We proclaim what we have seen and heard. Our spiritual life is meant to be more than personal, it is to be corporate. The Church is representation of who He is in the world. (1 John 1:3; 1 Samuel 23:16-20)
Speaker(s): Pastor Justin Schaller
Sermon # 11627
6:30 PM on 2/10/2019
At the end of Paul’s life, I love his statement. We mentioned it this morning in the message on victory. At the end of his life he’s in prison. There is nobody with him. He said only Luke is with me. He’s got one guy willing to identify with him. At my first defense, no man stood with me, but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me that by me the preaching might be fully known. He’s still preaching in prison. How would you like to be chained to him? If you’re an unbeliever, it wouldn’t be very comfortable. Sixteen soldiers a day that watched him. I’m sure they heard the message. They say that was one of the ways that the message spread. These men that Paul was there with that were there to guard him got converted and went to different parts of the empire with the message. That’s what church history tells us. He made this statement. I love this statement. I have fought a good fight. I finished my course. I kept the faith. In the Kenneth Wuest edition of the New Testament, it says I’m resting at the goal in victory. I fought a good fight. I finished my course. I kept the faith and I’m resting at the goal in victory. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness to all those that love his appearing.
God be thanked we have been raised in a ministry that understands victory in the finished work.
P. Justin Schaller
Good evening. How’s everybody? Good to see you.
I was sitting there looking at coach, Coach Lynch. How many people in the audience, – don’t raise your hand if you are over 50 – how many have had coach as a coach? You look like you’re too old! No, I’m just joking. Maybe 30 people in here. How many people has coach coached over the years? Knowing coach, he knows the exact number, 1,207. Wait! 205! If you talk to coach, he can remember a basketball game from 1997 what you did wrong and what you did right. And I was just thinking – sorry to put you on the spot, coach. Coach was, for me, I was always screwing up on the court. Dribbling off my shoe, out of bounds, losing the game. Coach draws up a play. Schaller, you’ll get the ball up in the corner. There I go dribbling off my shoe again. Buzzer goes off. Lost another one, coach. Coach did it probably for so many different people. He’d call me up and I’d be in the shower sobbing at home. My mom would yell, coach is on the phone! So, I’d go down. I probably just mumbled. Coach would say, yeah, Schaller, it’s okay the 17th time dribbling off your shoe. But next game, you’ll be able to do it. I was actually thinking too, there was a – we were playing in this championship, I don’t know if it was a championship game or, it was like a big game and all the parent’s came. We’re playing down in I think it was Annapolis Christian or Annapolis area. I’m the point guard dribbling off my shoe. The ref blows the whistle. I think I actually carried the ball or something. I had choice words to say to the referee under my breath nonetheless. The crowds clapping and cheering and he threw me up for a technical. He teed me up. Everyone is looking like technical? Where did the technical foul come from? I’m just thinking, oh no! Coach goes, hey, ref, what happened? The ref said, he had some choice words. What did he say? I just remember the whole arena was like a study hall. It was so quiet. And I just remember my mom is sitting in the stands. What I said I can’t say from the pulpit! What I said, I’m just thinking, oh no! And the ref from half court yelled to coach and it was just like a deep sigh. I remember feeling my mom’s eyeballs on me and I’m sheepishly standing there in center court just like and she’s just shaking her head. But coach probably had some good words for me. Possibly. He’s awesome though. We love him. Thank you, coach, for everything. Everything you’ve done.
This evening I want to share. I want to build us up on a Sunday night. I want to talk about the Body of Christ and our faith and our salvation. Let’s pray before we start.
1 Cor. 1 there is a Greek word KOINONIA in the N.T. that is used quite often. It’s a word for participation, a word for fellowship.
We see it in 1 Cor. 10:17 where it talks about we share in the achievements of the communion of Christ. As believers, we share together in the works of Christ.
In Php. 3:10, we share in the sufferings of Christ. We participate in the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ.
In 1 Cor 1:9, God is faithful who has called you into fellowship or active participation to take part in fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord. We know in this verse it’s talking about our own personal relationship with Christ. We have fellowship with Christ. This is saying we as believers have fellowship one with another based on our fellowship with Christ.
We see that in 1 Jn. 1:3, we proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to you to make our joy complete. He is saying here that we have fellowship with the Son based upon what we are proclaiming to you. What we are proclaiming to you what we have seen and heard. Since you have heard what we have seen, what we have heard, you also may have fellowship with us.
1 Jn. 1:4, it’s interesting that the fellowship that we have, we think of our Christian life a lot of times in the sense of our Christian life is our relationship with God. You usually hear it from people that maybe don’t know Christ. They say my spiritual life is personal. But actually, our spiritual life is meant to be corporate with the Body of Christ, not just personal. We are called to have fellowship with the Son and with one another. I want to talk about the importance of that, the importance of you, of us gathering together. If we are so foolish to think we can do this Cristian life by ourselves, we are deceived. You’re sitting here in a chair tonight because there was someone who had fellowship with the Son and had fellowship with you. Someone who was there in a dire situation that was there to give you a word of faith. Our fellowship is not based on anything other than what we have seen and what we have heard in the work of Christ.
When Jesus was with his disciples in Jn 12-17, he is getting ready to leave his disciples. He’s saying I’m going to leave but send you another.
Jn. 14 the other is the H. S. The H.S. will lead you in all truth. They’re probably thinking what is that all about? Jesus, you are the glue that holds this whole thing together. You leave and this whole thing is going to disintegrate. He says the H.S. is going to do greater works than I have which is shocking.
The H.S. is going to come into the disciples in Acts 2. They’re in the upper room and they’re sitting all together. What is binding them together? Nothing at the moment other than the words Jesus told them before he died. Pentecost comes and the Holy Spirit fills them and the fire of God comes down on them. Then all of a sudden, their fellowship is based on the truth the Holy Spirit is revealing to them and they have unity with each other. That early church didn’t have any program or budget or social media campaign to draw people into the church. They didn’t have any of that. They had the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one that binds us together in unity. It’s interesting to think that the church, when we think about the church in the sense we are all believers. We are all believing and following Christ. Christ is our common ground where we meet each other and through that the Holy Spirit has this ministry through us to another individual.
In Jn 17, when Christ is praying for his disciples, he says to his Father just as you and I are one, I pray that also they will be one with each other. Meaning that the love the Father has for the Son and the Son for the Father, there can’t be anything that gets between them. They have the most beautiful love relationship in the universe. If you want to talk about unity and tightness, there is no tighter knit relationship in the universe. Jesus says this amazing thing. He says just as you and I are one, so also they can be one with each other meaning you and me. We’re not just taking that as some high, lofty figure of speech. We’re taking that that is what the Body of Christ is meant to be, individuals meeting on the common ground that Christ has saved them. They’re partaking in that communion of what Christ has done. The H.S. inside of us is bonding us together so we love our brother or sister more than we love ourselves. When that happens, you have Body life. You have this dynamic relationship of people that are so different from so many different backgrounds, so many different races, so many different ways they are brought up and altogether bound by what the Son has done. He has grafted us in the vine. They are bearing fruit and that fruit is that they love their brother and sister just like the Son loves the Father. Wow! That’s amazing! The church is a representation of who Christ is to the world. If you take Richard Dawkins, the #1 leading atheist in the world, I think if that guy would become a believer and confess Christ and write books about it, then people would believe. Or you take the most popular artist. All the young people love this artist. If they became a believer in Christ, then people would start to believe. But that’s not how it works. Paul says that the church is a representation and the proof of Jesus Christ. It’s the glory of God. When people walk into the church and it’s a Holy Spirit connected church and there is Body life and fellowship and love for each other, there’s laying down of the life and people walk in and say, what is this? What is this? I don’t even know what is going on but I can sense these people are different. What is this? That is the way God has ordained for his Son to be proclaimed in the whole world. It’s through his church. It’s through you and me. Simple people. We don’t even know what is going on half the time. We just show up. When Jesus said I am the vine and you are the branches. Abide in me. What does it mean to abide in Christ? It means that we follow his teachings. I submit myself under the word of God.
My thought on this is that there are many people if we look in 1 Timothy – are you guys following this with me? I want this to be edifying.
2 Tim. 3, he says mark this Timothy. There will be terrible times in the last days. We have to remember the last days when Jesus was with his disciples, the disciples thought they were in the last days. This last 2,000 years is the last days. Terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Yeah, we know that. That’s the world. No, he’s speaking about people in the church. This is the church. And what does he say to Timothy? He says preach the word in season and out of season. Don’t cater to the pleasures of men. He says they have a form of godliness but deny the power. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. What is sin? If we give a small, little definition what sin is. Preferring anything or something over God.
Heb 3:12-14. Don’t have your hearts be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Sin is preferring anything outside of God. It also says that sin is very deceitful meaning that it lies to you on a daily basis. It’s always lying to you in saying prefer this thing over God. There is an issue there. If I’m a believer and I’m living with something in my heart and it is greater than who God is and preferring the sin over God, what happens is my heart becomes hardened.
2 Tim 4:3, these people enjoy the pleasure rather than the pleasure in God. They have pleasure in other things. They say I’m still a believer. Let me find another church that will do this. They will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. Do you see that? Why do they do that? Because they’re lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. The Bible says that’s sin. The result of that is my heart becomes hardened. In C. S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia is like a frozen place. Nothing penetrates it. Nothing warms it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the strongest, warmest flame. It doesn’t melt the ice. That’s like our hearts. Sin so easily besets me and deceives me to think there is something greater than who God is. Christ is the head of the church and he is the fullness all in all to the church. The church is the manifestation of who Christ is and it’s where his doctrine is preached. When sin comes in, I go I don’t really prefer that. And it’s always maybe something. I don’t prefer this or that so let me find another teacher who will cater to what I prefer because really, deep down, I love something more than I love him. That’s all of us. We are weak, feeble people that are so easily deceived on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. This is what Christ says. If it’s not me at the center, it doesn’t matter what you call it. Call it a church. Call it your small group. Call it a Christian this. Call it a Christian that. If it’s not the submission of the truth. There are things in the Bible I don’t like. I don’t want to hear about hell. I don’t want to hear adultery is sin. I don’t want to hear about this or that so let me find another teacher that doesn’t talk about that. All of a sudden, my brilliant mind supersedes what the Scripture says. Let’s gather around together because we’re Christians. We are not so serious about our faith like that. Let’s get together and try to form a church. There’s no Body life. No dying to self. I have pleasure so much that the Bible goes against my natural pleasure wants. I have a decision to make. Do I submit to it? And say that Bible knows a lot more than this or that. Or do I say I’d rather try to find something that feels a little bit more comfortable. There’s so many teachers out there. I can get a YouTube preacher real quick. He says what I want to hear and I go, yeah, that’s it. Jesus. Jesus puts his finger on it and says, sleeping with a woman you are not married with is sin. “I don’t like that.” That’s sin. We are all here and this church is so amazing and there is Body life here only because we submit ourselves under the teachings of Christ. The Holy Spirit is motivating us to love each other. And through that, there is a manifestation of life and joy and freedom. The world sees that and says I know they are a little weird but at the same time, there is something there. I’m not trying to say we’re better. I’m speaking from what the Scripture is saying. It’s saying we need each other.
In closing, if we can turn to 1 Samuel 23, we need each other. We need each other. We need every person in here. Because God has given you just like David had a mighty man that stood in the field and fought off the enemy. God has placed you in a field with people in your life and those people need you. Don’t believe the lie, that you think the little old me.
Get over it. We all know we’re not much. You have a ministry. You have the Holy Spirit. Those people need you. Those people need you in dire straits. They need you when they are in a situation when on the outside everything looks good but their marriage is following apart or getting eaten up on the inside. What do you say to them? What’s our fellowship? You’re a great guy? Yeah, we can say that. Or things are going to get better. I don’t know if that is going to happen.
I encourage them in the Lord in Eph. 1:3 I thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings. That he’s chosen us before the foundations of the world to be holy and blameless before him in all love. He’s predestine you unto the adoption of sonship. You are forgiven. You are holy. He gives his mysteries to you. You’re a part of his greater picture. You have a future. Your life matters now. Your decisions matter now. We encourage them in the Lord. The deceitfulness of sin can make a person so hard. They just fall away. They need you there standing in that field that God has put you in.
1 Sam 23:16. Did David have a big congregation like we do? No. We are so privileged. He was a man of God and a lot of times he probably went through the deepest, darkest discouragement and wanted to give up and throw in the towel. But God was with him.
vs. 15. Being betrayed by someone you served and loved. This man is coming after you to take your life. I’d probably be trying to pack it in. You all have a ministry. There is a time you question it. It’s too much. Even being a Christian is too much. Everything is going against me following Christ. God gives him Jonathan.
vs. 16. He helped him find strength in God. That is the answer of what the church is. That is it. We come to church and hear the word and we worship. How about the times in the hallways and on the phone and email and being with someone face to face and saying how can I help this person? If Christ atoned for their sins and paid the highest penalty so he could win this person, how much does this person actually mean? This person is on the precipice of falling off into deep discouragement. He helps David find strength in God. Let me give you some promises David. My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king. Isn’t it good when you uncover a lie? Even if you sin and are being deceived by sin, isn’t it so good when you have someone who walks beside you and speaks truth.
Paul said in Eph 1, I pray you will receive wisdom and revelation so your eyes will be enlightened to know the hope of your calling in the inheritance. We aren’t people that just show up to show up. We are in a battle every day, every week. Lord, you have put me in a field. I want to be submitted to you. You will give me strength so I can go out and minister to my brothers and sisters. Look around this whole room and say that little dot on the wall, that exit sign is life and all of this is eternity right here. That’s our time right there. That’s it. That little red dot. That’s life. God is saying how are you going to live your life? Are you going to care about what I care about? He cares about you, the church. Politics and all this stuff, yes, he has the king’s heart in his hand. He cares about the person sitting next to you, about the person you will be in front of tomorrow.
I’m so thankful that we are in a church that emphasizes this. A lot of churches did it, done it and gone. How about the church that the person calls you on a Tuesday. The church that the person calls and says is there anything you need. Can I just be with you? I don’t have to quote Scripture. Think of GGCA and all the people that have been in GGCA and all the people they have affected. I remember at 16 and I’m 36, teachers in my life and what they did. They don’t know that. We have no idea. All we know is we have this life with Christ in fellowship and we go out in H.S. power and have fellowship one with another. It’s good this and that and we have things in common but football isn’t going to keep me together with people. I love football but let’s all get together and people have fun together and then we’ll get unity. It’ coming under the submission of the full gospel. When I die to myself and follow Christ, he empowers me and gives us fellowship one with another. It’s the most powerful, attractive, fun, joy filled time in life. Everyone is looking to be accepted, loved, and connected. You and I can’t do it. It would last two weeks maybe. Ten days.
Look some of you have been in the ministry 40 years. How does that happen? How does this whole church thing happen? You can’t please people. You have to give them the full truth and have them lose their life. Connection and unity in the Body glorifies God and glorifies God in a sinful evil world. You and me having unity one with another. Is that edifying? I hope that’s edifying. It’s edifying. Come on. I need to hear that. Have you ever tried to get unity with people and it’s not happening? Then with people totally different than you and I can hang out with these people all day. We were in Israel a year ago. It was the most enjoyable time.
Fellowship around Christ and having beautiful unity. That’s what we want and we need it. If not, we get lost.
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