1 JOHN 1:1-4 – That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
THEME OF THE DAY. PRACTICING BIBLICAL FELLOWSHIP. Let’s start today’s nugget with a question. It is a very important question demanding honesty and objectivity. How we answer has ripple effects in our walks with the Lord. It will reveal one of two things; we understand God’s design for us in relationships with other believers or we are ignorant of His instructions in His Word about our relationships with other believers. But there are more consequences in how we answer this question. It will enhance our joy and growth in the Lord or it will expose our neglect of a chief source of joy and growth in the Lord. Oh, one more thing in our answer to the question we are about to ask . . . Our answer tells us a lot about our love or lack of for other members in the family of God. And now the question . . . Are we consistently and joyfully living out our Christian life in fellowship with other believers that extends beyond a few hours on a Sunday for life-on-life spiritual sharing, accountability, and transparency? What this question is really asking is found in today’s scripture – Are we practicing Biblical fellowship with other believers?
The Apostle John opens his letter declaring the humanity and deity of the Lord Jesus, then immediately defines the living out of the Christian life in the beauty of Biblical fellowship. He writes, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
John’s words provide at least two important lessons regarding Biblical fellowship but first, we need to understand fellowship. It is defined in the Bible as “sharing of lives, a joint partnership, communion” and goes beyond surface relationships. It means we are actively involved in the lives of believers for spiritual growth, encouragement, even correction. This cannot happen without a commitment that goes beyond a Sunday morning class and worship. Basically, Biblical fellowship is “doing the Christian life together with other believers.” Now the lessons.
First, we cannot have fellowship with God if we are not practicing fellowship with other believers. John writes “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Friends, true fellowship with God in the privacy of our lives always leads to spiritual fellowship with other believers. We deceive ourselves to think we enjoy fellowship with God if we live isolated and private from other Christians. Vertical fellowship with God always produces horizontal fellowship with other believers. They are inseparable.
The next lesson is that true Biblical fellowship is rooted in the Word of God – And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. For fellowship to be true Biblically, the Scriptures must be the chief component shared in the fellowship. It is what shapes and directs it. Without the centrality of the Word, we may call getting together with other Christians “fellowship”, but really it is socializing with other Christians that fails the test of Biblical fellowship.
So, back to the question – are we practicing Biblical fellowship? I hope so. It is God’s design and commandment. And it is one of His choice ways for us to grow both in knowing Him and experiencing the increase of His joy.
PRAYER: “Father, help me not to neglect the community of believers You have placed me with.”
QUOTE: “Don’t reduce your involvement with God’s people to a few hours on Sunday. It will hinder your joy.”