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"Welcome to a Fellowship of Joy!"
1 John 1:1-4
Wednesday AM Bible Study
August 24, 2005
The key verse of John's Gospel is John 20:31; where we're told that he wrote
so we may believe on Christ and have life in His name. But the key verse of
John's first epistle is 5:13 shows how John continues that theme; where he
tells us that the reason he wrote was so that we might (1) know that we have
eternal life; and that we may continue to believe in His name. As Dr. C.I.
Scofield wrote, John's Gospel leads us across the threshold of the Father's
house, and John's first letter makes us at home there.
The key note of this epistle is "fellowship". It concerns not only our
fellowship with Christ, but also our fellowship together in Christ. Jesus
great 'priestly prayer' for us in John 17 reveals that He desires for us to
enter together into the depth of fellowship that He and His Father enjoy
with one another (John 17:20-23). He died to make this happen. The same
"Word" that was from the beginning in John 1:1-5 is now presented to us with
great assurance in 1 John 1:1-4. And the declaration of Him is intended to
bring us into the fullness of joy of fellowship with Him.
I. THIS WORD OF LIFE HAS APPEARED (v. 1).
A. Jesus is introduced to us as "the Word of Life".
1. He's the "Word"; that is, the self-declaration of God the Father (Heb.
1:1-3; John 1:14, 18).
2. He is the Word "of life". He is more than just the Word "about life".
He is the life itself! (1 John 5:11-13a). If we have Christ, we have
eternal life right now. The life we will experience in heaven is not a
different life; but the same one we have now in Christ - only glorified.
B. As the Word of life, He is "that which was from the beginning" (Col.
C. God has Him who was from the beginning to be among us. John says that
he and the other apostles;
1. . . . Heard Him. They sat and listened to Him teach for three and a
2. . . . Saw Him with their eyes. He was not a mere ghost.
3. . . . Looked upon Him. This is a much more intense gaze. They beheld
His glory (John 1:14).
4. . . . Handled Him with their hands. This confirmed to them that He was
real in His esurrection (Luke 24:39).
II. THIS APPEARANCE HAS BEEN DECLARED (v. 2).
A. First, the life was manifested. This was the loving initiative of God
B. Then, the apostles saw. They did not create stories about Him (2 Peter
1:16-19; Galatians 1:11-12). Rather, it was revealed to them.
C. Finally, it was declared by them. They bore witness of Him (Luke
24:46-48; Acts 1:8; Acts 4:19-20).
III. THIS DECLARATION BRINGS ABOUT FELLOWSHIP (v. 3).
A. The purpose for declaring Him was "fellowship". Someone has defined
fellowship as "two fellows in the same ship". We are made one together in
Him (Eph. 4:4-6).
B. It concerns not only fellowship with each other; but fellowship with Him
IV. THIS FELLOWSHIP RESULTS IN JOY (v. 4).
A. Some translations say that these things are written "that your joy may
be full"; others have John saying that it's so that the joy of himself and
the apostles may be full. Either way, the point is that joy may be made
B. Jesus wants us to have fellowship with Him in such a way that we
experience the fullness of joy in Him. He desires us to experience His own
joy (John 15:11; 16:22, 24; 17:13). Fullness of joy is only found in a
relationship with Jesus, and through ongoing fellowship with Him. We were
created for that Joy; and to help bring it about is why this letter was