Summary: The first in this series discusses the first four verses as the foundation for the book and the foundation for rock solid fellowship.
How many of us truly understand the idea and importance of family? Something about the idea of family should bring security, love, pride, and joy to our hearts. Family is the center of our earthly worlds and the one domain where we actually have the power to build strong bonds. We honestly believe we can count on our own flesh and blood to be there with us when life goes sour and hope they will be able to celebrate momentous occasions in our lives together. We want those we love to be there when our children are born and when we got married. We want others to celebrate our graduation from high school, college, and even graduate studies. Our hearts swell with pride and joy as we see those we love succeed in life. Yet, not everyone has that kind of family. Some of us have family who choose to ignore or even hate us for different reasons. It is a sad day when a mother and father cannot love their own child.
My family is different than many of yours. My parents hate my work and hate my relationship with Christ. As long as I never say anything, they will tolerate it but I can’t keep quiet about Christ. Since I became a Christian back around 2000, I have had to live with the fact that I was no longer connected with my physical, earthly family like I had been. Yes, we still watch out for each other and my siblings are much more apt to communicate with my wife and me. For instance, my parents refused to go to my baccalaureate because it was a religious service. This devastated me and I didn’t really know how to deal with it. I left for Bible College and didn’t receive anything in the way of letters from my parents and yet one of the ladies of the church continues to send me letters and gifts to this day. I realized that I had a new family and had no need for the former. Yes, I am still biologically related to my siblings but now I have hundreds and thousands of people I can call brother and sister and mother and father.
There is a name for that special relationship Christians have with other Christians; it is called fellowship. Fellowship is a gift given by God for His own children to be able to love and care for each other. Fellowship is one of the four priorities of the early Christians. Acts 2:42 records that the earliest Christians performed four different activities when they met to worship; “they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” Fellowship was held in extremely high regard and one of the four most important activities a Christian could do at that time. Let me suggest that we too could use to learn about true fellowship. One book in the New Testament could teach us a great deal about the idea of Christian family and fellowship. Please turn to the book of 1 John 1:1-4. Today we will cover the introduction to the book of 1 John and learn three foundational truths about fellowship. We can have deeper fellowship thru Christ.
Fellowship: what is it?
The word fellowship comes from the Greek word koinonia. This word means a commonality or common bond. The word carries the meaning of sharing life. You might think of this like the way a man and woman share their lives until death do they part. Each day they spend together, they learn and grow. They change their ways to help their spouse and care for each other, especially in the dark times of illness or loss of family. This sharing of life is the life blood of the church and the common bond of all Christians. If a church is missing this sharing of life, the church will die. According to the passage in Acts, the development of these deep relationships is almost as important as learning the scriptures. Learning to give and take, to accept others faults and love them anyway, to enjoy each others company, finding acceptance, finding love, having a family who loves you for who you are and not for how much money you can make, all belong to the Christian family you should have in God’s Church.
TRANS: Fellowship builds families in Christ but there are some requirements that must be met to have fellowship. Just like a sturdy house has a strong foundation, so a strong Christian fellowship has to have a sturdy foundation. The introduction for the book of 1 John outlines three foundational principles we must follow to have fellowship. The foundation for the book is also the foundation of our Christian family.