Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ P44 (06-21-22)
You Are Either in The Fellowship, Saved, or Out of the Fellowship, Lost
So many people are teaching the error of in and out of fellowship today. Well folks, in and out of fellowship is not taught in the Bible. You are either in the fellowship, saved, or out of the fellowship, lost. There is no in between.
Just as a person’s physical growth is based on proper diet and exercise, so is the Christians’s spiritual growth dependent on regular feeding upon the word of God and application of its principles. With more false teaching, shifting opinions and general confusion in the world than ever before, Christians need a solid foundation upon which to base their beliefs and build their lives. The word of God declares that Jesus Christ is that foundation of truth. With that in mind, let’s now take A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ.
Now, let’s go to Colossians. 1:19,22, and then we’ll continue with the rest of our study. God was pleased. He loved doing this. To have all of His fullness to dwell in Him, that’s in Christ and through Him, Christ to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth, or things in heaven by making peace through His, that’s Christ’s blood shed on the cross. So we became reconciled to God through the blood of his Son Jesus shed on the cross. Now, once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your mind’s, because of your evil behavior. Now folks, we need to camp on this for just a moment. Once you were alienated from God, once you were enemies in your mind’s because of your evil behavior.
Now how many of you can sit down and say that at a point in time, in life and even today, we have theology that says when you sin you’re alienated from God in other words, your evil behavior causes you to be alienated from God and an enemy of God? How many of you have heard that? I would venture to say a number of you would have heard that. Well, is that true? No, only in your own minds. It’s not true in the mind of God who has taken away your sin, never to see it again. So if it isn’t true in the mind of God, the only person that could be true is in your feeble mind and my feeble mind. And that’s what happens to us. We think that I’m alienated from God because of my behavior. He says, no, you’re alienated from God, because you’re dead, and a corpse stinketh. So you’re the alienation is not because of stinky. The alienation is because you’re dead, and religion deals with your odor and whereby Christ came to deal with your condition, dead. Dead as a hammer. And the only thing a dead person needs is His life. It also have to come to grips folks, that’s what corpses do. I’ve never known a good smelling corpse. So we don’t have to look at this behavior as being something unusual, that is what dead people do. So we have to realize that it’s only in our minds that we are alienated from God because of our evil behavior, before a Christian and after as Christian. So once that was true but now here He said, I’m going to teach you something. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death in order to present you holy in His sight, not yours, not your friend’s, in His sight without blemish and free of accusation.
Folks, the world will accuse you, the world will say that you’re not a Christian, by the way you act. But God will never say that. He has reconciled you. The books have been balanced, He did that, by Christ’s physical body through death, and He did that so that He could present you holy in His sight without blemish and free of accusation that comes as a result of being in His resurrected life. So folks today, where do you think Satan lives with the Christian? Well or let’s take the non-Christian. Well, first of all he paralyzed numerous people by saying, you’re too bad. God would never accept you. You’re an enemy and because of that evil behavior, you can never be accepted. Well, a person finally gets beyond that like the Apostle Paul. How am I ever going to be saved and I was out killing Christians, He said well because My love is greater than your hate and so he was saying, now as a Christian, then we sit around and Satan comes in and says, well every time your behavior is off, why God kind of spins around on his chair up there. And he doesn’t look at you. In other words, you’re alienated again or what we call out of fellowship.
Now, before we go any further on that, you’re not going to find being in and out of fellowship in the New Testament. You might find it in a lot of churches teaching, but you’re not going to find it in the New Testament. Fellowship in the bible is either in fellowship saved, or out of fellowship lost. It’s two fellas, in the same ship. You are either in the ship with lost, or with saved, but there’s no in-between. So there’s no such thing as a Christian being in and out of fellowship. With God, if he’s in fellowship with God, it means I am saved. Now, that’s according to the Bible again, not according to a lot of Christian teaching. So, if you’re in fellowship, it means you have been saved. Now, you can be in fellowship with God and have behavior that is inconsistent with who you are, but you’re not out of fellowship with God, if you were, you’d be lost. And it’s a little hard to be lost when you’ve been saved by God, who says, I’ll never let you go, then it’s a little difficult to do. So all you’re doing is in your own mind alienating yourself again from God, thinking I’m out of fellowship, which is in your mind because of your evil behavior. But the issue is in God’s mind are you out of fellowship? Well, of course not. He puts you in fellowship when He saved you, well, are my out of fellowship cause they didn’t act right? Well, of course not, you’re my child. I love you. Was I acting like an idiot? Yes, you were. Is there a way of improving that? Of course, there is. I came to live in you and to renew your mind because your mind needs renewed. And that’s the life of the Christian, but in our own minds we become alienated from God. Now folks, that’s what causes true born again Christians to finally fall away, they’re not falling away from Jesus. They’re just giving up this, I just can’t do it.
And many many people that I see today, who are actually born again, Christians who have kind of walked away from the Christian life, so to speak, because they couldn’t live up to the standards of the church. And so, rather than be a hypocrite in their own mind, they just kind of fall away. Well, you see their rebellion is not against Jesus. Their rebellion is against Christians, Christian doctrines that have nothing to do with truth. So they’re running away, quite frankly from something you ought to run away from. Now if I’m going to grow in grace and to come back to God, as an example of kind of falling away from that vital feeling of a relationship with him, not from the relationship, but falling away from just communication with my God, it’s because we have denied the grace of God. It’s not because of what you’re doing. It’s because I have denied what God was doing in the mist of what I was doing. Denying the fact that in my mind, I think I’m alienated, but denying the fact that God says, no, you’re not. I reconciled you Bob, you’re not alienated. I love you. And I’m dealing with you now. Folks, what we have to do is to get rid of what is in our mind and let His mind be put into our mind.
I talk with people sometimes, and I’m just going to camp for a moment on this fellowship issue. We’ve been taught so effectively many times by people who I know that mean well, but we’ve really gotten into this in and out of fellowship routine and Christendom. And all I asked you to do is if you’ve been taught the way I certainly was, which was bouncing it out of fellowship, just check out the New Testament and see if you find it anyplace in there. It isn’t. If it isn’t there, folks, you need to discount it. So what a person is meaning is, well, Bob, I started sinning again and I start doing this again. I start doing this again, and I know God is mad at me and disappointed and he’s given up on me. And I, and I just don’t, I just don’t pray anymore, don’t talk to him anymore, and I’m just really not aware of his presence anymore. Just out of fellowship and then and to them that’s what out of fellowship means. Well, you see, again terminology is vitally important because I’m not out of fellowship according to the scripture, because fellowship is lost and saved. So there isn’t any way for me to be lost if I have been saved. So what a person is saying, well I’ve stopped talking with God, I’ve stopped communicating with him, I’ve stopped, you know, I’m just, he’s mad at me.
If you, with somebody, let’s say you’ve offended somebody and that person stops talking to you and turns his back on you. And every time you walk into the room, why he looks the other way and turns his back on him, doesn’t like you anymore. Do you think that you would want to continue talking with them? In other words, if someone doesn’t like me and doesn’t want to be around me, I don’t want to be around them. That’s just a by-product to say, well, why should I force myself on them, obviously we make them sick to their stomach, so I’m not really interested in contributing to their illness. So why should I, why should I be around them? So, you see, when I on the other hand, if you’ve offended somebody and the person continues to love you, takes that thing and puts it behind his back, never to see it again, loves to be around you. Are you going to then want to continue to turn your back and not be around that person? Well, of course not. Why would you not want to be around somebody who loves you perfectly? Why would you not want to be? So what causes people to think they’d fallen away from God is not the sin that they have committed, the biggie, it’s the sin of unbelief that they are committing in the denial that God still loves them and that God never stopped loving them. And that in the sight of God made them perfect in His sight. And there’s no condemnation awaiting them who belong to Christ Jesus. Now, you tell me why you’d want to walk away from someone like that, you know, you’d have to be an idiot to want to walk away from somebody like that. And then we give up on God, you see and say, well, I thought probably I’ve probably stretched the limit, you know, God, said, forgive 70 times seven but I think I did it. I think I did 450. So we’ve stretched the limits you see. So and say no, that’s just not true. There’s no, there’s no. no way you can to out sin the love and grace of God.
Now, that’s where it says in Titus that the grace of God is what teaches us to say, no to unrighteousness. In other words, why do I need to say no to unrighteousness unless I was saying yes to unrighteousness? So, if I’ve been saying yes to unrighteousness, and God wants to teach me to say no to unrighteousness, it’s going to be the grace of God that’s teaching me that. It’s not the condemnation of God that will not teach me that. It’s love that will teach me that.
And so folks, when people fall away in that manner, and course when you’re taught you’re out of fellowship, that means God has turned his back on you and we’re told that God can’t look on sin. Well, He already looked on sin and He judged it. So when He sees what you’re doing, as a child of God, he’s not dealing with that on the basis of sin. He’s already turned his back on that. He’s dealing with it on the basis of your behavior being inconsistent with who you are as My child, you know that I’m going to help you grow up and mature and renew your mind and teach you truth that will set you free. So it’s a totally different mindset. Isn’t that what religion is constantly bombarding us with? But there’s no way to walk away from a God who loves you that way. It’s only when you think He’s going back, turning, he’s tired of flipping around on his chair. He’s sick to death of you. He’s got his bottle of heavenly Pepto Bismol up there, just because we’re not every day just can hardly stand it and then we wonder why people fall away. it’s the grace of God, the love of God, in the midst of what you’re doing is what is going to draw you back to the heart of God, not for him to draw near to you. For you to draw back near to Him again. Recognizing, man, he loves me in spite of it.
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Now, what is that? Well, it’s love and as we go to John 15:13, what does it say? Greater love has no one than this, that he lays down his life for his friends. So what is the greatest love that a person can have for another? To lay down his life for his friends. Isn’t that what Jesus did 2000 years ago? Now, what does that tell us about how God views us? Are we his friends or are we his enemies? We were reconciled. Remember, we talked about when we were enemies and in our minds and in our minds because of our evil behavior. But in contrast, God reconciled us through physical death in order that we may be presented holy and acceptable in His sight, without blemish and free of accusation. So are we His friends or are we His enemies? Jesus said, no, you’re my friends. I lay down my life for my friends.
Now in John 15:15 going on. What does He say? I no longer call you servants. Why? Well, because a servant doesn’t not know his master’s business. And in other words, you don’t have to tell your servants what I’m all about. Just says, go do it. Well, what’s the meaning of it? It isn’t any of your business, just go, do it. And that’s what you do with a servant. You don’t have to say to a servant. The master says, go out and cook a meal for 50 people. They said, what are you having a party? It isn’t any of your business what I’m doing. Just cook the meal. That’s the way you would do with a servant attitude. He said, no, I’m your friend, I call you friends for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you.
Now, folks, you know, in essence, there isn’t anything greater than good friendship. And I believe, one of the reasons that we get in such bondage to one another obsessions many times with one another is because in the depths of our soul, we were made as a created being by God to need friendship. We were made by God as a created being to need love. That isn’t something we thought of, it’s there. We as a human being are made to need to know that we are forgiven. That’s a need. It isn’t a desire. It’s a need of humanity. Now because God created man with those needs so that God the Creator living in man would be able to supply all of those needs. Like I said earlier air is not an option to our existence, we need it. Now God didn’t create air and then say, well gee this man down here, I just put it together, he doesn’t seem to be able to breathe too well, so I think I’ll develop a mechanism in there where he can breathe this air that I provided. God with man and mind with a need for air created air. So there’s not an option with us. We have to have air in order to live. Who provides that? God does. And if we saw those kind of things as an act of love from God, our minds would be preoccupied with God continually. That’s an act of God. Everything, every time I take a breath that’s God loving me because He provided the air to keep me alive. He created us with a need for food and with water. So guess who provided food and water for us? My God. And in essence every time we take a drink, every time we eat something, if we’re thinking properly, we would be saying Lord, thank you. This is unbelievable. Here I am this scrawny little human being that you can’t even see down here. Got from, you know, from at least from what we can see that you can see and here not only have you put me in just standing here. That you’ve provided for my every need and every bite that I take, and every drink that I drink. And every breath that I breathe has been supplied by you because of your love for me. And that’s an awesome thought. Yes.
Now so it goes ahead and 2nd Corinthians 5:18 to say all of this every bit of this is from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ. And then he gave us this ministry of reconciliation. So if God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself and then He gave you and me this ministry of reconciliation. Well, what is this ministry of reconciliation? Well, it’s passing on to people the truth of this good news. What is the good news? That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. Why did you do that? Because as a created being, he has to know that there is a need that his sins are no longer counted against him by his creator. And until he knows that, he will engage in every harebrained idea under the sun to try to get and keep himself forgiven through man-made fleshly means, because there’s something in our humanity where we have to know that I am forgiven. And so because we rebelliously deny the person of Christ Jesus, whether you are a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Jew or practicing Christian religion, with no reality, doesn’t make announce a difference, we’ve denied that person of Christ. We bought his religion but not his person. We’re in his person He didn’t come to form of religion.
So we bought something even there that is man-made as I think about years ago, as a brand new Christian and being involved in the word, witnessing was, man, that was a paramount word. We got to be witnesses. And that was the problem with this you’ve got to be. And, you know, the thing that I see is here, I was out sharing the forgiveness of God, but never in the context of being totally reconciled to God. So forgiveness was an ongoing deal that you need to get forgiven and then you need to keep yourself forgiven. And we’ve buried our people again with this 1st John 1:9 forgiveness. And again, that’s one verse how the entire scripture that has been misinterpreted, has been directed to the wrong group of people to the saved, rather than the lost. And we have kept people in total confusion as to the finality of the cross, the reality of the resurrection. Kept people from understanding the New Covenant that we are in today. Kept people from understanding that we live in forgiveness. We don’t get forgiven, we live in forgiveness. And keeping us again, preoccupied with what we are doing instead of the condition that we are in. As a child of God, I am a new creature in Christ. I am enveloped in all of these things. I am reconciled to God. As we said, I have justified in the sight of God, I don’t get forgiven anymore. I live in his forgiveness. And as a result of that, I am never alienated from God, I don’t have to be. If I am, it’s in my own mind because I’m certainly not alienated from his vantage point. So it’s always in my own stupid mind. And once I end up, come to grips with that fact of that unconditional love and grace of God, that has been absolutely extended to us in Christ Jesus, beyond measure, measure upon measure, you’re able to sit down and say, well, okay then who am I? I’m a child of the Living God. Do I have to go witnessing now? And he said, no, Bob, you have been the recipient of so much good news that quite frankly, you’re not gonna be able to hold it in, when it’s real. It’s not something you go do, it’s an extension of who you are. Again, it’s a part of your identity and when you’re constantly preoccupied with what you ought to be doing, even when you do it, you don’t know for sure who it is that’s doing it.
So for years I was witnessing but I didn’t know who it was that was witnessing. I thought it was Bob George but I didn’t know who Bob George was. I didn’t realize the depth of my identity with Christ Jesus. Oh, how to say, oh yeah, I’m a child of God. But you know, that’s like saying, you know, I’m a Presbyterian, or a Methodist, what does that mean? I don’t know. Don’t care. Just like the people, it had nothing to do with something internal that had taken place inside of me. And so we were told here that we have been totally reconciled to God, not counting my sins against me ever again. And he’s committed that message to me as a messenger of reconciliation.
We are therefore it says, Christ ambassadors as though God we’re making his appeal through us and that’s what he’s saying today as God making his appeal through us. I say he’s making his appeal through me right now. I implore you on Christ’s behalf be reconciled to God. In other words, God was in Christ reconciling you unto himself, not counting your sins against you. And now he’s saying be reconciled to God. If you’re lost, be reconciled to God. How do I get reconciled to God? Through receiving the life of His Son. And in that resurrected life, you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. You’ve been reconciled. To a Christian, quit fighting this thing. Quit playing religion, quit trying to keep yourself forgiven, keeping short accounts with God, and all of this nonsense that is going on. Recognize you live in his love and forgiveness. You were cleansed of all of your unrighteous only one time and that’s when you were saved. Now, you are walking and clothed in His righteousness. You don’t know it, but that’s what you are. Why don’t you come to grips with what has taken place? You are a child of God. You are clothed in His righteousness, which means when God looks at you, he sees the righteousness of Christ. He doesn’t see your unrighteousness. He’s already cleansed that. He sees the righteousness of Christ that you are now clothed with. Isn’t it a marvelous thing to understand? He’s imploring us, begging us, be reconciled to God, receive this reconciliation. Understand it. Now, when we do come to grips with that truth and are then to realize that I am an ambassador here on this earth. What is the job of an ambassador? He says you are an ambassador now. Well, why do you call us an ambassador? Because we live on this earth. Our citizenship is in heaven. So, our true citizenship is in heaven. I am called an alien here on this earth. This earth is the world and he says, a man who’s in love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. We’re not here to love this world. It’s not our home. That’s why we’re homesick all the time to get to our real home. This is temporary. It can be destroyed by fire. It could be destroyed by flooding, could be destroyed by thieves. That could be destroyed. It’s temporary, everything we have.
The job of an ambassador is to be a citizen, say of the United States, but he’s over in France named by the government to be an ambassador living in France. So, what is his job as an ambassador? To picket Moulin Rouge, to try to shape up the French people and their behavior, to try to get involved in French politics so that we can change their political system? All those things may be needed, but is that your job, as an ambassador? I’m not saying as to, whether those that there are needs of those things are not or with, I’m saying, as an ambassador is that your job? Is it your job to get on, try to get on the radio over there in France, learn French real well, and get on the radio and talk about the stupidity of their government, their president said mail out tapes, as to the life of the president? I don’t think so. I think that you would be called really dumb. Because an ambassador is to be a representative of the United States of America in a foreign country and that’s his job. And again, I’m not discounting that possibly there are needs for those things. I’m just saying that’s not your job. There are needs in America to clean up crime, but it’s not my job. I’m not a police officer. If I was a policeman, then I’d be involved in cleaning up crime. But I’m not. So if I’m an ambassador here on this earth, my job is to represent the Kingdom of God to a lost world.
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Stand on the firmness of truth. Don’t keep going back and forth. Thank Him that the forgiveness issue is settled.
Let’s pray together:
- Lord Jesus,
- I thank you for taking away my sins on the cross,
- never ever to see them again.
- Having done that, I now thank you for giving me eternal life,
- through your resurrection.
- I now receive that life.
- And I am going stand in the fact that I am a child of the living God.
- In Jesus Holy name I pray.
All believers are now brothers and sisters in Christ.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
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