God in and among us
There are two (2) biblical truths that should motivate us to live our lives “more fully and abundantly” (John 10:10).
The first truth is that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, presently lives within us. Jesus promised this to us who “believeth on and in Him” (John 14:16-17).
The second is that we live continuously in the presence of God (Ps. 139:7). There is never a time nor is there any circumstance in our life where we will find ourselves outside God’s love and purview.
Both truths are “spiritual blessings” gifted to us from our heavenly Father (Eph. 1:3). But even with God’s commitment to be in and among us, we have a responsibility to draw “near to God” (James 4:8) by entering into intentional fellowship with Him. God will not force His presence upon us. He will, however, invite us into fellowship with Him.
What is fellowship?
What does “fellowship with God” look like in our life? Fellowship has been described as the sharing of experiences with likeminded people.
However, fellowship with God is much more, because “who has known the mind of God?” (Romans 11:34) Our fellowship with the Father is dependent upon accepting His Son as Lord and Savior. It is through Jesus Christ that we begin to “know by experience” God’s heart and mind.
Such was the case with the Apostle John and the disciples who were uniquely privileged to witness, first hand, the person and works of Christ.
“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
Can I get a witness?
- “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 are 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 lifestyle that centered on relationship–an 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” (1 John 1:3-4).
Joy (pleroo or play-ro’o) means “to fill to the top so nothing is wanting; to complete”. Joy can also be explained as “God’s will obeyed” and “God’s promises fulfilled”. Joy begins and ends with fellowship with the Father and the Son (Luke 4:21).
Fellowship with God as a lifestyle
Ask yourself these questions. How would I describe my fellowship with God? Have I seen, heard, and looked upon Christ’s presence in my daily walk of faith? Do I have joy and is it full?
Many times, we miss opportunities to fellowship with God. Perhaps we have become distracted by competing priorities and the busyness of life. Have our sinful behavior patterns and unhealthy influences interrupted our fellowship with God?
We are to walk daily in fellowship with God, armed with the knowledge that we are no longer “slaves to sin”. Instead we are to be “servants of righteousness” producing fruit of holiness (Rom. 6: 22).
Get up close and personal!
Though John’s letter was written thousands of years ago, its message is still relevant for us today. Therefore, it is an invitation for us 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, we can enjoy glorious fellowship with Him. Let us be faithful witnesses to what it means to live in fellowship with God.