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Blueprint for Spiritual Connection: Fellowship

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The Fellowship of the Ring: a story of joy in Jesus

ME:
In the book “The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Rings” an unlikely fellowship is assembled of 4 Hobbits, 3 men, a Dwarf, and an Elf. They are charged with a quest, a great adventure to overcome evil in Middle Earth and ultimately restore the true king. Their journey is hard, filled with fights both internal and external, doubts about why they are on the adventure, loss of hope, loss of life, separation for a time, but ultimately victory over the evil lord Saruman and the crowning of Aragorn as the rightful king.
I have had this type of fellowship three times in my life. A group of men that...
YOU:
How about you? Have you experienced this type of fellowship? Have you gone on a quest in your life, a grand adventure with a band of brothers or sisters that brought you closer to Jesus Christ? Or, have you only experienced a collection of wayward souls, aimlessly going through life, fighting the next noble appearing cause to come along and being left unfulfilled, alone, invaluable.
The church is supposed to be that fellowship! We as believers are supposed to walk this way every day with each other. Small groups of believers who fight alongside brother Jesus and come together with other small bands weekly to celebrate victory, encourage each other, equip and arm for the battle, and leave refreshed to return to the fight.

Fellowship Leads to Joy in God

GOD:
Let’s see what God has to tell us today. We will look primarily at but I want to draw your attention for a moment to the Gospel of John.

Fellowship Leads to Joy in God

In this first letter, we find a church in disunity with factions fighting over the incarnation (that is Jesus as God, becoming man and living as us) In this church, the incarnation is under siege. Some are begining to fall away in doubt.

The Word: Fellowship from the Beginning

1 John 1:1–5 ESV
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 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.
1 John 1:1–4 ESV
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
1 John 1:6–10 ESV
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:5–10 ESV
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. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
John, the author of both the Gospel and these letters to churches, records in , a time when Jesus used a grape vine as an illustration. He drew the minds of those in attendance to think about vine dressing and how the week parts of a grape vine are cut away and how other vine branches are grafted into the main vine to receive the life, the essence of the main vine.
What John shows us is:
Abiding in Christ (the Vine) = disciple
By abinding as a disciple, we experience His Joy flowing through us
Union with Jesus is a pre-requisite to loving each other
If we are not grafted in, so that the life blood, the essence of His Joy and Love flows through us, then we cannot truly express love to each other. What we call love, what we call compassion, becomes in reality, selfish and self-motiviated
I draw your attention back to Verse 3 of the letter of 1st John. The writer says “we proclaim this” ==> in order to have fellowship.
In both the Gospel of John and in John’s letters, the Word, the Logos, is central.
Intimate fellowship in Christian community is only possible where there is consensus in the identity and presence of Jesus
In vs. 1,2 the “All of this”==> we proclaim to you is explained in v. 3 with an emphasis on the Word (Jesus) and not on the actual proclaimation, not on the learning just to gain knowledge about Jesus, but so that, we all might be together in common agreement and fellowship WITH the Word which is Jesus.
In her recent song “More than anything”, Natalie Grant expresses beautifully this proper emphasis. She sings:
I know if you wanted to you could wave your hand, spare me this heartache and change your plan, and I know any second you could take my pain away. You know more than anyone that my flesh is weak, and you know I’d give anything for a remedy, and I’ll ask a thousand more times to set me free today. When I’m desperate and my hearts overcome, all that I need you’ve already done.
Help me want the Healer more than the healing, help me want the Savior, more than the saving, help me want the Giver, more than the Giving, help me want you Jesus more than anything!
The purpose of Fellowship is not us it’s Him!
In John Eledredge’s first book entitle “Sacred Romance” he addresses the begining of the Love and Joy that God is calling us into:
The story that is the Sacred Romance begins not with God alone, the Author at his desk, by God in relationship, intimacy beyond our wildest imagination, heroic intimacy. The Trinity is at the cneter of the universe; perfect relationship is the heart of all reality. Think of your best moments of love or friendship or creative partnership, the best times with family or friends around the dinner table, your richest conversations, the acts of simple kindness that sometimes seem like the only things that make life worth living. Like the shimmer of sunlight on a like, these are the reflections of the love that flows among the Trinity. We long for intimacy because we are made in the image of perfect intimacy. Still, waht we don’t have and may never have known is often a more powerful reminder of what ought to be.
Our story begins with the hero in love. As Frederick Buechner reminds us, “God does not need the Creation in order to have something to love because within himself love happens.”
And yet, what kind of love? Ther are selfish forms of love, relationships that create closed systems, impenetrable to outsiders. Real love creates a generous openness. Have you ever been caught up in something that you just had to share it? a sunset, a waterfall, a simple song of a bird — and you think, if only my beloved were here. The best things in life were meant to be shared. That is why married lovers want to increase their joy by having children. And so it is with God. “Father,” Jesus says, “I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am. i want them to be one heart and mind with us” . Overflowing with the generosity that comes from the abundance of real love, he creates us to share in the joy of this heroic intimacy.
In both the Gospel and the letters, John’s singular interest is not some abstract doctrine about Jesus, or even the importance of preaching Jesus.
Rather
It is the reality of Jesus’ personhood - His incarnation or His entry into history.
The Word is the creative self-expression of God by which the cosmos was made. He is inviting us up together, in fellowship with Him and with each other.
US:

Pre-requisites for Christian Fellowship

Pre-requisites for Christian Fellowship

Embrace the Word
Experience this life of Fellowship Koinonia
Experience this life of Fellowship Koinonia
Koinonia is shared labor
Koinonia is a common enjoyment of a gift or experience
Gain this reference point of common experience
WE:

The Joy of Christian Fellowship:

3. Gain this reference point of common experience
Is NOT:
A passing association of people who have a common sympathy for a cause
An academy where in intellectual consensus about God is discovered
IS:
A common living of people who have a shared experience of Jesus Christ

To Share This Fellowship:

Talk about this experience with Jesus Christ
Urge each other to grow deeper in it
Discover that through it, we build a life together unlike any shared life in this world.
Christian Fellowship is not just horizontal — but vertical with the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit
Living and experiencing the Father and Son together results in Joy!
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