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Summary: If we have no fellowship with others we cannot have fellowship with Christ

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A pastor went to visit some prospective members—a husband, wife and their son. At the beginning of the visit, it was a typical visit. They were getting to know each other, what they had done in their lives.

Finally, the woman said, "I can’t stand it anymore. I’ve got to say something! My husband and son have not spoken to each other in years! I don’t even know how long it’s been! They live in the same house, pass by each other in the same hall, eat at the same table, but they don’t speak!"

The pastor turned to the man and said, "Is this true?" "Yes, it is," he said. "I made a vow that I would never speak to him the rest of my life and I intend to keep it! I’m a man of my word!"

The pastor asked, "What was it that he did that was so horrible?"

"I don’t remember," the man confessed. "But I will keep my vow!"

This man had not only held on to his anger, but he had also hung on to his pride. Because of it, their relationship was suffering.

[If we have no fellowship with others we cannot have fellowship with Christ]

I. INTRODUCTION

A. It’s hard to believe that anyone would carry a grudge so long that they forget the cause of their anger; yet cases like this are not so unusual.

1. Two people foolishly disagree over something, and a chasm forms between them.

2. Such incidents occur in the church, also. It’s not unique to the unsaved.

a. Paul and Barnabas disagree so vehemently over John Mark that they chose to part company and go two separate ways (Acts 15:36-40)

b. Paul later chastised the church at Corinth for their “carnal” behavior (1 Cor 3:1-3). He could not call them spiritual while there is strife among them. They are behaving like “mere men” instead of the disciples they were supposed to be.

B. As we prepare for communion next weekend, our charge is to be completely free of the bondage caused by broken fellowship.

a. The first fellowship we must restore is our fellowship with God. We do this three ways:

i. RELEASE THE SIN THAT ENTANGLES US

ii. RESIST THE TEMPTATIONS OF THE WORLD AND ITS “STUFF”

iii. RENEW OUR COMMITMENT TO GOD

2. The second fellowship to be restored is our fellowship with other believers

a. This is second for a reason. Apart from God, it is impossible for us to reconcile with those with whom we have “fallen away”. HOW IS THIS DEFINED? THREE WAYS…

i. I have had harsh words with them

ii. I have decided to have no words with them

iii. I have shared harsh words about them to others

b. In the course of this next week, we must ask God to help us restore our fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

c. We must make our peace in the love of Christ

3. The fact is, [1] we can not restore our fellowship with others until we are in proper fellowship with God, and [2] we can not come to the Lord’s table claiming communion with HIM while we hold our brother or sister at arm’s length.

4. So goes the paradox. (a paradox is a contradictory statement that seems impossible at the same time is well founded); something absurd or illogical; thought impossible.

5. Let’s consider how we can approach this situation using Paul’s exhortation to the believers in Corinth.

[If we have no fellowship with others we cannot have fellowship with Christ]

II. THE BASIS OF RESTORED FELLOWSHIP (Col. 3:1-4)

A. Because you died to the basic principles of this world (2:20)

B. Because you have been raised with Christ

1. You have overcome death!

2. You have the power of Christ at your disposal

C. How can you stumble over petty disagreements?

D. Set your minds on things above; so that when Christ returns, you are ready! There is nothing to hold you back!

E. Can you imagine Christ returning today to find you at odds with one of His children? How could you possibly justify that behavior?

F. The basis of restored fellowship is the power of Christ to overcome all things

1. Because He is all-powerful, we lack nothing. So what are you afraid of? Rejection?

III. THE BEHAVIORS OF RESTORED FELLOWSHIP (3:5-14)

A. Put to death whatever belongs to the earthly nature

1. These old behaviors bring God’s wrath

2. They died with your “old nature” – do not resuscitate them!

3. Don’t lie to each other

4. Don’t fall into cliques or favor certain groups

5. Understand that we are all the same in God’s eyes, and that Christ is above all!

B. Change your attitude toward others as you would change your clothes – take off the old, put on the new;

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