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Read Introduction to 1 John

 

“…that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

 

Entering the eternal life of the Son will produce two results: 1) fellowship with fellow believers, and 2) fellowship with the Father and the Son.

that which we have seen and heard we declare to you,

The recipients of 1 John were genuine believers (2:12-14,21,27; 5:13). They never met Jesus in the flesh, as did the apostles. They never knew that kind of fellowship with the Lord. The only way they could fellowship with Jesus was by the writing of the New Testament, by revelation given to the apostles.

that you also may have fellowship with us;

John now introduces the purpose of the epistle of 1 John – fellowship with 1) believers and 2) with God.

“Fellowship” here is fellow participants of eternal life. Fellowship requires revelation. The readers of 1 John can fellowship with the apostles by their writings – the New Testament. Fellowship among Christians has a divine foundation.

The word “with” emphasizes deep reciprocal fellowship in the things of God among believers.

PRINCIPLE:

Horizontal fellowship depends on vertical fellowship.

APPLICATION:

We must guard against fracturing our relationship with fellow Christians. Jealousy, suspicion, judging, disloyalty and selfishness break down fellowship among Christians.

Both horizontal fellowship and vertical fellowship are important in the Christian life. Horizontal fellowship is fellowship among Christians. Believers fellowship around God’s revelation – the Word of God. This is fellowship of Christian with Christian.

He 10:35 “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

People who fellowship the most with fellow Christians fellowship the most with God. Fellowship with God compels us to fellowship with others of like faith. We do not fellowship with darkness.

Ep 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

Genuine fellowship involves communion; communion involves communication, contribution and distribution. The early church held to four vital, indispensable ingredients of fellowship.

Ac 2: 42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

First, the early church fellowshipped in the “Apostles’ doctrine.” This is revelation, the Word of God. That is the foundation of fellowship.

The second ingredient of fellowship among Christians is “fellowship” itself. Christians are in the Christian life together. They share something that those who do not know Christ cannot share. It is crucial to cultivate Christian fellowship. We have to work at it. Some people could care less whether they go to church or not. This violates the principle of Christian fellowship. The reason many of us do not have genuine Christian friends is that we do not work at it.

Pr 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly,

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

The third element of fellowship in the early church was the “breaking of bread” – sitting at the communion table together. People who care about fellowship love to fellowship at the Lord’s Supper together.

The fourth and final basis of fellowship was “prayers.” They prayed together. “Where two or three are gathered together, there I am in the midst of them.” There is something about praying together that bonds believers together like nothing else.

Faith in common with fellow believers goes far beyond social intercourse, companionship or comradeship. It is a partnership in the truth of the gospel and in the life of the Son. When we share what we know with each other, we fellowship with one another.

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