“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.