…fellowship… (four times in 1 John 1:3, 6, 7)
The word “fellowship” is the Greek word koinonia. It means intimacy of relationship.
All of the apostle John’s books carry this key theme: Jesus loves us so this is how we should live differently because of that love.
Koinonia means giving all I’ve got to someone else, and graciously receiving all they have to give to me. This creates a…
John says that fellowship with God can’t help but be expressed in fellowship with others. And then fellowship with others stimulates us to a deeper relationship with God. This love dance is itself a picture of the Ultimate Koinonia of the Trinity—“I am in You, Father, and You are in Me. These followers of Us are in Me and I in them,” said Jesus.
Don’t try to pursue a relationship with Jesus on your own, but find people that you can be in fellowship with and then watch how that deepens your fellowship with God!
Scholars, tradesmen, politicians, theologians, pastors, and martyrs—all have spoken or written about the greatness of God over the past two millennia. In How Great Is Our God we are treated to a sampling of these writings. Check out my full book review by clicking here, and then enjoy this second set of quotes.
“Some of us, no doubt, have to live outwardly solitary lives. We all live alone after fellowship and communion. We die alone, and in the depths of our souls we all live alone. So let us be thankful that the Master knows the bitterness of solitude, and has Himself walked that path. Jesus Christ’s union with the Father was deep, close, constant; altogether transcending any experience of ours. But still He sets before us the path of comfort for every lonely heart: ‘I am not alone, for the Father is with Me.’ If earth be dark, let us look to Heaven. If the world holds no friend, let us turn to Him who never leaves us. If dear ones are torn from our grasp, let us grasp God.” —Alexander Maclaren
“The blessedness of individuals must not be determined by the value of their known wealth, but according to the voice of their conscience within them.” —Ambrose
“If God gave you not only earth but heaven, that you should rule over sun, moon, and stars, and have the rule over the highest of the sons of men, it would not be enough to satisfy you, unless you had God Himself.” —Jeremiah Burroughs
“Father in Heaven! What is a man without You! What is all that he knows, vast accumulation though it may be, but a chipped fragment if he does not know You!” —Soren Kierkegaard
“Great are You, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and Your wisdom is infinite. You awaken us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless, until it rests in You. They that seek the Lord shall praise Him: for they that seek shall find Him, and they that find shall praise Him. I will seek You, Lord, by calling on You; and will call on You, believing in You; for to us You have been preached.” —Augustine
“In the Old Testament, there are twenty times as many references to the second coming of Christ, as to His first coming. … The Cross must ever precede the Crown. He came with the Cross, fulfilling Isaiah 53; and now He is coming with the Crown, the Messiah and King.” —Aimee Semple McPherson
“The Word is the one Shepherd of things rational which may have an appearance of discord to those who have not ears to hear, but are truly at perfect concord. … For all the Scripture is the one perfect and harmonized instrument of God, which from different sounds gives forth one saving voice to those willing to learn, which stops and restrains every working of an evil spirit.” —Origen
“So desperate is the need that we have no time to engage in vain babblings. While we are discussing the exact location of the church of Galatia, men are perishing under the curse of the law; while we are setting the date of Jesus’ birth, the world is doing without its Christmas message.” —J. Gresham Machen
“If the Christian plan is true, then all others are false. If others are true, then there was no need of the sacrifice on the Cross.” —Albert Barnes
“I want through the day to walk with God; God has taken charge of me, He is going with me Himself; I am going to do His will all day in His strength; I am ready for all that may come.” —Andrew Murray
“When the time for the Advent of the Antichrist approaches, people’s minds will grow cloudy from carnal passions, and dishonor and lawlessness will grow stronger. Then the world will become unrecognizable. People’s appearances will change, and it will be impossible to distinguish men from women due to their shamelessness in dress and style of hair.
There will be no respect for parents and elders, love will disappear, and Christian pastors, bishops, and priests will become vain men. At that time the morals and traditions of Christians and the Church will change. People will abandon modesty, and dissipation will reign. Falsehood and greed will attain great proportions; and lust, adultery, homosexuality, secret deeds, and murder will rule in society.
At that future time, the churches of God will be deprived of God-fearing and pious pastors, and woe to the Christians remaining at that time; they will completely lose their faith because they will lack the opportunity of seeing the light of knowledge from anyone at all.” —Nilus the Elder (d. 430 AD)
“It is the Bible itself that drives us out beyond ourselves and invites us, without regard to our worthiness or unworthiness, to reach for the last highest answer. … We need only dare to follow this drive, this spirit, this river, to grow out beyond ourselves toward the highest answer. This daring is faith; and we read the Bible rightly when we read it in faith. The Bible unfolds to us as we are met, guided, drawn on, and made to grow by the grace of God.” —Karl Barth
“Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God or the devil? That God reigns supreme in Heaven, is generally conceded; that He does so over this world, is almost universally denied—if not directly, then indirectly. More and more are men relegating God to the background. … Therefore we need not be surprised that men exclude Him from the realm of human affairs. … In light of this [Isaiah 55:8-9], it is only to be expected that much of the Bible conflicts with the sentiments of the carnal mind, which is at enmity against God.” —Arthur Pink
You can check out the first set of quotes I shared from How Great Is Our God by clicking here. Stay tuned: more quotes coming soon!
Without exception, all human beings have exactly 168 hours in a week. No one gets any bonus time and no one has any hours taken away. We’re supposed to get 8 hours of sleep a night, and most of us work about 40 hours each week. So let’s do the math…
In those 72 hours there must be time for eating and taking care of chores. But what about going to church? The problem for many people is looking at church attendance as just another “chore” or item on their “To Do” list.
But instead of thinking of going to church as “I have to,” how about if you looked at all of the “I get to” benefits?
Here are 10 great reasons for going to church regularly. I get to…
“Sometimes we make it sound like we’re making a sacrifice to go to church, but think about the very real sacrifice Jesus made so that we could meet together as brothers and sisters!” —Scott Troost
How about it? Do you think you could invest an hour or two of your 72 discretionary hours in a local church this week?
My thanks to my brother, Scott Troost, for sharing such a timely message!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God does four things. Each of these things is also part of the definition of what the Holy Spirit does as our Counselor: teach, reprove, correct, and train.
The word for correct in this verse is the only time this Greek word is used in the Bible. It is the word epanorthosis. The prefix ep- means upon, at, by, across; and the root word -northosis means:
Do you notice the “re” words in this definition? The Holy Spirit wants to come upon us and use His inspired Word to (a) restore us to an upright state, and (b) renew the life and character of Christ in us. This is part of the meaning of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus lived on earth as a human being, and as such He did not use His God-ness. As a man Jesus could know God’s thoughts (see Matthew 11:25-26, where Jesus is speaking to God in obvious answer to what the Spirit had been speaking to His mind). Jesus also could know men’s thoughts (see Luke 6:6-9) because He was perfectly attuned to the Holy Spirit.
As Christians, this should be our normal life too.
When we discount our worthiness for The Counselor to restore and renew us—we begin to accept sub-normal as normal, and the normal become miraculous and only obtainable by a few “spiritual giants.”
The Father’s desire is for all of us to bear a strong, unmistakable family likeness to Jesus. Christ relied on The Counselor to tell Him God’s thoughts and men’s thoughts, so we must as well. If you would like to receive all that God has for you, ask Him to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Then you, too, can enjoy the unbroken fellowship—the restoring and renewing—of The Counselor just as Jesus did.
I love the drawings of M.C. Escher. But some of his sketches are clearly optical illusions we all know couldn’t work in the real world. We don’t have to be architects or engineers or builders to know that for a building to be functional it has to have (1) a solid foundation, (2) it must be built with quality materials, and (3) it must be constructed by someone who knows what he/she is doing.
The Apostle Paul tells us that (1) Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the sure foundation, (2) you and I—God’s saints—are the quality building materials that are being used, and (3) the Holy Spirit knows exactly what He is doing as He joins us together.
A cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction, the reference point for all other stone, which determines the position of the entire structure. Christ Jesus Himself is the cornerstone of His Church (Ephesians 2:20b). Orientated to that cornerstone we have the foundation of the apostles and prophets (2:20a).
This foundation is the Word of God (2 Peter 1:19-2:3 and 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5). We dare not try to replace, nullify, update, or change His Word. Not would this cause the foundation to crumble, but there are dire consequences for the one who tries to do so (Revelation 22:18-19).
God’s Presence dwells in us individually, but collectively we make a more powerful statement (1 Corinthians 3:16). There is a far greater testimony to the world when individuals willingly and actively allow themselves to be built together; when Christians give up their personal agendas to say, “I want to be a part of something bigger than me—I want to be a part of we.”
We must study God’s Word to make sure we are building on the same foundation. We must allow our lives to be quality building materials. We must allow the Holy Spirit to build us together through prayer and fellowship! This becomes the fulfillment of the prayer Jesus Himself prayed for us (John 17:20-23).
This was the last message (for this time) in our series on the Book of Ephesians. I hope to be able to continue this study next year.