The Sweetest Fellowship This Side Of Heaven
I John 1
The theme of I John is fellowship. John wrote five books of the Bible. He wrote the Gospel of John to convince sinners…to lead them to faith in Christ. Then he wrote the Book of Revelation to comfort saints…to help us to understand the days in which we live and to have the hope of the Second Coming of Christ. Then he wrote these three epistles, First, Second, and Third John, to confirm the saints.
Look at I John 1:1-4. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
The fellowship John speaks about comes through the life we have in Jesus Christ. Not everyone in this building has life. You say, “If we didn’t have life, then how could we be listening to you right now?” Look, you can exist without having life. The Bible speaks of an unsaved woman and says, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she lives.” Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” He said that to some folks whose hearts were beating, but He’s saying, “You don’t have life: you have existence.”
We want more than existence: we want life. If you spell the word live backwards it spells evil. Too many people are living their lives backwards. Rather than having a glorious life, they have an evil life. They don’t know Jesus as their personal Savior.
First, John tells us that there is a fact that is established. Verse 1 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” The devil loves to distort things. From the beginning Jesus has been the greatest Truth, so from the beginning the devil has tried to distort who Jesus really is.
In John’s day there was a cult called the Gnostics. That’s a word that comes from a Greek word which means “to know.” The Gnostics felt that they had superior knowledge over everyone else. We might call them the know-it-alls. They thought they were too sophisticated to believe the God could have come to earth in the flesh. They believed that everything material or physical was evil. Therefore, they believed that the true Messiah could never have had a physical body. They believed that when Jesus was here He was just a ghost…a phantom….but that He didn’t have a material body. But John is going to knock Gnosticism right in the head. He said, “Jesus literally walked on this earth and I saw Him.”
There are false cults today just like there were in John’s day. Every cult is wrong about Jesus. That’s what makes them a cult. And if you’re wrong about Jesus it doesn’t matter what you’re right about.
For example, Mormons don’t believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. They don’t believe that Jesus is do-eternal or co-equal with God. Every cult is off on the person of Jesus.
The Bible says, “If any come to your house and bring not the doctrine of Christ, don’t receive them into your house, neither bid them godspeed.” II John 9 says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” That’s as plain as it can be! If a person is wrong about Jesus, he doesn’t know God. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but by me.”
John starts by declaring that Jesus is a fact established: “That which was from the beginning…” Jesus is the Christ of the eternities. John starts his Gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word…” Before anything began to begin, Jesus was already there.
A word is an expression of an invisible thought or idea. Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. Jesus articulates God. He is God’s first Word. “In the beginning was the Word.” He is God’s full Word. He is the Alpha and Omega…the first letter and the last letter of the Greek alphabet. If He were talking to us He would have said, “He’s the A and the Z.” Everything God has to say He will say through or by Jesus.
Jesus is God’s first Word, Jesus is God’s full Word, and Jesus is God’s final Word. The Book of Hebrews says, “God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” When you’ve said, “Jesus,” you’ve said it all! All the revelation of God is wrapped up in Jesus. He is an eternal fact.
He’s also a physical fact. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” He wasn’t a ghost. John says, “We had audible evidence….we heard Him.” If they would have had tape recorders in those days they could have taped the voice of Jesus.
Not only was there audible evidence; there was visible evidence. John tells us that they looked upon him It’s the word theaomai, which we get our word theater from. It means to look carefully. John was with Him for three years and he says, “I watched Him.”
But there’s not only the audible and visible evidence; there is the physical evidence. John says, “We handled Him.” In other words, “We touched Him.”
It is as much a heresy to deny the humanity of Jesus as it is to deny the deity of Jesus. If you deny the humanity of Jesus, you are denying Christianity. Jesus is an eternal fact and a physical fact. Apart from His humanity no one could be saved. Apart from the shedding of His blood, there is no remission of sin. Apart from His humanity, I have no example. But because He was human, I can walk as Jesus walked. Jesus didn’t pull rank on me when He was here on Earth. When He did miracles, He did them as a man filled with the Holy Spirit. He depended on the same power that you and I depend on day by day.
He is my Redeemer because He is a man. He is my example because He is a man. He is my comforter and friend because He is a man. He can be touched with the feelings of my infirmities because He’s a man. He was tempted in all points like I am because He was a man. He knows, He cares and He understands because He’s walked in our shoes.
So, when John talks about this Word of life, he’s talking about an established fact. He’s an eternal fact, a physical fact, and a spiritual fact. He’s not now here in a physical body. Now faith becomes the eye, the ear and the hands of the soul. Look at I John 5:9. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” God sends His Holy Spirit to testify through the words of the Apostles.
There was an atheist college professor who loved to ridicule his students. He asked them if they had ever heard God. Nobody answered. He asked them if they’d ever seen God. Nobody answered. He asked them if they’d ever touched God. Nobody answered. He said, “See, there is no God.”
The class just sat there cowering until one student stood and asked the class, “Has any one ever seen, heard, or touched the professor’s brain?” Nobody answered. He said, “Then according to the professor’s logic, we can assume that he has no brain.”
John says, “That which we have seen, and heard, and touched….that’s what we declare unto you.” Then the Bible says, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.” The Holy Spirit is here to convince you that the written Word is true. That’s the witness of God.
Jesus is an eternal fact, a physical fact, a spiritual fact…..and the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus.
This Word of life is a fact established. But it’s also a fellowship experienced. Verses 2-3 says, “(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you…” John says, “I saw Him, now I want to share Him.”
Anybody who sees Jesus wants to share Jesus. That’s why we’re called witnesses instead of lawyers. A lawyer argues the case, but a witness just tells what they’ve seen and heard. The only person who can’t witness is someone who hasn’t seen or heard anything.
John says, “I do this that you might have fellowship.” Folks, fellowship is not coffee and donuts. Fellowship comes from the word koinonia which means to hold things in common. Verse 3 says, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son.”
What do I have in common with the Father? Absolutely nothing. He is holy and I am unholy. He is Almighty and I am a worm. How can I possibly have fellowship with God? Look at verse 5. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” He is light and I am darkness, so how can I have fellowship with God?
Here’s how. God, who knows there is a chasm between me and Him, sent Jesus to take that which is common between us (human flesh) without forsaking His deity. Jesus takes on the nature of man so I can take on the nature of God. II Peter 1:4 says that we have now become the partakers of the divine nature. The word partaker in II Peter is exactly the same word translated fellowship in I John. Jesus became like I am that I might becomes like He is. Therefore, I have fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
But not only do we have fellowship with God; we can now have fellowship with one another. If we’re both born of God, then the Jesus in me is the Jesus in you. We’ve both been born from the same womb of grace. That’s what Philippians 1:5 calls “the fellowship of the Gospel.” In Philippians 2:1 it’s called “the fellowship of the Spirit.”
How many of you in this room are unmarried? Let me see your hands. Listen to me. Don’t you ever marry an unsaved person!! The Bible says that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. The Bible asks, “What fellowship has light with darkness?”
You are a twice-born child of God and they are a once-born child of the devil. You talk about in-law problems! You’ll have the devil for a father-in-law!
If you marry an unsaved person, you’ll want to go to church on Sunday, but they’ll want to sleep in on Sunday. It’s hard enough to get to church when you’re both saved! Amen?
The Christian wants to give a tithe, but the pagan doesn’t. The Christian wants to make Sunday a holy day, but the pagan wants to make Sunday a holiday. The Christian wants to pray when a crisis comes, but the pagan ridicules prayer. The Christian wants the children to be taught the things of God, but the pagan could care less about such things.
Before long you’ll be acting like the pagan rather than the pagan acting like you. You’ll have division in your home. Divorce comes because there is no koinonia….no fellowship. If both of you are a true Christians, you are three times less likely to get a divorce. The Bible says that a three-fold cord is not easily broken.
Don’t ever marry a lost person. Don’t ever think you’re going to reform them after you get married. Don’t even date a person that you couldn’t marry if you fell in love with them. If you have the Divine nature in you, then you are to seek out a person who has that same fellowship in them.
Do you know what holds this church together? The Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you; therefore we can love one another. This fellowship is a fact established, it’s a fellowship experienced, and it’s a fullness enjoyed. Verse 4 says, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” There is no joy like the joy of knowing one another in the Lord because we all want joy. John says, “I wrote this letter that your joy might be full.”
A lady looked all over the house for her car keys and couldn’t find them. Finally, she looked in her purse and there they were. Do you know why she couldn’t find her keys? She wasn’t looking in the right place. You can look everywhere for joy, but you’ll never find it until you find it in Jesus. Joy is the by-product of fellowship with God and with His family. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Sin promises joy, but it never delivers joy. Some of you may have 200 TV channels coming into your home right now. We have more entertainment, more amusements, more restaurants than ever before. We also have more loneliness, more depression, more alcoholism, more drugs, more divorce, and more suicide than ever before. Why? Because there is only true joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I’m not talking about happiness. You can be lost and experience happiness for a while. I’m talking about joy. Happiness depends on what happens. Joy depends on the Lord. The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord.”
If you live for happiness, you’re going to be a prisoner of your circumstances. If your circumstances change, you’re not going to be happy anymore. But Jesus never changes. Happiness is cosmetic…it’s on the outside. Joy is character…it’s on the inside. Happiness meets your surface needs, but joy meets your deepest needs. Happiness is like a thermometer: it just registers conditions. Joy is like a thermostat: it controls the conditions. Happiness evaporates in a crisis: joy often intensifies in a crisis.
John says, “This life comes from God. It’s real. It’s a fact established which results in a fellowship experienced. Then there is a fullness of joy.
Jesus is that Word of life and He’s who you need. He’s the fullness of joy.
Would you receive Him today?