Summary: Christians need each other
FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS
1 John 1:3 “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ”
In the fall of the year, Linda, a young woman, was traveling alone up the rutted and rugged highway from Alberta to the Yukon. Linda didn’t know you don’t travel to Whitehorse alone in a rundown Honda Civic, so she set off where only four-wheel drives normally venture. The first evening she found a room in the mountains near a summit and asked for a 5 A.M. wakeup call so she could get an early start. She couldn’t understand why the clerk looked surprised at that request, but as she awoke to early- morning fog shrouding the mountain tops, she understood. Not wanting to look foolish, she got up and went to breakfast. Two truckers invited Linda to join them, and since the place was so small, she felt obliged. "Where are you headed?" one of the truckers asked. ’Whitehorse’
"In that little Civic? No way! This pass is dangerous in weather like this." "Well, I’m determined to try," was Linda’s gutsy, if not very informed, response. "Then I guess we’re just going to have to hug you," the trucker suggested. Linda drew back. "There’s no way I’m going to let you touch me!"
"Not like THAT!" the truckers chuckled. "We’ll put one truck in front of you and one in the rear. In that way, we’ll get you through the mountains." All that foggy morning Linda followed the two red dots in front of her and had the reassurance of a big escort behind as they made their way safely through the mountains. Caught in the fog in our dangerous passage through life, we need to be "hugged" with fellow Christians who know the way and can lead safely ahead of us, and with others behind, gently encouraging us along, we, too, can pass safely.
That which we have seen and heard we declare to you. Paul was talking about seeing and hearing Christ. His aim was to let other believers grow in confidence in what they had heard from Him and the other Apostles. This morning I repeat this message to you. I declare to you nothing new. Only what I have seen and heard.
All believers have come to Christ by seeing or hearing. There are many ways this is accomplished. The Holy Spirit shows us things concerning the truth of Christ. The Holy Bible also tells us the things we need to know to live a life inhabited by Christ. And, the day to day lives of other Christians is a forceful influence.
George Barna, well known for his opinion gathering polls, said that one of the biggest issues for non-believers who looked at Christianity and turned away, was the negative lifestyles of the Christians they observed. People who were introduced to the Good News were startled to find that church folks that they saw did not live much different lives than their friends outside the church. “Christians, it seemed, smoked, drank, and lived much the same as those they said they were trying to lead to Christ.
Christians, or so called “Christians”, are turning people away from Christ. Or, just as bad, these disobedient Christians are bringing into Christs church, people who think they can become the property of Christ and it is ok to continue to live in disobedience the way they always have. This is not true.
1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by Whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” God is faithful. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The things that have offended God in the past, offend Him today. In the Old Testament, He called out a people for Himself, the Jews. When those people lived as they were directed by God, they were mightily blessed. When they did not, their lives always turned sour.
Today, God has a people for His own, Christians, those who profess a belief in Christ. And we are called to do the will of God in our lives. And just as it was in the Jews lives, so it is in ours. When we live our lives under the direction of god, we are eligible for all the blessings He offers.
When we do not, we are left to our own devices, and always we suffer for it. But there is another aspect of a Christian life that we need to consider and that is the fellowships and associations that we engage in. This may be one of the most difficult things for a believer to do: make sure those in his intimate circle of friends and associates are either Christians, or at the least, are not being a stumbling block in the believers life.