Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend Worship

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Broken Fellowship

Breaking fellowship is a very sensitive topic. Breaking fellowship can be the spiritual equivalent of ripping off your own arm. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. You have gotten used to your arm. It is a part of your body. You have many uses for it. If you lost your arm, you would miss it. Worse yet, you are the one that is going to have to remove it. Breaking fellowship is not something that should ever be taken lightly. In fact, for the new believer, I was not even sure that this was an appropriate topic. However, somewhere along the walk, you may encounter a situation for which this knowledge will be needed.

[As for] a man who is factious [a heretical sectarian and cause of divisions], after admonishing him a first and second time, reject [him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him], Well aware that such a person has utterly changed (is perverted and corrupted); he goes on sinning [though he] is convicted of guilt and self-condemned.
Titus 3:10-11 AMP

I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them.
Romans 16:17 AMP

Again, breaking of fellowship requires very careful consideration. This is something may never be required of someone in their walk with God. You may never encounter a situation where you need to break fellowship with a person or body of believers. However, the Word is very clear on what to do in such situations. We are not to be in fellowship with those who carry out heretical teachings and practices.

Heresy is defined by Webster as: Dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice. An opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards.

So, truly, breaking fellowship for this reason would not be in the best interest of a new believer, since that believer really has not had the chance to have a 'dominant practice' or 'generally accepted beliefs'. As a new believer, stick with the one who evangelized you and is discipling you, whenever possible, until you establish a relationship, on a pastoral level, with your church leader. Even if the one you are with is a bit off the charts, God will honor your faithfulness.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV

We should break fellowship with any believer who is walking out of the Will of God. This is not to say that someone who sins is automatically cut off. If that were to happen, churches would need revolving doors! But someone who continually is out of order, (see previous post), should be cut off. Always leave room for reconciliation and redemption.

Read Ephesians 4: 1-13
Differences in doctrine are not reasons for breaking fellowship unless it deters or attacks the basic foundation of redemption being found in Christ Jesus.

No one should be received into the fellowship of a church without having received Christ. This is not to say that non-believers are not welcome. Indeed, non-believers need the gospel. But fellowship is more intimate and only intended for those who are in the body already.

I can not emphasize enough that this is a very serious matter if ever undertaken. Leaving a church because you didn't like what the preacher said is not breaking fellowship, it's just disobedience. Leaving because someone looked at you wrong or didn't greet you one day is not breaking fellowship, it's the spirit of offense. My wife and I had to break fellowship because of a denominational change which put our local body in fellowship with a national organization which acknowledged the ordination of homosexuals. It was clear cut for us. It was terribly difficult, nonetheless. Breaking fellowship is a major issue, a major decision, a major change. Do not let it takes minor amounts of consideration.

Look for 'Weekend Worship' -> coming up next!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend Worship

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fornicators and Drunks: Brace Yourselves!

As we continue this look at those we should not fellowship with as believers, I want to remind us of one thing. This blog was initially intended for the new believer, in order to disciple them in the way. I acknowledge that not every believer will have freedom from all sinful behavior manifested in their lives at conversion.

That being said, the following posts may convict you of sin. You may find that you yourself are on the 'no fellowship list'. Do not be afraid. If you are truly seeking after God, He will honor your hunger and set you free. Repent of sin that is revealed and ask Him to change your heart. Set your affections on Him.

I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 KJV

Remember first what Paul says in verse 10. His instructions refer to the fellowship of believers with believers that fall into the categories he is about to list; not unbelievers. That is not to say that you should be hanging out in the bars with the drunks of this world, but the danger lies in yoking yourself with one who calls themselves by the Name of Christ and yet is still in sin in these areas.

We are not to associate with fornicators. A fornicator is anyone who has illicit sexual relationships. Any sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage is fornication. Sexual activity by a married person outside of their own marriage covenant is adultery. Adultery is fornication. If you are in sin in this area, you should repent quickly, be forgiven and not continue in sin.

We are not to fellowship with those who are covetous; who have an inordinate desire or greed.

We are not to fellowship with extortionists. An extortionist is one who obtains gain from others through manipulation, abuse of their authority or oppression; a thief and a robber.

We are not to be yoked with idolaters. Idolatry is when you place something else above the place of Christ. If someone is devoted to someone or something so much that it takes the place of God, they are in sin in this area. The worship of Mary above the place of Christ as mediator for us is idolatry. The Word says that we have only one mediator and that that mediator is Christ.

We are not to associate with believers who are railers. A railer is one who uses profanity, is verbally abusive, slanderous, a gossip, hateful and hurtful in their speech. If you know a believer like this - stay away. You will be like who you spend time with.

Steer clear of drunkards. That one should be self-explanatory. A drunkard is anyone who drinks habitually; even if they refer to it as social drinking. I know of whole churches where this is acceptable. I personally don't drink at all. My wife doesn't drink. We don't believe that believers should drink at all. To me, drinking is no less than idolatry. Most people I know who drink, do so in order to reach a certain mental, emotional, or physical state. No beverage can get me into a better mental, physical or emotional state than being in the presence of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Bible tells us to be drunk in the Spirit! Cool! I have been drunk in the Spirit many times - three days ago, in fact!

If you have found yourself on this list, remember my admonishment at the beginning of the post: Repent. Do it quickly.

Next post: Broken Fellowship

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend Worship

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DANGER: KEEP OUT - Fellowship to Avoid

We've determined that we are to be in fellowship with God and the Body of believers and we've discussed two kinds of fell-NO-ships. Let's look at some more.

False Religions

Read 2 Peter 2:1-4 and you will see what is meant by false religions and the rest of this chapter goes on to explain how to recognize them. False religions will attribute salvation to another beside Jesus Christ as God or may even say that salvation isn't necessary or possible, indicating instead the concept of re-incarnation or 'death as the end' of it all. False religions may also be christian in appearance but will exalt others, or their own concepts above Jesus Christ.

Even within truly Christian faiths, false doctrine and teachings have emerged over centuries or even the past few years. This brings us to another type of fellowship to avoid.

False Teaching

Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught], do not receive him [do not accept him, do not welcome or admit him] into [your] house or bid him Godspeed or give him any encouragement. For he who wishes him success [who encourages him, wishing him Godspeed] is a partaker in his evil doings.
2 John 1:9-11 AMP

As my Pastor would say: That is self-explanatory.

Next Post: Fornicators and Drunks - brace yourselves!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Weekend Worship

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fell-NO-ship - Enter at Your Own Risk

We left the topic of fellowship kind of out in the open. We never talked about fell-NO-ship! What?!?!? What is THAT?

Just as in talking about fellowship, we discussed who we needed to fellowship with; God and believers, we also need to discuss who NOT to fellowship with. Sometimes, you may find that there are certain people, who, based on their practices, behavior and/or faith, you should not be in fellowship with. Sometimes, it will just be a practice or behavior of your own, that needs to cahnge or be 'out of fellowship'.

That being said, you may find that some of which is included in the following list may apply to others and some may apply to yourself. They are all elements of behavior and practice with which believers should not be in fellowship.

Unclean or satanic spirits

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
1Co 10:20

Those of unrighteousness or darkness

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2Co 6:14

Let me comment a bit to clarify the last reference. This scripture does not say that you can not associate with unbelievers at all. Indeed if believers did that, I would say very few of us would be saved today. What the scripture refers to is being 'yoked together'. When cattle are yoked together, they are attached without the possibilty of being able to leave one another. They are yoked together for the same purpose. If a farmer yokes two cattle together, he does not expect one to plow the north field while the other is busy in the south field. They are expected to stick it out together, labor together, in the same field, for the same purpose, to achieve the same goal. There is no way an unbeliever can be expected to labor together with a believer. They do not have the same focus. This concept of avoiding an unequal yoking can be applied to marriage as well as business partnerships. In it's simplest form, it can be applied to friendships as well.

As you give some thought to that, we'll be getting the next entry ready.

Are you unequally yoked?