FELLOWSHIP AND FORGIVENESS

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      09/09/18
 
“Fellowship and Forgiveness"
1 John 1:3-10
 
INTRODUCTION: The Apostle John writes his letter 1 John so that we may experience joy (1 John 1:4). To know Jesus is to know joy. John explains that a right view of Jesus is essential to full joy (1:1-4). But John also writes “so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). We are invited to participate in genuine fellowship with God and each other. Christian fellowship and authentic relationships are possible in Christ.
 
CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP BEGINS WITH A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER AND HIS SON JESUS.
 
*Christian fellowship is eternal, personal and communal. John shares his personal testimony that Jesus is the Messiah. He invites others to follow Jesus too: “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1:3).
 
*The foundation of Christian fellowship is the shared experience of Jesus Christ as our Savior. Jesus Christ alone can give us eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
 
We must have a personal relationship with Jesus to have eternal life and to experience joyful fellowship.
 
CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP BUILDS ON HONEST, AUTHENTIC, AND OPEN RELATIONSHIPS.
 
*God’s character is our standard. God is light. He is pure, holy, without stain or blemish, transparent, and revealing. “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1:5).
 
*Fellowship demands that we practice truth and walk in the light of God’s presence. If we walk in darkness and deny the truth, we hinder fellowship. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another (1:6-7).
 
*Christians will stumble and fall and have conflict. We are broken people. The nature of relationships breeds misunderstandings. The nature of fellowship requires honesty, humility, and forgiveness. The uniqueness of our individuality demands that we be honest in our relationships and wear no masks to hide behind. Jesus’ blood continually cleanses our sins and makes authenticity possible. “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 cleanses us from all sin” (1:7).
 
True fellowship means a person grows closer to God and others every day.
 
CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP IS BASED ON FORGIVENESS AND CONFESSION.
 
*If we refuse to admit our faults, we are in denial. If we refuse to admit we are wrong, we resist God’s truth. Christian fellowship depends upon total honesty and transparency before God and others.  “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1:8-10).
 
*Confession, not denial, is God’s answer to our sin problem. To confess our sins means we say the same thing about our sin that God does. God has forgiven us at the Cross. It is a once for all completed act (1:7). We experience this forgiveness with the conditional act of confession. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1:9).
 
*Christian unity and authentic relationships are possible in Christ. Healing comes through admission of wrong and encouraging prayer.   “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16).
 
The Jesus Prayer:
 
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
 

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