John was one of the apostles. He had seen, heard, and touched Jesus during His earthly ministry. He was at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified and saw Him after He had risen again.
When John wrote 1 John, Jesus had already ascended to heaven. We know that because John had said, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28) Jesus had said He’d return: “…I will come again, and receive you unto myself;” (John 14:3) John also said in 1 John 2:28, “…when he [Jesus] shall appear,” and “…at his coming.” which meant Jesus had ascended to heaven and not yet returned. He will one day!
Look back at our opening passage, though. It says, “…our fellowship IS with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ (capitals and boldface added).” John didn’t say, “was”. He said “is.” Present tense. The Lord had gone up to heaven and John couldn’t see or hear Him anymore, but he still enjoyed fellowship with Him. John also wrote this epistle so that people who read it could enjoy fellowship with Jesus, too.
In fact, John didn’t just write this epistle because he himself wanted people to enjoy fellowship with the Lord. No doubt he did want that, but in reality, he wrote it because GOD wants (present tense, not wanted, past tense) people to enjoy fellowship with Him!
John may not have known that his words (actually, God’s words by his hand) would be read by people centuries later, who had never seen Jesus’ face or heard His voice and who lived in a different time frame. But God knew all these things, and God didn’t love people back then any more than He loves us today: “For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:11) God wants people to fellowship with Him. God has many things to say to us. That’s one reason why we have a Bible and why it’s as thick as it is.
The Christian life is about fellowship with God. In order to have fellowship with God and be a happy Christian, though, you need to listen when God is talking. To illustrate, wives often complain that their husbands don’t listen, and if most husbands are honest, they—okay, we—have to admit we sometimes don’t. We hear our wives’ words—some of them, anyway—but they pick up on our inattention, which makes for lack of fellowship and lack of happiness in a marriage. Guys need to pay attention on purpose. Sometimes that means closing the laptop, putting away the phone, and muting or turning off the TV.
Unfortunately, your Christian life can be that way. You may read the Bible and go to a Bible-preaching church, but are you paying attention to what you’re reading or what the preacher says from God’s Word? If you don’t enjoy your Christian life, it’s not God’s fault. God wants us to enjoy our Christian life, which is why He inspired John to say, “And these things [in God’s Word] write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” Yet if we don’t pay attention to “these things” God gave us in His Word, we’re not listening to God. The lack of fellowship with God and the resulting lack of Christian joy are our fault, not His.
Pay attention to God on purpose. When you have downtime, pull out a New Testament and fellowship with God as He speaks to you through His Word. Memorize verses. Think of them for encouragement. God’s Word is a precious gift. He also gave us the precious gift of His Son Jesus, who died on the cross, was buried and rose again to give us eternal life. If you want to see how to receive Jesus as your personal Saviour, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links”, then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 4/23/2020
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822