The Fullness of the Believer
September 1, 2017
The Fullness of the Believer
So many things in life disappoint. We often have great expectations, but so many expectations are faulty, empty, and powerless. We are left feeling disappointed, sometimes crushed.
Many have faith in earthly religions, but apart from Biblical revelation, all religions eventually disappoint.
Sometimes, things preached in local churches disappoint as far as true blessing and satisfaction are concerned. For example, it is often stated that if one just gets busy for God, his life will prosper. There may be some truth in that thought, but the fullness of God does not come just because one does “good things” for God.
Good works are a very important part of our Christian life, but they are the result rather than the cause of what we do for God.
Some reason that a program of entertainment in the context of the church will result in the fullness of God, but that, too, results in disillusionment.
The purpose of this paper is to show that, in God alone, we have a blessed fullness. It is a fullness that comes as a result of a right relationship with God. It is a fullness that greatly blesses the believer, but is also honoring to God.
When the believer has come to have a personal relationship with God, he will find that there is a fullness he never knew before. Of course, this is not a perfect fullness. That awaits the believer when he arrives in heaven. Still, there is a big difference between the carnal believer, the one who lives basically for himself, and the one who has begun to make the Lord Jesus the preeminent One in his life. This fullness includes many things, but especially the following:
The fullness of faith in God. Faith in God does not disappoint. Genuine faith in God blesses! Note about faith:
Faith gives assurance. The writer of Hebrews is so helpful here, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds [ages] were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:1-3). For those who believe the word of God, the creation of the world is not a mystery!
Faith confidently anticipates. Without faith, one has no real hope for the future. At best, things are a blur of what we desire and maybe what we have been taught by others. Genuine faith has much to anticipate, to look forward to. We read of Abraham, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing wither he went” (Heb. 11:8). However, God knew! Thus we read further of Abraham, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10).
As believers, we have so many wonderful things to look forward to. We can anticipate God’s leading in our earthly lives, His provision of our needs, His promise to return, a glorified body, and eternity in a place especially prepared for us by God. Yes, faith is honoring to God, but it is also a great comfort to the believer’s heart in having so many wonderful things to look forward to.
Faith rests. If one cannot rest in God, he really cannot rest at all, at least from a spiritual point of view. Yes, I know there are many substitutes for rest such as entertainment, mind deception, drugs, immorality of all sorts. However, any rest they seem to give is temporary and eventually ends in disillusionment.
Even so called “Christian” work will not eventually satisfy. Remember the words of Jesus to people who professed salvation but without real faith, “Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:21-23). There is but one place to rest, and that is in the finished work of Jesus Christ who died on the cross and shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Thank God, He was raised from the dead and ever lives to eternally sustain in eternal life all who personally come to Him.
The Biblical exhortation to belief of the gospel is so pertinent here, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest…” (Heb. 4:1-3).
Faith endures. Life is filled with very many challenges. Without faith, it would often be easy to give up or to choose faulty paths. Remember Noah who, in obedience to God, built the ark to escape the coming flood even though it had never rained before! He preached repentance for 120 years while building the ark. How easily he could have given up to discouragement when all but his family rejected his message. Faith kept him working and preaching the message of hope.
Consider the greatest example, Jesus Christ Himself. The writer of Hebrews exhorts, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).
The Fullness of Fellowship with God. Perhaps the greatest blessing of the Christian life is to be able to have fellowship with God. This may sound strange to some because we sometimes think of God as being far off and concerned only with the so called “big” things of life. We can’t imagine that we can have personal fellowship with Him. Yet, the Apostle John said, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye may also have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (I Jn. 1:3).
We must keep in mind that fellowship with God is a personal matter. It is not based on one’s personality, talents, good works, or the church one attends. Of course, those things have their place in our fellowship with God, but they are not the first priority. The first priority of fellowship is being born again by faith in Jesus Christ. Apart from such faith, one can only know about God, but he can’t really know Him on a personal basis. Paul said in his relationship to God, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection…” (Phil. 3:10). The knowing there is an experiential knowing, not just a knowing about Him.
A major part of the believer’s fellowship with God is the matter of personal purity, that is, his separation from all known sin. John reminds us, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (I Jn. 3:10). If one claims to have eternal life but has no desire for inner purity, he most certainly cannot have any real and personal fellowship with God.
True fellowship with God is seen in our heart, in our walk, in our integrity, and in our zeal for God Himself. These are not things that we somehow work out ourselves, but are the result of the indwelling presence of God in our lives.
Fellowship can be a misused word or concept. Many have fellowship with a church and its various programs and yet have no real fellowship with God. Consider the following, “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed Him, knew the place: for Jesus often resorted thither with His disciples” (Jn. 18:1-2). Indeed, Judas was with Jesus in a familiar place, but he had no personal fellowship with Him! He knew nothing of His righteousness, love, and holiness.
The fullness of the joy of God. It is the intention of God that believers be filled with the joy of God. John wrote, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (I Jn. 1:4). Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (Jn. 15:11).
There is joy when a sinner comes to Christ for salvation. When he realizes that all of his sins are forgiven and he can begin a new life in Christ, there is often great rejoicing. Remember, when Philip led the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ, we read that Philip was caught away and the eunuch, “ …went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).There is no other origin of such rejoicing. Worldly pursuits cannot produce such joy. All such pursuits themselves contain the stamp of death. They will eventually fade and lose their value. However, the gift of God’s salvation in Christ will never fade nor lose its value! That is because Christ Himself is the believer’s life and joy. Whatever is of God never fades nor in any way loses its value.
Consider, if there is no joy in one’s profession of faith, can there really be salvation? I know that people often respond with differing emotions when they are saved, but should not genuine joy be predominant? Then, too, if people depend upon a rite of the church or good works for salvation, there is no real joy. Yes, people may say they are rejoicing, but is it a rejoicing brought about because of the indwelling presence of Jesus?
Yes, there is joy when one comes to Christ, but there is also a continuing joy as the believer walks with God. As one daily yields himself to God for His control, there is the continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit to him. One of the characteristics of the Spirit’s ministry is joy. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy….” (Gal. 5:22).
It is because of the Sprit’s continuing ministry that the believer can indeed know the fullness of joy. It is a joy not dependent upon the circumstances of life, but on the continuing ministry of the One Who Himself is the fullness of joy. While our circumstances may not be favorable sometimes, we have the presence of the favorable One. This is not to diminish the problem of circumstances because they can bring real and genuine suffering, but to know that when all else fails, there is still the presence and promises of God that can never fail.
The problem for many believers is that they get so taken up with other things that they never really seek God for Himself. For many, things and temporary pleasures take the place only God should have and thus they never really enjoy the fullness of the joy of the Lord.
The fullness of faultlessness before God. This may sound a bit strange to some, but, as believers, we don’t have to be in doubt about our salvation. We don’t have to wonder and worry about whether or not we are accepted of God. We don’t have to worry about whether or not God has forgiven us of all our sins. Satan would have us doubt the goodness and forgiveness of God so as to cripple us in the enjoyment of our salvation and also our witness for Him. Note the words of Scripture, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I Jn. 1:7). Also, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Rom. 8:1). Thank God, there is a fullness of forgiveness before God. Our sins are many, and we stand condemned before a holy God, but God, who is rich in mercy and forgiveness, has forgiven all of the sins of all who believe!
The acceptance of the fullness of forgiveness allows the believer freedom to enjoy his Christian life and to be the witness God would have him to be.
The fullness of God is such a wonderful blessing. It is a reality that we can realize to some major extent in this life. Of course, we will have to wait until we are in heaven to know the completion of His fullness. The point is, so many believers are living a very substandard Christian life. They know little or nothing of the true glory of the Christian life.
For those who will come to Christ in faith and seek daily to know Him and live for Him, their lives can be filled with blessing and triumph they never knew before. When we truly repent of our sins and begin to grow in Him, we will seek His righteousness. Holy living will not be a burden but a delight. Being filled with God Himself will magnify Him and bring untold blessing into the believer’s life. We will put away the gods of our own making and begin to bask in the glory of His presence and fullness!!
The question is, “Do we really know the fullness of God or are we somehow fooling ourselves because we have the externals of the Christian life?” The difference is immense and cannot really be known until we seek Him for Himself.
Special ministry in August included preaching at the Gospel Mission Baptist Church in Knapp on August 13th.
We enjoyed the last of the ice cream socials for the season in Rock Elm. The homemade ice cream is delicious! We even bought some to take home.
August always brings our wedding anniversary and BJ’s birthday. This year it was anniversary # 52. Wow! That is over half a century! We took a one day trip to Stillwater, MN on August 14, the day of our anniversary, so that we could drive across the beautiful new bridge over the St. Croix River. What a magnificent structure. We had lunch at a lovely riverside restaurant.
We were blessed on August 20th to have Dr. and Mrs. Richard Carns [Gus and Sharon] from Bella Vista, AR visit our church for the morning service. We were especially blessed to have them come to our house for dinner.
We wish to express or sincere sympathy to David Dahl and family on the passing of his father, Rodney Dahl. He passed away on August 22nd at Luther Hospital. The funeral was on Sunday, August 27th in Sand Creek.
With our world in such chaos, perhaps all of us wonder what a new day will bring forth. Obviously there is a strong move to globalism. This means a general weakening of nations and a strong move to a one world government, a one world economy, and one world religion. This is no surprise though, for it is what is predicted in the Bible. Thankfully, believers don’t have to depend upon the government for their ultimate protection. Yes, there may be more and more persecution of Christians, but their protection is of the Lord Himself. We can be so thankful for Paul’s word from God Himself, “For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor death, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
The believer’s safety is not in being protected from persecution or even death, but in being protected from the second death, which is eternal separation from God. The forever settled word of God states, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14-15). That is a very solemn warning, but also a very wonderful promise! God has made it wonderfully possible for all who come to His Son for the forgiveness of their sins to enjoy the pleasure of fellowship with Him and the glories of heaven for all eternity!
I may be contacted in any of the following ways: Walter Olsen: 155 Willow Circle, Baldwin, WI 54002; 715-688-6220; firstname.lastname@example.org