2015 03 01 pm 1 Cor 1_9 Lord’s Day 11 – Communion With Jesus Our Saviour.

1 Cor 1:9 reveals that Christianity is communion/fellowship with Jesus Christ, What does it mean that Jesus is our Saviour? What does it mean to fellowship with Him as our Saviour?

Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,
If you have been here for the last couple of weeks, you will know that the theme of our afternoon sermons for the next wee while is COMMUNION WITH OUR TRIUNE GOD.
God is one God in three persons. So last Sunday we considered what it means to enjoy communion with Our Father in heaven and today we begin considering what it means to enjoy communion with the Son of God, Jesus, with particular attention to Him as our Saviour.

Now, we are taking particular care to distinguish the three persons of the Trinity as distinct persons: Who died on the cross? Jesus. Not the Father or the Holy Spirit.
Who lives in our hearts? The Holy Spirit. Not Jesus or the Father.
Jesus is the only begotten son of? The Father. Not the Holy Spirit.

What we need to remember though is a phrase from the Athanasian Creed that we recited a couple of weeks ago, which says that “there are not three Gods, but one God.”
There is one God in three persons.
So in considering the three persons of the Trinity, we are not trying to separate them or divide them. We are recognizing each person that God might be glorified.
Gregory of Nazianzus was a theologian of the 4th century A.D. He said, “I cannot think about the One without being instantly surrounded by the splendour of the Three, nor can I discern the Three without being immediately drawn back to the One.” And I have included that quote in the bulletin for your later reflection.
It is necessary that we know God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for that is how He has revealed Himself. But we know these three that we may glorify the God who is one.
And yes, this is a MYSTERY. But it is the mystery of infinite glory that leads to humble adoration and devotion.

Well, before we go any further, we ought to ask the question: Should we enjoy communion with the second person of the Trinity? Ought we to have fellowship with Jesus?
Well, please look with me at 1 CORINTHIANS 1:9. Paul is greeting the congregation in Corinthian. And as ever, He begins with the greeting of God, as we see in v3, and then his prayer of thanksgiving for what God has done and is doing in the Corinthian believers. And he ends his thanksgiving prayer in v9 with these words: “God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
To be a Christian is to be one who has been called into fellowship with Jesus Christ. And the Greek word used there, koinonia, means a share of, participation with, contact, fellowship, and intimacy. One Greek dictionary defines it as “an association involving close mutual relations.”
And we are going to turn to at least two other places in the Bible where this same word is used to help fill out our understanding of what it means to have fellowship with Jesus our Saviour.

So let’s first see what the Scriptures say ABOUT JESUS AS OUR SAVIOUR and then what the scriptures say ABOUT FELLOWSHIP WITH Jesus our Saviour.

So first of all, what the Scriptures say about Jesus as our Saviour.

1. Please turn back with me to PSALM 27.
a. David speaks there about the LORD. And note the name LORD is capitalized in the NIV indicating that YAHWEH or I AM or the God of the covenant is in view here. And David says of the LORD, He is my light and my salvation and a stronghold.
i. He speaks of dangerous situations that the Lord has delivered or saved him out of. In v5, there are images of safety and being hidden and being set high on a rock.
ii. David worships the Lord and cries out to Him in His need.
iii. And in v9, He calls God, “My Saviour,” although every other English Bible version has it as “my salvation,” rather than Saviour.
A. The Hebrew word used there is Yishiy. It is a noun that means all of the things that David has been speaking of: deliverance, rescue, safety, welfare, and victory.
B. But if you were to speak of someone who delivered or rescued or brought about victory over the enemy, by the power of the LORD, you would call that person a Joshua or a Yeshua.
iv. And boys and girls, that reminds us of THE JOSHUA, doesn’t it. He was the one who led the people of Israel into the Promised Land. He led them around the walls of Jericho and then they tumbled down. He led them to victory over Ai. He led them to victory over the five kings of the Amorites and their armies. He led them to victory over the southern kings and the northern kings. In fact, he delivered the people of Israel from 31 kings, we are told in Joshua 12. Thus, the people were able to settle in the Promised Land. Joshua was indeed a great Saviour-deliverer.
v. And so, the name Joshua or Yeshua was a name that Hebrew parents would give to their children. But eventually, Hebrew was no longer the common language of the day, even among the Jews. Greek was the language of the day around about 1 B.C. And so, the Greek version of Yeshua was pronounced Iesous. And then, when Latin took over from Greek, Iesous became Iesus. And in English and some other languages that name has now become? Jesus.

2. So please turn with me now to MATTHEW 1:20. Joseph is having second thoughts about marrying Mary because he has learned that she is with child. But an angel comes to him and explains what has happened. He says, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus (Iesus – Iesous – Yeshua – Yishiy – the Psalm 27 “God of my salvation”), because He will save His people from their sins.” The Joshua of the OT was a great saviour-deliverer. But he could not save anyone from their sins, which made them deserving of eternal damnation.
a. But this Jesus; this Joshua “will save His people from their sins.”
b. This Jesus; this Joshua is the great Saviour!
c. This Jesus is the Saviour we sinners need.
d. This Jesus is the one who brings us peace with God.
e. This Jesus is the one by whom we gain not a patch of land in the Middle east, but heaven!

3. In ACTS 4:12, it says of Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” To escape the wrath of God and to enter into the joy of eternal life, you must believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.

So when you sing Psalm 27, are you singing about and to Jesus, your Saviour? Is He your light and salvation and the stronghold of your life?

And we consider this point under four sub-headings as we pay attention to four particular Scripture passages that explain fellowship with Jesus our Saviour.

1. So first of all, turn with me to JOHN 15:5. For here we see that fellowship WITH JESUS OUR SAVIOUR means fellowship with Jesus our Saviour! Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
a. There is every likelihood that if I were to ask you to list all of the blessings of salvation, you might start reciting things like the forgiveness of sins and eternal life and wisdom and adoption into the family of God, etc etc. And you would be right about all those things. But you have skipped the most important blessing of them all, which is? Jesus.
i. If I was talking to a wife and I asked her to describe the blessings of marriage and she said started talking about how her husband provided her with a house and a car and a sense of security and he brought her flowers occasionally, I would be surprised that she did not mention HIM as the chief blessing of marriage. Him – her husband.
ii. The SONG OF SOLOMON is a love poem between a man and a woman that is a picture of the love between Jesus Christ and His bride, the church. And if you have read the Song of Solomon, you will know that the beloved and the lover describe each other and speak in great deal of their love of each other, not of the things that each gives to the other.
iii. Do you pray prayers that speak of your love for your Saviour, Jesus? Prayers that sound like the hymn, Beautiful Saviour, for instance?
Beautiful Saviour, King of creation! Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I’d love Thee, truly I’d serve Thee, light of my soul, my joy, my crown.

b. So to remain in Jesus means to have Him as the chief delight of your soul. But it is also about the conscious choices and decisions of life.
i. Do we decide to do things that expose ourselves to Jesus and keep up our fellowship with Him?
ii. Do we choose to be in His word? Do we choose to be in prayer? Do we choose to be with His people, bearing with their burdens and confessing our faults to them and sharing in fellowship with them in order to see Christ in one another?
iii. Are we seeking to grow in our understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done through reading and listening to teaching?
iv. Fellowship with Jesus our Saviour means fellowship with Him as a person and with Him in His word and among His people.

But secondly, we see also that fellowship with Jesus our Saviour means fellowship WITH THE GRACE OF Jesus our Saviour.

1. Please turn with me to JOHN 1:16. In worship services, you often hear either at the beginning of the service or at the end, these words, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus … be with you.” Have you thought about what this grace is? Or to put it another way, if the grace of the Lord Jesus were a cake, what are its ingredients? Well, look how these words in John 1:16 explain that. John is speaking about the Lord Jesus. He says, “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.”
a. Now, the chief of these blessings is the Lord Jesus Himself, as a person, as we have just seen.
b. But we read a list of spiritual blessings a little earlier from Ephesians 1. And did you notice that every one of them is “in Christ … in Him … through Jesus Christ … given us in the one He loves … in Him … included in Christ … marked in Him …”
c. And it continues into ch. 2 where we are told that we are “made alive with Christ … raised up with Christ and seated with Him … created in Jesus Christ…“ And so it continues.

d. Last week as we considered communion with God our Father, we did so through the life of JOSEPH. And Joseph, you will remember, had risen to be second in command in Egypt. For seven years, knowing that famine was coming, food had been stored in huge storage depots. And Joseph was in sole charge of all the food resources of Egypt. So the people of Egypt, and then later, all the people of that region of the world, had to approach Joseph for food. And we are familiar, aren’t we, of the story of Joseph’s brothers coming to him for food. And you see in that story how dependant on Joseph’s grace those brothers were. Joseph put their money back in their sacks, he planted his cup in their sack, he demanded a brother stay as a hostage until Benjamin came. So two times they went to Egypt and came back with food. And the third time they went back and settled in Goshen under the complete care and provision of Joseph. Well, surely they said of Joseph, “From the fullness of his grace we have received one blessing after another.” But that is nothing compared with what you and I receive from the Jesus, the greater Joseph!
i. John Owen says this of the believer, “Is he dead? Christ is life. Is he weak? Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Hath he the sense of guilt upon him? Christ is complete righteousness….
ii. You need a Saviour. Jesus is that Saviour as we saw earlier from Matthew 1:21. \
iii. You need a Saviour who can give you all that you need – Philippians 4:19 says, “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
iv. You need a complete Saviour. Hebrews 7:25 says, “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him.”
v. So as we fellowship with Jesus our Saviour, our prayers might sound very much like the words of this hymn:
How vast the benefits divine which we in Christ possess. We are redeemed from sin and shame and called to holiness. ‘Tis not for works that we have done – these all to Him we owe; but He of His electing love salvation doth bestow.

But thirdly, fellowship with Jesus our Saviour means the fellowship OF SHARING IN THE SUFFERING OF Jesus our Saviour.

1. Please turn with me to Philippians 3:10-11. And here we find that’s same word, koinonia. Paul says there, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
a. Now, we have said much about what this looks like in recent morning sermons on Mark’s Gospel. For there we have thought about genuine discipleship and Jesus’ call that we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. Ultimately, this is a call to be ready to lose our lives for the sake of Jesus Christ. But it is also a call to sacrificial, self-denying, Christ-glorifying, gospel living.
b. I read an interview this week with Russell Moore who is president of the Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention in the USA. He said this about Christians working in politics or those who write letters to the editor in newspapers, for example, “It’s easy to talk about ‘values, faith, and principles,’ but many who do so cringe to hear themselves say things such as ‘The Bible says’ or ‘the blood of Jesus.’
i. You see, talk like that will bring mocking and suffering. But talk like that is the gospel by which God changes lives.
ii. There might be many of us, you see, who lament the fact that society is fast moving away from our Christian heritage. But Moore observes that what’s passing away before us … is nominal, cultural Christianity, or ‘normal’ [Kiwi] religion.” And he says, “Good riddance”! “We now have the opportunity for people to see what Christianity really is, not a message on how to be a good [Kiwi] but a freakishly strange message of a virgin birth, bloody cross, and an empty tomb. That freakishness saves.”
iii. It is relatively ‘uncostly’ to be a Christian in NZ. That could soon change, drastically. But fellowship with Jesus means the fellowship of sharing in the sufferings of Jesus, your Saviour.
iv. Do you know that fellowship, now?

But fourthly and lastly, fellowship with Jesus our Saviour means the Fellowship OF SHARING IN THE HOLINESS OF Jesus our Saviour.

1. Please turn with me to 1 JOHN 1:5-6. And here we see that word koinonia again. “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”
a. The ones who John wrote to claimed fellowship with Christ, but they believed that this had nothing at all to do with the way they lived their lives; they sinned, habitually, and thought nothing of it. That’s what “to walk in darkness” means.
i. You cannot be a follower of Christ and regularly give yourself over to sin. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
b. And this is what we see as 1 John 1:7 continues, “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, purifies us from all sin.”
i. Now the context makes clear that John is not talking about a sinless perfection here. What he means is a genuine and continuous pursuit of holiness, out of which increased fellowship with other believers and confession of sin will come. It is this life that must characterize the child of God.

Jesus is THE Saviour. He is THE great Joshua!
And fellowship with Jesus our Saviour is, first of all, having Him, as a person, as your chief delight.

But is also receiving and enjoying and being thankful for all the blessings of His grace. He is THE great Joseph!
It is a willingness to share with Him in His suffering. And it is a willingness to share in His holiness.

May He strengthen our fellowship with Him. Amen.