Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
Get all the Soul Foods online @:http://www.olivebranchministries.us
The Fellowship of the Father
Eph:2:4: But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith he loved us,
Firstly, it is important for us to know that we are greatly loved by God the Father. We canít come into any kind of a close personal relationship with some one including our Heavenly Father if we think that person is a mean ogre out to get us. This is totally opposite of the truth, and not at all what our Heavenly Father wants from us.
1Jn:4:19: We love him, because he first loved us.
It is because He first loved us that He wanted to restore the fellowship that was lost in the Garden of Eden. After all He went to great lengths to redeem us. He certainly wouldnít have gone to such lengths to redeem us if He wanted to just stick us over in a corner somewhere after it was all said and done would He? The answer is no He wouldnít!!!
He wants to have relationship with us, but He also wants to have true and lasting fellowship with us. Fellowship is based on getting to know someone and to be known by them. It is an intimate sharing one with another. This kind of fellowship doesnít happen overnight, it takes time. Knowing and understanding a persons wants and desires is something that happens over a period of time. The same is true with our Heavenly Father, once we come into the kingdom we have to take the time to get to know Him. The number one way to get to know Him is by learning of Him in His Word. His Word is the written revelation of Himself. This is the very reason I have such reverence for the Word of God. He choose this method to give us a true revelation of Him. This is the beginning of fellowship, the beginning of getting to know our Heavenly Father. This is truly the desire of our Heavenly Father, for us to know Him and to be known by Him.
We can come to a place where we can know our Heavenly Father like this, but it first
starts with us coming unto a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Jn:14:6: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Jesus is the only way. There is no other way to come to the Father. If you have not accepted Jesus as Lord then you can have no fellowship with the Heavenly Father. Relationship comes first.
1 John 1:3. 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.
This is the message of the Gospel, this is the good news, we have been reconciled to God the Father through Jesus Christ.
We have been reconciled to God by Jesus Christ, but in order to partake of this blood bought Covenant we have to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
2Cor:5:19: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
If you have already come unto a saving knowledge of Him, then you must realize that His great desire is to get to know you intimately.
Fellowship is not the same as relationship. Relationship is another way of saying kinship, or family. Fellowship is the sharing of intimacy. You can be estranged from someone who is a blood relative of yours and not have real fellowship, even though you might be a blood relative. Fellowship is not necessarily the result of kinship.
W.E. Vines Greek expository of New Testament words say fellowship is sharing in common. It also denotes "a partaker" or partner. To have communion with. Meaning to have things in common.
Another dictionary says partnership, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse.
To share the life of God, to be a partaker of Godís very life.
Just because you are now born into the kingdom of God doesnít mean you know and understand the desires of your Fathers heart or that you know Him intimately, or that you are a partaker and sharer of His life. You might say I am born again, that means I partake of His life. This is true up to a point, every person ever born has a mother and a father and that makes you a partaker of their life doesnít it, but that doesnít necessarily mean you share their desires or are close to them. This is a reality we could all talk about. We all know of such cases to one degree or another.
True fellowship is vital to any healthy relationship. You can not build a trusting relationship with out it.
There are some very interesting things about fellowship that I want to look at. Letís look at Johnís first Epistle Chapter 1. He had much to say about fellowship and how important it is for us to walk in it, and for us to come to an understanding of it. He knew the importance of this and how vital it is for every believer. As you read this I want you to understand that John is writing to Christians, people who have already come into relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:1-10. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us 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. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 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.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
John starts out by saying that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us. The word eternal life is the Greek word translated from Zoë, meaning the life of God. Godís very life was manifested to us, in other words we have been given the chance to be a partaker of the Zoë of God. Then He goes on to say, that the purpose of this was so that we may have fellowship together, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. If the body of Christ could get a hold of this fact, it would dramatically change the way we act toward one another.
John was making the point that if we are fellowshipping together, then we are sharers of God's life together, and in reality our fellowshipping of Godís life was started and initiated by Him, because that fellowship is truly with God and His son Jesus Christ. You can not be a sharer and partaker of the very life of God if He is not involved can you. I realize that sound kind of silly, but I want to make the point that without fellowship we are not partakers of that life and we are not sharing that Life!!! John goes on to say that the reason for this is so that we may have fullness of joy. In this Scripture John talks about light and darkness, and how they are separate from one another. There is no darkness in light at all. If we walk in darkness we break fellowship with God. This is not saying we have lost our salvation, it is saying we have stepped outside of that very Zoë life that is sustaining us. I know this because of what he said in vs. 6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. He did not say the truth is not in us he said we are not practicing the truth.
He is saying that if we step out of that very communion that sustains our life then we have stepped into darkness. The importance of this is must not be minimized. The very life flow is severed. Sin is what causes broken fellowship can only be restored by asking forgiveness. The restoration of fellowship is what allows the blood of Jesus to cleanse us.
John said in vsís. 7 and 8, 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
We are only in the light when we are in fellowship with the Father and with one another. In other words, if we have broken our fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ then we are walking in darkness. If we are not walking in life, then we are walking in death. That is a very sobering thought, and is truly too high a price to pay for some petty grievance. Nothing, is worth that. Then as John went on to say when we are walking in fellowship with one another, that is when the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. WOW!!! It didnít say when we are walking in fellowship with God the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, it said when we are walking in fellowship one with another the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. They are all tied together, when we step out of fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we step out of fellowship with the Father as well, and that causes us to step into a place of darkness and outside of Godís Zoë life. As the Word says in...
2Cor:6:14. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
The answer to that is that there is none!!! But we donít have to walk that way do we? We know the importance of walking in harmony with our brethren. In the light of this we can see the reason why Jesus said inÖ
Matthew 5:23-24. "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24. "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
You restore your fellowship with your brother and you have also restored your fellowship with God. I hope this takes on some new significance now.
If youíre not sure that you are a child of God, then I would like to invite you to earnestly pray this prayer and come into relationship with Him, The first step you must take to true fellowship.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37), So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.