Summary: This is an All Saints Sunday sermon about The Fellowship of Believers
(Project a Powerpoint Comparion of John 1 and 1 John) (1).
“in the beginning” (v. 1) “from the beginning” (v. 1-2)
“what we have seen” v. 14 “what we have looked at” v. 1
“the word” v. 1 “the word” v. 1
“life” v.4 “life” v. 1
“with” pros(4) “God” v. 1 “with” pros(4) “the Father” v. 2
I – In looking at this comparison, we find these similarities no doubt have long caused Scholars to believe they were written by the same person: John the Apostle; John the Beloved. The writing is distinctly Johannine. The Greek word “for what we have seen” is only used twice in all of Scripture (in John 1:14 and in 1 John 1:1). Comparitively, he uses phrases like "In the beginning" (For you Ranger fans, since we are in The World Series, you know the Lord invented the world series, because he used the phrase "in the big inning” (okay, that was a "groaner", but I did get your attention); He spoke about the Logos (word) was with the Father/God. Remember that word "with" as I am going to come back to that word in a few minutes.
A. Their fellowship was with each other, and with God: (vss. 2-3) Largely this passage is about “Fellowship”. John is declaring these things of God so that you may be in fellowship with us, just as we are in Fellowship with the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ. Fellowship is essentially “communion” a “relationship” with God and the believers in Jesus Christ!
• A group of Professors might belong to a fellowship;
• A Doctor in medical training after residency may take a fellowship;
• the first volume in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ring’s was “The Fellowship of the Ring”.
• And in the Church, in the Faith, we have “the fellowship of Believers”
This fellowship is “between” us, the church. We are instructed in Hebrews “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb 10:25). Fellowship horizontally between one another, but that fellowship is immediately pointed upward, vertically to our constant relationship with God the Father, and the Son, Jesus Christ!
In Acts 2:42, a passage entitled “The fellowship of Believers” we read about the birthday of the church, and learn that the Apostle’s “devoted themselves to the …fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and of prayer”. Devoted to fellowship!
B – That fellowship is in the Light – (vss. 5-7) We cannot remain in darkness, or continue to walk in the darkness of sin and remain in fellowship. Sin is a separator. Sin destroys life. It destroys families. It destroys our relationship with God. It can destroy the body of Christ! (expound)
C - Eternal Fellowship – (vs. 2) This fellowship with God is eternal. Since this is All Saints Sunday, I need to focus just a few moments on that word “eternal”. At first we would understand that this means “perpetual”, without intermission; without interruption. A possible definition of the word eternal, is one that is so fitting for this message “abiding fellowship with God”(5) Everlasting fellowship. For those believers then that have gone before us, fellowship doesn’t end. Bunky is still fellowship with God, and with the saints. Brian is still among the believers, smiling, in the glory of the fellowship of believers. Wilba is among the Life Training Class of Heaven. Rev. Carl Rohlfs, now a D.S. in San Antonio has often said at a funeral of a saint of the church, that “their membership has been transferred from the church militant, to the church triumphant!”
A few minutes ago I showed you the Greek word “pros” which is translated in John 1/1John 1 as “with”. The Word was “with” God, and “we declare to the eternal life that was “with’ the Father”. This word can be translated in a couple of other ways, but in John always translated as “with”. The other understandings are important:
• At thy house
• A place, a destination, even a destination of a relationship
• Nearness (which I understand as a close proximity)
But let me suggest a possible translation that distinctly relates to fellowship, and that is “company”. The Word was in the “company” of God. “It means "to be in company with someone" or to be "face-to-face." It speaks of communion, interaction, fellowship. Remember that this is an eternal fellowship, a timeless relationship.”(6)
Rev. Don Piper in his “death experience” describes the reunion he experienced in heaven in his book "90 Minutes in Heaven", listen to an excerpt: (p. 21) “Joy pulsated through me as I looked around, and at that moment I became aware of a large crowd of people. They stood” (p. 22) “in front of a brilliant ornate gate…people I had known. As they surged toward me, I knew instantly that all of them had died during my lifetime…