How to Fellowship with God
20 January 2019 PM – 1 John 1:3-4 – 1Jn2019 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Dave and his dog Toby were best friends. They spent time together every day. Dave talked to Toby and told him all his heart. They walked together, played together, laughed together and cried together. Toby always seemed to understand. They encouraged each other. They defended each other. They ate meals with each other. They shared a unique fellowship and a wonderful companionship.
Though a dog is often considered man’s best friend, God offers us a fellowship and companionship that is infinitely more wonderful. He desires to share intimate fellowship with you and me!
Transition: The text before us this evening reveals several things we must have right in order for us to fellowship with God.
The first thing we must have right to have fellowship with God is a …
1. Right Information
a. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.
1) The right information was available. John already told us that in verses 1-2.
a) The Word of Life (Jesus) was from the beginning. For more than three years, John heard Him, saw Him, examined Him, and touched Him.
b) Jesus was manifested (made visible through His incarnation) and John saw Him.
c) John is our witness that Jesus is the Eternal Life that had been with the Father in heaven and was made visible as a human.
2) The right information was known.
a) John again said that he had seen Christ. This is the third time that he tells us this.
b) John again said that he had heard Christ. This is the second time that he said that. He was driving home the point that he was not telling us a second-hand story. He wants us to get that point.
3) The right information was declared.
a) The word declare means to proclaim, to report or to make known openly. John is writing this epistle in order to declare what he knew about Jesus Christ so that Christian readers could have fellowship with Christ.
b) To have fellowship with God, we too must know Him personally. The better we know Him, the closer our fellowship can be. The Gospels reveal Christ!
The second thing we must have right to have fellowship with God is a …
2. Right Choice
a. That ye also may have fellowship with us:
1) This is John’s first purpose statement in the book. He was declaring what he knew about Jesus, the Word of Life and the Eternal Life, that (or in order that) the readers might have fellowship with him, with other believers and with God. Knowledge comes before fellowship.
2) The words “may have” are a translation of a subjunctive mood verb. “The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon circumstances.” Strong’s Lexicon
a) Why would the Holy Spirit have John use a subjunctive verb here? It is because our fellowship with God depends on the circumstances.
b) It depends on whether or not we meet God’s requirements for fellowship with Him.
c) Fellowship is a choice that you must make.
3) John’s purpose for writing this book was to show Christians how to develop and maintain fellowship with God. This purpose statement is a key to understanding this entire book. John was not writing to point sinners to the Saviour as he did in the Gospel of John. He was not writing to cause Christians to doubt their salvation because they still struggle with sin. He was writing to show Christians how they can have true fellowship with the Lord and with other faithful Christians.
4) But what is fellowship? The Greek word means communion, association, joint participation or intimacy with another person.
a) Fellowship is sharing companionship. It is being in harmony with God. It is resting in Him completely. It is living totally contented because God is all you need. It is feeding on God’s Word and pondering its principles. It is frequently sharing your heart with God throughout the day. It is communing with God as you meditate on Scriptures you read. It is singing hymns to God like “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.
b) It is that closeness to God that James said comes by drawing near to God. (James 4:8-10) “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”.
c) It is the abiding in Christ Jesus taught his disciples in John 15:1-12. It is remaining in close dependence on Christ. (John 15:4) “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” Such dependence on Christ will make us fruitful. (John 15:5) “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
d) Fellowship is walking in the light with God, as John will soon explain. Let me give you a brief preview.
(1) God is light (purity, right, truth) and in Him is no darkness (opposite of light) (v.5)
(2) If we say we fellowship with God but walk in darkness, we lie (v.6)
(3) If we walk in God’s light we enjoy His fellowship and He cleans our sin (v.7)
(4) If we say we have no sin for Him to clean, we deceive ourselves (v.8)
(5) If we confess our sin [agree with God that it is wrong], He will forgive and cleans us (v.9)
(6) If we say we have not sinned [we disagree with what God calls sin] we make God a liar (v.10)
5) Salvation enables initial fellowship with God, but it does not guarantee ongoing fellowship with God. Truly, fellowship is a choice. If you know Christ, you can choose to share companionship with Him.
The third thing we must have right to have fellowship with God is a …
3. Right Focus
Often we have a selfish focus in our choice of fellowship. We choose to fellowship with friends, family, with grandchildren or pet, but we fail to make fellowship with God our number one priority. No fellowship in this life is more important than your fellowship with God.
a. And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1) Our focus must be on God and His Son.
2) John and those with him were enjoying fellowship with God the Father and with Jesus Christ the Son. They were sharing companionship with God every day.
3) John longed for his Christian readers to share the same fellowship or companionship with God and other Christians that he enjoyed.
4) God longs to share daily fellowship or companionship with you. That needs to be your focus and mine.
b. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
1) This is John’s second purpose statement.
2) Not only was he writing in order that his Christian readers might have fellowship with God, but in order that their joy may be full.
3) Our focus must be on the joy God gives when we are walking in fellowship with Him.
Conclusion: For us to have fellowship with God, we must have right information about Him. We must know Him personally. Then we must make a right choice to make time to fellowship with God. Last, we must have a right focus and choose above all else, fellowship with God. If you have not been fellowshipping with God, make the needed changes.
Song: His Way with Thee – 367