In Acts 2:42, one of the four pillars of the church is fellowship. In our world’s very beginning Emmanuel created mankind for fellowship. It may be a bit dramatic but James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombone expressed it well:
And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I’m lonely —
I’ll make me a world.
And far as the eye of God could see
Darkness covered everything,
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.
Then God smiled,
And the light broke,
And the darkness rolled up on one side,
And the light stood shining on the other,
And God said: That’s good!
Then God reached out and
took the light in his hands,
And God rolled the light around in his hands
Until he made the sun;
And he set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
And the light that was left from making the sun
God gathered it up in a shining ball
And flung it against the darkness,
Spangling the night with the moon and stars.
Then down between
The darkness and the light
He hurled the world;
And God said: That’s good!
Then God himself stepped down —
And the sun was on his right hand,
And the moon was on his left;
The stars were clustered about his head,
And the earth was under his feet.
And God walked, and where he trod
His footsteps hollowed the valleys out
And bulged the mountains up.
Then he stopped and looked and saw
That the earth was hot and barren.
So God stepped over to the edge of the world
And he spat out the seven seas —
He batted his eyes, and the lightnings flashed —
He clapped his hands, and the thunders rolled —
And the waters above the earth came down,
The cooling waters came down.
Then the green grass sprouted,
And the little red flowers blossomed,
The pine tree pointed his finger to the sky,
And the oak spread out his arms,
The lakes cuddled down in
the hollows of the ground,
And the rivers ran down to the sea;
And God smiled again,
And the rainbow appeared,
And curled itself around his shoulder.
Then God raised his arm and he waved his hand
Over the sea and over the land,
And he said: Bring forth! Bring forth!
And quicker than God could drop his hand,
Fishes and fowls
And beasts and birds
Swam the rivers and the seas,
Roamed the forests and the woods
And split the air with their wings.
And God said: That’s good!
Then God walked around,
And God looked around
On all that he had made.
He looked at his sun,
And he looked at his moon,
And he looked at his little stars;
He looked on his world
With all its living things,
And God said: I’m lonely still.
Then God sat down —
On the side of a hill where he could think;
By a deep, wide river he sat down;
With his head in his hands,
God thought and thought,
Till he thought: I’ll make me a man!
Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to
the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
This Great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till he shaped it in his own image;
Then into it he blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
It is hard to think of God as lonely with his Trinity partners, billions of angles about Him. But He was lonely for personal fellowship. You see, Christianity is totally different from all religions of the world. Christianity is a personal relationship. “Man and woman were created to walk and talk with Jesus as good friends should and do.”
In the early days of creation, God came to the garden to visit with Adam and Eve; there was pure fellowship. But as you know, Satan snuck in and caused Adam and Eve to sin. God showed up and made a sacrifice for their sin and clothed them. This sin separated man from God for pure fellowship. God began the long process of buying them back.
Since the life (or soul) is in the blood, God required a blood sacrifice of animals to roll the sins forward. Then in time, God himself in human form would shed his blood in the temple and on Calvary’s hill for the forgiveness of all mankind. Emmanuel would be the Isaiah 53 suffering Messiah.
God came to earth as Jesus and paid the price on the old rugged cross.
Philippians two explains this:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something
to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
It is important to understand that God so loved the world he gave His Son, Jesus. He did not die on the cross to make good men better. He died to make the spiritually dead men and women spiritually alive. God whether in personal creation or in personal salvation deals with all creation in a personal way. Let’s be clear: Jesus did not die at the cross to make unproductive men and women productive, wise and creative. That was created into them as the Imago Dei. They did not lose that at the fall. At the fall they all lost their personal fellowship with God. That means they lost their divine direction of their creative wisdom; they may become creative heathen with a generous personality, but a lost soul. The result of preaching the cross to restore the fellowship of God and man is not about making a nation creative, economically successful, or free; it is to bring the individual spiritual freedom and restored fellowship with God, and spending an eternity with God.
Thus since sin is what separated us from God, and sin is missing the mark of perfection, and “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans), the remission or forgiveness of sin is the first order of business to be restored to fellowship. God gave that answer in the first sermon preached the day the church was born in Acts 2.
Peter was addressing the crowd that had killed Jesus; he accused them of Jesus’ death, then preached that God had raised him from the dead and made him both Lord and Messiah. The convicted crowd of sinners, who killed Jesus, cried out, “What shall we do?”
38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
This question was asked by sinners and God; through Peter God gave the answer.
The Evangelicals poo-poo this clear word from God and claim all you have to do is say a “SINNER’S PRAYER.” Their scripture is 1 John 1:
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
1 John is a letter to an established church made up of baptized believers that have continued to sin.
1 John 8ff:
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
Thus, this so-called “SINNER’S PRAYER” IS REALLY A SINNING CHRISTIAN’S PRAYER, one that has already been baptized for the remission of sin. It is critical to read the Bible, not theology textbooks, when it comes to restoring fellowship with God.
Once we accept God’s invitation of renewed fellowship, we’re adopted into His family (Ephesians 1).
In all of this we are crucified with Christ:
20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.
In this process, we are not only forgiven, we are spiritually circumcised as a sign of our being a part of the family of God, in full fellowship with God.
9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
We take God’s word that the world was created perfectly and without sin, sickness or evil by faith. As we look about us in the world we find two groups of productive, creative humans. There are the Christians that know they were hand created by God, that they sinned, and are redeemed by the blood of Christ, and our response to that “Old Rugged Cross.” Then there are the non-Christians who believe they are a product of time and chance for the most part. They may live next door, or even in our home. They may be healthy, wealthy, and wise in the ways of the world, but they are in their sins and out of fellowship with God. If they are out of fellowship here, they will be out of fellowship in eternity; that means an eternity with Satan.