Have you experienced the blessing of spending time with friends – perhaps in your ABF or Life Group? These conversations can be encouraging and minister deeply to our hearts. I also love those informal gatherings when a group of friends spends time together. Recently, we spent an evening with friends and all of us took turns sharing snippets from our faith life journey with each other. There was laughter, marvel at God’s mercy and grace, and, at the end of the evening, we felt closer to each person in the group. These are pictures of true fellowship.
The books of 1, 2, and 3 John teach God’s truth and remind me that authentic fellowship begins with a personal relationship with God the Father through His Son, Jesus. When we have accepted God’s gift of salvation, we will enjoy fellowship with the Father and the Son, including eternal life with Him. John reassures his readers of their personal salvation.
“So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life He promised us.” ~ 1 John 2:24, 25 (NLT)
The author also explains that we have fellowship with one another because of our personal walk with God. Fellowship takes us to a deeper and richer relationship with other people. Because I walk in fellowship – close, meaningful relationship – with the Lord, then I can experience fellowship with other believers.
“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other.” ~ 1 John 1:7 (NLT)
Fellowship with God and people involves living in the light – my daily walk with Jesus. Am I reading His Word, praying, and seeking His direction? Do I obey His commandments (1 John 3:24)? When I spend time with others, do we share what God is teaching us? Do we talk about ways that we desire to grow spiritually?
The Life Application Study Bible states, “True fellowship combines social and spiritual interaction, and it is made possible only through a living relationship with Christ.” (p. 2119)
Our human hearts long for true fellowship with God and people. That personal relationship with God the Father through His Son, Jesus is the crucial starting point. In order to stay in fellowship, we must live in the light of His Word and follow His commandments. Then, we can enjoy fellowship with others who have a personal relationship with Him.
“He is the Word of life…And now we testify and proclaim to you that He is the one who is eternal life… We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.” ~1 John 1:1-4 (NLT)
John, the beloved disciple, has other important messages and concepts for us in these letters. I want to encourage you to dig deeper and seek to better understand his instruction. John wants us to walk in the light so that we have fellowship with others (1 John 1:7). Our sins have been forgiven (1 John 2:12) and we should avoid the pitfalls of sin (1 John 3:4-6). Remember God is love (1 John 4:7) and this was demonstrated when He sent His Only Son (1 John 4:10). We can abide in God when we confess that Jesus is God’s Son (1 John 4:15). In the love of God, we keep His commandments (1 John 5:3) and overcome the world. As you read 2 and 3 John, notice he asks us to walk according to God’s commandments (2 John 6) and walk in His truth (3 John 3).
Worship and draw near to the Lord. Take time to praise Him and thank Him for the gift of your salvation through Jesus Christ.