ritual at all. Listen from verse 17.
17 ¶ Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.
19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.
21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
23 ¶ For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
n29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

He’s not teaching about refining the ritual of the Bread & Wine. He’s talking about what happens when we, God’s people, forget the point. Communion, Fellowship, God’s love in action.
What happens? “Many are weak and sick and have died.” Why? Because we have not discerned THE BODY.

COMMUNION, FELLOWSHIP, GOD’S LOVE IN ACTION.

DISCERNING THE BODY

Ephesians 2: 19-22
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Look around you. There’s the Body. When we come to the table of the Lord, are we really remembering Him? Are we remember what He wants us to remember? The Bread and the Fruit of the Vine are emblems of more than just the actual bleeding flesh of Jesus on the Cross. They are emblems of the capital-L-Life that was bought for us by His sacrifice. And His sacrifice was not martydom. It is the very illustration of and authority for that Life He wants to live in us. Not just to show what Jesus can do to you but what He can do through you when you surrender to be a vessel for Him to live His life for those that you can touch around you.

 

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