1 John 1:3
That which we have seen and heard declare we to you, that you also may have fellowship with us…
I. First, let us see if it be not so, that we have had, and do have real FELLOWSHIP WITH THE FATHER AND WITH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. Now we have had fellowship with the Father.
1. In order to have fellowship with any man there must be a concord of heart. "Can two walk together unless they be agreed?"
2. Again, we have fellowship with God in the object for which the purpose was first formed, namely, His own glory. The highest aspiration of our spirit, when it is most enlarged, is that He in all things may be glorified.
3. And have we not fellowship with Him in the plan by which He effects that purpose? Does it not strike you as being the wisest, the most gracious, the most glorious scheme that could have been devised?
4. And I think we may add, we have fellowship with God in the most prominent characteristics of that plan. Throughout the whole way of salvation you have seen displayed the justice and the mercy of God, each with undimmed lustre. You have seen His grace in forgiving the sinner, but you have seen His holiness in avenging sin upon the substitute. You have seen His truthfulness acting in two ways; His truth in threatening — by no means sparing the guilty; His truth in the promise — "passing by transgression, iniquity, and sin." And do not you and I feel we have fellowship with God in this?
5. We have a most Divine and precious communion with the Father in the objects of His love. When two persons love the same thing, their affection becomes a tie between them. Now, there is a tie between God the Father and our souls, for did not He say, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"? And cannot you and I add, "Yes, He is our beloved Saviour, in whom we are well pleased"?
6. But the word "fellowship" not only signifies concord of heart, but it implies a carrying out of that concord a little further, in converse or mutual communication. Furthermore, we can say we have had fellowship with God in this respect, that the very thing which is His happiness has been our happiness. That which has been the delight of His Holy Being has been a delight to us. "And what is that?" say you. Why, doth not God delight in holiness, in goodness, in mercy, and in loving kindness, and has not that been our delight too?
7. And so, also, that which is the Father's employment is our employment. He doeth good to all His creatures, and we can do good also. He beareth witness to His Son Jesus, and we can bear witness too. "The Father worketh hitherto" that His Son may be glorified, and we work too. O thou Eternal Worker! it is thine to save souls, and we are co-workers with Thee. And now I must affirm the fact, that we have fellowship with the Son as well as with the Father. In both these matters we are like little children that have begun to speak or learn their letters. We have not yet attained, though I say we have fellowship with the Father; yet how little we have of it compared with what we hope to have! Well, now we have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, I think we can say, for our hearts are united to Him. "Yea, Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee." At any rate, it is strange that I should never be happy without Thee, it is singular that I can find no peace anywhere but in Thee. If I did not love Thee, should I have such longings after Thee? Further, we have had some small degree of fellowship with Him in His sufferings. We have not yet "resisted unto blood striving against sin," but we have carried His cross, and we have suffered His reproach. But our fellowship has assumed also a practical form, in that the same desires and aspirations which were in Christ when He was on the earth are in us now. Oh! we have uttered feelingly the very words of Christ, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" And when there seemed to be some insuperable obstacle in the path of our usefulness, we have nevertheless said, "My meat and my drink is to do the will of Him that sent me." And yet, further, as I have said, fellowship requires converse. Oh! ye daughters of Jerusalem, have we not had converse with Him?
II. There is, secondly, AN AFFECTIONATE DESIRE, LEADING TO APPROPRIATE EFFORT.
1. This affectionate desire is that others might have fellowship with us. Having tasted that the Lord is gracious, it is one of the first instincts of the newborn nature to send us out crying, "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters," etc. We wish to gather up all in one, that in everything which is lovely and of good repute, in everything which is happy, ennobling, Divine, and everlasting, you might be made partakers and have fellowship with us!
2. And this desire leads the child of God to make use of an appropriate effort, and what is that? It is to tell to others what he has seen and what he has beard.
(C. H. Spurgeon.).
Parallel VersesKJV: That 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.