Better than the Blood of Bulls and Goats

(Our part in the new covenant)
Fellowship With Each Other
Lesson 13

What does God want? He wants us to love one another. We are to be in fellowship with Him and WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST.

Psalms 133:1 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

What breaks fellowship? Sin does, we had that clearly laid out for us in the garden of Eden. What is sin? It is missing the mark. What ever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23. Sin is NOT obeying the established rules of God. A rule, or a law is a standard by which we regulate our lives.

Can you imagine a city without traffic lights to regulate and govern the flow of traffic? What chaos. That is what it is like for Christians who try to live outside of God's rules. They end up singing "When we all get to heaven, by and by, it's all going to be wonderful, no disasters, no tears, no sorrows. In heaven, we will be happy. They think every good thing is reserved for the future. They have neatly tied the power of God up in a small package. God is labeled as, the God who was, and the God who will be. They do not recognize Him as the great I AM who has a plan for our lives TODAY. NOW is the accepted time. He is a God of the present.

Traffic lights give us rules to live by. Stop on the red, use caution on the amber, and go on the green. These rules prevent accidents. God's rules are meant to regulate our lives and prevent disasters. They are not grievous and something to be struggled against. We are to be yoked up with Jesus. A yoke is not meant to restrain us, it is meant to increase our abilities. When two oxen are yoked together, they can carry a bigger load. Being yoked together takes the strain off of one and spreads it over two. The Lord's yoke will not cause us pain unless we dig our heels in and hump up our backs.

If we walk in fellowship with Him, then we have fellowship one with another. We can not pick apart other members of the body of Christ and be in fellowship with Him. We are to allow the life of Christ to live through us. We must remember Jesus died for ALL OF US. Thinking our particular denomination is going to be the only one in Heaven is arrogant and prideful. God's word tells us we must be born again to enter eternal life. Nowhere will we read that we must be a member of the XYZ denomination in order to be in heaven. Jesus is the door, being born again is what makes other believers our brothers and sisters.

When Jesus died, the old legal laws were put to rest, but that does not mean we are without a law.  Our law is called the royal law of love. The royal law of love is an agape kind of love that is poured out on others. This love endures and is patient and kind and does not act unbecomingly toward our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This love is ever ready to believe the best of every person is not arrogant and filled with pride. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

What does that word, love, really mean?

1 Corinthians 13:1 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

In this verse we are told love is not necessarily eloquence. As a matter of fact, it is sometimes totally silent. I remember when our oldest son died. There was a great deal of pain for those of us who remained. A week after the funeral, a friend came to visit our church. As he approached me, he didn't say anything. He just took my hand and looked into my eyes, and I saw there in his eyes, a mirror of my own pain. Even now these many years later, I am moved that he loved enough to share our pain.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8  "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never  fails: ..."

Love does not necessarily mean a feeling or an emotion or even to like. God's love for us is measureless and yet He surely sees many things in us that He doesn't like.

What is love? Love has the law of kindness in it's mouth and hands. Love moves quickly to ease the struggle or embarrassment of others. How quickly Jesus stepped forward to shield the feeling of she who was criticized for anointing His feet with costly ointment. Love, gives a word of encouragement and a smile to the sales clerk, who is weary and has just made a mistake. Love, draws a tub of hot water for a weary mate, not grudgingly but gladly. Love, is polite and considerate and picks up after itself instead of leaving it for someone else. Love thinks of the comfort of the other person first. Love prays for the lost and the hurting.  

Love, forgives and forgets, not holding grudges. Once a long time ago I stood in my utility room talking to a son, who was seeing (what I thought was) to much of a girl whose reputation was not so good. He listened, with his eyes full of pain and then that teenager taught me a lesson I have not forgotten.  He said, "Well, Mother, she's sorry for what she has done." Love forgives and forgets. Everyone deserves the chance to live down their past. It is the nature of God to forgive and forget, as we are partakers of His divine nature, we also will be able to forgive and forget.

Love never fails, never runs out. Where does it come from, the love that endures and gives and gives and gives? Jesus never ran out of love, because love came from a source outside of Himself. He could give and give and give, because He could say "All my deep well springs are in thee, Oh God."

There is an oriental story that tells of a tent made of such delicate fabric it could be folded into the palm of a mans hand. Yet this tent when unrolled was large enough to give shelter to thousands of people. Love is such a tent, it is small enough to be held in your hand. Yet when it is unrolled by a consecrated imagination, it is big enough to cover the whole earth. We are enjoying God's love because, love moved someone else. They decided serving God was more than going to church and receiving a blessing. Someone became a channel so God's love could be unfolded to shelter us.

Love provides things honest in the sight of all men. Love does unto others as it would be done unto. Love does not commit sexual sins. Love doesn't cheat. Love doesn't steal.

Love honors parents and other people, because Jesus died for them. Love doesn't have idols in it's life. Love doesn't lust. Love rejoices with others when they are blessed. These are established rules of God, not open for discussion, they are to be obeyed. Our being blessed, depends upon it.

What is Love? the real thing is described in John 3:16. He loved, so He gave, Himself.

What is Love? the real thing is described in Romans 4:17 where it says that God (who is love) calls those things that be not as though they were. Love calls unlovable us lovable.

Luke 6:27  "But I say to you which hear, love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,"

Love your enemies!!!   Isn't that a little much, Lord? Don't you know what they did to me?.........I mean, I was really wounded. God isn't asking us to do something He hasn't already done many times over. People have cursed Him, rejected Him, rebelled against Him, and blamed Him for all kinds of evil......Yet He has maintained a heart of love for them and us. We are to love our enemies, not just our friends. Just like God. As new covenant people we are to allow Jesus to live out His life in us. He has given us the power and the desire to obey, if we do not, we are in open hostile, rebellion against Him.

1 Samuel 15:23   "For rebellion is the same as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is the same as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king."

I can not envision anyone who would read this teaching as being involved in anything that even remotely resembles witchcraft; but rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Unfortunately, we are all rebellious at one time or another. We don't have to be murderers in order to need repentance in our lives. Rebellion against His established rules requires repentance.

What does God want?
He wants us to forgive.

Mark 11:25-26 amp. "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop...leave it, let it order that your Father who is in heaven may also forgive you (your own failings and shortcomings) and let them drop. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings."  

Recently I heard some one say the reason so many people want to sit when they pray is because it says "whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone you must forgive them. Many people want to cherish their animosities and not forgive. They don't want to stand because they would have to obey the forgiving part." That may be true. There is a sample in God's word of a man who had that problem. King Herod cherished bitter animosity and hostility for the people of Tyre and Sidon. Acts 12:20-25. He died in the midst of the people he hated. There were other factors involved, but unforgiveness may have played a big part in his death.

Matthew 18:21-35 "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? up to seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, Up to seven times: but, up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him, who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master ordered that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, master, have patience with me and I will pay you all. Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion and released him, and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me what you owe. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and begged him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay you all. And he would not: but went and threw him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me: Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you? And his master was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due him. So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if each of you from his heart does not forgive every one his brother his trespasses."

Lack of forgiveness invites death into our lives. Un-forgiveness binds us so tightly to the person we refuse to forgive, that we are actually in jail with them. In fact, when we don't forgive someone, that person has more control over us, than WE have over us. When we do not forgive, all of our thoughts are directed toward how much we dislike that person and how unjust they were toward us. Lack of forgiveness causes our thoughts to center on how great it would be if something unfortunate would happen to the one who grieved us. That's cherishing animosity.

We need to be ABLE to stand, when we pray, even when we are sitting. If we let go and forgive, we are free. When we let it drop, and leave all those things which we have against others, then our Father can also forgive us our OWN failing and shortcomings and let them drop. If we want to be forgiven, then we must forgive. This is called a rule of right relationships. We must also remind ourselves that this rule of right relationships includes our parents, mates, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and family in the Lord. These are the ones we fuss with most often. "Be kind one to another" includes our own households, not just strangers. Forgiving is an established rule of God.