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September 13, 2020 1:00 am
Life in the body of Christ brings with it a wonderful element of fellowship, both with God and with other believers. And the basis for that fellowship is spoken of by the Apostle John as “walking in the light.”Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Life in the body of Christ brings with it a wonderful element of fellowship both with God and with other believers and the basis for that fellowship is spoken of by the apostle John as walking in the light from Chicago.
This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Irwin looks her today we bring you the seconds in a four-part series of messages on the topic. I believe in the church. Stay with us as Dr. Luther speaks on. I believe in fellowship. The Moody choir opens our time of worship in the will will will how wonderful it is for us to be able to approach God.
Yes, he is holy, he dwells in a high and holy place, but also that with those of a contrite spirit want you to notice that our worship theme is God is light, we will not only be emphasizing that as we sing together. And of course it's based on Psalm 27 but also during the message we will discover again from first John, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. Augustine the great theologian and philosopher says light, even though it passes through pollution is itself not polluted and that certainly is true of God for God exists all over, God sees the evil it is not regarded in the sense that he approves of it, but he sees it. And he himself is pure light and where to walk as children of light. Would you join your hearts with me. Place in our father. Today we pray that you shall take these moments of meditation of worship of praise of learning transform them make them father into a time of the opportunity that a time that most assuredly glorifies you in Jesus name, amen and Psalm 27 would like to look at the first one now you notice the choir sang holy is the Lord and his holiness is very important because it creates for us and helps us to understand a standard standard that I think many are hoping America would come back to truth, righteousness, justice, mercy, and because of that David knew God in those ways. His holiness was remarkable to David, but because of that he said the Lord is my light is my salvation whom shall I fear the Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid were going to sing a song that I think many of us do not know to never do that. Of course, but let's listen as a choir sings it and then let's join in singing couple times after that. The Lord is my light and and and and one of those that he does love to go to the house of the Lord to worship the Lord because he meant so much to him when we read together. Psalm 27 four and then will sing together him number 10 as we worship the Lord our God, let us read one thing I asked.
That is when I see that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his let us worship and as I was listening to the choir.
I couldn't help but think of the words of Augustine who said he who understands the holiness of God despairs in trying to appease him, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts. Hosanna, thanks to the choir, and thanks to Stephanie, thank you for communicating to us choir something of the majesty of God is much as we can grasp it in this world. Of course, the day will come when we'll see him face-to-face, and for that we look forward father. We want to remind ourselves today. If you're your impeccable holiness. We want to thank you today all father that we can approach you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, we thank you today father that Jesus was able to fill the various water pots with water to the brim. We thank you that he can do that with our hearts as well get some of your people struggle today because it fears we ask the Lord Jesus, that they might be reminded of the passage that we just read today, the Lord is my light, whom shall I fear so we give you ourselves. We give you all that we own all that we are for your honor and glory in Jesus name, amen like to continue my singing number 585 and then have your bulletin ready so that we can sing this one verse of we are one in the bond of love for the wonderful fellowship we have is questionably. Let me begin today with the question what was the secret of the early churches on the stop ability. I don't know if there's a word like on the stop ability. I have a computer that likes to tell me right away when I made a mistake you know it used to be that you had a computer and then when you finished writing you could hit spell check and that would tell you now mine wants to underline with a wiggly red line. The moment I made a mistake it's it's I'm not wait until you get to the end of the paragraph first when I got it I thought the wiggly red line meant that it was an important word. Then I realized that it was a mistake when I type the word stop ability into my computer.
It has a wiggly red line under it. Now maybe I just spell that I don't know but what was it about the early church that nothing could stop it. Political authorities, other religions competing for the same minds in the same hearts and Christianity just marches along tremendous strength unstoppable in the book of acts it says that they continued and this may be the secret. They continued in the apostles teaching that was the foundation of all in the fellowship in the breaking of bread, which I take to be communion and in prayer. Maybe that was the secret of its unstoppable power.
You'll notice number two on the list and I'm not sure that the list necessarily designates order of importance, but number two on the list is fellowship. The Greek word fellowship means calling O'Neill, it means common.
It means that they shared something in common. It's also the word that is really at the root of our word communion.
It means that we have something that unites us. That is stronger than anything that might divide us. What was it that united them. Was it the fact that they were all Jewish in their origin ethnically live in a matter of fact there were many people who were Jewish strongly oppose the killing Christian church was it because they were all of the same education. No, certainly not as a matter of fact, Christianity had a tremendous amount of power also among the lower classes was that the locations of people know today their church growth leaders who tell us the churches only grow if you had homogeneity today.
I just feel like using some big words. That means that we all look alike will act alike world economically alike roll the same color than the church wrote I want you to know today that the strength of the church. It seems to me is diversity in those matters.
It looks a lot more like heaven to see diversity as a matter fact, Kenneth Scott Bilotta wrapped wrote an awesome book on church history said that the strength of the early church was that all the other gods what it was. Roman gods are Greek gods. They were all kind of tribal, ethnic deities, he says, Christianity came along and and it reached out to everyone and united people on the basis of a different principal that principal was the fellowship was the common life that were talking about.
Take your Bibles and turn to first John chapter 1 verse John chapter 1 know that's the letter of John not the epistle of St. John, but one of his letters first John chapter 1 very close to the book of Revelation, and you'll notice that it says in verse one. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen in her eyes looked at in her hands attached this we claim concerning the word of life, I'd love to comment on that but I will do so very briefly, you know, in those days it was believed the Jesus that God could not have come in the flesh, and so there was this idea that Jesus wasn't really only appeared to have a human body.
John said we touched him.
We touched the word of life. 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. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you may also have fellowship with us and notice it now and our fellowship is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ. We write this to make your joy come late. What was the common life that the early church shared what was it that David that sense of invincibility. Well first of all I want us to look at the fellowship that they had with the father and the son right out of the text there in verse three. Our fellowship is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ.
Now left to ourselves in our natural state. We have nothing in common with God because God is holy as the choir has a wondrously sung this morning. God is holy and we are sinful. Even when we don't think we are sinful we are, and therefore there is nothing in common but John says the word of life came in. Jesus came and took upon himself the nature of man, or at least the body of man and the nature of man, though without sin, and as a result now is forgiveness that is reconciliation means that we can have contact with God. God's holiness has been appeased and as a result, God says now you can draw near to me and you and I can have fellowship together as a matter fact, when the Bible says that we are partakers of the divine nature that word partakers in Greek is really Ed Lynch .0 Naya.
We have within us the very life of God implanted is not something we grew up with. It's not something that happen just because we went to Sunday school. It's not something that came about as a result of the fact that we are good people.
It was implanted by God. When we were born again we share the very life of God. Notice. John says were declaring to you this eternal life, which appeared and was revealed to us so we share the life of God. We also share the light of God.
Notice in verse five.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you that God is a light in the him that there is no darkness at all. We claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and we do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus his son, purifies us the word from which we get catharsis. It cleanses us from all sin. Dog is life and we share it and got his light were to walk in it.
What about light light reveals reality. I can't tell you the number of times and this is somewhat embarrassing to say the number of times that I've awakened in the morning and decided to say where a black suit and of course as you know, with a black suit should go black socks so I looked in the drawer in the boy they sure look black. I put them on and walk in the sunlight, and I chose blue socks today. I'm wearing a gray suit and I want you to know I checked my socks out good and proper. They are black, but I can imagine some of the same way guys got black socks to look at here is wearing a blue tie with a gray suit simple fact is that you and I until we come into the light. We don't know reality. Reality shows the flaws reality shows how things are light reveals John Whittier wrote our thoughts lie open to the eyesight and they could to die glance our secret sins are in the light of thy pure countenance while as a result of God coming to us. We recognize that that it is.
He then who brings reality, we finally understand who we are. We understand both our sinfulness, but we also understand his grace. Light has to reveal both back in November 11, 1951. Electricity came to the farm on which I was raised to sail around the world. You remember that well is just one of those little things I can pull out of my mind. It was a big deal, is able, how could you remember back to 1951.
Well, the answer is I was very, very, very young that I do remember it along with electricity came the yard light that was something new. We as kids just kept flashing that thing on and off couldn't believe it. It's all right. I came from a town where if you plug in an electric razor. The streetlights used to dim, but one of the things we as kids learned about the yard light is this that when you get away from it.
You cast a very long shadow as you get closer, the shadow gets shorter and shorter and shorter until you're standing right under it. There's almost no shadow that you can see you are standing in the light. Now listen to me, my friend, if you want to know your length. If you want to really know who you are, you have to get close to God because that's reality standing away from God. You can have a conception of yourself and measurement that is totally's you because it's your idea.
Listen to me when I tell you that darkness is your opinion of yourself light is God's opinion of you. God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. And if we say that we have fellowship with him and I've met Christians like this and they walk in darkness, we live Joneses and we do not do the truth when asked another question when I'm in fellowship with God does not mean that it's a one-sided thing where I am in fellowship with God and that God's not having fellowship with me. Oh no no no it's too excited God is having fellowship with me. In fact, even when he says when we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another. If you remember what an antecedent is that's going back a long time antecedent in the verses actually God, we have fellowship one with another, God is fellowship with me and I have fellowship with God and as a result of that, we have fellowship together. Sometimes people say you know I don't read my Bible. I don't have devotions because I don't get anything out of them want you to know that that's not really the question. The question is what does God get out of them.
He desires our fellowship and if we walk in the light, we have the opportunity of being in fellowship with him.
What hinders fellowship sin. What brings about joy fellowship with him. Notice I have to comment on in verse four we write this to make our joy complete and we save ourselves know it's it's it's in darkness that I find joy. I will not get this up. I will not do what I know God wants no none of that's an incomplete joy that is always between with that cloud there is such a thing as joy inexpressible and full of glory, walking in the light is the power of the early church. Why did they turned their world upside down.
They knew the power of fellowship with the father and with his son Jesus Christ.
But secondly, they also knew fellowship with one another. They understood that in verse three it says you are to have fellowship with us.
The Bible says and of course also in verse seven.
Perhaps he is referring not only to fellowship with God but fellowship to one another as we walk in the light because darkness separates us and light unites us. Now listen, this is just for you and me listening together here. How is it possible for two Christians to walk in the light. Let's oppose your married and and the man is walking in the light.
He claims to be walking in the light and his wife claims to be walking in the light and and yet there's no fellowship they can't get along. What's going on there is darkness somewhere. So I cartoon this past week of a woman who was receiving counseling. She and her husband received a lot of counseling and they went to their pastor and said you know we settled all of our differences and now we have nothing in common. You know the problem with some counseling and not the kind that we do here but you know there is counseling where people want to be able to get along and still walk in their darkness, and the text is saying that if we walk in the light is God is in the light now.
Tell you what happened in the early church when you walk in the light, and you see your sinfulness and you see God's grace and you have to see both rails are devastated.
What happens is you become open so that you begin to share with other people length and soon you know your life. You know you aren't threatened by the encroachment of intimacy because you know that the one who knows the most about you and loves you the most and so gives you a sense of security in the early church was able to share and able to work through without having to where all the masks that some of us sometimes put on. That was one of the strengths of the early church. Here's a man who is about to declare bankruptcy.
This is a true story. As a matter fact not only bankruptcy but he's gonna disappear supposedly off the face of the earth because of everything that is collapsed around them and the day before he disappears.
He plays 18 holes of golf with friends from his church and nobody knows what he's going through. Why doesn't he reveal it. Well maybe he thinks that it would be judgmental.
Maybe he thinks that would be painful.
I tell you, he despaired himself an awful lot of pain if it would've been revealed, but as a result of that you see what happens as we live in these separated lives we say only God sees who I really am and I'm not willing to walk in the light so that I can have fellowship with you because I really walk in the light.
I'm going to have to be honest, I'm going to have to have some transparency and I'm going to have to be able to reveal to other people who I really am and that is meant is terrifying for many people. The early church was able to do that because of the power of the light read a story this past week of a man who was going to raise docs and he lived beside a river really and thought that that might be a good thing to do and so he made all these different pens because there different kinds of ducks.
So one color docs go here. And here's a another kind of doctrine. They made these fences out of wire was able to keep the ducks there as long as their wings were trimmed and so forth.
And then a huge flood came, and the water went well above all of the fences and suddenly realize that now all of the ducks are swimming together when the Holy Spirit of God works in power in a congregation when the rain showers of blessing begin to come. All of the fences disappear and the ducks start swimming together and as a result of that. You see, we have fellowship one with another. There's a sense of authenticity. There's a sense of honesty. There's a sense of openness in which it's okay to be fragile and frail and hurting because suddenly we realize we are really all the same and in the fences go down in the different colored duck's in the ducks from different geographical areas all swim together. John said, we have fellowship with the father and the son.
Now we have fellowship those bonds with one another throughout the New Testament there also other uses of the word fellowship and all comment briefly about the fellowship of sharing the fellowship of sharing when the apostle Paul speaks in second Corinthians about giving. He says that you participated in the fellowship of the saints. He's talking about the offering and it only makes sense because you see it, we begin to give ourselves to one another.
Then suddenly we will be very anxious UC to have the opportunity of giving because it's so much a part of who we are as people who love the light want you to know today.
It is possible to give without love is why some people resent giving so much is because there is not love, but it's possible to give without love, but it is impossible to love without giving love and you will give God love Denny gave and he gave and he gave that's why in the New Testament offerings were talked about is the fellowship of the saints because that's what they had in common was that mutual sharing that mutual giving, you know, here at The Moody Church.
We had many new members, many of you have stayed with us and you been here for years, but we also have a lot of people who pass through this place and there different reasons because some people move geographically, maybe they move out to the suburbs are they move out of the city, or whatever, but one of the things we've also learned is that the people who really buy into our vision who say this is where God has called us and this is where were going to stay are not just people who simply have found enjoyment and blessing for our worship services. They are people who have bonded with other people and they have had a sense of real genuine fellowship because that's so necessary for a church to be unstoppable.
We can't live this life alone. We need each other and that we have opportunities here through ministries such as small groups and you can meet with the pastor Milko was in charge of that we have adult Bible fellowships that meet before our worship service was for some people, their sense of bonding and community is the choir women's ministry is always flourished here for many many years under the leadership of Mary Whelchel who's here today. I want you to know women look out because the men are going to catch up to you. We had a wonderful meeting yesterday with about 90 or hundred men and we want to do this this every month and and it was wonderful to see the kind of bonding and the kind of fellowship because my dear friend it is part of the gospel message that we have fellowship with God and we have fellowship with one another.
When I was reading the biography of Murray in the chain was a great preacher and he said something that I could hardly relate to, but he said that when Sunday was over he would we, he would weep for such sadness.
To think that he would not see the saints again in that setting for a whole long week. Now that is love. That is community you build that into the ministry of the church, by the power the Holy Spirit and we too will have an here's the word now on the stop ability whether the computer believes is a word like that are not what my saying today at like to wrap it up with two important applications number one asking for today, personable and radical commitment to God. Radical commitment to God, you know, there is a parable of a cave that was down in the heart of the earth way below the surface and somebody said to the cave. This is of course a fable. Somebody said to the cave that you come out the light and see the light in the cage that I do not believe that light exists for I have seen only darkness and so the cave stayed there but once it it took up the challenge and it came into the light of the sun. I thought oh my, there is light and then the story goes that the cave invited the sun down and said why don't you come into the cave and and see what darkness is like. So the sun took up the challenge and went into the cave and the sun went into the cave and it said I do not see any darkness you mean darkness where is the darkness notices God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. Wherever he shines the dark must leave because darkness is just the absence of light. It does not have energy does not have power, you heard me say many years ago. That's why you can't going to ace hardware and sites you know last time I was here about a flashlight, but this time I like to buy a flash dark because sometimes the lights in my home are too bright and I'd like to just shine some darkness. You have a flash dark. There's no flash dark is a flashlight. What I'd like to ask you to do is are you inviting God into the cave of your life to look around and dissipate the darkness. Yesterday I spent yesterday evening about 1/2 an hour in the presence of God, not praying, not asking for something but asking God to simply search my heart and show me what's there and it's always so painful because I see self-will I see selfishness. I see all this and is just so so difficult.
I have to admit to all of these things in the presence of the light. But if you're serious about it. Whatever God reveals, you just wait before him and you confess this and you admit to that, and you admit to that. And he doesn't let me buy with anything and I admit to this this this this, but then it says that we are cleansed, I thought to myself I wonder if there are Christians who been saved for years who have never spent 1/2 an hour in God's presence and saying I know that you have search me I know that your light is upon me. Now show me what you see is not a pretty picture. Not a pretty picture but is there that he needs you in grace and that's where you have your catharsis you so what about the sins we can't remember, listen, it says if we walk in the light as he is in the light with fellowship one with another. The blood of Jesus Christ. God son cleanses us from all sin. I interpret that to mean that if we confess the sins that God reveals to us the sins that we weren't even aware of are also cleansed, so that we now today are walking in light I'm sure there are many sins. I've committed that I don't even remember that I never confess there probably people that I've offended and who knows what all I want you to know today as far as I know, having spent that time in God's presence yesterday evening. I'm walking in the light as much as God could show me the cup of joy springs a leak because of sin, and when we when we open our's caves to God and say God what's in there that you want me to confess and to get rid of.
That's when we really have fellowship with God and God's is now uniting know we can have fellowship together. This isn't just a one sided thing since radical commitment to God whatever he might have you do or say.
Secondly, radical commitment to one another.
It flows out of that means that we begin to sacrifice brothers.
That means that we begin to get to know others and end to bring them into the circle of our sacrifice and our joy and our prayers how I thank God for the many many people who pray for us as a staff and and you bring them in because because you're actually committed to one another fact the Bible says that you should be willing to lay down your life for somebody and you and I nobody's ever asked us to do that nobody's ever asked me to do that, they ask a whole lot less and it becomes a burden. Why, if you're not walking in the light when you walk in darkness, every act of sacrifice is that resentful burden you walk in the light and it's a joy there was a deacon who is given an assignment and that was to find out who in the world was stealing the soap in the washrooms of the church back in the days you know and they just put a bar of soap there now.
I guess they got all kinds of fancy gadgets. But every time they did it. I tell you something. They turned their back. The soap was gone. So this guy decided to hide in a washroom. Maybe behind the garbage can or whatever, but he was there in walks a man takes the bar of soap wraps it in a Kleenex puts it in his pocket. Deacon did not see who it was because he saw only the back of the man, but he shouted I saw you do that, and the man turned around and instantly the deacon was looking into the eyes of a very close friend not can you imagine how that moment was transformed when he recognized he was doing it as long as it's somebody out there without a name. As long as it's somebody out there. You don't care too much, but when it's somebody you know then it has a different face and this is the outcropping now of fellowship one with another, and being involved in other people's lives. When I came to this church many years ago there was a woman who used to walk along the LaSalle Street was an older woman who used to just curse and swear obscenities to herself as she walked along and as from time to time we would see her and she walked by us with with all of this saw. Coming out of her. We just kind of ignored or I mean, you know, she seemed to be perhaps mentally unstable and so forth. In one day when I saw her I thought what if she were my mother pointed that put a different face on it and then I began to think, you know, maybe she is somebody's mother. I began to think who knows the abuse that this woman endured who knows the men that have taken advantage of her.
Who knows who knows what addiction and sin. She fell into and after that whenever I saw her I try to walk with her and I try to talk with her and tell her about the love of Jesus, I wasn't successful. This is not a success story.
All that I'm trying to say is that if we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and as a result of that week that begins to spill over into the lives of other people who are no longer simply faces but they are real people with real needs with real desires with a real need for the warmth of the father's home.
What is going to make a Moody Church on stuff people I hadn't planned on saying this, but I'm on a roll today. It's not really going to be the preaching is not going to be necessarily the choir and the beautiful music that we thank God for all that it is going to be walking in the light beginning to seek God and are permitting which incidentally is a marvelous experience at 7 o'clock on Wednesday is going to be saying God, what is there with in us that must be cleansed and forgiven and taken care of so that we have fellowship with you and therefore have fellowship with one another. I believe that, just as the early church was unstoppable so we can be to under the good hand of our God. Let us pray our father, we want to thank you today for all the mercies that you've given to us that are so undeserved that we ask in the name of Jesus the light of Jesus with all of its power may shine upon us. We pray that you will give us the courage to walk in the light help us father to be willing to go into the caverns of our own heart and say bring your light and shine it and shine it that there might not be darkness over God do that as a people we pray for the strength of this church in this city, we think of those who have opportunities to witness to God's amazing grace in all the different locations in all the different neighborhoods in all the different opportunities that you put upon us changes, old Lord by your spirit. We ask in Jesus name, amen.
Let's sing together today him number 284 they'll know we are Christians by our love 280 4U commonly displays Jerry on today's Moody Church.
Our Dr. Erwin lutes brought the second 24 messages on.
I believe in the church we heard about walking in the light having fellowship with God and with each other. Everybody likes having a servant around and loving service is a key mark of true Christians next week.
Join us as Erwin lutes speaks on. I believe in serving the coded 19 pandemic has badly damaged the world economy.
Solutions include troubling changes to how money works and what jobs will never come back. Dr. lutes or would like you to have his lecture on Kovic 19 the economy and our future to help all of us trust God during these tough times. It's available on CD or DVD is our gift to you and thanks for your gift to The Moody Church.
Our call 1-800-215-5001. Share your gift with us and choose either DVD or CD is our thank you. Call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago