1 John 1 : 5 - 7, This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. NKJV
In today’s scripture, John is teaching believers in Christ why we have fellowship with one another. Simply put, it is because we have believed and obeyed the truth. God’s Word brings us into fellowship with the Lord and with each other. As long as we walk in the truth, we are walking in the light and will have fellowship with other believers.
Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 6 : 14 that we are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. He goes on to ask these questions: For what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion does light have with darkness? Fellowship and communion have similar meanings- in that we aren’t to be partakers of unrighteousness and darkness. Therefore, as believers in Christ, we’re not to allow sinners to influence us, so that we begin to partake of their evil ways.
I’m writing this word today on fellowship under the leading of the Holy Spirit to shed some light on the subject of Christians crossing cultural barriers in order to share the gospel with the lost. Let me begin by addressing an issue that many Christians will face at one time or another in their faith walk. Have you had a friendship with someone who was a believer, nevertheless, they decided to go back into sin? Whenever you discovered their choice, how did it affect the dynamics of your friendship? More importantly, how did it affect your fellowship? Did you notice that their decision to sin brought a barrier into the relationship that didn’t exist previously? The barrier of sin should have caused you both to feel uncomfortable in each other’s company.
Sin kills fellowship! The book of Amos asks us the question, “If we don’t agree, how can we walk together?” Without agreement in a friendship about what truth is, how can a saint and a sinner agree and/or walk with each other in fellowship? It can’t happen unless the sinner repents or the believer compromises their convictions about the Word of God. However, having stated the obvious let me ask an important question. How can we, who walk in the light commune with sinners and reach out to them for Christ’s sake? Since we are of the Light (Jesus) and sinners are of the world, there can’t be true communion or fellowship.
Therefore, when we reach out to a lost person, we will sense a barrier. In the body of Christ, this barrier has prevented Christians from sharing the love of Christ with sinners, and this ought not be. It has also caused believers to “kill their witness” or “influence” with sinners because they have treated the lost with disrespect.
One day, Jesus went to the house of Matthew (Levi) who was known to be a tax collector for Rome. Matthew was a newly appointed disciple of Christ, who had invited Jesus to his house for dinner (communion) along with some of his friends, who also happened to be tax collectors and sinners. Nevertheless, when the scribes and Pharisees heard that Jesus was having fellowship with sinners, they accused Him of befriending them. Why? The scribes and Pharisees knew that “their law” didn’t allow them to eat (fellowship or partake) with sinners. Consequently, they accused Jesus of becoming a friend of sinners. What they didn’t know was this: Jesus wasn’t “trying to become like the sinner” at the dinner table; Rather, He was there to offer the “sick” hope and eternal life through evangelism.
When Jewish believers sat at a table with publicans and tax collectors, sharing the meal meant that they were entering fellowship or communion with darkness. However, although Jesus was eating with sinners, He wasn’t communing or partaking of their unrighteous ways. Instead, He was evangelizing them around a meal. In other words, Jesus broke down the wall that separates us from evangelizing sinners by showing us how to reach out to the lost without compromising our convictions.
In His day, Jesus was a “Friend of sinners.” He is still a friend to sinners; however, today, He chooses to operate through us as His ambassadors in the earth. Therefore, we must show the same love toward sinners that Jesus did that day when He sat to eat with them in Matthew’s house. There is much friction between the body of Christ and certain sects of society. Consequently, today’s teaching can empower the body of Christ to overcome the barriers and reach out to the lost in love without fear of compromise. Let’s love the sinner and hate the sin. Isn’t that the method that Jesus used when He saved you and me?
Now Let’s Eat,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery