Tag Archives: Joy

Fellowship with God

“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.   And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”    1 John 1:3-4

What does “fellowship with God” look like in the life of the believer?  Fellowship has been described as the sharing of experiences with likeminded people.  However, fellowship with God is much more, for “who has known the mind of God?” (Romans 11:34)  The believer’s fellowship with the Father is dependent upon accepting His Son as Lord and Savior.  It is through Jesus Christ that believers begin to “know by experience” God’s heart and mind.  Such was the case with the Apostle John and the disciples were uniquely privileged to witness, first hand, the person and works of Christ.

  • “That which was seen” included the many miracles of Christ; miracles that would attest to the coming of the promised Messiah (Matt. 11:2-5). 
  • “That which was heard” were truths that Christ declared concerning the kingdom of God and His offer of eternal life (Luke 4:43; 9:11).
  • “That which was looked upon and our hands handed” recounted the disciples’ examination of Christ’s glorified body after the resurrection (John 20:27).

All of the disciples’ senses were engaged as Christ manifested (revealed) Himself and the Father.  Since Father and Son were one (John 17:11, 22), the disciples concurrently experienced fellowship with the Father (v. 3).  The disciple’s experience with Christ was not viewed from a distance but up close and personal.

Fellowship (koinonia or koy-nohn-ee’-ah) is translated as “communion” and “joint participation in a common life.”   John’s personal witness was an invitation to the early church to participate in a life style that centered on relationship—unending communion with God the Father and the Son.    Therein is the basis for John’s reason for sharing about fellowship with God:  so that their “joy may be full” (v.4).

Joy (pleroo or play-ro’o) means “to fill to the top so nothing is wanting; to complete”.  One explanation of joy is to cause God’s will to be obeyed as it should be and God’s promises to receive fulfillment.  Joy begins and ends with fellowship with the Father and the Son (Luke 4:21).

How would you describe your fellowship with God?  Have you seen, heard, and looked upon Christ presence in you daily walk of faith?  Do you have joy and is it full?  Many times we miss the opportunity to fellowship with God because of competing priorities and the busyness of life.  Perhaps sinful behavior patterns and unhealthy influences have interrupted your fellowship with God.  We are to walk daily in fellowship with God, armed with the knowledge that you are no longer “slaves to sin” but “servants of righteousness” producing fruit of holiness (Rom. 6: 22).

Though John’s letter was written thousands of years ago, its message is still relevant for today.  To both the believer and unbeliever, it is an invitation to participate with the only true Source of joy.  Jesus invites us to draw near with faith (Heb. 10:22) and learn of Him (Matt. 11:29). In return, those in Christ enjoy glorious fellowship with Him.  Let us be faithful witnesses to what it means to live in fellowship with God.

A Psalm for Advent

“The LORD reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad!” Psalm 97:1 (NKJ)

Advent has begun.  It is a time for personal reflection and spiritual awakening as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.  Choirs and orchestras are tailoring special worship music to commemorate the glorious day when God the Son condescended and entered into historical existence.  It is a time for high praise and worship.  We offer the 97th Psalm to usher in this special season.

The 97th Psalm belongs to a group of psalms (93-100) that affirm Yahweh’s kingship and His rule over the earth.  He both delivers and He judges.  It is in His great power and His “ineffable” love that He sent His Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14).  The opening verse begins with what every believer should understand as a foregone conclusion—“the LORD reigns!”

The awareness of God’s sovereignty results in an appropriate response—“Be glad!”

The believer’s gladness if not tied to a specific outcome, but to realization of the fact that God works all things for His glory and our good (Rom. 8:28).  During acts of personal rebellion and disobedience, He makes all things good (Is. 44:24).  When we are faithless, He still proves faithful (2 Tim 2:13).  When our strength fails, He renews our strength (Is. 40:31). His sovereignty extended from eternity through time, in that when we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive in Christ (Ep. 2:5).  God is able to “keep us” until Christ’s returns (Jude 1:24).  And nothing can separate us from His love (Rom 8:39).

As important as the fact of God’s sovereign reign, are the effects His returning reign has on believers today.  Psalm 97 closes with this exhortation.

“You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.  Light is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart.  Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.”   (vv. 10-12)

Believers are to love the Lord and look forward to His “glorious appearing.” They are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; they are to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-13).  They need not fear the day of the Lord’s appearance, because He has protected them from the wicked (Is. 54:17). The godly will enjoy the benefits of the rule of God: “light and gladness”. Light signifies the blessed state of redemption and victory (Isa. 60:1-3). This is cause for thankful praise.  The invitation to rejoice anticipates the Lord’s coming with His blessings.  Believers already experience many evidences of His kingship here on earth but eagerly await the fullness of his kingdom.

Also read:   Do You Wanna Be Happy?  Reality Living in God’s Kingdom

As you begin your Advent preparation, remember to include joyful praise for the fact that God fully reigns over all things—places, people, and circumstances. We need not wait to begin our jubilant celebration. We can begin today!

 SELAH:  Create a psalm of praise and glory in celebration of Advent 2017 and in anticipation of  Jesus’  glorious appearance in the future.