What Constitutes Our Fellowship?

January 11th, 2015

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. [1]

Some of the funniest skits on late night comedy are reporters just asking questions at random to people they meet on the street. Questions like Can you name the three branches of government, or who is our current Vice President? And my favorite recently, Which is better, the Affordable Care Act or Obama-care.

What’s funny is watching people display absolute confidence while giving clueless answers. It’s funny . . . and then you realize that these people vote.

So what about the Church? Would we get better answers? Would we give consistent answers to the most basic of questions, or would we sound over confident and clueless?

The guy who wrote this book was trying to create cohesion in the life of the Church. Any organization will drift toward the less than important things.

John writes this book to reorganize us around our true fellowship. Jesus is the main reason for our fellowship. Not our covered dish lunches, not our friendliness or family connections, but Christ.

The early church was struggling to stay focused on the primary cause of their fellowship. They were struggling to get everyone on the same page and then give the same answers for what they believed.

The book of John is a back to the basics sort of book. It’s a refocusing of the Church on the primary cause that brought us together.

Jesus is that cause. It’s all about Jesus. The music is about Jesus. The creeds, doxology and calls to worship are centered on Jesus. The sermons need to be about living for Jesus.

Our outward focus of evangelism should be to tell people about the authority, glory and love of Jesus. Our inward focus of discipleship is to grow the membership into the likeness of Jesus Christ our Lord.

And the basis for all that activity and all our faith is what John wants to talk to us about.

There has been one person center stage since the beginning of this story. Since the first appearance of the Angels who told Simeon and Elizabeth about the birth of their unlikely son John the Baptist. Since the beginning when the angel told Mary that she would have a baby without normal marital relations. From the beginning when the shepherds, the wise men and Simeon saw baby Jesus.

There is a historical person, a divine person, who was foretold by God first in the Garden of Eden and then by the prophets ever since. A man who would come to take away our sins. Messiah would come to set the captives free. The Christ would come to redeem God’s people.

Jesus would come to live and die for the sins of the world.

Every Church’s identity is found in the actions of God the Father who loved the world so much, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God loves us so much that He gave us Jesus, the majestic and unique Son of God, who came into this world to give us eternal life. And we are called to believe on His name! Hallelujah!

What was from the beginning? God the Father giving us Jesus the Christ.

And we have heard this man speak. He alone had the words of eternal life and Jesus spoke those words to our ears. We saw Jesus. We ate with Him. We prayed with Him. We took road trips with Jesus.

Jesus began doing miracles at a wedding feast. A party. Jesus and the disciples crashed parties. They organized flash crowds. Spoke truth to power.

They shook the gates of Hell. They opened for all the gates of Heaven.

It was real folks. Nothing more real than Jesus.

And from the beginning John was there. He was family to Jesus. First cousins. He grew up with Jesus. He was so close to Jesus that on the cross Jesus asked John to be his mom’s earthly son in His place.

We looked upon Jesus. We touched the only begotten Son of God. The promised seed of the woman who would strike the head of the Serpent was intimately known to our family and His disciples.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

The eternal Logos, the spoken word of the Father was incarnate and our friend. The Creator of all things was our friend.

He is the Author of Life. Jesus is the word of life. Jesus breathed into Adam to make his body a living soul. Jesus alone has the authority to decide if you live forever. Jesus possesses life in and of Himself. Jesus is LIFE.

And that life was made manifest.

The Creator took on human flesh and appeared at a point in time and continued until His sacrifice of ultimate love on the cross where he paid for our sins that we might now possess life eternal.

And we have seen this life. All around us in this world is death and decay. But in Jesus we saw pure life eternal.

John saw the pure energy of life as it flowed inside of Jesus of Nazareth. The carpenter’s son was the Author of all Life. It sounds unbelievable, but it is as true as anything ever recorded within human history.

John saw these things, Mary and all the other persons within the Gospel narrative, they all collectively testify to that Jesus is God come in the flesh to save His people from their sins.

and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life

You have to give this your best attention. You can’t ignore this proclamation. Like getting a tax notice in the mail from the IRS. You can’t throw it away. John is proclaiming to us the truth about our genesis and our omega.

His testimony is about the Divine Life that still reaches out to us by His Holy Spirit to bring us to bow, worship and live obediently to His commands.

John is using the ultimate meaning that words can express when he says that the eternal Word, the Son of God, the Creator and Unique Life Giver, the person who is without beginning and ONE with the Father, THAT person was made manifest to us.

When you die you will come face to face with the same person that Mary held in her arms.

—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that

Now we come to the point of John’s opening statement. This is the SO WHAT of his initial thoughts.

John is sharing all this personal information with us so that we might have strong theological opinions and win arguments. No. So that we may feel right about our religion. Goodness no.

There are three reasons John gives. Three goals for those who hear this message about Jesus.

First, John proclaims Christ SO THAT we might have fellowship with the universal Church.

There is a whole bunch of people all around the world throughout all periods of time who have faith in Jesus as the Savior who died for our sins. If you believe in Jesus then you have commonality with John. You have a common faith with people in Alaska. In Africa. In Australia and Austria. Those living oppressed in Asia are in common with us for we share a common faith.

And our fellowship isn’t just a temporal human fellowship. No. Our fellowship is bigger than that. Indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

We are connected in fellowship with all three Persons within the Trinity. Do you want to feel awash in absolute love? Believe in Jesus. Want everlasting peace to be in your heart? Have faith and fellowship with Jesus. Do you want to live positive with hope and joy thinking about tomorrow? Then put all your trust in Jesus.

And this experience of faith will bring you where no one else can take you. Tony Robbins promises to make you all you can be as a person using his self-help psychology. Politicians offer promises about your future for your vote. Dieticians promise health and wellness if you follow their plan.

But John guarantees that we can possess all these promises in their completeness if we will believe in the testimony of these first century saints. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

John promises the absolute fullness of all that you righteously desire can and will be found while pursuing a faith relationship with Jesus.

Perfect peace. Hope that springs eternal. We are promised to be sanctified and glorified to be as holy as Jesus. We will find supreme love. A family of love. A place to belong. We are united into the most beautiful person who ever existed. Grace. Truth. Mercy that will track us down throughout the rest of eternity.

We will become complete in Christ. If we hear this message of John. If we believe and if we live in accordance with this faith, then we will become whole. Restored. Renewed to be all we can be, because we will have a permanent connection with the rest of the saints, with Jesus and the Father who loves us now and forever.



[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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