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Friday, March 21, 2014

Are You Getting along with Others?

1 John 1:5-10 (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.  6  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  7  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.  8  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  10  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  

Our church is going through forty days having a daily time with God. Each day has certain scriptures that we read as our DTWG. We are wearing wristbands which remind us to have our DTWG. This morning we were assigned the above scripture. I have blogged on this scripture before and didn't think I would have much to say about it again. So, I thought about it all day.

I wonder if people realize that broken fellowship with others may indicate we are walking in darkness. At least, one person in a broken relationship is walking in darkness. Light is symbolic of truth. The truth is seen in the person of Jesus. He reveals life as they really are. Walking in the light is walking in the truth. Walking in the truth is living a Christ-pleasing life.  Jesus prayed for His disciples to have unity. He told them to love everyone. Making every effort to resolve conflict and restore fellowship is the goal of every person who walks in the light. We must confess our sins in order to walk in the light again.

How many people think that it is the other person who needs to confess when they are really the one who needs the confession? How many continue to walk in the darkness while thinking they are walking in the light?  I guess you can't tell the difference after your eyes have adjusted to the dark.

Last week I was reading in the book of Haggai. A couple of times Haggai, speaking for God, said, "Consider your ways." Considering your ways is not a natural act. God gets our attention in some way that often catches us off guard. I know that God has often gotten my attention in a crisis. He has grabbed my attention when someone is preaching. He has convicted me while I was reading the scriptures. He has invade my prayers and made me take a look at myself while I was complaining about something He was directing me through. Each instance was both natural and supernatural. Each action was one of the Holy Spirit speaking to me. Then, I considered my ways and repented of what I was doing. There was no other way to walk in the light. I had to be cleansed from all unrighteousness.  Then, I will have fellowship with others.

I have been asked where I got the idea to have the church spend forty days having a DTWG. All I can say is that I prayed for a way to get people to be changed. I knew that I couldn't ask them to make another church meeting. I also knew they weren't going to be changed just by coming to church. They  needed to have their minds set on the Spirit. They needed to do this every day. I knew I needed a DTWG to do so. I supposed others would too. I didn't realize what would happen. People started to get partners who would encourage them to have a DTWG. Many of those were not members of the church.

And something wonderful started to happen that I didn't realize. They started having fellowship with people they had never really had fellowship with before. I realize now that they were walking in the light. Maybe some of them had to confess before this fellowship was possible. I don't know about that. I just know they are fellowshipping with each other now. I have to believe they have walked out of the darkness into the light. I have to believe they have been cleansed from their unrighteousness. I have to believe that somehow they have made things right with God by confession.

Yes, there are those who are trying to disturb the fellowship. There always will be. They will come from the inside of the church. They will stir up conflict and never realize they are walking in the darkness.  They need the Spirit to come to make them consider their ways.


Anthony Chia said...

It is refreshing that you use this text to focus on fellowship with one another. Commonly, and even for myself who write frequently on this text, the theme centered around whether or not 1 John 1:9 is speaking to believers, that everyone, including believers, is to confess to God his sins that he has committed and God to forgive him and cleanse him of all his unrighteousness.

Obviously, that you use it on your flock, you are of the same view that it covers the believers. The overly grace believers are being taught that they should NOT do that - do what 1 John 1:9 said to do; their belief is that it is meant for the non-believers, when they come into salvation that they do that, 1John 1:9. Thereafter, according to their leaders, God has already forgiven the believer, at the point of entry into salvation, all his sins, past, present AND FUTURE!, and so, doing that would be profaning the blood of The Lord. I of course believe this is an incorrect core theology to teach to believers.

Imagine there is a judge, and he has a son, and his son would beat other boys up, and the judge turns a blind eye to the behavior of his son, condoning him to do as he pleases. Now, this is even when those who were innocently beaten have petitioned to the judge. Just because the father is the judge, the son does NOT need to, in reality, be living righteous? Can anyhow beat up people, including the judge's other sons and daughters, and NOT have to know that he is wrong, and need to grow to be of good character. That the father is of good character is enough?! If indeed, the judge carries himself that way, condoning and turning a blind eye to the misdeeds of this son of his, is he really of good character?! Is there NOT such an insinuation that the judge is NOT good? Does God NOT care about His name? Moses, for one knew that such insinuations are NOT acceptable to God. This metaphor is just one way to illustrate the error of the teaching that 1 John 1:9 is NOT to be done by believers. Even if one does NOT regard this as a good parable to illustrate, the parable of the prodigal son would be. There is the father, the prodigal son, and the other son. There again, there are those who are blind to what is written in the parable that the prodigal son did realize the error of his ways before the father restored him.

Realizing the error of our ways, that is even putting it incompletely, repentance is required. If it is not required, there is no meaning to righteousness, or there is just no lines between right and wrong, or righteousness and wickedness! This is like a policeman seeing a robber rob an old lady, and turns the other way, with the robber grinning at him, the policeman. Is the policeman not sending the signal to the robber it is alright to rob, and rob, and rob?!
Anyone with any sense of righteousness will say, it cannot be like that.

And coming back to the theme of Ps Prentis, fellowship with one another, would you fellowship with the robber.


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

The word, fellowship, translated from the Greek word, koinōnia (G2842) has in it the element of participation; it is not merely sharing some conversation or having a meal together. Ps Prentis said light is symbolic of truth; that way of saying, I can accept, although, I personally would say light represented holinesses, and so, righteousness is implied. Only those who hold to truth can fellowship in truth! Or those who hold to righteousness can fellowship in righteousness! God is truth and God is righteousness, and we have to be people who hold to truth or righteousness to fellowship with God and with one another; remembering now that fellowship implied doing together or participating jointly.

We cannot be a vessel unhindering to God, if we do NOT hold to truth or righteousness, for, for fellowship with God it means you participate with God, in God's agenda. Similarly, for fellowship with one another in the light or truth or righteousness or holiness, we participate with each other in a common agenda, and that agenda, would also be one meeting God's approval. We need to understand what fellowship is; NOT understanding it, and going either extreme is NOT pleasing to God.

One extreme was exhibited by the Orthodox Jews at the apostle-disciples era, where the Jews would NOT even eat at the same table as the Gentiles, often even when the Gentiles were already believers. The apostle Paul chided the apostle Peter when the latter "chickened" out eating with Gentile believers. We are NOT asked by Scripture to interact NOT, with non-believers or believers who have sinned; we are only NOT to be unequally yoked or we are to watch our dealings with them. If we interact NOT, with these, how are we to reach out to them, either to help them into salvation or help them to turn from the error of their ways.

The other extreme is about we are NOT to participate in what those NOT walking in the light are doing. If you have got my drift, those NOT walking in the light, include non-believers and believers NOT in pursuit of right living. Again, I am NOT saying you cannot chat with them, have meals with them and care for them, it is you are NOT to have fellowship with them. It is NOT uncommon that believers failed to see this, and got themselves into trouble. For example, we do NOT join in and peddle drugs so that we could turn drug peddlers from the error of their ways, regardless they are believers or NOT. One may say this is obvious, but I have seen even pastors making error in this area. No matter how one interprets the apostle Paul's words of, he would be "all things to all people so that by all possible means he might save some." (Fr 1 Cor 9:22), it does include he or we can be joining others in unrighteousness to achieve an end.

Are you getting along with others? Well, I only want view it from the standpoint of the Light. If you are in the light, I must get along with you; if you are NOT, I should NOT be with you in what you are doing, that is one thing for sure.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Anthony Chia said...

My apology, the last line of the 2nd last para. inevitably has a "NOT" missing; it should read, "it does NOT include he or we can be joining others in unrighteousness to achieve an end.