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

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
November 3, 2022 6:00 am

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

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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November 3, 2022 6:00 am

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Basic to our faith is assembling in worship and time spent with believers. That is basic to our faith.

The Jews understood it. David, he sang songs about it. Psalm 26 verse eight, Yahweh, I have loved the habitation of your house and the place where your glory twels.

It was this attraction that David had for the assembly place of God, that point of assembly. 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. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Ephesians chapter five, as he begins his message called Fellowship. We are in our study, The Believers Basics, and I hope it has been helpful to you.

They are the basics. And once we are done, we will turn our attention to first and second Peter. This morning, our topic is fellowship. And if you have your Bibles, will you turn to Ephesians chapter five, Ephesians five, beginning in verse 25. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water. By the word that he might present her to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

The text is verse twenty five, just a portion of it as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her. Scripture is clear about God's love for the assembly, and I don't know how it's become confused in the minds of some, but it has, and it should not be. It's a very simple thing. In fact, the basics are very simple.

They're all made complicated by people, I think, who are usually up to no good in some form. But I'm not surprised to hear that Christ loves the individual. I'm not surprised when we read in the Bible of his love for us because God is love. Paul wrote in Galatians, the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me. You remember, Paul was persecuting Christians when he was confronted by the love of Christ. We even hear about God's love for the world. That's not surprising in the context of the personality of God, knowing how the church behaves, knowing what goes on in churches, what Christians can do to a church. I find it amazing that God loves the church.

I can understand the other two. I can understand him reaching out to sinners, but for those who are now saved in the knowledge of God behaving the way as we do from time to time, sometimes, all the time, it is surprising to find that Jesus loves us still, the assembly of believers, and he cements this love through his death. It tells us, again, our verse, Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her. He gave himself unto death for the body of believers, his body. These are his thoughts about the assembly who gathers to fellowship with the Lord and each other at the same time.

So what am I supposed to do with this? When I read in my scripture that he loves the church and he gave himself for it, what am I supposed to do with that? Am I not supposed to be like Christ in every way I can be? Did you know that there are Christians who are anti-church, anti-assembly, anti-fellowship, as though fellowship could be chopped off from church?

They're joined together forever. You cannot separate, well, I fellowship, but I don't go to church. Well, I go to church, but I don't fellowship.

They're the same thing. And the scripture, again, it speaks very clearly on this subject. In fact, I struggled with which verse to use for the text, which verse from the scripture got me close enough to make the points I felt the Lord was making on this topic. The book of Acts is loaded with verses and teachings on this very subject.

Acts chapter 11, verse 26 was initially my verse. There we read about Barnabas going to get Paul, that great apostle, before he became the great apostle. He was chosen by God, he was sent, but he was there in Cilicia, sort of hiding out, no doubt, doing the work of the Lord, building a church there where he was.

But he was largely forgotten by the Jerusalem Christians and the Christians that were elsewhere outside of Jerusalem. But Barnabas didn't forget him because Barnabas had fellowship and friendship with Paul and he knew what was in that man. He knew what God called him to do.

He knew his potential. And when the church in Antioch, Syria began to explode with Gentiles now flooding into the church. Barnabas knew the only man that could save the day was Paul because the Holy Spirit told Barnabas that Barnabas, it says, was a man full of the Holy Spirit. And so he goes and gets Paul, he brings him to Antioch. And there we read in Acts chapter 11 and verse 26 that they had fellowship there and they taught the saints, they taught the assembled church, the faith that we hold so dear. And so these Christians who are anti-church, they're not our enemies. We must make that clear when they're trying to gang up on them. But the truth is the truth. The teaching is the teaching.

And we will adhere to that. Have they not heard of Paul's instructive comparison? Yes, he's talking about the marriage. He says to the wife, you know, obey your husbands or the husbands, love your wives. But then he throws this in out of seemingly nowhere as Christ loved the church, gave himself for it, a serious business, knowing what we know about the Lord's feeling for his people. Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me when Jesus is in heaven? How can he say that to Saul of Tarsus? Saul doesn't laying a hand on the body, the physical body of Christ, but he was laying his hands on the spiritual body of Christ, God's people. And Jesus took offense to that and he said, you're hitting me, you hit them, you hit me. And Saul knew what was going on right away and submitted instantly. So many stay away from Christ because of his church.

This was the case with me. Church goers were often preoccupied with showing off how odd they could behave in Jesus' name. You think that's crazy in Jesus' name? Watch me do this.

They wouldn't say it like that, but they'd do it. Watch me faint in church because I'm crazy with the Holy Spirit. Again, as A. W. Tozier has taught, the Holy Spirit is not the cause of insanity, but the cure. And then there were those that just were comparatively stable, but they weren't excited about what was inside their own Bibles. Both of these together make fellowship ugly, if not impossible, certainly not appealing. I don't want to be that way. I'm still very excited about what's in my scripture.

I'd love to share it with anybody who would want to receive it. And so these, these who are ignorant of the word and those who are abusive of it, abusive of it, they leave an impression that they believe without reason. And there's nothing attractive about that. It should not be the case. It often is.

It doesn't have to be. There are many churches that know what they believe, why they believe what they believe, and are in pursuit of those things. And they're giving it all that they have. And when I say churches, I don't mean buildings. I mean the people in them.

Christianity is doable on a level that is often passed by. Such things are, again, are not only unappealing, but they are irritating. They breed contempt. They cause people to look at the Christians and say, if that's what it means to serve Jesus, you can keep him because I don't want to behave that way. I don't want to just believe in something because I'm told to believe in it. I don't want to lose my sanity because I'm somehow in touch with the spiritual world.

And they're justified in some of those, some of the points they make. Because that is not New Testament Christianity. But when Christ, the real Jesus Christ, straight out of scripture, lays hold on the soul, everything changes. Everything becomes sensible now. Everything becomes more clear, more meaningful. And then the life changes with it. It still has to be careful.

Otherwise, it can be knocked off balance. But if it is careful, if it pays attention, if it asserts itself, if it works, it will bring much fruit. There will be a change of soul and a change of life, not perfection, but the pursuit of is very valuable.

What happens when people are not pursuing perfection? However, in contrast to those who make worship unappealing, there are those who make it very appealing. Yeah, we tend to think about, well, at least pastors do.

They tend to think about the minority that is often over the years have been problematic. Well, we've better watch out because there are so many in a congregation, even the majority that are not problematic. Large number of loving and decent and sensible and obedient Christians belonging to solid churches. These make fellowship delightful.

They make it warm, exciting. These are not so quick to yield to bad ways. And so we stand in the pulpit and we say these things. And those in the congregation listen to these things. And the righteous will say, that's the way. That's the course.

That is the route I plan to take. Those with an agenda will shut it out because they've made up their mind. They know what's good and right, even if it is contrary to Scripture.

And sadly enough, those things happen. But that righteous collection of believers, they know sin is the most deadly thing to man. It is the most deadly thing known to man, sin.

And they know that God's not fooling with it and they don't intend to either. Where would we be without the friendship and fellowship of solid Christianity? We'd be in opposition to Christ.

That's where we would be. The local church, the local assembly of believers. After 2000 years of time, of attack, of heresies, of schisms, of infightings, still the church is here.

She's still moving forward. And those with discernment built on Scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit and fellowship with Christ under the Father, they can discern these things. We, the church, have outfought evil.

That is the goal. We have outfought evil together, not one isolated individual fending off evil in the name of Jesus, but a collection of believers. Now, I have to make some critical clarifications at this point, because there are those, again, with an agenda that will be quick to protest, well, the church is everywhere. Well, it is, but that's not the whole story.

And if that's your whole story, you're wrong. You're breeding heresy. You're editing out the teachings of the Bible. Basic to our faith is assembling in worship and time spent with believers. That is basic to our faith. The Jews understood it.

David, he sang songs about it. Psalm 26, verse eight. Yahweh, I have loved the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells. It was this attraction that David had for the assembly place of God, that point of assembly. It doesn't say, I love my living room, the place where I go pray.

I go pray and huddle with my family. Oh, it's the house of God. And that's not the only place he makes such a statement.

I'll get to a couple as we move through. And so I don't know if it's veiled disobedience or ignorance of the Bible, teaching a combination of both. Why so many reject the local assembly of the body of Christ?

It's not optional. You don't come to Christ and say, well, do you want powered windows or not? You come to Christ, do you want to assemble or not? Do you want to obey or not?

These are not options given to us. Some of my excitement is based on the awareness that the scripture has the answers, does not apologize for them. And it is right.

It is good that excites me. Hebrews 10, 25, which is the classic verse for addressing those who will not belong to the body of Christ while claiming the salvation of Christ at the same time. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching. So here, 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 is 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. We're 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 church's 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, in 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, 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. If 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, Corinth, in Centuria, in Philippi, in 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 up with, you know, well, we're trapped on a desert, on an island, and there's nobody else with us. Nobody else with us is 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, with 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 itself amongst people. They're not, there are times when one of the believers was dispatched to the desert to reach someone's soul, but then he was quickly snatched away to a zotas 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, that's the pattern of the church comes from Israel. We 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, 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 non-compliance. Non-compliance, these clear teachings, it's 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 who 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 in 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 in 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. 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 We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit and follow the links under radio. Again, that's And 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 18:26:23 / 2022-11-08 18:31:54 / 6

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