October 1, 2023
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Sweetest Fellowship This Side of Heaven.
What is fellowship? It comes through the life that we have with Jesus Christ. Not everybody has life—you can exist and not have life. That is why Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).
The devil always wants to distort things. The greatest truth is the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, so the devil has always been trying to confuse people as to who Jesus is, was, and always will be.
In the Apostle John’s day, there was a false cult called the Gnostics. They believed that everything “material,” or physical, is evil, so they believed that Jesus could not have had a physical body.
But John says emphatically that Christ literally, bodily walked on Earth. He says, “I am an eyewitness.”
1 John 1:1-2
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, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us…
It’s as plain as it can be: if a person is wrong about Jesus, he does not know God. (See 2 John 1:9; John 14:6.)
So John starts out to establish who Jesus is.
“That which was from the beginning…” (See 1 John 1:1.) Jesus is the Christ of eternity. Before anything began to begin, Jesus was there. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus is called the Word of God. What is a word? The expression of an invisible thought. Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13). Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus is saying, “I am God’s alphabet. Anything God will say, He will say through me.”
“…Which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…” (See 1 John 1:1.) John is saying, “Look, I was with Him for three years. I watched Him. I saw Him.”
Jesus Christ weighed a certain number of pounds. He had a certain color hair. He stood a certain height. Christ was in human form. It is as much a heresy to deny the humanity of Jesus as it is to deny the deity of Jesus. He was not half God and half man. He was the God-man.
Apart from his humanity we could not be saved. He became a man to die on the cross, and apart from the shedding of the blood of Christ there is no remission of sins. (See Hebrews 9:22.)
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
“…We have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life… (See 1 John 1:2).
John saw Jesus. The people to whom he wrote had not. We today have not. So John says, “I am telling you what I have seen so that you can believe.” Jesus is not here now in a physical body, but He is also a spiritual fact. The Holy Spirit of God reveals Him. John heard Him, and now faith becomes the ear of the soul. John saw Him, and now faith becomes the eye of the soul. God sends the Holy Spirit to testify to the words of the apostles. (See 1 John 5:9.)
We are not dependent upon oratory, illustration, or logic to convince people—thank God, the Holy Spirit is here to say, “This is true.” That is the witness of God.
1 John 1:3
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.
Life in Jesus means that you experience God, through fellowship with Jesus.
John is saying, “I saw it, and now I want to share it.” Amen! That is why Christians are called witnesses, and not lawyers. A lawyer argues a case. A witness tells what he has seen and heard.
Fellowship is a technical word. It is from the Greek word “koinonia,” which means “to hold things in common.”
That is, because of the established fact of Jesus, Christians have a common experience, which means we have fellowship one with another.
John says, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” What do you have in common with the Father? Nothing. He is almighty. He is the Holy God. You are a worm. Because of your unrighteousness, you cannot stand in the presence of God.
God, who knows that there is a chasm between you and Himself, sent the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus kept His deity, and also took on humanity. Now we begin to have a likeness. We become “partakers of the divine nature.” (See 2 Peter 1:4.) The word “partaker” there is from exactly the same word that is translated as “fellowship” in 1 John 1:3.
We have fellowship with God—koinonia—because of the Incarnation.
If we have fellowship with God, then as night follows day, we must have true fellowship with one another. When I am born of God, and you are born of God, Jesus in me will love Jesus in you. Christian fellowship is the “fellowship of the Gospel.” (See Philippians 1:5.)
1 John 1:4
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
Do you want joy? This is where it is found. There is no joy like fellowship with Jesus. John says, in effect, “This is why I wrote this book: that you might have joy.” You can look all over for joy, but you will not find it until you find it in fellowship with God. Such sweet fellowship is God’s will!
You can be lost and be happy for a while. But we are not talking about happiness—we’re talking about joy. Happiness depends upon what happens; joy depends upon the Lord. If you live for happiness, you are a prisoner of circumstances. Jesus never changes. Happiness is cosmetic on the outside. Joy is character on the inside. Happiness is like a thermometer: it registers conditions. Joy is the thermostat that controls the conditions. Joy intensifies in a crisis. Happiness is fullest when it is mingled with joy.
This life that comes from God is real. It is a fact. It results in koinonia—in fellowship with God and with one another—and then you have fullness of joy in the Christian life.
1 John 1:1-4, 5:9; John 1:1, 10:10, 14:6; 2 John 1:9; Revelation 22:13; Hebrews 4:15, 9:22; 2 Peter 1:4; Philippians 1:5
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.