In our study of 1 John chapter one, we will look at what the early church meant by fellowship and how we, as Christians, are part of the family of God. This epistle (letter) is different from most others in the Bible because it was written to the entire family of God while the others were usually written to a specific body of believers. We often refer to John as the "disciple that Jesus loved" but, along with his brother, Jesus called them Sons of Thunder. He was a son of a fisherman but, when Jesus called him and his brother, they dropped their nets and immediately followed. This same John wrote the Gospel of John, Revelation, and two other letters that are included in the Bible. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, he stayed in Jerusalem and was a leader in the "church" there but around 70 years later he moved to Ephesus. It is believed that he wrote these letters from there where he was a leader as well. While most of the apostles died a martyr's death, John died peacefully in Ephesus after being released from exile on the island of Patmos.
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That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.
John starts by letting us know how real Jesus was to him. He reminds us that he knows about Jesus through personal experience as he has seen, heard, and even touched the person of Jesus. He also reminds us that Jesus was with God from the beginning and was not a reaction to the need for salvation. Jesus was a part of God's plan from the beginning and was in fact the very Word of God that brings life. We should start by asking ourselves if this same Jesus is as real to us as it was to John. It is this personal experience with Jesus that brings forgiveness and salvation.
The life appeared, we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
He continues to remind us that Jesus was born, lived among men, and died. But, he also reminds us that Jesus was resurrected and, since He lives forever, we have that same hope. John doesn't just know of these things; he was there for most of them. He was the one that was with Jesus at the crucifixion as well as when he was gone from the tomb. He was also there when the resurrected Jesus appeared to them, taught them, and gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit. John is confident in what he has experienced and we can have that same confidence through the working of the Spirit.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
John tells us why he shares the gospel of Jesus Christ and reminds us again that it is what he has actually seen and heard. He says that the reason is so that we may have fellowship together with God. The fellowship that he is talking about is not what it has come to mean in the "church" today. What John is talking about is believers in Jesus Christ meeting together to share the things of Christ. It is not getting together for food and talking about sports, news, or the latest trends. It is sharing what God is doing in our lives and the purpose is to build each other up in the faith. A good example of this is described in Acts 2:42-47. Remember that John would have been a part of the fellowship described in that passage because he was there in Jerusalem at the time.
We write this to make our joy complete.
Some manuscripts have "your" in place of "our" but either way joy comes from the Lord and a proper relationship with God. John's purpose in this letter is to remind people of that relationship and how to put our faith into action.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Light and darkness just do not go together for, as soon as light appears, darkness disappears. Likewise, if we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, our actions change and we are a new creation. This new creation has fellowship with God and that relationship with God allows us to have fellowship with one another.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
We all need a Savior each and every day. No matter what we may think of ourselves, each of us sins against God every day. If we cannot admit that, the "truth is not in us".
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
One of the Hebrew names that describes God is El Hanne'eman and it reminds us that God is faithful. He will never forsake us or forget us and He keeps His promises. This verse is also a promise from God. If we confess and not try to deny or hide our sins, He will forgive and cleanse us. We can look at how God has kept His promises throughout the Bible and take comfort in the fact that El Hanne'eman keeps ALL of His promises.
If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
This last verse may sound kind of harsh but, if we stop and meditate on it, it is absolutely true. If we, in fact, say that we have not sinned, then, there is no place for any part of the Word in our lives as the rest of the word speaks of salvation from sin. Jesus said that all have sinned. Therefore, if we say we haven't, we are in fact calling Him a liar and why would you listen to the words of a liar? But, if we all compare our lives to God's Law (the Ten Commandments), we can objectively see that we have sinned and therefore must have salvation and Jesus was right.