“The Power of Pictures and Pithy Paradigms”—7
“The Power of Pictures and Pithy Paradigms” is a series of timeless truths—each of which will serve to reinforce the Feast of the Heart Vision, Mission, and the main motivation for my own life in Christ and love for those He places in my life.
Everyone reformed, revived, a constructive revolutionary!
Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered “reformation, revival, and constructive revolution” (Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City) so that God will be glorified and people blessed.
- Reformation… we seek to abide by and serve up the true truth of the Bible.
- Revival… we seek to model biblical Christians living in word and deed.
- Constructive Revolution… we seek to spread the true gospel right where God has planted us with urgency, compassion, and radical self-abandonment.
Fellowship: A Feast of the Heart—Part 1.
I hope you have an appetite for feasting on one of the most fundamental, seminal aspects of what being a human being is all about: Fellowship with other human beings.
Due to the fact that all humanity was originally created from a three-in-one Trinity, we “naturally” [based upon our origins and identity] crave being in community with other Image Bearers of the One True God of the universe Who created us (Genesis 1,2). Trinity ⇒ identity ⇒ community / fellowship.
[And if we weren’t created by God, but rather evolved from primordial goop, live meaningless lives, and will return to earth merely as food for worms… Don’t worry about this or any subject because it doesn’t really matter… if we, our origins and our destiny don’t matter. After all, if we come from nothing, and we will end in nothing, then we should at least be willing to admit that our life “between two nothings” can’t amount to much of anything, right?]
So let’s get after it.
Let’s Begin by: Level-Setting and Looking at Three Realms of Fellowship
Level-Setting: Since there are so very few important realms of Life and living that we tend to go into any significant depth about, we need times of regular and honest “level setting”: We all have the same, God-ordained, and Bible-based understanding of the vital and important things of life.
Living in close fellowship with other human beings is how all humans were made by God to thrive from the Beginning (Genesis 1-2). But on the occasion of The Fall (Genesis 3) when first Eve then Adam, the forebears of all humankind, disobeyed God, Original Sin and habitual sinning entered the first hearts of all humanity, the universe, as well as all future human beings fell out of fellowship with God, one another, and all else in existence—made very good by God but turned very messy by mankind. This historical chain of events ruined what God has made very good.
Ever since this disastrous occasion and choice, fellowship with our fellow man has been mostly like fighting… antagonism, disagreement, discord, estrangement, hostility, incompatibility, unfamiliarity, and hues of pride, pretense, and selfish unfriendliness as numerous as the colors in a rainbow!
And even though it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the unbelieving, Pagan world can’t understand why there’s so much chaos, decay, and darkness in the world, God’s Church, born-again disciples of Christ, should get it at the most universal (Genesis 6:5-7) and personal (Romans 1:18-32) level. There’s one cause for brokenness and one cure as well. Period. (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19)
The effects of Sin and sinning is universally holistic [every realm of the universe was impacted, infected, infused with Sin] and personally heart-hardening [as enmity towards God, chaos, decay, and darkness reside in all of us as well].
This historical occurrence presented God’s biggest problem to His Trinitarian Self: How could God the Father maintain His perfect nature and the perfect balance of Love and Justice with Sin and sinning having entered the universe? Even in the abounding Love of God for humanity, He couldn’t betray His own nature by ignoring such a personal and intergalactic Injustice and disobedience against Himself.
God had to “come up with” [in His Sovereignty] a reasoned, radically condescending and mercy-filled, and workable solution—or betray His own perfect nature, which God cannot do. So… Please read this carefully to see The One, the Only, and the Ultimate Solution to Sin and sinning… humankind being out of fellowship… that was accomplished by God:
For while we were still weak, at just the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since, therefore, we [those who repent and have faith] have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Death in Adam, Life in Christ
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:6-17 ESV, parenthesis added)
So, in a “big picture” or “level-setting fashion”, a) fellowship with God and our fellow man was very good in the beginning Genesis 1:31); then b) fellowship, first between God and man and then between man and man, was ruined by humankind’s willful Original Sin and habitual sinning ways (Genesis 3), then, c) in the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, fellowship was restored between God and those whom would repent and have faith in Christ first as Savior [from Sin, sinning, and hell], and then as Lord [as a disciple—saved to serve] (John 3:16), and fellowship between all of the other Believers in the supernatural Body of Christ—The Church—worldwide (Acts 2:42-47).
Looking at the Three Realms of Fellowship we can now see how God defines all peoples of the earth:
- The Fellowship of Special Grace: We are born-again, adopted into a new family with no more shame, and we are delighted in BY God, while delighting IN God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- The Fellowship of Common Grace: Unbelievers are acting as unwitting parasites—living and breathing by means of the sheer mercies of God SO THAT those who do not believe might have time before Jesus returns and it’s too late to repent and have faith in Him.
The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145:9)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
- The Fellowship of The Fall: We are deluded BY the devil, in bondage to the things of this passing world, while delighting IN darkness.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6)
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:18-19)
The Word of Life
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Walking in the Light
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we 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 his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1, ESV)
After “Level-Setting and Looking at Three Realms of Fellowship”… we can move on to next week’s feast the Training Table—on Fellowship: A Feast of the Heart, Part 2: “The Three P’s of Fellowship.”
It’s Important: A Top Priority
It’s Satisfying: A Radical Pleasure
It’s Compelling: A Perfect Platform
Can’t wait to chow down with you again soon,