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Believer’s Basics #5 – Fellowship (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
November 4, 2022 6:00 am

Believer’s Basics #5 – Fellowship (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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November 4, 2022 6:00 am

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Having Jesus in common with each other knocks down all the barriers. Maybe before you came to Christ you were a racist, maybe before you came to Christ you were a crook, a thief, maybe before you came to Christ you were a lustmonger, whatever it was.

But you come to Christ and those things are now dealt with and now you have Jesus in common with whatever people, whatever other people have Jesus also. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through his series called The Believers Basics.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Fellowship is the title of Pastor Rick's message and today he'll be teaching in Hebrews chapter 10. Still while the apostles are alive, still while the temple in Jerusalem before it was destroyed by the Romans, still there were those Christians that were forsaking the assemblies as in the matter of some. Some do this. Some are absent without leave. Some are absent without authorization in the body of Christ. Now this does not mean fellowship that is that you have to stay at the service and be friends with everybody. You're free to come and you're free to go. But we should not be total strangers to the people we worship with at the same time. So let's be careful there because I mean, they're just, you could come into a body and you just doesn't, you know, you don't have a lot of things in common outside of Christ.

And over a long period of time, you may feel uncomfortable with that. You're not forced to stay there and mingle. But again, there should be some, they should attend the service for sure.

And you should know some of the people by name. How else can you pray for one another? You cheat yourself, be careful, be careful, but let's understand this, that there is the local assembly and then there are the believers globally. In Matthew chapter 16 and verse 18, we have the first case of the church global.

Upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail. That is the global church. Christians everywhere. We have Christian brothers that are in other parts of the world, throughout the world, throughout the state, throughout the city. They were all part of the same body of Christ.

That's only one side of it. We also have the believers in heaven. But then there's Matthew 18, 17, where we have the local congregation, the first case of the local congregation, as far as the churches outlook goes, because the church did not exist yet and Jesus is prophetically laying it out. He will leave it to his apostles to develop it in its doctrine and its identity.

In Matthew 18, when he says, then take them to the church and if they still don't listen to the church, then out they go. Disfellowship them, disassemble them. And I'm going to use that phrase disassemble a few times because it makes a point all by itself. You picture something that's good, but it's not put together. It's lying in parts. It's disassembled. That's how Christians can become.

We're not careful. We become disassembled. We have so much potential if we would just be put together to the seven churches in revelation in chapters two and three. Each one was an assembly of believers that Jesus himself was addressing. They were not individuals, though they were made up of individuals and individuals were singled out within the assemblies. Countless recipients of the epistles were assemblies. In Galatia, there are so many assemblies, they aren't even listed. Galatia was a region.

It was not a single city. The Christians in Rome and Corinth and Centuria and Philippi and Ephesus and on the list goes, all of them were assemblies. Family is not the assembly. Family is family. We can assemble with them, but that does not satisfy the demand of the scripture and there are reasons why.

And I hope I can get to some of them. Family is not the assembly that God's word holds up as church, as fellowship of believers. I'm sure somebody can come out with, you know, well, we're trapped in a desert on an island and there's nobody else with us and say, yeah, okay, but you're not on a deserted island. You are around other believers. When we get to the hardship and the challenges of it too, this idea has somehow become acceptable to some. It's not fellowship.

It's closer to being like a monastery. When you read the gospels, it doesn't take long to realize Jesus put himself where the multitudes were. He did not isolate himself. He put himself where the people were, where the crowds were. Part of the role of the disciples was crowd control to keep him from being overwhelmed by the multitudes that just wanted to touch him. You get to the epistles to the book of Acts, you find again, the church is planting herself amongst people. They're not, there are times when one of the believers was dispatched to the desert to reach someone soul, but then he was quickly snatched away to his Otis where the people were.

That was temporary active duty. They're out in the desert. He returned to where they were. You know, this is the church and this is the steeple. Open the door and where are the people?

They're supposed to be there. This should be a comfortable topic for all of us. This should be a topic where the congregation is going right on, right on. Yes, yes, I believe that. I believe it because Jesus said it. The Bible teaches it and upholds it through and through. I'm there with you. It's anti-bible to say that we are not to be together.

Even Judaism, the Jews, in fact, the pattern of the church comes from Israel. We'll get to the history in a minute. I keep promising we're going to get to all these play rest stops. I hope we get there. Dad, we there yet?

We're working on it. Psalm 89 verse seven, God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints and to be held in reverence by all those around him. The assembly of the saints. So don't use that line. Well, I don't have to go to the assembly of believers because I belong to the universal church because you are wrong. More is expected of you and you can deliver and that is a smokescreen for disobedience.

You're not permitted to dodge assembly because of the hits we take in the assembly and you're going to take hits. Attend the church and in time you're going to get insulted. Your toes are going to get stepped on. Your feelings are going to get hurt.

It happens. So boycott the church. Run and flee as quickly as you can. Take your blankie with you.

Of course not. Don't be knocked off so quickly. Don't be picked off. Satan fights to take over churches through Christians or people who say they are, but he fights to take over churches. We are called, I said it once, I say it again, we are called to out fight him.

Not flee and willful noncompliance. These clear teachings is blatant disobedience straight out or ignorance and hopefully it's being corrected. Sonship with God depends on faith, but friendship with God depends on obedience. That's very important in the book of Acts. It says the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey. Should it be any other way? Hey, here's somebody that couldn't care a bucket of beans about what Jesus said.

Let's give him the Holy Spirit. It doesn't work that way. So defining fellowship. Well the definition right out of one dictionary is companionship, mutual association of persons on equal and friendly terms.

That one friendly terms. You know, it's not really, it's not very hard to be kind. It is not, I've never seen someone being kind and their arm fall off. I've never seen anyone just go blind because they were being nice to someone. It's not difficult to smile. It's not difficult to just put a pause on how rotten you may feel at the moment so you don't make another one feel rotten just because they've said hello to you. So remember that if you struggle with it.

It just doesn't take a lot to smile, to reflect more of Christ and the flesh. Now the Greek word of course, koinonia means partnership. That's a big word. Partnership. To be able to cooperate together and get things done together.

That's basically what a partnership is. Philippians chapter two verse one scripture teaches that our fellowship is with each member of the Trinity as well as those who believe in that Trinity. Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any affection and mercy, do you see the fellowship of the spirit? That's the Holy Spirit. John in his letter writes in first John verse three, 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.

That one verse covers all of it. Again, that was first John chapter one verse three. Having Jesus in common with each other knocks down all the barriers. Maybe before you came to Christ, you were a racist. Maybe before you came to Christ, you were a crook, a thief.

Maybe before you came to Christ, you were a lust monger, whatever it was. But you come to Christ and those things are now dealt with and now you have Jesus in common with whatever people, whatever other people have Jesus also. Some again may be more social than others, but all are to assemble. Shoulder to shoulder, we're coming up soon on the book of Nehemiah and there we will find early on, they were shoulder to shoulder rebuilding the wall in spite of their differences. You think all those people liked each other? You think they had none of the problems we face when we have contact with other people on long term or sometimes short term.

Some people get right to making you not like them. Just look, I don't want to hold you up here. Let's get right to the point. Shoulder to shoulder, we stand to worship and out fight the enemy. Look around. You see some of the older Christians here. You see some of the very older Christians here. They're still standing. This still lined up in formation. They have still answered the role. They're still here. They are still out fighting just by their presence.

They have not said, you know what? I've been a Christian for all these years and this and that, and I'm not going to church anymore. No, they are here. They are in churches and solid churches throughout the world. And the younger Christians ought to take note and say, I'm going to be the same way because that is right.

It is correct. Shoulder to shoulder to worship, to out fight, to last. See the empty seats. There's always too many of them. One empty seat in a solid church is too much.

Why is it empty? Who's absent without leave? Who has not answered the role? Now I'm not saying that there are brothers and sisters that regularly attend one here. I'm not pointing them out. I'm talking about those who don't attend church. I'm not picking on anyone, not even them, but our subject is fellowship and it is basic to our faith and we cannot lose in the sight of how important it is because that's what Satan wants you to do.

He wants to pick you off, as I mentioned. Obedience and love. They are our motivation for assembly. Romans chapter eight, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Well, if we love him, we're going to do what he wants as best we can. If we love him, we're going to love what he loves, honor what he loves, honors. And if he has given himself for the church, we are going to do the same as best we can. First John chapter two. Now by this, we know that we know him if we keep his commandments. He who says I know him and does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. That's pretty blunt, is it not? So you say you're a believer, but you have no intention of acting like you believe.

You're lying. That's what Paul says. John. He's already made provision in his letter for those Christians that are struggling. He says if we have an advocate with the father, he's not going to be talking about weakness in the faith.

He's talking about blatant disobedience. Should pastors neglect reading such verses because they don't cater to the flesh? Should I not read such a verse because someone might be offended by this? Some people are just offended by neatness. You're right.

You can just be too neat and you offend someone. Our companionship must make the distinction between the saved and the lost. You know, the classic verse is found in Ephesians, have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

That can be a little complicated sometimes, but overall it is very easy to understand. Psalm 94, shall the throne of iniquity which devises evil by law have fellowship with you and Yahweh. So the psalmist is saying the very thing. There's a distinction that has to be made. Who are our allies and who are our enemies? Who is lost and who is not? And the lost are not our enemies, even though they can, well, they can be. I mean, if they're attacking us, but what did Jesus say to do with your enemies?

Shoot them. No, he did not. He did not.

He did not. We're to love them. We're to pray for them.

We're to behave as though we see the bigger picture. We see the picture from heaven. First Peter chapter two, and remember, and you should know this, if you've been attending here long enough, whenever I bring up first and second Peter, I give you the theme right away. First Peter, the Christians were being persecuted. Peter writes to them. Second Peter, the church is being persecuted by heresy, by false teachers.

And Peter takes up his letter, his pen again to deal with that. But in first Peter, he says, but you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Now remember, he's saying this to Christians who are being persecuted. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, who once were not a people, but are now the people of God who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims abstained from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. Our purpose is found in what Jesus has done. He has called us. That's what he says in verse nine. Again, of first Peter chapter two, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Not always been his people, he tells us in verse 10 of that second chapter in Peter. We are described in this present age as sojourners and pilgrims, those traveling through, but with a destination in mind. And the destination is the place of absolute worship, heaven. And so the history of the assembly, we should know about these things because it adds meaning and purpose to what we do.

It makes us better at doing what we do when we understand these things more clearly. In the New Testament, we encounter the Jewish synagogue everywhere, everywhere in the book of Acts. There's a synagogue, both in Israel and throughout the Roman Empire. Wherever Paul went to preach, he looked for the synagogue to preach there.

That was his launch point. If he didn't find one, well, then he'd preach on the street. But if he found a synagogue, that is where he would go. Now, before the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and destroyed their temple, that temple was the central place of worship for the Jew. They were not to bring blood sacrifices or grain sacrifices anywhere else but to that temple.

Sacrifice was central to their worship. Psalm 122, which is a song of going to church. See, when you read this, a song of a sense, they're going to church, they're going to the temple, they're going to worship in the congregation. We read in Psalm 122, verse 1, it is a Psalm of David.

I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord. Maybe you're having a tough time with your church. You're really ready to throw it all away because maybe you're not as glad as you used to be. Maybe you have to outfight the enemy. Maybe you have to outfight your flesh.

It's worth it. Sometimes Christians will say, Lord, should I leave this church? And God says, yes, but he doesn't give them all the information because they didn't ask.

And the rest of the information is this, because you're messing it up. Don't be that guy. And don't go telling somebody, yes, I prayed to the Lord. And he says, should I leave? And he said, yes. What's the rest of the story? Maybe you are the troublemaker, or maybe that's your past history.

Well, I'll make it your present history. And I know there are people that are going to listen to these messages online or on the radio, and many of them are going to be guilty of these things. And hopefully they're going to benefit and say, you know, I need to rethink this in the presence of the Lord and presence of his word. Synagogues were the outcome of the Babylonian exile. You see, when the Babylonians under Nebuchad king Nebuchadnezzar came and sacked Jerusalem, and they took the cream of the crop of the people away into exile to Babylon, while the Jews were in Babylon and spread throughout the Babylonian empire, they began to assemble so that they could worship God together, so that they could read the scripture and pray together and fellowship together. Wherever there was a group of Jews, this is what they would do. If they had 10 men, 10 men, it became what we call a synagogue. The Jewish word means assembly.

It's all very simple. It became formalized into the Jewish synagogue that we know today. It's a synagogue that Jesus preached in. It's a synagogue that Paul, it's an assembly that Jesus preached in. It's an assembly that Paul preached in. Psalm 111 verse 1, praise Yahweh, I will praise Yahweh with my whole heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation. You see, it's very clear.

Something should be very attractive about these things. Going through a lull with your assembly, go through it. Again, it is not your signal because you've met with hardship or opposition or your feelings have been hurt. That's not your signal to sound retreat. We sing that song, the Battle Hymn of the Republic. He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never sound retreat. Well, that's good for Jesus. Just don't ask me to be part of that.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be our attitude if we're not careful. Well, blood sacrifices were central to the worship of the Jew before the Babylonian exile, but when the synagogues came up after the exile began, guess what became central? Teaching the scriptures, which is just why, again, Jesus goes into the synagogue.

He opens the scroll up to Isaiah and he says, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach. So this history is rich and belongs to us because God used the Jews to form the church, the assembly of the saved in Christ Jesus. That pattern has been set forth and we are following it to this day. And as a matter of fact, even Islam follows the pattern of the synagogues because that's the solid it is.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, they just lockstep with it in that regard. Certainly there's not justification of Islam, but it makes the point that the synagogue as the assembly of the Jews has had a great influence on people who worship of even other faiths, our faith being one of them. And any male present in the Jewish synagogue could be invited to come up to the pulpit and speak to the congregation. This is why Paul and Barnabas, when they entered into, went to various cities in the Roman Empire, such as Antioch or Ephesus or any place they found themselves, they were invited up to speak and they would preach Christ Jesus to the congregation.

They would say, he has fulfilled the criteria of our Messiah and they would lay it out from their own scripture just why. So the first century Christians assembled to pray, to sing and to fellowship. The first Christians, the first ones out of the starting gate, what did they do?

Well, Islam didn't forsake the assembling, but most did not. Acts 2.42, they continued steadfastly. That word steadfastly means they met with opposition. What is the opposition? Mood, dislike, persecution, from within or without, whatever the cause, whatever is going to cause resistance you're going to have to be steadfast against it if it is worth being steadfast against it. When you're not in the mood to go to church, you have no reason to miss formation and you're not here.

Who do you think is cheering that on? You think the angels who rejoice over the conversion of the soul are saying, yes, that's the way to do it, buddy. The call of all the little angels, come watch.

So when you grow up to be, I'm not teaching that there are little angels and big angels, but it makes for funny points. Or is it hell? Is it three cheers there? Yoo hoo, hip, hip, hooray, hip, hip. We got another one sitting home off the flight deck when we're having flight ops. Why aren't you taking off?

I'm in the state of late last night. We'll get up early this morning. Ha ha ha. Acts 2.42, they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, fellowship in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. We call our cafe, our fellowship area, the 2.42, based on this verse. It is where the congregation gets to make announcements.

It's where they get to interact and touch each other, not physically. There are blessings in the fellowship of the saints that are not found anywhere else on earth. I have been sitting in the rear of the sanctuary before service for the last few months, maybe a year now, and I enjoy so much seeing the congregation sing and worship the Lord. It's such a blessing.

You don't get this anywhere else. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. We hope you've been blessed by this Believer's Basics series, exploring the fundamentals of what it means to follow Christ. If you'd like to listen to more of this series, or share it with someone you know, please visit Cross Reference Radio dot com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit Cross Reference Radio dot com and follow the links under radio. Again, that's Cross Reference Radio dot com. That's all for today. We hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the Word of God right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-08 18:31:54 / 2022-11-08 18:37:19 / 5

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