Fellowship brings in presence of God even in the fire. We find joy among believers. Protection, warning, and strength are with us. As His Body, we hold fast to the Truth of the Person of Christ.
(1 John 1:1-4; Daniel 3:21-23; 1 Corinthians 1:9)

Speaker(s): Mat Gehret, Cedric Tanksley
Sermon 12435
7:00 PM on 1/4/2023

Cedrick Tanksley –

Good evening. So, I’d like to say “Happy New Year” to you from my family to yours. Pray with me
please. (Prayer). Thank you for praying with me. It’s not easy thing to be up here. I’d like to start
out by telling you a little story. Please don’t judge me either. Go ahead. You can judge me.
When Social media started to evolve and become what it was today, I hated it. But I had to
realize I couldn’t hate or dislike something that I didn’t understand. So, as a tool to stay
connected to my children, I asked my daughter could you make me a Facebook page and
account. She said, sure cause that’s what older people use.

They use Facebook, right?! She said you don’t know anything about the TikTok anything or Snapchat. Because I didn’t
understand the purpose of this account or the value of the account, I just let it idle for years. I
had it but I didn’t use it. I let it idle for years because I didn’t understand its value.
But just recently as I was in my quiet time talking to God, he said why don’t you use that
platform as a tool to fellowship. I said what would I post cause I’m not posting anything about my
family or anything like that. He said, aren’t you an inspirational guy? I think I am. Don’t you want
to be an influence for me? I said, I know I do want to be. He said, can’t you impact lives like
that? I said, yes. He said, then use motivation.

So, that’s what I started to do. I started to post things about motivation and anybody that
followed me knows that at the top of my post I used to always have something up there that said
invite God in daily. Invite God in daily. Just around November 2022, maybe early December, I
changed it to fellowship with God. Tonight, I want to talk to you about fellowship.
God has been dealing with me about fellowship, and that’s really been on my heart. And I said,
wow, man, I did not know that social media was a form of fellowship. It’s like a connection
fellowship. I said, wow, is that a form really of fellowship? The second form of fellowship I want
to talk to you about is kind of what we come to the church for to congregate with other people
that we share something in common with. We all are believers and we want to communicate
around the Word of God, right? We share a common interest so that’s something that we find
interesting and we talk about it.

I know we have side conversations. Men talk about cars, sports, work. Women talk about – don’t
judge me on this women, alright? I tried to get my wife to help me. Women talk about
motherhood, children, their husbands. You know, maybe. Maybe. But overall, these are all forms
of communication – excuse me – fellowship. But that’s not the form of fellowship I want to talk to
you about.

Today I ask that you turn in your Bibles to Daniel 3. We’ll start in vs. 21-23. I know for some of
us when we go through trials, we start to keep our eyes on our situation, our tribulations, the
trials that we go through. And all these years, I’ve come to learn that it’s what you go through
that’s making you stronger, right? So, let’s read a little bit further. Sorry. Let me catch where I
was at. vs. 24-25. I tell you this: when you fellowship with God, you get to get into his presence,
right? But not only do you get into his presence but you get to invite him into your life. It’s to see
things with a purpose. You get to see things through a different vision, but see these men were
in trials. They had nothing to lose but they stood firmly on what they believed. They were
servants, so they stood firm on what they believed. And they didn’t stray away from that.

I don’t know who I may be talking to tonight but I want to say to you whatever it is that you are
going through just like these three men that were in a furnace, God can be with you when you
fellowship with him. That fellowship is oneness in Spirit. God wants to have a connection with
you. He doesn’t want to just be present. He wants to be included. He wants to walk with you
through your trials. And when I thought about that, it made me think of Peter walking on water.
When we put our eyes on our situation, we start to sink. But when we keep on eyes and have
fellowship with God, God is right there keeping us protected, keeping us safe. Why? Because
he loves us. But we have to stay in constant fellowship with him.

It was amazing to see the fact that not only did they see the guys that they put into the fire, but
they seen the Son of God. God is saying in that moment because of the fellowship that I had
with you, the oneness of Spirit with you, I walk with you. I love you. I care for you. And you don’t
stray away from that. And it’s hard for us not to focus on the problems and the situations that we
go through to help us grow in life. It made me take a step back as I was reading this and saying
is this a real understanding of fellowship? Is this what it is? Is it more than just a conversation? It
did more than just me getting down on my knees and just actually inviting God in and saying
hey God, I want a relationship with you.

This is a trial. This is a tribulation that these gentlemen are facing but they kept their eyes in the
right place where they needed to be, on God. And that’s why as you read a long future, I’m
pretty sure you guys are aware of the story, that the king had to take them out of the fire. And he
recognized that they did not have a singe of fire. They did not lose a hair. They did not lose
anything. Why? Because they were in the presence of God. They were fellowshipping with God.
They had a oneness with God. God was showing them if you trust me and you don’t lean on
your own understanding, I got you. I have you. I want to take care of you.

So, I don’t know who I am talking to tonight. Whatever it might be – a health problem, a job,
work, a relationship. Whatever it may be, just understand that if you continue to trust in God,
he’ll walk with you. I can prove it to you.

Turn to 1 Corinthians 1:9. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful.” I want to stop there. It says, “God is faithful.”
What does that mean? God is reliable. Would you agree with that? God is dependable, right?
Would you agree with that? God is trustworthy. Would you agree with that? I think we can all
agree that his promises are always true. Would you agree with that?

So tell me if he says I will never leave you or? I will never leave your or [forsake you]. Why
would he start now? Why would he start now? No matter what it is that you are going through,
all he asks is for your fellowship, your eyes, your attention, your communication to be on him.
We give so many other things our time and energy, but how much time do we fellowship with the
Word? How much time do we allow the Word to sink in? Not just read it but understand it. Did
you hear me in the beginning? I did not understand social media. So how could I hate
something that I did not understand.

I’m sorry if I’m getting a little bit emotional to you guys. Let’s read a little bit further. vs. 9. I’m
going to say that one more time. vs. 9. See me smiling. This is a beautiful part because that
fellowship he is calling you into is partnership. You get the part taken to a life if you didn’t
choose to walk with God, you wouldn’t even have an understanding of. But because you choose
to walk with him, he’s giving you grace. He’s giving you mercy. He’s giving you the
understanding through love. He’s giving you an understanding through purpose. You wouldn’t
even know your purpose without God.

I hear so many times without God, you’re not going to make it. The Word says we all have a
plan but God is the one that establishes our steps. You guys are always looking at me funny,
making me feel funny, man. Do you guys agree with that? I just need to know. I just need to
know man because the fact is that God wants to have communion with you. God wants to have
communion with you. Not just at the first of the month. God wants communion with you every
day. He wants to share something with you every day but we have to keep our eyes on him.
I’m a point guy. So my first point to you is this: God gives you rest. Would you agree with that?
When you fellowship with God, God gives you rest. I would think back that Shadrach, Meshach
and Abednego had rest in that fire. Would you agree with that? They were resting in. They didn’t
even think about nothing else because they were servants and they knew who they served.
They didn’t have to worry about anything. They were at peace.

Whatever you are going to do, brother, do it. It’s not going to affect me either way because I
know who I’m trusting. When you go through something, God is saying do you trust me? That’s
a question that you got to answer. Do I fellowship with God, really? Or do I just have
conversation? Cause Matthew 18:20 says for two or three to gather together in the midst of me. My
name is included. There I am. That’s bigger than just a conversation. See I have to be included,
God said. When I’m included, then I’m in the midst of that. Do you guys agree with that? Then
I’m in the midst of it. A conversation – hey man. I like your car. Yeah, it’s great. We are
fellowshipping, right? But God said I want to be in the midst of it and you include me into it. I
don’t just want to be knowledge and say I know you’re there. I want to be included. Invite God
in. Fellowship with God.

The second thing I want to let you know is that fellowship to me is like love. See in fellowship,
when God is in it, you get to take a step back. You get to be a doormat for somebody else. A
sacrifice. You get to hear them in the conversation. You got to be able to hear someone before
you can respond. But we so quickly respond. The Bible says be slow to speak and quick to – oh
my. You guys know that one? Slow to speak and what? Wow. And quick to hear, right?

But lastly, when you get in the presence of God and you fellowship with God, God gives you
this. And I’m very excited about this. You guys understand. I’m very excited about this. You get
to see a person for who they are the way that God wants you to see them, not for who you
project them to be. Let me say that one more time. When you’re in the presence of God and you
get to fellowship, that flesh automatically has you looking at sizing them up. But when you are in
the presence of God, God is saying I love him like I love you. Is that true? I love him, I love her
like I love you. So, what makes you better? Oh my God. You know better than that person. I
love them the same way. But I need you to stay in fellowship with me so you can see them the
way I want you to see them through my eyes and not your own. Can you guys receive that?
Thank you, guys.

P. Mat Gehret –

Hey, good evening. Welcome to church again. Hey, the theme of the night
tonight is fellowship, so let’s take a minute right now. Stand up. Let’s take a break and let’s
fellowship with one another. Go ahead. Alright. Alright. Break it up. Break it up. Here we go.
Come on now. You guys really went for it.

Okay. Everyone please take a seat unless your name is Luke Myers. Everyone please take a
seat unless your name is Luke Myers. Alright. Everyone take a look at Luke standing back over
here. Give him a round of applause. Luke just got back from Argentina, so I just want to give
him a shout out. He spent an entire semester in Argentina. He wasn’t doing it for a practicum.
He wasn’t doing it for any school credits. He just went because he felt called and he did it and
that’s amazing. Okay.

Hey, so yeah. Give him a round of applause. That’s great. We love that. That’s a student at our
Bible college. Shameless plug. The theme of the night again, Fellowship. Fellowship. Did you
guys feel that as you walked around just now? Awesome. Let’s pray and then let’s see what else
God has for us on the topic. (Prayer).

Alright. So this word “fellowship,” the passage I’m going to be in most of the night is 1 John 1.
So go ahead and turn there in your Bibles. 1 John 1. Nitty gritty detail out of the way, the Greek
word for fellowship found four maybe five times in 1 John 1, KOINONIA. KOINONIA.
KOINONIA. Okay. There’s three words that I’m going to get to that that Greek word helps us
understand whenever we think of the word “fellowship.” But before I do that, I’m just going to
give you four straight benefits of fellowship that we find all throughout the general epistle of 1
John. Okay.

The first benefit of fellowship is found in 1 John 1:4. And I’ll read the verse. So, the first benefit of
fellowship that your joy may be full. That’s a great benefit. We’re going to talk about them all

Second one. Second benefit of fellowship, chapter 2:1. Second benefit of fellowship, it guards
us against sin. Guards us against sin. Pardon my chicken scratch but I think the visual helps us
to focus. Third benefit of fellowship, 1 John 2:22, 26. It protects us. It warns us against liars and
seducers. Warns us against liars and seducers. Can you see the fourth? No, okay.

Final benefit, chapter 5:13. Final benefit of fellowship is to strengthen your relationship with
Christ. Strengthen your relationship with Christ. Now, out of those points, the third point to me is
the most interesting. It says one of the benefits of fellowship is to warn us against liars and
seducers. In the epistle of 1 John, John – this the same writer as the gospel of John. This is the
same writer of Revelation. He was writing this passage specifically to warn against this group of
believers called gnostics. People who believe in something called gnosticism. Some basic
tenets of the idea of gnosticism say that Jesus Christ was never incarnated and walked on the

Another basic tenet of the idea of gnosticism is that all matter, everything about creation is evil
but everything about the spiritual world and the spirit life is pure. Okay.
Now, keep those two things in mind as we read 1 John 1 because John is really trying to drive a
point home in the first couple verses. He does an amazing job, so I’m just going to read it and let
him do the talking here.

1 John 1:1-4, now if he is writing this to believers addressing this idea of

gnosticism hoping that they don’t get confused, that they don’t follow this lie, that they don’t
follow the deceit, the subtlety of the devil. He’s saying something really clear here. He’s saying I
have walked with Christ for three years on the earth. I have been next to him. I have laid my
head on his chest at the Last Supper. I have seen him do miracles. I have seen him touch
people and people be healed. The Word of life which my hands have handled, which my eyes
have seen, which my ears have heard, this goes way beyond any spiritual understanding of this
person of Jesus Christ. This is the physical human form of Jesus Christ that John is testifying
about. He’s saying I stood right next to that man.

I was there with his mother when he was crucified on the cross. I saw him suffer and die a horrible and painful death for our sakes because of the love that he had for us, because of the joy that was set before him. I watched
that take place. There was nothing about that that was fake, that was a sham. There was
nothing about that that was a lie. That’s the truth. That’s what I’ve seen from the beginning.
This is really important to talk about when we think about this idea of fellowship because one of
the first words that this Greek word KOINONIA refers to is community. By the way, Sedrick did
an amazing job in his message. He hit all of my points in so many different ways. I was just like,
wow! I don’t even have to come up here right now. This is just an amazing aspect of spiritual life
walking with God that the Spirit of God would speak to him and give him a message and it
would correlate to everything happening in this room right now. That it would correlate to each
and every one of your lives right now.

So, this first word “community.” Do you know what this word communicates? Being united in
purpose. You actually have the word “unity” there. Being united in purpose. What is the Body of
believers? What is the Body of Christ? We are all united in purpose under one head. Who is our
head? Jesus Christ. That’s Ephesians 5:23, Colossians 1:18. We are unified under the purpose of being
under the head of Jesus Christ. He is our Shepherd in John 10 and we are the sheep of his
pasture who hear his voice. We are one flock. We are together. We have one mind. Philippians 2:5,
“let this mind be in you that which was in Christ Jesus.”

When we are walking in community with one another – he said this so well. I’m just going to
repeat it a different way. When we are walking in community with one another in Philippians 2:3-4, this
is our attitude as we walk together in fellowship. When we are walking in fellowship with Christ,
and we’re walking in fellowship as a Body of believers, you know where we are looking?
Outward. We’re not looking inward. We’re not looking at ourself. We’re not thinking about
ourself. We’re not worried about ourself. We’re not worried about how others perceive us. We
are looking outward at the needs of the people all around us.

When I said, hey, let’s stand up and fellowship, you know what you did? You looked outward.
You went somewhere and you talked to someone. Maybe you gave them a word of
encouragement. Maybe they gave you one but it was like perfect. The mind of Christ was in you
and in them and you guys were fellowshipping together. That’s fellowship. That’s community.
Community. We are fellow workers, fellow laborers with God in 1 Corinthians 3:9.

So, you have it in 1 John 1. You have this idea of community in vs. 3. We’ll read it again.
Community. And then a different kind of fellowship is coming in this same verse. Do you know
what the next word that relates to fellowship, that relates to the Greek word is speaking about
being connected to Christ, connected to God? It’s communion. We have communion with Jesus

In the New Testament, this Greek word, this specific Greek word is used again in 1 Corinthians 10:16
and it specifically is talking about the ordinance of communion. The blood of Christ. The body of
Christ that we both partake in. 1 Corinthians 10:16. Gnosticism is this belief that takes people away
from the accountability of Christ having lived and died and suffered for their sins. Gnosticism is
the belief that whenever the book of John, the gospel, whenever Jesus says to all of them in Jn.
6 maybe vs. 53 or 54, he says you need to eat my flesh and drink my blood. This belief excuses
them from that entire concept. Excuses them from that intimacy that communion provides for us
whenever we are having fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Can you imagine you’re in that huge crowd of disciples back in John 6. Do you know how many
people left Jesus Christ after he said those words in John 6? The entire crowd except for the
twelve. The entire crowd. You need to eat my flesh and drink my blood. Oh, these things are too
hard for us. We’re out of here. I’m pretty sure gnosticism was probably born right then and there.
They just got together, they conferred on the side, and they went their way and said, okay.
We’re going to change what he just said because we don’t believe that and we don’t want to
avail ourselves to that. We don’t want to submit ourselves to that idea.

But Christ is saying I want to be so intimate with you that I want to share my nature and my
being with you. Communion in his blood and in his body, do you know what it says in Hebrews 9:14
about having communion with his blood? That our conscience has been sprinkled. That our
conscience is – let’s read it. Let’s read it. It’s better to read it. Hebrews 9:14. This is having
communion with the blood of Christ.

Your conscience has been purged by the blood of Christ. You have been set free from any guilt
in your mind by the blood of Christ. It has been poured out on the mercy seat once for all in
Hebrews 10:14 to let you know that all your sins past, present and future are forever forgiven when
you apply faith into his blood, when you apply faith to who Jesus Christ is. The man who
stepped down from heaven in Philippians 2, walked this earth next to you and died your death for you
was crucified on your behalf. That’s having communion. That’s having intimacy. That’s having
fellowship with Jesus Christ. It’s an amazing thing to know that we can have fellowship with him.
By his blood in Romans 5:9, we have been justified. By his blood in 1 Peter 1:18-19, we have been
redeemed. We have been made legally clean, justified, legally set free, legally declared not
guilty. We have been redeemed. We are being repurchased, repurposed for his use. That’s like
amazing. All through is blood. All through his broken body.

Though he was rich, he became poor. Though he was strong, he became rich. Okay. This final
word rapping up. Final word. It’s a hyphenated word. Fellowship indicates joint participation.
Joint participation. Joint participation. Let’s continue reading 1 John 1 and let’s make a point here
at the end. vs. 5. If we say we have communion with Jesus Christ and we actually walk in
darkness and walk against being intimate with him and go the opposite way of the things that
he talks to us about and the things that he teaches us, then we lie and do not the truth.
vs. 7. Community one with another. Communion one with another. vs.8-10. If we say we that we
have fellowship with Christ, if we say that we are joint participators with Jesus Christ – where does it say that we are joint participators with Jesus Christ? Romans 8. it says we are not just heirs
but we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ.

We are receiving the same blessings and promises from
God that Jesus Christ himself receives. Why? Because we are his Body, he is our Head and we
are receiving trickle down effect everything from him. Every benefit that he could have with his
Father, Jesus Christ and that relationship, we are partakers of. We get to behold. We get to be
overwhelmed with as we walk this earth.

What’s our part? What’s our participation? What’s our participation? It says in 1 John 1:9 what our
participation is. Confess your sins. Simple. Confess your sins. Our participation is to believe
God. To confess. Yes, Lord, I am a sinner. You don’t even count it against me but I’ll say it
anyway. I’m a sinner and because I believe that and because I believe you and because I believe what you say, I am forgiven completely and cleansed from everything right from the get-
go. Right from the get-go.

What’s our part in our participation in our walk with God? What’s our part? In Ephesians 2:8-9, what
does it say? What is it? You know it. It is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast.
Are our works part of it? No, what’s our part in that whole scenario? Belief. Faith. Pistos.
Applying the truth that we have heard, the grace and truth in John 1:16 that came by Jesus Christ
and I believe it. That’s it. I believe it. I believe that Christ died for me. I believe that his blood
atones my sins. I believe that his resurrection gives me the power of resurrection life. That’s it.
Belief. Faith. Our part is faith.

The Hebrew boys in Daniel 3, what was their part? What did they say? Oh, King
Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this answer. Our God will either save us,
but even if he doesn’t, – this is the paraphrase version. This is the Matt Gehret paraphrase. But
even if he doesn’t, we will never serve your puny little gods. We will never do it. Our faith is in
the Most High God. Our faith is in the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The
God who does miracles. The God who keeps covenant. The God who sent his Son to die for
you and pay for your sins and set you free from all corruption, all bondage, all shame.
Everything that holds us back in life on a daily basis. That’s the God that I believe in. Our part is
faith. Simple.

Oh, this is a good one. Galatians 2:20. We know it by heart a lot of us, but I want you to think about it
differently for a second. Were you crucified? Did you suffer on the cross? Did you suffer the pain
of the nails going through your hands, through your ankles? The suffocation that takes place
when you’re trying to lift yourself up to breathe? Did you go through that? No, he went through
that and he counts us to have been crucified with him. What’s our part? To believe. What’s our
part? To believe.

vs. 20-21. I lived how? By faith. Our part is faith. Joint participation. You read Romans 8:31-39, and
you start to learn about the joint participation that you have in Jesus Christ. If God be for you,
who can be against you? Does that have anything to do with you, or does that have to do with
who’s fighting on your behalf? Has to do with who’s fighting on your behalf. If God has freely
given us his Son, how shall he not freely give us all things? All things.

Is that up to us? No, that’s up to God who gave it to us. What’s it say? Who is he that condemns
you? God is the one that has justified you. Who is he that lays a charge to God’s elect? God is
the one who has called you. God is the one that has put you there. There is no jealousy. There
is no anger. There is no resentment. There is no looking at the other person and saying what
about this thing and that thing? It’s like look away from all of it and look at Christ. Look at the
fellowship that you have with him.

Philippians 2:13, what’s our part? He works in us both to will and to do. Do we do the work or does
he? He does. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, what’s our part? Faithful is he who has called you who will also do
it. What’s our part? Faith. Faith. Fellowship gives us community, gives us like mindedness one
with another. Fellowship gives us communion. Gives us an intimate, real – what’s the word –
tangible relationship with Jesus Christ. Fellowship makes us joint participators with who he is, what is plan is and what he’s doing, 2 Timothy 1:9. You have been called before the foundation of the
world to a purpose that he has made for your life and you receive it by grace. What’s your part?
Faith. Receive it. That’s it. Amen. Let’s pray,


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