Monday, November 30, 2015

Jesus: the Reason for Authentic Fellowship and the Source of Real Joy (1 John 1:3-4)

I fully convince that when Jesus eat and drink, he is happy and joyful to be with.
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 1:3-4, NLT).

What Apostle John and his friends “we” saw and experienced was so powerful that they simply could not keep it to themselves. They were bursting to share the Good News about Jesus with other people (Do you have that bursting factor?). Once they had experienced this new life themselves, they wanted to share it with others. Keeping the Good News to ourselves really limits the joy we can get compare to the joy we get when we share the News to others! John want to share his new life in Christ with others. Christian goal was, according to John, “so that you may have fellowship with us.” The word fellowship means “to have in common,” to be close, to have a group of people who accept and care for us.

Most people, I assume, hate the feeling of being lonely (This is different from being alone or solitude, which can be a positive thing at times). To be lonely is to feel cut off or rejected or abandoned; it is a sad, depressed feeling. Thus, what so amazing about this “fellowship” we can have in Christ as believers is that it is not only with each other, which is certainly Good News, but also a fellowship with God and Jesus, His Son – sharing life in common with each other. God promises that we will never be alone in this life or ever. So, even if we feel cut off from other people we know that we are never really lonely. God is with us, no matter what!

Our fellowship, then, has two dimensions – with God (vertical fellowship) and with other believers (horizontal fellowship). As believers, you and I, are united with God forever; and we are also united with each other because of our common faith in Christ. Now let me make it clear that not all of us will have close relationship and fellowship with everyone, but we all have the potential for this fellowship. For some of us, sharing and being open come naturally. For others, being personal (sharing our thoughts and feelings) is kind of scary – so we hide it by being silent or avoid or keep others away from us. Don’t be like this.

John writes this matter of fellowship by saying that he is writing this letter to make his joy complete. In other words, he witnessed the Good News: the life, work, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then he responded to what he had seen by devoting his life to fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. And now he was going to have his joy completed by sharing this joyful fellowship with the church of all believers. God wants us to be joy-filled in the deepest sense of the word – a satisfaction that cannot be found anyplace else by in Jesus Christ. Such joy is not based on how tough our body are or how many friends we have in Facebook or Twitter, but on the fact that God loves us as we are. God loves us – nothing more, nothing less. He sees through us with x-ray vision; our innermost thoughts and feelings are known to Him. And despite all of this. God is really cares for us, just as we are. And on this basis, as we accept God’s love, we can experience the deepest kind of joy. We are loved, no more lonely – we belong!

Friends, all of us will have times when we will feel discouraged or depressed (At this writing I feel sad because some people misunderstood me). That is part of living. But those down time don’t need to shatter us; instead we are equipped with the strength, love and joy that God gives us. It is a joy that keeps on growing not only in this life but forever – “no one can rob you of that joy” (John 16:22). And this joy is not a phony-selfie-kind of joy that pastes a smile on people’s faces and makes them ignore their true feelings. Christians can be real people whose joyfulness becomes greater and greater. The aim of being Christian is to enjoy, to be joyful in, and by enjoying Him forever. Our God, I believe, does not try to make us miserable or odd; instead, God wants us to be the happiest person in the world. And that’s what the rest of this letter is all about. Read it!

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