How to Have Incredible Fellowship in Your Church, part 5

This post is part 5 of a series through 1 John on How to Have Incredible Fellowship in Your Church.

So there are 3 things that block real fellowship in our churches. I’ve already talked about the 1st two: 1) many of us in church think we are good with God, but we are actually walking in the darkness. 2) Many of us have come to think we really don’t have a sin problem at all. These two issues come from pride which blinds us from seeing the truth. And the result is that they block us from real fellowship.

Now for the 3rd blocker…

John writes the 3rd blocker in 1:10–

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s justifying my sin. But perhaps I’m not alone.

A couple years ago my wife and I were visiting friends in Colorado. My friend was healing from many hurts caused by his church. (There are lots of stories like this, aren’t there?) Those hurts included the pastor spreading false rumors about him, causing dissension among the people due to those false rumors, and gathering a group of men to take his side against my friend.

Come to find out, the pastor has severe personal issues he needs to overcome. His actions created much pain in my friend and his family. When confronted, the pastor stated that he did nothing wrong.

Pride blinds us from the truth. This pastor has called God a liar, and God’s Word is not dwelling/abiding/growing inside him.

Furthermore, this pastor’s sin is preventing the beauty of fellowship to be experienced by the people in his church. But there’s a solution to this horrible blocker of fellowship.

In fact, there’s a solution to each of the three blockers.

  • 1:6-7 — Blocker: If we say we have fellowship with God but walk in darkness, we lie. Solution: If we walk in the light as God does, we have fellowship with one another…God and us.
  • 1:8-9 — Blocker: If we say we have no sin problem, we deceive ourselves. Solution: If we confess our sins, He forgives us from all unrighteousness.
  • 1:10-2:2 — Blocker: If we say we haven’t sinned, we call God a liar.

Here’s the solution in 2:1-1 —

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

You know what “advocate” means? The Greek word means someone who comes alongside to plead the case. Like a lawyer. A defense attorney before a judge.

Christ is our Master Defense Attorney before the Father, the Judge.

“He’s mine,” Christ says. “He’s been bought with my blood. So forgiveness and reconciliation cover him.”

One reason many churches are not experiencing the fellowship Christ died to give us is because we are blinded from the truth of our sin.

We wear masks to hide who we really are. To hide our sin. Instead of confessing it and dealing with it.

In church, there are no men who lust after other women. There are no wives who cheat on their husbands.

There are no persons who cheat on their taxes. There are no marital problems.

No abuse of any kind: sexual, chemical, physical, verbal, etc.

In church on Sunday morning, it is expected for smiles to radiate the place as we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

We say “Good morning, I am fine” to everyone we see. But we don’t really know who each other really is.

We are a bunch of broken glass vessels pretending to be unshattered by life’s painful circumstances. And many times, when someone decides to remove his mask, the others run in fear. He is shunned. Talked about. Outcasted.

Kind of like the disciples running from Jesus at His arrest.

Perhaps it’s time we look at ourselves with pure eyes–eyes of humility that desires real fellowship with God.

Because if we don’t have fellowship with each other, we don’t have fellowship with God. That’s right. Broken fellowship with one another? Broken fellowship with God. Surface fellowship with one another? Surface fellowship with God.

I’ll tell you what I mean…

tomorrow.

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