The Greek word translated
"fellowship" in our
English Bible is "koinonia", meaning to "share", or "participate" in
God's Word states that we are
with God and with our Christian brothers and sisters. 1 John Chapter 1
is a dissertation on the importance, mechanics and joy of
maintaining fellowship with God.
God has a Plan and God has a
moment of our Christian life, we are either fellowshipping with God
through His Spirit and sharing and participating in His Life and plan,
or we are "stiff arming" God and living our life on our own, "out of
In 1 John 1:6 & 7, our
fellowship with God
is described as "walking in light", and the breaking of this fellowship
is "walking in darkness". Walking in the Light of God's will and Word,
"in fellowship" and controlled by His Spirit is where the maximum
blessings, growth, guidance, production, joy, & rewards of the
Christian life are found.
In Eph 5:18, we are commanded
be filled (Greek word "pleroo" means controlled by)" by God's Spirit.
The child of God is constantly and forever indwelt by God's Spirit. The
issue here is not how much of God's Spirit do we have, but how much of
US does God's Spirit have. When we are commanded by God to do
something, we fully expect to find guidance on the "mechanics" of HOW
to do it.
There are two actions of our
human will that
are said to break our fellowship with God, "quenching" the Spirit of
God (1 Thess 5:19), and "grieving" the Spirit of God (Eph 4:30).
Quenching is best described as not doing the things God's Word clearly
tells us to do (sins of omission) and resisting the control of God's
Spirit by doing things "our way". At best this produces human good,
which is unrewardable (1 Cor 3:11-15), and always falls short of God's
best for us. "Grieving" the Spirit of God is knowingly and overtly
committing sin in violation of God's Word.
At every moment in time, we
quenching the Spirit, grieving the Spirit, or fellowshipping with God.
When we realize that we have
God and broken fellowship, I find only one God given method to restore
that fellowship, and that is the subject of 1 John chapter
Honestly confessing our sin to our loving heavenly Father removes the
sin that has come between us and restores us to full
John 1:7 teaches that when we confess our known sins to the Father,
that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, not on our own
merit, but on the basis of the work Jesus did on the cross.
There are many, many, humanly
for mankind to attempt to earn their way back into God's good graces.
Every religion has a method of attempting to get back into God's favor.
Many of God's children get
caught in a cycle
of beating themselves up in their mind, carrying a tremendous burden of
guilt, and vowing to God to do better, then finally breaking down and
re-dedicating. This cycle of guilt can even cause physical illness! It
seems that the desire to do things our own way, without reading the
directions is a powerful part of our sin nature. Assembling toys on
Christmas morning is a good example. My mother even tells me that some
of my earliest words as a child were "do it self". I guess we secretly
want all the credit for our accomplishments, so we resist any form of
help, even from our loving Heavenly Father. That is a pretty good
definition of pride, the number one thing that God hates in Prov 6:17!
I believe the Bible teaches
confession of known sin, even a bad thought, is the most important key
to the Christian life. This is God's grace method of restoring
fellowship for His children when they sin. Paul says in 2 Cor 10:5,
that we should be "bringing every thought into captivity, which results
in obedience to Christ".
FOUR VERY IMPORTANT
SUBJECTS CONCERNING FELLOWSHIP:
1. WHAT SIN IS: There are seven Greek synonyms for sin in the New
Testament. They are translated as "sin", "trespass", "fault", and
a. Anomia, Paranomia = Not
even caring what God's Word says, lawlessness.
b. Parabasis = Crossing the line,
c. Parakoee = Disobey a voice. (Adam and
Eve did this)
d. Agnoema = Ignorance when one should
have known. (No excuse)
e. Hettema = Diminishing what
should have been given full measure. (quenching)
f. Paraptoma = Falling when one should
have stood. (An unintentional slip)
g. Hamartia = Missing the mark, not
enough. (Comes from archery competition. The "mark" is the center of
God's will. We miss the "mark" and fail to receive the full reward)
When we don't line up with
God's Word, we are
doing one of the above actions. These actions take us out of
fellowship. As we study God's word and fellowship with Him, we become
increasingly aware of the myriad of actions and thoughts that break our
fellowship with God. As we grow in Christ, and in "faith" we have more
and more of His power to help us live in constant fellowship.
2. POSITIONAL TRUTH: Once someone asked me why Christians must confess
their sins to God, when the Scripture is clear that our sins were all
paid for by Jesus on the Cross, cast into the depths of the sea and
remembered no more. The answer to this question requires an
understanding of our dual relationship with God, our "position" and our
Our "position in Christ" is
perfection, with our sins and trespasses marked through and the
righteousness of Christ written in its place (2 Cor 5:21 & Heb
10:14). This sinless "position in Christ" is the only way we can be
accepted as a child of God. I count 45 verses in the New Testament
where the phrase "in Christ" refers to our sinless "position in
Christ". A good example, 2 Cor 5:17, "If any man be in Christ, he is a
new creation: old things are passed away ; behold, all things are
become new". Look for the phrases that state that we are "in Christ"
when you read the New Testament. These Scriptures are stating our
wonderful new "position" in Christ.
But, our "experience" is down
here sinning the
sins that Jesus paid for on the Cross. As we become aware that we have
sinned and confess that sin, in essence we are saying "I just sinned
one of sins that Jesus bore in His own body on the Cross." New
Testament Scripture is just about evenly divided in speaking of our
"sinless, perfectly sanctified POSITION in Christ", and our human
"CONDITION of being sanctified" in our experience.
Our "position in Christ"
perfection, no matter what terrible sin we committed. That is because
our position "in Christ" and forgiveness of experiential sin depends on
Jesus and His finished work on the Cross, and not on anything we can do
or not do. I have known Christians who feel that they cannot bring
themself to pray, because their sin is so great, but God's grace is
greater than all our sin. We are accepted by the Father, and can go
boldly to the throne of grace, not on our own merits, but on the merit
of what Christ has done for us.
1 Jn 1:8&10 state that
"if we say we have
no sin, we are self deceived and the truth is not in us". When we begin
to realize what sin against God is, we must have divine assistance.
Even an ungodly thought is sin.
3. ETERNAL SECURITY: In Romans 8:38 & 39, God sees his children
already glorified and in heaven. God's justice was satisfied at the
Cross. In Hebrews chapter 12 we even see that our divine discipline
comes from God's love. Just as in a human family, our position in the
family doesn't change when we sin, but our sin breaks our fellowship
with the Father.
4. ORIENTATION TO THE GRACE OF GOD: Our whole salvation package is a
gift from God (2 Pet 1:3). Our Faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8). God
motivates all of our works when we are in fellowship (Eph 2:10 we are
ordained to walk in good works). "It is God who is presently working in
us to will and do His good pleasure", Phil 2:13. In John Chapter 15
Jesus is the vine and we are the branches and we can do nothing without
Him. God in His grace even promises to show us where we are falling
short, Phil 3:15. In 1 John 1:7, as we maintain fellowship with God
through confession of known sin, the blood of Christ "keeps on
cleansing us from sinning" until we break fellowship by a sin from our
THE MECHANICS OF MAINTAINING OUR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD:
1. Instantly confess all known sin. 1 Jn 1:9 Fellowship is restored,
the power of God flowing in our life again. The sin itself was already
forgiven on the Cross.
2. Forget it, God doesn't remember it, and we shouldn't either: Phil
3:13 & 14
3. Isolate it: Heb 12:15, dwelling on past forgiven sin is failing to
understand the Grace of God, and promotes bitterness.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF RESTORATION TO FELLOWSHIP:
1. God's relationship with Israel: Jer 3:13, They needed to confess
2. The parable of the "self righteous brother" (AKA the parable of the
prodigal son), Luke 15:11-32 illustrates the grace of God in forgiving
His children. The attitude of the self righteous brother also
illustrates the improper mental attitude of the child of God who does
not understand or believe in orientation to the grace of God. The story
ends with the brother still angry, because the prodigal son confessed
his terrible sin to his father and was completely forgiven !
3. David's restoration to fellowship after his periods of sin:
a. Psa 32:5 David is restored through
confession of sin to the Father.
b. Psa 38:1-18 David confesses and feels
his sin. His sin is forgiven no matter how he "feels", but quite often
we feel very bad about our sin.
c. Psa 51:3&4 and 16&17
again. Notice in verses 16 and 17 "For thou desirest not sacrifice;
else I would give it: thou delightest not in burnt-offering. The
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O
God, thou will not despise." See, in actuality, the contrite heart and
confession of the sin to the Father restored the fellowship, not the
animal sacrifice and keeping of the law!
4. Solomon: Prov 28:13 "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper:
but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
RESTORATION OF FELLOWSHIP:
1. Repent. There are two Greek words for "repent":
a. "Metamellomai" , meaning "regret", or
emotional reaction". Used 6 times in the New Testament. This is not
what Christians are commanded to do, but what Judas did in Matt
27:3-10, after he betrayed Christ. He was "sorry", or "regretted" what
he had done, but it did him no spiritual good. Jn 6:70&71, and
b. "Metanoeo", meaning literally to
differently", or to "change your mind". God commands all types of
people, in every place to "repent", in Acts 17:30.
2. If we "Judge our self", we will not be judged, 1 Cor
(The word for "judge self" is to "discern", or "examine" and for "be
not judged" is to "not come under divine discipline"). If we do not
compare ourself to God's Word and confess our sin to the Father, God
will discipline (correct) us (Heb 12:3-11)
3. Confession of known sin to God the Father, 1 John 1:9. As 1 John 1:7
states, then the blood of Christ cleanses us of all sin.
4. Yield, Rom 6:13 and 12:1. Placing our will under God's will. I have
been in churches where "yielding" was the subject of almost every
sermon, but the pastor could not tell us HOW to "yield". Just do it. I
believe that when we are told to do something, we should be given the
mechanics of how to do it.
5. Obey, 1 Cor 10:5, same as "yield", the subject of many sermons. How
many Christians feel like failures because they are trying to live the
Christian life in their own energy and by trying to do things the
pastor preaches but can't tell them HOW to do?
6. Lay aside every weight, Heb 12:1. This can only be done by means of
the power of God. Everything that comes between us and our loving
Heavenly Father is a "weight".
7. Be in subjection to the Father, Heb 12:9. Same as "yield".
8. Lift up hands that hang down, Heb 12:12. Sin paralyzes. Get going
again, back to doing divine good works by God's power.
9. Make straight paths, Heb 12:13 and Matt 3:3. Stop wasting time on
out of fellowship side trips.
10. Arise from the dead, Eph 5:14. Out of fellowship, all our works are
11. Put off the old man, Eph 4:22. The only way we can break the
control of our Old Sin Nature and walk in the Spirit is 1 John 1:9
confession of sin. Our Old Sin Nature never loses any of its power, we
must GROW in Christ to rise above and dominate the Old Sin Nature!
Without growth in God's Word, and God's power flowing in our life, we
would go back to the worst condition of our life.
12. Purify self, 1 John 3:3. Again 1 John 1:9 confession of sin removes
the stains of our experiential sin.
13. Abide in Jesus, John 15:4-7. 1 John 1:9 confession of sin restores
sweet fellowship with Jesus.
14. Be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit, Eph 5:18. While we are
in fellowship, we are controlled by the Spirit of God.
Isa 66:18 says that if we
regard iniquity in
our heart, God will not hear us (no positive answer). We cannot do any
of the above actions apart from confession of sin. But, when we come
boldly to the throne of God's grace and honestly admit our sin and
shortcomings, in effect, we are doing ALL the above; "repenting"
(changing our mind), "judging our self", we are "yielding" our self,
"laying aside every weight", we are "placing ourself in subjection to
the Father", we are "lifting up hands that hang down", "making straight
paths", "arising from the dead", "putting off the old man", "purifying
ourself", "abiding in Jesus", and we are "filled with (controlled by)
God's Spirit", and have God's power to be obedient, until we knowingly
Without first confessing our
sin to the
Father, I do not find ANYTHING in God's Word that we can DO, or STOP
DOING that will restore us to fellowship and to the control of the Holy
Spirit. Confession of our sin directly to God the Father, in the name
of Jesus, is God's Grace method of staying in His will and under the
control of His Spirit.
OUR PROPER "IN
When we are "in fellowship",
we should be
producing the "fruit of the Spirit" as listed in Gal 5:16-26, love,
joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self
control. And our attitude should be that of the Psalmist:
--- CAUSE ME to hear your loving kindness & to know the way
wherein I should walk. Psa 143:8.
--- MAKE ME to understand the way, and to go in the path, Psa 119:27.
--- JUDGE ME, Psa 7:8, 26:1, 35:24, and 43:1.
--- ORDER my steps in thy Word, Psa 119:133.
--- SHOW ME thy ways, Psa 25:4.
--- TEACH ME, thy paths, Psa 25:4&5.
--- TEACH ME thy ways, Psa 27:11.
--- TEACH ME to do thy will, Psa 143:10
--- LEAD ME, and guide me for thy names sake, Psa 31:3.
--- LEAD ME, in righteousness, Psa 5:8.
Even the desire to confess our sin and maintain our
fellowship comes from God!
1. 2 Cor 7:10-11 The sorrow from God that causes a change of mind.
("metanoeo", true repentance)
2. Acts 11:18 A God given change of mind that results in a changed
life. (again, "metanoeo", true repentance)
3. God works in us to will and do His good pleasure, Phil 2:13, Heb
13:21, 1 Thess 2:13,
Stay in fellowship through
of all known sin, take in God's Word, seek to live by the Word through
the power of God and you will, as Peter says in 2 Pet 3:18, "be growing
in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To
Him be the glory both now and forever, amen."!