Longing for the Fullness of Fellowship

Notes Outline
I. The Promise
II. Hope & Prayer


 A driver zooms by in a fit of road rage, giving you the finger while passing by…
 Two people quickly walk past one another on a sidewalk, with no smile, no “hello,” no eye contact, no
warmth, not even a small acknowledgment that in that moment we are sharing space with a fellow
bearer of God’s image…
 Human beings attacking one another with fists, with glares, with words, with silence, with jokes, with
 People inflicting injury through acts of aggression both overt and passive…
 People putting people down…people putting on masks…people putting on airs…
 Broken friendships…broken marriages…broken covenants…broken trust…broken vows…broken
promises…broken hearts…
 Relationships crippled by comparisons, by envy, by avoidance, by insecurities, by misrepresentation,
by misunderstanding, by unreasonable expectations, by suspicion, by superficiality…
 Lack of care…lack of concern…lack of time…lack of commitment…lack of initiative…lack of
response…lack of safety…lack of communication…
 Potential dangers, risks, and ill intentions assumed in online chat rooms, in the fine print on labels and
company documents, in interactions between men and women, in child safety policies in schools and
churches, in keys, in locks, in passwords, in car alarms…
 Lonely, though surrounded by multitudes…surrounded by multitudes, and yet lonely…
Included among the many tragic consequences of the Fall: Broken, distorted, and corrupted ways of relating
8  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the
evening breeze, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9  So the LORD God called
out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10  And he said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was
afraid because I was naked, so I hid”.… 3:15  And I will put hostility between you and the woman and
between your offspring and her offspring; her offspring will attack your head, and you will attack her
offspring’s heel.” 3:16  To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give
birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you” (Gen. 3:8-10, 15-16,
 Here we see fallen relationship at so many levels: between God and human beings; between human
and non-human beings; Yahweh’s loyal followers and those loyal to the serpent, etc. After Genesis 3,
we see things spiraling more and more out of control:

8  Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his
brother Abel and killed him. (Gen. 4:8, CSB)
 11  For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another, 12  unlike
Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his
deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. (1 Jn. 3:11-12, CSB)
5  When the LORD saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of
the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, 6  the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth,
and he was deeply grieved. (Gen. 6:5-6, CSB)
What do we mean by “fellowship”? What was God’s original intention for relationship within the created order?
One Greek word with which many Christians are familiar is the word koinōnia. Depending on the context, it is
typically translated as “fellowship with” (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:9, ESV), “participation in” (e.g.,1 Cor. 10:16, NIV),
“sharing” or “sharing in” (e.g., 1 Cor. 10:16, NASB), or “partnership in” (e.g., Php. 1:5, ESV), or “communion”
(e.g., 1 Cor. 10:16, NKJV). Here are the various definitions and glosses proposed by one authoritative Greek-
English dictionary (BDAG 1 ):
“close association involving mutual interests and sharing, association, communion, fellowship, close
relationship (hence a favorite expr. for the marital relationship as the most intimate betw. human beings Isocr.
3, 40; BGU 1051, 9 [I A.D.]; 1052, 7; POxy 1473, 33; 3 Macc 4:6; Jos., Ant. 1, 304; Did., Gen 235, 18. But s.
also Diod S 10, 8, 2 ἡ τοῦ βίου κ.=the common type or bond of life that unites the Pythagoreans)”
“attitude of good will that manifests an interest in a close relationship, generosity, fellow-feeling,
“abstr. for concr. sign of fellowship, proof of brotherly unity, even gift, contribution.”
“participation, sharing τινός in someth.”
What a powerful picture of how relationships are supposed to be! Close association…mutual
interests…sharing…communion…close relationship…attitude of goodwill resulting in close
relationship…generosity…fellow-feeling…altruism (“unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others” 2
)…signs of fellowship…proof of brotherly unity…gifts…contributions…
These are the kinds of things that God intended to characterize relationships in the universe he created. When
we stop to think about just how far we have fallen in our ways of relating to and interacting with one another, it
is deeply grievous and painful. And yet there is hope. When Jesus returns, he will restore the fullness of
fellowship. This is but one of the many reasons why we as Jesus’ followers should join with the apostle Paul in
longing for his return:
in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will
award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved (“longed for” [NIV, NRSV]; “set
their hearts on” [REB]) His appearing. (2 Tim. 4:8, NASB95)

1 William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 2000), 552-3.
2 Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003), sv.

I. The Promise

A. It will not always be like this!
B. Isaiah 2
2  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it
will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3  Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let
us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that
we may walk in his paths.” The law (“instruction” [CSB]) will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from
Jerusalem. 4  He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat
their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against
nation, nor will they train for war anymore. 5  Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the
LORD. (Is. 2:2-5, NIV)
C. Hosea 2
2:14  However, in the future I will allure her; I will lead her back into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
2:15  From there I will give back her vineyards to her, and turn the “Valley of Trouble” into an “Opportunity for
Hope.” There she will sing as she did when she was young, when she came up from the land of Egypt.
2:16  “At that time,” declares the LORD, “you will call, ‘My husband’; you will never again call me, ‘My master.’
2:17  For I will remove the names of the Baal idols from your lips, so that you will never again utter their
names!” 2:18  “At that time I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the
creatures that crawl on the ground. I will abolish the warrior’s bow and sword —that is, every weapon of
warfare—from the land, and I will allow them to live securely.” 2:19  I will commit myself to you forever; I will
commit myself to you in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love and tender compassion. 2:20  I will
commit myself to you in faithfulness; then you will acknowledge the LORD.” 2:21  “At that time, I will willingly
respond,” declares the LORD. “I will respond to the sky, and the sky will respond to the ground; 2:22  then the
ground will respond to the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil; and they will respond to ‘God Plants’
(Jezreel) (cf., e.g., Dt. 30:8-9)! 2:23  Then I will plant her as my own in the land. I will have pity on ‘No Pity’
(Lo-Ruhamah). I will say to ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), ‘You are my people!’ And he will say, ‘You are my
God!’ ” (Hos. 2:14-23, NET)
D. Isaiah 11
6  The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the
yearling together; and a little child will lead them…. 9  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy
mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Is.
11:6, 9, NIV)
E. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-19
17 As for us, brothers, after we were torn away from you (only in body, not in our thoughts; I trust the
rupture will last only a little while), we missed you terribly and were extremely anxious to come and see you
again in person. 18 That is why we wanted to return to you. I, Paul, tried to do so time and again, and yet
Satan blocked our way. 19 What, after all, is our hope, our joy, and the victor’s crown of honor we will
receive in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? It is you, isn’t it? 20 Yes, you yourselves are
the glorious reward we will receive and the cause of our joy. (1 Th. 2:17-19, BHT)

II. Hope & Prayer

A. My prayer and goal for the conference: The sharing of the gospel and the sharing of lives, unto a joy-
filled signpost of the fullness of fellowship to come.
…As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7 but we were gentle among you, like a mother
caring for her little children. 8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only
the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. (1 Th. 2:6-8, NIV84)
3  what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and
indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4  We are writing these things so
that our joy may be complete. (1 Jn. 1:3-4, CSB)
B. People often ask me, “What is DTN?” I sometimes joke, “Well, we are a bunch of friends with a
website.” Here is what I mean: “Although it might not look impressive by modern ministry and
organizational standards, we are doing all we can to keep the sharing of the gospel and the sharing of
lives at the center of what we do.” The word “training” and our online resource center represent the
sharing of the gospel, and the word “Daniel” (“God is my judge”) represents the importance of Jesus’
followers being anchored in the wisdom of the gospel especially at the end of the age. The word
“network” represents the sharing of lives. We intentionally organize the One Hope, One Boast
Conference with these two priorities in mind.
C. This year’s conference title: “Loving His Appearing: Why Jesus’ People Should Long for His Return.”
When Jesus returns, he will restore the fullness of fellowship! This is but one of the many reasons why
we as his followers should love, long for, and set our hearts on his return. In this conference we will be
exploring many other reasons as well.