The Pleasures of Fellowship

1 John 1:1-10

The Word of God is all about the Lord Jesus. John begins this epistle the same way he began his Gospel. In both books, John reveals and expounds great truths concerning the person, position and preeminence of Christ. In this epistle John calls upon the child of God to stand firm upon these truths and enjoy the victorious Christian life as he lives in the Light.

Our Christ

Christ is where our fellowship begins. Apart from His reconciling work there would be no possibility of us fellowshipping with the holy God of Heaven.

Christ Eternal

That which was from the beginning. (1 John 1:1) This passage speaks of none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. John wasted no time in exposing the error and heresy of the Gnostics. Gnosticism was spreading furiously during the early years of the Church. The Gnostics believed that all material things were evil and that matter and spirit are incompatible opposites. Since matter was evil and spirit was good the two could never mix. They believed that God, who is Spirit, could never really become flesh. They zealously rejected the Deity of Christ. Whenever the deity of Christ is rejected all hope is gone. This false doctrine still flourishes today. We see it often. The Jehovah's Witnesses reject the deity of Christ.

Mormons refuse to accept the Deity of Christ by teaching that Jesus became a god.

The beginning referred to here is the same time spoken of in John's gospel. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4) This is the beginning of creation, not the beginning of Christ. Christ as God had no beginning. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) That Christ is not a created being is obvious. The Apostle John under Divine inspiration tells us that Christ was the Creator of all things. This is the creation that we read about in (Genesis 1:1). Our Lord was there. He was not created, but was already in existence. He is the Creator. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:17) It is a wonderful fact that we serve the eternal Christ. Let us not forget that our fellowship is with the All-powerful Christ who spoke the Heavens, the earth and all that is into existence.

Christ Earthly

John continues to lay out the truth out for these Gnostics. 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, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (1 John 1:1-2) This eternal Christ that John spoke of had come to earth in human form. John said, "We have heard Him. He is the one we have seen with our eyes. We have looked upon Him. Our hands have handled Him." The Gnostics denied the humanity of Christ, but John knew better. John had seen the Lord Jesus Christ with his own eyes. He had heard Him speak. He had even touched Him. The word "Gnostic" is derived from the Greek word gnosis and means "knowledge." The Gnostics refused to accept the fact that in Jesus Christ, God had manifested Himself in human form. They had much knowledge but no salvation. They were, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7) They could argue the finer points of their theology, but they were without Christ. John was not going to be duped by the Gnostic's theological sleight of hand. He had experienced the new birth. John was saved and certain about His Saviour.

Christ Experienced

Here John stresses the believer's fellowship. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3) Fellowship is one of the main themes of 1 John. The word fellowship carries the idea of being bound together by a common bond; of the joint participation and mutually sharing of a common experience. One of the great desires of God is to bring lost men into fellowship with Himself. It is by Christ that we are brought into a mutual relation with God. Paul said, that we are ...joint-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) Jesus said, All things that the Father hath are mine John 16:15As joint-heirs we share in everything that God the Father has given to Jesus Christ. If we have the Son, we have everything. What an experience!

Christ Enjoyed

And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:4) These things are the things John had written in the preceding four verses. These things speak of knowing Jesus and walking with Him. Fellowship with Christ brings joy into the believer's life. Joy is an inner contentment produced by God that is not dependent upon external circumstances. It doesn't matter what we are facing and dealing with. We can endure with joy as long as we walk in fellowship with Christ. That is where our joy is found. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11) A Christian can have no real joy unless it comes from a proper relationship with God. Fellowship with God produces joy.

Our Course

What we believe about Christ affects the course we take in life. John presents the Principle, the Problem, and the Priority of our walk. Walking with Christ ought to be the heart desire of every believer.

The Principle Of Our Walk

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) John begins describing the course that Christians are to walk by describing the holiness of the One we walk with. John says, This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you... John had experienced personal fellowship with Christ and heard Him teach many times. Here John is repeating a truth that he had personally heard Jesus teach. John had heard Jesus declared it and now he declares... that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. Jesus said, As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5) Here is the that John is driving home. If you walk with the light—you will walk in the light.

The Problem Of Our Walk

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. (1 John 1:6) There is no mixture of light and darkness in Christ. He is 100% light and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) The idea that one can be a Christian in fellowship with God while continuing to live in sin is foreign to Scripture. For one to say that he is in with God, while living in habitual sin, is to prove himself a liar. Jesus said, I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (John 12:46) George Barrett said:

"The man who makes a profession of being in fellowship with the eternal light, and whose life is lived in sin, is a man not only whose words are false, but whose whole life is a falsehood as well. It is vitiated and rotten to the core by the insincerity of the profession he has just made."

There are far too many people today who profess with their lips that they are saved while proving with their life that they are lost. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12) How contrary are the words of Christ compared to the lives of thousands of Church goers in America who claim to be Christians; who's lives do not match up. My friend, you mark it down. The character of God will not allow compromise—light is light and darkness is darkness. Can two walk together, except they be agreed?. (Amos 3:3) You walk in light, you walk with God. One who walks in darkness, one who's life is not lived in the light, does not walk with God.

The Priority Of Our Walk

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) Now John gives us a direct contrast to walking in darkness. Here we see two basic principles of walking in the light of Christ's fellowship.

First, it involves Divine Companionship. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another... (1 John 1:7) Notice the phrase we have fellowship one with another. This is so often misunderstood. It is not referring to the fellowship of believers with one another. It is dealing with the believer's fellowship with Christ. Compare verse six. The context is dealing with our fellowship with God. The only way to enjoy fellowship with God is to walk in the light.

Second, walking in the light involves Divine Cleansing. John says,... and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) The cleansing comes as a result of walking in the light. Here's how. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (Ephesians 5:13) When the light exposes the believer's wickedness, it becomes known to him. Once his dark deeds are manifested by the light he sees them for what they are, repents, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin

Are you walking in the light in fellowship with Christ? Or are you walking in darkness? Jesus said, And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:19-21) Jesus explains the problem here. Men love darkness because it hides their wicked deeds, and they hate light because it exposes their wickedness. Where are you walking? Our lifestyle reflects our heart. It cannot be hidden—it will show up. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8).

Our Correction

When our sin is revealed to us we are faced with a decision. Will we harden up and continue in sin or will we allow God to correct us. We live in a prideful world and unfortunately there is a lot pride among God's people. We are warned often in Scripture not to let pride keep us from repentance. He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. (Proverbs 29:1) There are dire consequences to refusing to be corrected by God. If we are going to enjoy a good fellowship with God we must be willing to be corrected.

The Acknowledgement

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8 & 10) John begins his instruction by pointing out that we must acknowledge our sin before there can be any forgiveness.

The primary association of these verses is to the Gnostics of John's day, who rejected the Biblical teaching of man's sin nature. Solomon had declared earlier, For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Ecclesiastes 7:20) The Gnostics were in error concerning the reality of sin. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23).

However, we also have a personal application. This letter is written to Christians. Therefore, we also are to heed its warning. What a tragic situation when believers deny sin in their lives. Unconfessed sin is ruling and ruining the lives of untold thousands today. We must get a hold of the truth that sin offends and angers the Holy God of glory. When God convicts the Christian of sin he must acknowledge his sin and deal with it.

The Action

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) The word confess comes from the Greek "homologeo." It is a compound word made up of "homos" meaning, "the same thing," and "lego," meaning "to say." It carries the idea of "agreeing with another" or "speaking the same thing." Confession is agreeing with what God says about sin. David, in his confession said, Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (Psalm 51:4) It might also be noted that the word confess is in the present tense, denoting the need for continuous confessing. Like David we must ask God's help. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24) We must constantly examine ourselves and confess our sins if we are to enjoy walking in fellowship with God.

The Atonement

God is... just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9b) Look at the result of our confession. When we do our part, God will do His part. The cleansing is conditional upon the confessing. This is how our fellowship with God is maintained. When we confess, He cleanses. Solomon said, He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)

First there is the Deceitfulness of Sin. He that covereth his sins. This is usually the first step of sinful man. Hide it, cover it, deny it, blame someone else. However, we know that it is impossible to hide anything from God. Adam tried to hide his sin and when that didn't work he blamed Eve. Achan attempted to hide his evil but was caught and suffered the consequences of his unconfessed sin. The eyes of the lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3) Nothing gets past the all seeing eye of God. He sees everything. For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings. (Proverbs 5:21)

Second isthe Disclosure of Sin. Confession is God's way of dealing with sin. The text says but whoso confesseth That whoso includes everyone. No one will enjoy fellowship with God until his sin is confessed and forgiven.

Third is the Desertion from Sin. The Bible knows nothing of this Laodicean easy-believism whereby hordes of Church going pagans profess Christ with no change in their lives. The Bible says of the sinner, concerning his sins, that he forsaketh them in order to find mercy.

Fourth is the Deliverance from Sin. The sinner shall have mercy. By the forgiveness and power of Christ we can have freedom from sin. However, that deliverance from the penalty and power of sin will come only after we confess and forsake it.

When one makes a choice to repent of and reject his sin, God in His mercy and grace will forgive. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7).