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The Test of Obedience (v2)

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Children’s Question:
INTRODUCTION
Once upon a time (as all good stories begin), a group of people agreed that they should spend each Sunday in the presence of one another. Many were not satisfied with the 6 or 8 hours each week, but also came together each Saturday for several more hours of fellowship. They did not count the minutes past sixty. Rather, with great conviction they said, "We've come for a purpose and will not leave until it has been accomplished - even if it takes all day." Then at the end of the day, they would cheerfully pledge to return next week.
Their commitment was thing of which to marvel, as it was not a passing fancy affected by the weather. They met winter and summer! When the spring rains came and when fall's chill was in the air, other people might be heard to say, "The weather kept me at home; I was unable to be present in my spot," but not the faithful souls of whom I speak.
Their sacrifices often involved more than time. They gave of their money (as the Good Book says), for their hearts were very much involved in the weekly gathering. Not only to buy gasoline - many came from great distances – but they would often part with significant amounts of cold, hard cash for that which seemed worthy of their attention.
Sometimes they would disagree with one another as humans are prone to do. Sometimes they spoke to one another in a less than courteous way, yet they would return week after week, for their purpose for assembling was far greater than their personal likes and dislikes.
Their persistence knew no bounds. Often their numbers were so large that there was not suitable convenient parking and they had to walk along a dangerous roadway.
Their faithfulness was something to write in hopes of inspiring others to heights of dedication. This is truly the stuff of which men and women of greatness are made!
I salute… "Mary's Weekend Swap Meet and Flea Market."
You thought I was talking about Church didn’t you? It’s a logical conclusion, since this is what many expect churches to be! A place where people meet often, demonstrate commitment, and fellowship with one another.
It’s a logical conclusion, since that’s how we expect churches to be! A true church is supposed to be dedicated to fellowshipping with one another.
“Many were not satisfied with the 6 or 8 hours each week, but also came together each Saturday for several more hours of fellowship. They did not count the minutes past sixty.”
NOTICE THE COMMENT: “Many were not satisfied with the 6 or 8 hours each week, but also came together each Saturday for several more hours of fellowship. They did not count the minutes past sixty.”
but also came together each Saturday for several more hours of fellowship.”
These people liked being together. They liked it so much, one day was just not enough!
They liked it so much - that just one day was just not enough.
BUT
“Sometimes they spoke to one another in a less than courteous way, yet they would return week after week, for their purpose for assembling was far greater than their personal likes and dislikes.”
The early church was like this; they gathered, fellowship, enjoyed one another’s company.
Acts 2:42 NLT
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
Acts 2:42–43 NLT
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.
Acts 2:42–47 NLT
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
Even when they didn’t like other as much as they should they still committed themselves to gathering together because their purpose in gathering far outweighed any personal conflicts they may have had.
ACts
There was a time when all that mattered was following Jesus, meeting one another’s needs, and hanging out with friends. It seems the Church has a way of rallying and supporting one another when persecution comes, then we scatter and do our own thing when everything is good.
ILLUSTRATON
It’s a lot like military units. I’ve noticed when the nation is at war we rally and support one another; however, in peacetime Soldiers tend to take their jobs less seriously, the nation complains about the cost so we reduce the size of the military, and people get apathetic until we are threatened again.
I guess that’s human nature...
Fellowship is part of what makes a true church… a church
Because without fellowship you ain’t got much.
As far as God is concerned - fellowship for the church – is essential.
In ACTS “… they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and FELLOWSHIP, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
In fact it’s so important that it became part of what made the early church… the church.
tells us that after those 3000 folks were baptized into Christ on Pentecost
“… they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and FELLOWSHIP, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
These 4 activities (doctrine, breaking of bread, prayer, and fellowship) were so important to God that God TOLD us about it in this passage. And because the early church was so dedicated to Fellowship (and all those other things) they were able to withstand:
small disagreements
opposition
and even outright persecution and death!
They were held together by their commitment to God… and to each other.
They were held together by their commitment to God… and to each other.
This particular translation provides us a better understanding of fellowship, and how to deal with our failures.
Answer: Fellowship is just hanging out together.
Wanting to be together.
You see, Church is NOT a building.
It’s not a theatre where we come to be entertained.
It’s not a place where we get together to do business.
YOU are the church, not this building.
Church is a family.
This building is just where we get together for “family gatherings”.
In the first two Chapters of John’s Epistle, the Apostle provides for us, a better understanding of fellowship, and how to deal with our failures.
1 John 1:5–2:6 The Message
5 This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him. 6 If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. 7 But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin. 8 If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. 9 On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. 10 If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God. 1 I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. 2 When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s. 3 Here’s how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments. 4 If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words. 5 But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. 6 Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.
Scripture:
So…what is fellowship?

What is Fellowship?

Biblical definition of FELLOWSHIP is: “Joint participation with one another in things possessed in common.”
In today’s English FELLOWSHIP could be defines as: “Just hanging out together!”
just hanging out together.
Answer: Fellowship is just hanging out together.
This morning, “The Church” gathered in the Chapel building!
You see, Church is NOT a building.
It’s not a theatre where we come to be entertained.
It’s not a place where we get together to do business.
YOU are the church, not this building.
Church is a family.
This building is just where we get together for “family gatherings”.
Chapters 1 and 2 deal with fellowship and what to do when it is broken...

FIRST, notice John’s test of true fellowship—he tells us our WORDS should match our ACTIONS; see the contrast between saying and doing:

John gives us the test of true fellowship. Note the contrast between saying and doing:
Note the contrast between saying and doing:
1 John 1:6 NIV
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
1 John 1:8 NIV
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:10 NIV
10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 2:4 NIV
4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
1 John 2:6 NIV
6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
FIVE times John tells us our talk should match our walk!
“If we say …” (1:6, 8, 10; 2:4, 6). Too many times we are better at the “talk” than we are at the “walk”!
I. The Test of Obedience (1:5–2:6)

John reminds us God is light, and there is no darkness in Him!

1 John 1:5 ESV
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
John introduces us to the image of light (). God is light, and Satan is the prince of darkness (). To obey Him is to walk in the light; to disobey is to walk in darkness. Keep in mind that fellowship is a matter of light and darkness; sonship is a matter of life and death (3:4; 5:11–12). John points out that it is possible for people to say they are in the light, yet actually live in darkness. Note the four “liars” here: (1) lying about fellowship, 1:6–7; (2) lying about our nature, saying that we have no sin, 1:8; (3) lying about our deeds, saying that we have not sinned, 1:10; and (4) lying about our obedience, saying that we have kept His commandments when we have not, 2:4–6.
Luke 22:53 NLT
53 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”
The analogy John makes is clear: When we obey Jesus we walk in the light; and when we disobey Him we are walking in darkness!
When we obey Jesus we walk in the light; and we disobey Him we are walking in darkness!
You see, FELLOWSHIP is simply a matter of walking in light or walking in darkness!
John points out it is possible for people to say they are in the light, yet actually live in darkness.
NOTICE THE FOUR LIES THAT TAKE US FURTHER AWAY FROM GOD:
Lying about fellowship - v6
1 John 1:6 The Message
6 If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim.
Lying about our nature, saying that we have no sin - 1:8
1 John 1:8 The Message
8 If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense.
ying about our nature, saying that we have no sin, 1:8; (3) lying about our deeds, saying that we have not sinned, 1:10; and (4) lying about our obedience, saying that we have kept His commandments when we have not, 2:4–6.
Lying about our deeds, saying that we have not sinned - 1:10
1 John 1:10 The Message
10 If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.
Lying about our deeds, saying that we have not sinned - 1:10
Lying about our obedience, saying that we have kept His commandments when we have not - 2:4–6
1 John 2:4–6 The Message
4 If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words. 5 But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. 6 Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.
Lying about our obedience, saying that we have kept His commandments when we have not - 2:4–6.
1jn
John writes us to remind us of our obligation to ensure our WORDS MATCH our actions. FELLOWSHIP is found when we walk in light, and it is destroyed when we choose to walk in darkness.
HOWEVER, we live in a REAL world and the fact is, CHRISTIANS DO SIN! So...

How do we deal with sin?

First of all, if we sin, it DOES NOT MEAN we must be saved all over again! Sin in the life of the believer BREAKS FELLOWSHIP but does not destroy sonship. A true Christian is always accepted even if they are not acceptable!
A true Christian is always accepted even if they are not acceptable!
Sin in the life of the believer breaks the fellowship but does not destroy the sonship. A true Christian is always accepted even if he is not acceptable. How does God provide for the sins of the saints? Through the heavenly ministry of Christ. We are saved from the penalty of sin by His death (), and we are saved daily from the power of sin by His life (). The word “advocate” means “one who pleads a case” and is the same Gk. word as “Comforter” in . The Holy Spirit represents Christ to us on earth, and the Son represents us to God in heaven. His wounds testify that He died for us, and therefore God can forgive when we confess our sins. Read carefully . The word “confess” means “to say the same thing.” To confess sin means to say the same thing about it that God says. Keep in mind that Christians do not have to do penance, make sacrifices, or punish themselves when they have sinned. Every sin has already been taken care of at the cross. Does this give us license to sin? Of course not! The Christian who truly understands God’s provision for a life of holiness does not want to deliberately disobey God.
How does God provide for the sins of His Children?
Note: Understand NOT everyone is a child of God! ONLY those who trust in Jesus Christ are children of God! All others belong to Satan!
John 8:42–47 NLT
42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
How does God take care of our sin problem AFTER we become His child?
First, remember He saved us and keeps us thru Christ!
Romans 5:6–9 NLT
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.
ro 5:
Second, God the Father supplied an Advocate!
The word “advocate” means “one who pleads a case” and is the same Greek word used for the Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel and for Jesus here in .
a term used for the Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel and for Jesus in .
We are saved from the penalty of sin by His death (), and we are saved daily from the power of sin by His life (). The word “advocate” means “one who pleads a case” and is the same Gk. word as “Comforter” in . The Holy Spirit represents Christ to us on earth, and the Son represents us to God in heaven. His wounds testify that He died for us, and therefore God can forgive when we confess our sins. Read carefully . The word “confess” means “to say the same thing.” To confess sin means to say the same thing about it that God says. Keep in mind that Christians do not have to do penance, make sacrifices, or punish themselves when they have sinned. Every sin has already been taken care of at the cross. Does this give us license to sin? Of course not! The Christian who truly understands God’s provision for a life of holiness does not want to deliberately disobey God.
The Holy Spirit represents Christ to us on earth, and the Son represents us to God in heaven. His wounds testify that He died for us, and therefore God can forgive when we confess our sins. Read carefully . The word “confess” means “to say the same thing.” To confess sin means to say the same thing about it that God says. Keep in mind that Christians do not have to do penance, make sacrifices, or punish themselves when they have sinned. Every sin has already been taken care of at the cross. Does this give us license to sin? Of course not! The Christian who truly understands God’s provision for a life of holiness does not want to deliberately disobey God.
The Holy Spirit represents Christ to us on earth, and the Son represents us to God in heaven. His wounds testify that He died for us, and therefore God can forgive us when we confess our sins.
1 John 1:9 NIV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
The word confess means “to say the same thing [that God says]”
Keep in mind that Christians do not have to do penance, make sacrifices, or punish themselves when they have sinned… some denominations require that but NOT the Bible!
Read carefully . The word “confess” means “to say the same thing.” To confess sin means to say the same thing about it that God says. Keep in mind that Christians do not have to do penance, make sacrifices, or punish themselves when they have sinned. Every sin has already been taken care of at the cross. Does this give us license to sin? Of course not! The Christian who truly understands God’s provision for a life of holiness does not want to deliberately disobey God.
Read carefully . The word “confess” means “to say the same thing.” To confess sin means to say the same thing about it that God says. Keep in mind that Christians do not have to do penance, make sacrifices, or punish themselves when they have sinned. Every sin has already been taken care of at the cross. Does this give us license to sin? Of course not! The Christian who truly understands God’s provision for a life of holiness does not want to deliberately disobey God.
IN FACT, every sin has already been taken care of at the cross! BUT that does NOT give us license to sin!
The Christian who truly understands God’s provision for a life of holiness does not want to deliberately disobey God.
CONFESSION to God enables us to receive His forgiveness and have our fellowship restored!
ILLUSTRATION
I mentioned last week I have a prodigal son—he went his own way, to do his own thing. Over the years Billie and I have grieved his absence, prayed for him to change, and longed for him to return. We hope he come back before we die.
We long to hear him admit he made a mistake when he exchange our love for drugs, his wife’s love for strangers, his son’s love for streets.
If he returned today and sought forgiveness, we would readily welcome him home. We would help him put his life back together. We would want him to shelter under us where he would be safe from harm and fellowship with his family.
HOW MUCH MORE does God long for those of you, His Children, to return to Him and fellowship with Him?
“My dear Children, I am writing this to you…we have an Advocate…He is Jesus…who sacrificed Himself to pay for your sins [so you can come home!”
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