WHO HAS FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD?
1 John 1: 1-4
I want to show you a list here and I want to tell you what is significant about this list:
Docetists, Cerenthians, Ebionites, Denialists, Ascetics, Monastics, Essenes, Libertines, Judaizers.
These are just a few of the philosophical groups that existed at the time John wrote this letter…and even though each group had different ideas and teachings…they all claimed to have fellowship with God.
For instance, the Ascetics believed that the human spirit was totally good and this physical body was totally evil…therefore, to be in fellowship with God…to be pleasing to God…you had to deprive the body of any and all pleasures and desires.
But the Monastics believed the only way to stay pure and right with God was to withdraw from society.
But then the Libertines believed that the body and the spirit were completely separate and unrelated.
The Docetists, Cerenthians, Ebionites, and Denialists were different in that all, in some form or fashion denied Christ.
The Judaizers said that Jesus was good…but he wasn’t good enough…so they wanted to combine him with a system of laws and rituals that had to be kept…and only through those could you have fellowship with God.
So, all of these groups, as different as they were, claimed to have fellowship with God…and claimed to have special insights on how to maintain that fellowship.
And all of these claims of fellowship were confusing the Christians that John was writing too.
Some of these Christians were so confused that they were tempted to do what some of these people were doing.
Now, look at this list: Baptist, Methodists, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Lutheran, Muslim, Episcopal, Church of Christ, First Christian, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Apostolic, Jewish, 7th Day Adventist, Greek Othodox, Baha u’ llah
Now, all of these groups today claim to have fellowship with God.
And just like when John wrote this letter, their claims of fellowship or partnership with God is causing confusion today too.
People are so confused about what it takes to be in fellowship with God that everyone claims fellowship even if they seldom or never assemble to worship God.
Well, look at verse 3 again. John says: “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
And now notice verse 4: “And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”
Listen, men can have a horizontal fellowship all they want…they can fellowship one another all they want.
John says here that you can have fellowship with the Father, and the Son and others who are in fellowship with them…and in this letter he tells us who has that fellowship with them.
So, let’s go through this and look at some requirements for fellowship…and as we do, let’s each ask ourselves, “Am I in fellowship with God, His Son, and the apostles?”
Look at verse 5 and 6: “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him, and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
You/I can claim fellowship all we want but fellowship is not simply a matter of saying we have it.
And notice this, John is not talking here about how good a man walks…he isn’t saying that man has to walk perfectly.
You/I can claim fellowship with God but if we are living a life of sin…if we are deliberately ignoring the truth of God’s word.
Now, look at verse 8. “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
First, people who have fellowship with God agree with what He says.
If God says we are a sinner but we say “we are not”…then we make Him a liar.
And the second thing in this passage…anyone who denies they are a sinner…has no fellowship with God. Let me show you why.
Now, look at chapter 2:3. John starts with some practical matters concerning fellowship. He says: “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”
Can we choose a few we don’t want to obey?
Now, whenever I violate his command out of human weakness…or even out of rebellion and am sorry for that…and repent of that…and turn to Christ to forgive me and strive from then on to keep His commands…I can have fellowship.
Keeping the commands of God is necessary for keeping fellowship. In fact, look at verse 4: “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”
To have fellowship with God, the Son, and the apostles…you must obey His commands.
Now, look at verse 9. “The one who says he is in the light (this is where fellowship is; 1:6) and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded him.”
Some people write and say hate-filled things about other brothers who they do not agree with…or the brother that has gone astray.
Now, look at verse 22. “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”
Why? Because Jesus is His human name…that says He is man.
If you want to know if someone has fellowship with God…watch what they say about Christ.
One last mark of fellowship. Look at 2 John verse 9.
“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”
You see, it is more than just claiming a faith in God and Christ that gives one fellowship with God, the Son, the apostles, and the rest who have fellowship with them.
This is what it takes to have fellowship with God, the Son, and the apostles. If you/I do these things, then we can know that we have fellowship.
Now, how many of these have fellowship with God?
If not, repent, and come back into fellowship. Never been…then obey His command…