Good morning to you my precious family.
1 John 1:3 says “We 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.”
A wife commented to her husband as they were travelling in the car, “When we dated, we always sat so close together, and now we are so far apart.” The husband replied, “I haven’t moved from behind this wheel; if anyone has moved, it is you. “
This may help us in thinking about our relationship with God. If God seems distant to us, it is not because He has moved.
Why is it that some Christians seem to be transformed by contact with Jesus Christ, but others are not? Some Christians, even long standing Christians, still seem to be very much conformed to the world around them, even deformed in their views and outlooks. Yet all of them profess that they are Christians, that they too have been born again by faith in Jesus Christ. It is not strange that the world asks, what is wrong? Why is this condition true? The secret, John says, is fellowship.
Toward the end of his life, the apostle John wrote a series of letters (1, 2, and 3 John) that encouraged believers to remain faithful. There are many parallels between the gospel and the epistles of John. As we read today’s verse, you may have thought of John 1:1-18. Yet the purposes of the two writings are different. The Gospel of John was written so that non-believers might believe (John 20:31 says “but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name), whereas the first epistle of John was written to assure believers of their salvation (1 John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life”). In fact, 1 John is like a refresher course in the basics of Christianity.
1 John, was written between 85 and 95 AD to believers in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. Some type of false teaching was creeping into this area, and John was fearful that these believers might be led astray. So John begins by reminding us that our faith is rooted in the historical, physical person of Jesus. He did not just appear to be human, as some of these false teachers claimed. He was in fact fully human and fully God.
That is the main point of the message proclaimed in verse 3: the gospel is about the real-life person of Jesus Christ, the very life and person whom John witnessed personally.
That is the basis of fellowship, and the word means to have all things in common. When you have something in common with another, you can have fellowship with that person. If you have nothing in common, you have no fellowship.
We all have things in common. We share human life in common. Most of us share South African citizenship in common. We attend Medway Community church. But John is talking about that unique fellowship that is the possession only of those who share life in Jesus Christ together. This makes them one, and this oneness is the basis for the appeal of Scripture: to live together in tenderness and love toward one another. Not because we are inherently wonderful people or remarkable personalities or that we are naturally gracious, kind, loving, and tender all the time —for at times we are grouchy, scratchy, and irritating to others. But we are still to love one another. Why? Because we share life together. We have something in common. We share the life of the Lord Jesus, and therefore we have fellowship with one another.
Disciples of Jesus aren't lost when they are right where God has told them to be. And God the Father has told us to enjoy fellowship with Him and Jesus and with the community of believers. We are never really lost when we are connected in fellowship with God and with other Christians. We become lost when we think we can go it alone in this world.
We need to understand the difference between relationship and fellowship. Relationship is becoming a member of the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ. It is established by asking Him to come into our life and heart. John makes that clear at the end of this letter in 1 John 5:12. “He who has the Son has life [that is relationship]; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life [he does not have a relationship].
The Christian life starts right there with this matter of relationship. Relationship is accepting Jesus Christ; fellowship is experiencing Him. You can never have fellowship until you have established relationship, but you can certainly have relationship without fellowship. Relationship puts us into the family of God, but fellowship permits the life of that family to shine through us. That is what marks the difference between Christians. Fellowship is the key to vital Christianity. That is why this letter, which calls us back to fundamental issues, focuses first on that. The important question is, as a Christian, are we enjoying fellowship with the Father and with His Son?
John knows that he owes the gift of this fellowship to Jesus Christ. Christ came and made Himself the friend of tax collectors and sinners. He offered His fellowship to any who would be willing to change their values and see things eye to eye with Him. You can't have fellowship with Jesus if you don't trust His judgment. But if you do trust the Lord Jesus, you have fellowship not only with Him but also with God the Father. John says in John 2:23, "No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also." Fellowship with God comes only through Jesus Christ His Son.
The apostle John earnestly desired to tell all that he knew, and all he had experienced and witnessed, of the glory and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. John had spent over three years walking and talking with the Lord and learning from Him - he had been with Jesus constantly, ever since that decisive day on the shores of Lake Galilee, when Christ called out to John to: “follow Me..”.
John was eager to share all that he had learned from the beginning concerning the Word of God, made flesh. John was anxious to bear witness of Christ's life and to declare the good news of the glorious gospel of grace and the joys of eternal Life - Which was with the Father and Which was made manifest in the Person and work of Christ Jesus our Saviour.
Love, forgiveness and fellowship is what the world seeks most and yet true love, true forgiveness and true fellowship is only found in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. For God in His grace took upon Himself the form of a servant and was born into the human race so that at the appointed time He could walk to the cross, in our place and take upon Himself the accumulated weight of man's sin. Jesus alone opened up the way for unconditional love true forgiveness and beautiful fellowship with the Father, through time and into eternity - and this is true for all who believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God.
No matter how long you’ve been a child of God through faith in Christ, we need to guard our relationship with Him. It’s not just about going to church or having daily devotions. It’s a continual relationship. Taking time off will seriously weaken your walk.
The time we spend in fellowship with God each day in prayer will strengthen us to stand against the evil one.
Let us Pray.
Heavenly Father, we praise and thank You for our Lord Jesus. We glory in His name and praise You for the good news of the glorious gospel of grace for the forgiveness of sin, for freedom from the bondage of Satan, for fellowship with the Father and for life everlasting. Father, teach me more of the richness and the glory of this warmth of fellowship with Christ, where everything that I am is made available to Him and I am experiencing all the wonderful joy of everything that He has made available to me. Keep our fellowship with You fresh and our fellowship with each other open, honest, and hospitable. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen
Much love in Christ to you from Maurice and Margaret.