How ON EARTH Can I Live The Christian Life?
Part 36 – The Centrality Of Fellowship With The Indwelling Christ
The Reality And Necessity of Fellowship
Note that all the following letters begin by establishing the relationship between the Father and the Son. The truths in all of the Epistles, flow out of fellowship within the Godhead, and fellowship between the Godhead and man.
“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints; Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7, NIV).
(2) To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — their Lord and ours: (3) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (4) I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:2-4, NIV).
(2) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. (Corinthians 1:2-3, NIV).
(2) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:2-3, NIV).
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:2, NIV).
(2) To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. (Colossians 1:2-3, NIV).
“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV).
(1) Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: (2) Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:1-2, NIV).
What Should We Tell New Believers To Do To Live The Christian Life?
Imagine it’s the day after Pentecost. It’s now Monday morning, and there are over 3000 believers outside. The apostles are inside, trying to decide what to tell the new believers, so they can live the Christian Life.
It had been a big “brain-storming” session, lots of ideas had been tossed around the room, but now, everyone was out of ideas.
So John speaks up, and says,
“Look guys, we’ve seen Jesus Christ, we’ve heard Him, we’ve touched Him, we’ve been with Him, and we’ve fellowshipped with Him. Then He died, but He arose again, and ascended into heaven. He now indwells each one of us. The fellowship we once had with Him, still continues. So what are we to do now, with all of these new converts?”
“Let’s tell these 3000 new believers, about how twelve men, as a group, knew Him and now experience Him. Let’s show them how to be with the Lord Jesus Christ and how to intimately experience Him … just as we do. After they have touched Him, known Him, and had fellowship with Him, then they will understand our words. The new believers will know experientially … how to walk with Him and fellowship with Him. Then they will be able to fellowship with us, just as you and I fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ every day.”
So the 12 disciples walked outside, and told them what it is like to have fellowship with Jesus Christ, internally. And then they told them how to continue in that fellowship.
(1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched … this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. (2) The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. (3) We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3, NIV).
Remember That We Must Learn How To Live The Christian Life Together
Just as a reminder, please note that the epistles and gospels were not written to individuals. Instead, they were written to the “ecclesia”, to the “colony of heaven”, to the “community” of believers.
Believers in the first century understood the Christian life only in the context of a togetherness, together living the Christian life.
The Christian life and the “ecclesia”, were virtually the same thing to these people.
The secret to the Christian life is Christ. The secret to the practical aspects of knowing Him, is found in daily Biblical church life … living in fellowship with others.
The Christian life really is not for the individual believer. It is not for anyone, who is outside the context of the koinonia (fellowship) of the ecclesia. The Christian life was never intended to be lived outside the community of the redeemed.
What Will Be The Central Reality Of Our Christian Lives?
We must allow Jesus Christ to become our centrality. It is easier to let the Bible became our centrality, because then we don’t have to face experiential reality. To have Christ as our centrality, is to make Him central in our lives, experientially. To live the Christian life, we must have a living, up-to-date, experiential relationship with Jesus Christ.
So we need to ask ourselves, what will be the centrality of our lives? Will it be the Bible? Will it be a certain doctrine? Will it be a certain spiritual experience? Will it be a certain activity, like preaching, or soul-winning, or ministering? Will it be serving Jesus Christ?
Or will it be Jesus Christ Himself?
(Note: I am indebted to Gene Edwards for many of the concepts in this series.)
… Next time …. Part 37 – Preparing To Enter Into The Father’s Fellowship With The Son