MINISTERING RESTORATION to FELLOWSHIP.
Christians come with various troubles, but often the root problem is that they have gone away from the Lord in sin and have stopped praying, reading the Bible and attending Church. It is pointless trying to put other things right until they are restored to fellowship with God by confession of sin and repentance.
“How can two walk together unless they be agreed” (Amos 3:3).
“Your relationship with God was established when you were born again. From then on you are a son of God: “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born...of God” (John 1:12,13). When you sin this relationship is not broken but your fellowship with God is broken, and is only reestablished when you confess your sin to God. You are not lost when you fail or fall into sin, but the blessings of God cannot flow to you with unconfessed sin in your life.
“If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).
1John was written to believers so they can walk in FELLOWSHIP with God and thereby be filled with joy (1:1-4). To walk in fellowship with God we must walk in the light (purity and goodness) of God’s Presence for God is light (v5,6).
Then automatically: “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (even if we are not aware of it). One of the greatest obstacles to walking in close fellowship with God is the tendency to deny our sin:
“If we say that we have no sin (sin-nature in our flesh), we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” BUT: “If we confess our (specific) sins He (God) is faithful (to His promise) and just (because of the blood) to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (v9 - this is the key verse to minister, it promises the full restoration of fellowship with God upon our confession of sin). If we minimise or deny our sin we stay in the darkness: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” We can be confident God will forgive us because Christ died for all our sins and is ready to be our Advocate before God and plead His blood for our forgiveness (2:1,2).
In John 13;10-15 Jesus compared the New Birth to a bath saying:
“He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet (the part in contact with the dirt of the world), but is completely clean.” Footwashing is symbolic of restoration to fellowship (cleansing of sin). Jesus washed their feet so that they would be prepared to fellowship together and enjoy the banquet. Then He said: “you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” He calls us to restore each other to God.
Ephesians 5:8-14: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord (our New-Birth). Walk as children of light (in fellowship with God) ....
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them (bring them to the light by confessing your sins, don’t hide or deny them)... all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light (the light will cleanse you). Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep (believers out of fellowship are alive but look dead) arise from among the dead (unbelievers) and Christ will give you light.”
John 3:17-21 confirms God’s willingness to forgive us. Believers are those who love the light and continually come to the light to be cleansed. Unbelievers hate the light because they don’t wan’t their sins exposed and cleansed.
2Corinthians 6:14-18 commans us to separate ourselves from sin, so that we can enjoy dynamic fellowship with God. It concludes by saying: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (occult), perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (7:1).
The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:12-32) reveals the process of confession of sin resulting in the full restoration of fellowship and blessing, as well as the Father’s love and willingness to forgive fully. Also Psalm 86:5, 103:10-14, Isaiah 43:25; Romans 8:1).
Ministry: 1. Teach them the differnce between Relationship and Fellowship.
2. Lead them to make full confession of their sin and receive forgiveness by faith. “If we judge ourselves we shall not be judged” (1Corinthians 11).
3. Lead them in a prayer of rededication to God.
4. Explain that they must continue daily in the Word, Prayer, and Church.
“If you have sinned and feel condemned - yes it is serious (never minimize sin!) but there is hope for you. Don’t run away from God, run to God and be honest with Him - He knows it all anyway (Psalm 139). He is ready and willing to forgive you, not to condemn you. Jesus is our Advocate who represents you before God with His blood- the price for your forgiveness”
Be sure they fully bring their sin to God and receive forgiveness (1John 1:9)
Help them to be specific and avoid minimisation. Let them feel contrition, godly sorrow (1Corinthians 7:9) over their sin (it works repentance, it helps them to fully turn from the sin. “Blessed are they who mourn (for their sin) for they shall be comforted (by God’s loving Presence)” (Matthew 5).
The classic example is David’s heartfelt confession and repentance in Psalm 51 (see also 2Samuel 11 & 12). It is best for people to say their own prayer of confession: “I acknowledge my transgressions, my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.”
Psalm 32:1-4 describes his experience of depression and sickness as a result of being out of fellowship. Then all that was changed: “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v5)
A prayer of confession:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that as I come to You. You will not cast me out. I confess my sin to you now....I am sorry -please forgive me.
I thank You that You are faithful to Your promise to forgive me and to cleanse me from my sin, by the blood of Jesus. So now I am back in fellowship with You, Father.
I rededicate myself to You, Lord to do your will and put You first in my life. Amen.”
*An Example of what to say
1. Fellowship and Relationship:
“Your relationship and fellowship with God was established when you were born again. From then on you are a son of God (this is your relationship) When you sin this relationship is not broken but your fellowship with God is broken, and is only reestablished when you confess your sin. You are not lost when you make a mistake but the blessings of God cannot flow to you with unconfessed sin in your life.”
“If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18)
“If you have sinned and you feel condemned - yes it is serious (never minimize sin!), but there is hope for you. Don’t run away from God, run to God and be honest with Him - He knows it all anyway (Psalm 139). He is ready and willing to forgive you, not condemn you. The Bible says we have a lawyer, Jesus, who represents you before the Father with his blood which was the price for your forgiveness. He will bring you back into fellowship with God.
1John 2:1,2 says: “My little children these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
Since Jesus has already paid the penalty for your sins, 1John 1:9 says:“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“Pray with me right now and God will forgive and cleanse you of your sin.”
Lead in a prayer of confession and rededication. “Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that as I come to You, You will not cast me out. I confess my sin to you now .....(Name the sins) I am sorry - please forgive me. I thank You that You are faithful to forgive me and to cleanse me from my sin, by the blood of Jesus. So now I am back in fellowship with You, Father. I rededicate myself to You, Lord to do your will and& put You first. Amen.”
Minister assurance of God’s mercy and forgiveness: “For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee” (Psalm 86:5) “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:10-14)
God has now forgotten those sins: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25). God forgives, cleanses and forgets your sin for His sake, so that He can have fellowship with you. You must forgive yourself and accept that God has forgiven you. He does not condemn you for your past and will not bring it up to you again. So there is now: “no condemnation for you in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Transition to Holy-Spirit:
“The ability to live the Christian life comes from the Holy-Spirit.”