Christ, Our Fellowship, Part 4

December 17, 2015 at 9:03 AM

If your faith does not move you out in obedience to God, it's not faith!

If your faith does not move you out in obedience to God, it’s not faith!

Previously in this series, we noted that entering into fellowship with God starts when we “see” what He is doing and we partner with Him to accomplish His plans and purposes. We do not fellowship with God by hiding ourselves away from the very society He is attempting to reach! Yes, we need to worship Him, which includes singing to Him, praying to Him, reading His Word, and other things that are done either privately or corporately by the worshiper. But there is a very real need to understand that God is still working today bringing His plans and purposes to fruition in society. At least part of that – a big part of it – is to bring many who are lost to Him for salvation. He wants no one to perish (cf. 2 Peter 3:9). This should certainly be our biggest priority, the Great Commission (cf. Matthew 28:16-20), the spreading of the Gospel message to those in desperate need. If we don’t tell them, how will they hear?

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:14)

The above questions asked by the apostle Paul illuminate the need for every Christian to be involved in the Great Commission. Instead, too many of us (and I include myself in that) are seeking God for the main purpose of gaining more of Him. We are doing it wrong, in my opinion, and I have been guilty of doing it wrong for some time.

We don’t chase after God to gain more of Him as our primary purpose. That is the secondary purpose or byproduct of chasing after Him. But you see, Satan has convinced too many of us that we chase after God as a main purpose. We see all the verses in Scripture where the Psalmist (or Paul, Peter, or someone else) encourages us to “know” God, to chase after Him like a deer pants after the water (cf. Psalm 42:1). Yes, we need to do that, however, I am now convinced that this mainly occurs as we partner with God to bring His plans and purposes to fruition.

Satan has us convinced that we need to go to this newest, latest and greatest worship/teaching conference led by that fabulous teacher who has plenty of charisma and can lead us into the “deeper” things of God. Yes, there’s a place for that, but that is never a substitute for doing God’s will in His strength and power, for His glory. If Satan cannot keep a person from becoming a Christian (and he can’t), he will work hard to ensure that they remain outside of God’s will, which means that they will never really enter into fellowship with God. That person will always be chasing after what he/she thinks is God, but if Satan has anything to say about it, will never truly find that fellowship.

The reason they will never find it is because they’re starting off wrong. They are looking in all the wrong places. They are approaching things from error and from a wrong motive though to them their efforts will certainly seem to them as though they are pursuing God and things spiritual. As I look back over my life, I can clearly see the many times I went astray because I was guided by selfish motives, seeking things for my own self-aggrandizement. I had it wrong. God will reward those who diligently seek Him when they seek to partner with Him to accomplish His purposes, period. I’m referencing Hebrews 11:6 and the writer is talking about salvation, first and foremost. However, let’s look at the verse itself.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him, (Hebrews 11:6).

God needs to see faith in us in order to be able to impute Christ’s righteousness to our account. This is salvation, when God changes our legal status from unrighteous to righteous. But please notice something extremely, EXTREMELY important here!

The entirety of Hebrews 11 is called the “hall of faith” for a very good reason. In it, we do not see people (labeled faithful or righteous) who are just standing by, doing nothing. They aren’t chasing after God because they want their emotions to be filled to overflowing in ecstasy. They want God and they understand that in order to have more of Him, they must do something. That something involves fulfilling His will for their lives. God wants to do things through all of us and it is in our obedience to Him (in the fulfillment of these jobs He asks us to join with Him in fulfilling), that we actually gain more of Him.

Let’s take a few examples from Hebrews 11 to flesh out what I’m talking about here.

By faith Abel offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith he still speaks, though he is dead, (Hebrews 6:4).

Abel had faith in God. His faith pushed him to obey God. God rewarded Abel for it. In essence, Abel believed God when his parents (Adam and Eve) taught him that in order to approach God, a blood sacrifice must be offered. Abel didn’t question it. He didn’t complain about it. He simply obeyed and was counted as righteous because of it. His faith in what he had learned from his parents brought him righteousness and a closer walk with God!

Abel’s brother Cain, had no faith in God. Yeah, he would bring a sacrifice, but on his terms, not God’s. He failed miserably and was not counted as righteous. In fact, because he failed to believe God, not only did he continue to be labeled unrighteous, but actually acted out that unrighteousness by murdering his blood brother!

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God, (Hebrews 11:5).

Notice the last portion of the above verse, which says that Enoch was “commended as having pleased God.” How did he actually please God? Through obedience by walking with God (cf. Genesis 5:22; 24). What does it mean to “walk” with God? It means to live a life that is in obedience to God! It’s not “hanging” out with God so that we shoot the breeze, chat about this or that, enjoy one another’s company, etc. Walking with God means being obedient to Him. It means partnering with God so that His purposes become our purposes!

Enoch walked with God in obedience. Hebrews 11: 5 tells us that Enoch pleased God and from everything else in Scripture, we know this means Enoch obeyed God. He willingly undertook what it was that God wanted him to do. Partnering with God to accomplish His will underscores the reality that we will do what God wants in His power because we are concerned about doing what we “see” God doing. Just as Jesus saw His Father doing things and partnered with Him, so should we do the exact same thing. While there are general principles at work that are similar for each and every Christian, there are also specific things that He wants to do through me, that He may not necessarily want to do through you because of our respective stations in life.

By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith, (Hebrews 11:6).

By now, certain things should have jumped out at you from the above verse. Notice that Noah was considered righteous because of his faith in God. God told Noah that the end of days for all flesh was coming and He wanted Noah to build an ark for himself and specific animals. It was Noah’s faith in God that allowed God to label Noah as righteous, but please notice what sprang from Noah’s faith. He OBEYED God and began building an ARK! Wow. You see that, right?

Can you imagine how God must have inspired Noah and his sons and given them the ability to build such a ship? Wow, it had never been done before! Around 450 in length and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Oh wait, sorry. The reality is that this was an undertaking of humongous proportions and Noah had never trained to be a builder of boats. But because Noah had faith in God (believed Him), God rewarded Noah with a new label: righteous. But it didn’t stop there either. Because Noah believed God, he naturally wanted to obey God as well. If your “faith” does not prompt you to obedience in God, brothers and sisters, it is not faith. It is probably just some feeling that accomplishes nothing. True faith has substance that is seen in obedience to God’s plans and purposes (not yours!).

Noah then partnered with God to bring God’s plans and purposes to fruition. Because God saw that Noah wanted to obey Him, God enabled Noah (and his sons) with the ability to build such a huge undertaking we call “Noah’s Ark.” Noah did not build that ark in his own strength or his own know-how. He did so because of God’s ability that God instilled in Noah.

It was also due to this process that Noah got to know God better over time. Yet, please notice that Noah still fell through sin after God saved Noah and his family along with the animals that would replenish the world (read Genesis 9 and weep). There is a tremendously spiritual principle at work here! We partner with God, literally joining Him in His purposes. When we do that, we are exercising faith in Him and gaining from Him the ability to do the very thing that we are joining with Him to accomplish!

However, even with this, we need to realize that this is not a guarantee of constant spiritual progress. We can (and will) fall and we must always guard ourselves against it. Please let me emphasize that there is no fellowship with God without obedience to Him. We must not only be willing to partner with Him, but we will actually have to come alongside of Him and start practicing obedience to Him. We won’t be able to do this unless and until we actually believe we “see” what He is doing. When we do though, we will have tremendous confidence in His leadership and His ability in and through us. Remember, we are partnering with Him in order to bring His plans and purposes to fruition, not ours!

We will talk more about this in future articles in this series because there is a great deal to cover.

Entry filed under: christianity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , , , .

Christ, Our Fellowship, Part 3 Christ, Our Fellowship, Part 5

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