Summary: Deep fellowship with God and its implications for the Chgristian life.
THE LIGHT SIDE OF LIFE
INTRODUCTION... The Intimate Date (adapted from John Bevere, The Voice of One Crying, 1993)
My wife and I went out on a ’date’ this past Wednesday. We went to dinner and a movie. We went to get away from the kids and to eat at a good restaurant. It was a time for us to reconnect and to have a good time just the two of us. Can you imagine me approaching my wife, during this time that was meant to bring us closer, with a outlined card in front of me. Step one: Tell her she is beautiful. Step two: Hold her hand. Step three: Look into her eyes and say, "I love you," How far do you think I would get? What kind of message am I sending? She would feel like I am obligated to be there and was very insincere. Yet, this is the relationship people eventually have with the Lord. We many times seek Him out of obligation and not because we desire His presence. We don;t do what we should do. We should communicate from our heart. We should hate sin because we love God and want nothing between us. To take the example of my wife and me one step further, let’s suppose I set up our time together for fellowship every day from 5-6 P.M. Anything she had to say would have to wait until 5 P.M. Then to make matters worse, at 5 P.M., I did all the talking for the entire hour. She could not get a word in edgewise because I talked nonstop. Then at 6 P.M. sharp, I got up, said it was wonderful, and left. What kind of relationship is that?
Today I would like us to turn in our Bibles to 1 John and we are going to look at our relationship with God
and the light side of life that this relationship brings to us. Let’s read.
READ 1 JOHN 1:5-2:2
I. THE KEY WORD: “FELLOWSHIP”
The Apostle John seems very interested in ’fellowship’ in this passage. In fact, he talks about fellowship in 1:1-4 and identifies that “our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (verse 3). What is this fellowship that he is speaking about? In verse 6, he indicates that we as Christians are claiming to have fellowship with God. In verse 7, he talks about us having ’fellowship with one another.’ What is he talking about? What does this word, fellowship, mean?
I want you to know that the Apostle John is not the only writer in the New Testament to talk about this word ’fellowship.’ Luke records in Acts 2:42 that the early church was devoted to fellowship. The Apostle Paul when thinking back on his experience with Christians in Jerusalem in Galatians2:9 speaks of the ’right hand of fellowship’ being given.
This word ’fellowship’ is one of those words that has surface meanings and then also a deeper meaning. On the surface, fellowship seems to indicate some kind of community or venture where there is joint participation among the members. You or someone in your family might be part of a club or group that fits this definition. The Kiwanis Club is a fellowship of people with like goals for serving children and improving community life. 4-H is a fellowship of people that are teaching children about leadership, citizenship, and other life skills. I could list organization after organization that fit the definition of a fellowship. They are groups of people that gather for strength in action. They are very much action oriented groups. The church is also a fellowship... is it not? We are all gathered here together as a community of believers and we join our gifts together to learn about God and to spread His message. We are action oriented: we gather for worship and Sunday School, VBS, and other programs.
But of course, the church is so much more than that and so is the word ’fellowship’ as the Apostle John uses it. John uses the word ’fellowship’ to mean something a little deeper than gathering together for some common action. When you talk about ’fellowship,’ you also are speaking about intimacy. The best way to explain fellowship is with the word intimacy. John speaks of intimacy with God and Jesus in verse 3. John talks about Christians claiming intimacy with God in verse 6. John wants us to have close intimate relationships with one another. When John speaks of fellowship, he wants us to think of a close personal and very important relationship.
II. THE CONDITION OF FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD (VERSES 1:6-7)
The Apostle John states this kind of fellowship and intimacy that we can have with God in both a negative and positive condition. Johns states the negative in verse 6. We may find others that we know, or perhaps ourselves, that profess to know God, but have little intimacy with God. We will claim intimacy with God, but we ’walk in darkness.’ What does that phrase mean? The Bible often will use the word ’walk’ to indicate the whole of a person’s life. To ’walk in darkness’, then, is to live in the practice of sin. John calls us a liar when we do this. We lie with our lips when we profess to be Christians and we lie with our lives when we choose to live in sin. I hope that you see that there must be harmony between the profession of our mouth and the actions of our lives in order to have intimacy with God.