Abide in Key Word Studies on Bible Doctrines
Biblical teachings for personal Bible study, daily devotions and sermon preparation with abiding principles and practical applications. Here is a dictionary of the rich terms used in the Christian vocabulary.
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Fellowship with God in Christ
What must we do to abide in Christ moment by moment throughout the day? How is it possible for us to dwell in the presence of the Most High? How do we cultivate and maintain a daily fellowship with Jesus Christ, who lived, died and rose from the dead 2,000 yeas ago?
The apostle John gave one of the clearest testimonies and admonitions to the fact that believers in Jesus Christ can enjoy a rich, dynamic, unbroken fellowship with the Lord God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Life in Christ
God’s final and most complete revelation of Himself is in His Son. Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (Jn. 14:6).
We can trust the evidence because we have the witness of men who originally had direct personal contact with Jesus Christ. In the first five verses we cannot miss the emphasis of the apostle John in 1 John 1:1-5: “we have heard,” “we have seen with our eyes,” “we beheld and our hands handled” (1 John 1:1), “we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life” (v. 2). “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you” (v. 3). “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you” (v. 5).
We can depend upon the testimony because we have credible eyewitnesses. We have the absolute truth based on personal experiences of men who heard, saw, and handled God incarnate. They were eyewitnesses to the incarnation of God in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. The “Word of life” came and pitched His tent among men and John says, “and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
What was the purpose of John’s proclamation? “We proclaim to you eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 Jn. 1:2). The reason we proclaim it is “that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn. 1:3).
Jesus came to give us eternal life (John 3:16, 36; 20:31). The eternal life, was with the Father, and appeared to us (1 John 5:20). The primary component of “eternal life” is “true,” “real,” “full” life. Eternal life is the fullness of life such as that which is divine. Jesus Christ has manifested to us this life that was outside the human sphere of space and time. It comes from God and is His kind of life. Christ promised to us this eternal life (1 John 2:25). “God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in the Son” (1 Jn. 5:11), and “you may know that you have eternal life—you that believe in the Son of God” (1 Jn. 5:13). Moreover, we “know” and “are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:20).
John experienced eternal life and wanted to share that life with others because in doing so “that our joy may be made complete” (1 Jn. 1:4). There is no greater joy in this world than sharing Jesus Christ with other people so we can present them complete, mature and perfect in Jesus Christ.
Life of Fellowship with Christ
The purpose of the proclamation is that you may have an intimate personal relationship with the Lord God through Jesus Christ. This “fellowship” begins by spiritual regeneration or the new birth. Jesus said, “You must be born again.” The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus said, “I came that they might have life; and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b).
The word “fellowship” in 1 John 3:3 signifies a close and intimate relationship between people; an association, or joint-participation in things they have in common. We share a close friendship with God the Father because of what Jesus Christ has done for us, and our acceptance of Him as our Savior. It is a joint-participation in those things we have in common with the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and other believers.
Sin breaks the fellowship, but not the sonship. When you are born into God’s family, it is not reversible. The family of God is a forever family. Once a child of God, you are forever His child. He will never forsake you. However, He will chastise you to bring back into fellowship with Himself.
The goal of the apostle John is for the believer to have an intimate fellowship with God. He writes this letter so his readers will have assurance of eternal life (1 John 5:13), and to encourage them “not to sin” (1 Jn. 2:1). He is not writing this letter to give anyone an excuse for sinning, but to encourage a holy walk.
How we “walk” determines our intimate, personal fellowship with God. Our “fellowship” with God depends upon our relationship to His holiness (1 Jn. , 5, 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” (1 Jn. 1:5).
Where is the Evidence of Life in Christ?
Where is the evidence that you have received eternal life? It is a changed life. Our fellowship with God depends upon our relationship with Him.
The apostle sets forth a strong contrast in verses 1 Jn. 1:6-2:2. Note the conditional “if” in these verses and the inescapable conclusions.
“If we say . . .” (1 Jn. 1:6). What is our testimony? What are we proclaiming in word and deeds? “If we say we have fellowship” with God who is holy in moral character and “yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (v. 6).
We say we have “fellowship with Him,” yet “we walk in darkness.” The two ways of life are inconsistent. You cannot have both. You cannot live in sin, and have “fellowship” with God. If you “walk,” your habitual course of life, outward and inward are not true to God’s will and character you are a liar (1 Jn. 1:6). Moreover, our fellowship with God is broken. We are liars because “we do not practice the truth.” If we habitually practice sin, our own testimony is that we are out of fellowship with God.
However, “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” (1 Jn. 1:7).
What a blessed contrast! “If we walk in the light as He Himself is the light” (1 Jn. 1:5) the result will be “fellowship with one another,” and with God.
Do not miss the wonderful promise, “and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). That is the greatest motivation in the entire world for living a holy life.
How much do you have to sin to be out of “fellowship” with God? One sin—in thought, attitude or deed.
The fact is we are going to sin because of our fallen nature. We are sinners. John is writing to Christians and he says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:8). Please go back and read that last sentence again slowly. What did he say? It is in the present tense. The important consideration is how are you dealing with it when you do sin.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
The Secret to Abiding in Christ
The secret to abiding is confessing our sin, and yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit.
How do you abide in Christ? GRACE! Lot’s of sustaining sovereign grace.
If we say we have no sin, we are liars and are only deceiving ourselves.
“If we confess our sins,” Are you honest, and humble enough to admit to God your sins—your sinful thoughts, sinful attitudes, sinful desires, and behaviors? “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The promise is only to individuals who are made humble by the Holy Spirit, and are willing to confess their sins to God.
The next verse takes care of all arrogance. “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:10). The apostle Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
When we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father who pleads our case. He pleads that the Holy Spirit will bring conviction of sin in the believer’s life leading Him to confess it, and then cleanses that believer in His precious blood restoring the believer to fellowship with Himself.
Yes, we can have an intimate fellowship with God today and everyday.
1 John 1:1-2:2
Abiding Principles and Practical Applications
1. An intimate, personal, love relationship with Jesus Christ begins with a spiritual birth at a time and place when we confess to God that we are sinners, and believe on Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for our sins. Have you asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior? You cannot abide in Christ if life has never begun. Are you “in Christ”?
2. Make a once-and-for-all commitment of your life to Jesus Christ as the Lord and Master of your life. Make sure the priorities of your life are in a right relationship to God. “Seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
3. Begin every day with a renewed commitment to let Jesus Christ be your life today. “Lord Jesus I give this day to You. Come and live Your live in me. I give my mind and heart to You. I make myself available to you. Here is my life; live Your life in and through me today.”
4. When during the day the Holy Spirit brings to light some sinful attitude, behavior, thought, desire, etc., immediately confess it to Him and determine to forsake it. Yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and walk in renewed submission to Him. Just as soon as you realize you have sinned, confess it to God, determine not to do it again, yield to the indwelling Spirit of God.
5. Our Advocate does not plead our innocence. He pleads our guilt, and His own sacrifice to cover all our sins.
6. “The more we progress in godliness the more we adorn our profession,” says A. W. Pink.
For Further Study
For a detailed study of
1 John 1:1-2:2 Living in the Light of Life
Message by Wil Pounds and all content on this page (c) 2005 by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent. Scripture quotations from the New American Standard Bible (c) 1973, and 1995 Update by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)