Saturday, November 15, 2014

Getting back to fellowship

It's been awhile since I wrote.  I've been mulling over the thoughts that have been stirring my soul lately.  I'm praying I can make them coherent.  So....

"In the beginning God" is how the Bible, His-Story, begins.

There was God.  Elohim.  Creator God.

He was alone, but not alone as He is 3-in-1.  But that is not the topic of this post.

Fellowship with Him is the topic I see as a thread woven into the fabric of His-Story.

You see, it finally dawned on me the other day, more like week.  No, probably last month!  Time flies when you are pondering the deep, deep, things of God.  Anyway, it dawned on me that God is all about fellowship.

In the beginning was God.  Father, Son and Spirit.  Fellowship in one.  Then, for a reason only He can truly understand, He decided to create us.  You.  Me.  A new kind of fellowship.

We all know the story of creation.  Each day reserved for some new majestic creation that Elohim deemed "Good".

Then the not good:  Man, Adam, alone.

So the Whoa, Whoa, Whoa Woman was made.  And she was all that.  And more.

And God placed those first 2 in a Garden.  He didn't just place them there and let them evolve on their own into whatever.

No.  Genesis 3:8 reads "And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day...."

Now I will confess that I am not a Biblical scholar, but I remember someone teaching on this.  And what I remember is that this was a daily activity, God walking in the garden.  God in fellowship with man.

Think of it.  You've been enjoying the foliage, snapping pics of the most beautiful plants and flowers and posting them for everyone to, well, ah, Adam to see.  And you hear the rustle of the bushes and you aren't afraid.  You are excited.  For you know that God, Elohim, the Creator is coming to see you.

Fellowship.  True fellowship comes from being with God.  True fellowship is a consensual meeting of 2, or more, people to enjoy each other's company.  No more perfect enjoyment than to be a friend of God's.

When I experience fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, we laugh, we talk, we listen.  Sometimes we cry or pray together.  And almost always there is food!

Adam and Eve were privileged to fellowship each day with God.  They didn't fear Him.  They loved Him and enjoyed being with Him.  Laughing, crying, talking, listening, hugging.  Oh, yeah, I forgot hugging.

And then sin happened.  It came in, and this perfect fellowship was broken.  In fact, God moved the 2 out of the Garden and put a guard at its entrance to keep them out.

Broken fellowship.  No more sweet times of conversation with He who knows all things, who loves us, who understands exactly what we mean.


"In the beginning God" created man to be with Him in perfect fellowship.

Move with me down the road, through the years, to Moses and God's people Israel being led out of their slavery to Egypt.  God has once again come down to fellowship with man.

It is not as sweet a fellowship as before.  Sin has put a rift between God and His creation.  So He remains aloof, a pillar of fire or smoke set before them.  No hugging this time.

And the only one who can come near enough to truly fellowship with God is His servant Moses.

It seems though that God yearns to return to that true fellowship between Himself and mankind.  So He gives His one friend, Moses, the instructions to make Him a home where He can dwell among men.  And the Tabernacle is born.

But the rift remains.  Sin has tarnished our fellowship, and sin keeps rearing its ugly head in our lives, in our hearts, pushing God further away.

Then came David, a "man after God's own heart".  A true friend of God's.  So David draws up plans for a permanent home for God among His people.  The Temple.

Yet God said that David could not build that home for David had sinned.  David had killed many men and God could not let David build that home.

What to do?  How about David's son Solomon?  Here is one without bloodshed on his hands.  He could build God a home here on earth.  A permanent dwelling place where God could meet and fellowship with His people.  And it was so.

But sin. . . .that ugly wound festering.

God removes the Temple, not just once, but I believe twice.  Until Herod's Temple is built.  In His desire to be with us, God has had a plan all along, a plan to fellowship again with His creation.

The new Temple is during the time of the New Testament.  In God's perfect timing, His plan unfolds.

If He, a perfect and holy God, can not be around sin, and if the only way to erase sin is by the death of something, then that Something needs to be sinless and perfect.  But a lamb is only a temporary fix.  The Lamb that God provides is complete.

A perfect time.  Christmas, the first Advent of Christ.  The day that God's Son is born as a human and placed among men.

"Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear a Son, 
and they shall call His name 
which means, "God with us."
Matthew 1:23

Immanuel.  God with us.  Fellowship!  Sweet and true fellowship is restored.

God wants us in fellowship with Him.  That is why He created us: you and me.  That is why He sent His Son to earth,  to fellowship with us.

Isn't that awesome?  Woohoo!

But sin.  Again sin.  Sin has a way of breaking our fellowship with God.  Why?  Because we are told that God is holy.  Holy, without sin.  Pure.  Perfect.  Unblemished.  Because He is holy, He can't be near sin or sinners.

That's what broke our fellowship the first time.  Adam sinned and God had to break away.

God came to Moses and the Israelites, but Moses and the Israelites sinned.  God stayed awhile, but man kept sinning.  God left.

Then Jesus came.  Immanuel.  God with us. 

But sin.  He could not remain with us because of our sin inherited from Adam.

So, He died.  But in His dying, He reconciled us to God.

For "...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness"(Hebrews 9:22).  

He shed His perfect, holy, without-sin blood so that our sins, yours, mine can be forgiven.

He died.  He was buried.  He rose to new life.  Away from us.

But not fully gone.  This time He sent His Spirit, God's Spirit, to live not next to us, or near by us, but IN us.

Sweet fellowship!  When my sin was forgiven me I was cleansed of all sin.  I am no longer guilty of the sin in me.  God sees me as holy like Him.

So He comes to live in me.  IN ME!  Fellowship, sweet fellowship, beyond comprehension.

Bear with me and fast forward to Eternity Future.  See there in Revelations that our fellowship within will return to an outward fellowship of perfection with God.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying,
'Behold, the tabernacle of God
is among men,
and He shall dwell among them,
and they shall be His people,
and God Himself shall be among them....'
Revelation 21:3

God's story, His-story, His plan for us was fellowship with us.  It has been working its way all through His-Story.  He has never stopped loving us and wanting to fellowship with us.  And though the fellowship that I presently have with Him, He in me, is nice, I believe that future fellowship will with, seeing Him as He is, will be perfect.

Oh, sweet fellowship!  Come Lord Jesus and restore your Garden of perfection for us.  We wait anxiously to have you dwell among us forever.