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Fellowship Standards


When we look at 1 John chapter one, we get a nice thumbnail sketch of the basic requirement for genuine Christian fellowship and the fundamental standard for that fellowship.


  1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

   2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)  


Here John is laying out a claim that he is simply telling the readers what he knows personally, what he has seen with his own eyes, and what is the very basis of their authority and their fellowship: that they knew Jesus Christ, that He is the Word of Life, that through Him we have eternal life.


   3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.


John wants the readers to know his purpose: to declare what he knows so that the readers would be able to have fellowship with God and one another.


   4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

   5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.


John is not dropping the heavy on people, he is telling the simple truth so the readers might experience fullness of joy, however he is making it clear that God is light, in other words truth and holiness, and that God is not involved in any kind of darkness. This is very important to always keep in mind: if we want to be in fellowship with God, we obviously can’t be brining any darkness into His presence.


   6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

   7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.


Here it is in a nutshell: if we walk in darkness, that is sin and lies and the ways of the flesh or the present world system, we cannot say we are in fellowship with God but the BASIS of our fellowship together is simple, it is that we walk in the light, as He is in the light, but that if we sin, His blood cleanses us from sin if we repent and confess our sins.


   8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

   9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

   10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.


On one hand, John says that those who are in fellowship with God walk in the light, and indeed this walking in the light together is the chief requirement or standard of our fellowship, but on the other hand John makes it clear that we HAVE SIN, in other words, we still sin, and if we don’t think we have sin then we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us!


The key thing is to ask for forgiveness, repent, and confess our sin, whereby He cleanses us from all unrighteousness, or all sinful acts, thoughts, and deeds, so that we can STAY in fellowship with Him and with one another.


Fellowship is not a club or social gathering, and if we are in fellowship with people who walk in darkness, maybe they think they don’t or can’t sin or maybe they don’t believe they have to adhere to a righteous standard, then the very basis of our fellowship is illegitimate.


The first requirement of fellowship is this: that it include only those people who walk in the light and who repent or and confess their sins when they sin so that they can be cleansed and remain in fellowship.


This is why 2 Corinthians 6:14 says Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?


Of course, this does not mean we cannot have relationship with people who are not in the truth, for then we would have to disappear from the planet, and how could we witness, but the key thing here is that there is a difference between casual or familial relationship or associations we have to participate in to function and true Christian fellowship and true Christian fellowship is for people who walk together in the light, and nobody else.

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oh this one is so true and really hits home for me. I remember when I would really try to follow God in the past yet try to keep out of fellowship because those other converts were just to dogmatic too "christian" for me. Little did I understand how much fellowship is designed to not only grow us but keep us safe, strengthened and give us truth bearersl for our continued walk. What is different now is I am allowing Gods way of light into my life through fellowship and thier is a growing taking place. It has not been easy, but as I yield to this whole fellowship ideal I see that it has a purpose in building up myself in christ and the body .
For example sometimes the mature in the body have learned to yield the sword of God's word and they can teach me how to share the word with others (as I am Compelled to share) without wounding but with grace
truth and mercy. Sometimes I do not see or am blinded to my own sin and they bring the light of truth with grace as well. In this manner we teach oneotrher strengthen the bonds and building one another up in the faith so that we can all become together Gods holy church. I would definately encourage any new believer to immediately get into Holy fellowship with other mature believers it is essential or you will fall!
Great insights!
this was good a second time too! have a couple thoughts to add. When we come to christ we make a consious decision to turn away from sin. This is true repentance. as we grow we often find there are things that God brings to our conscience or however you say it and then we must deal with these, which we may not have been aware of before because before we came to repentance we are pretty convinced of our own self righteousness, so to speak. ok ok run on sentence bear with me! anyhow repentance and cleansing from sin is a process for life and the more we grow the more we will see the truth of all this. that is why we must mantain a constant daily fellowship with Jesus and other GROWING christians. It is up to us to keep pressing forward in our walk and yes God will use our witness any time along the way. This makes us LIVING witness just as his WORD and He is LIVING!

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