Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on March 3, 2014.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“A Key to True Christian Fellowship”
1 John 1:1-4 (ESV)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 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. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
When I was planning this series of devotions, I scratched these words next to these verses, “witnesses testify.” John was a witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He had seen him, heard him, and touched him with his own hands. And so, as a witness, his testimony has great value and encouragement to us since the Gospel is not based on a myth or clever speculations, but on the real person of Jesus. That led me to this idea: “I’ll write a devotion about how we, too, can be testifiers of Jesus to those people who don’t know Jesus.”
But John isn’t writing to non-Christians, but rather, He is writing about Jesus to Christians. (I know these are supposed to be short devotions but let that sink in for a few moments.) And he says that the purpose for this is so that they would have deep fellowship with one another, thereby having complete joy.
Is it possible that joy and fellowship are inextricably linked? And that fellowship and joy happen as we proclaim Christ to one another? We often think of fellowship as something that happens when people love each other and have things in common. But John tells us that biblical fellowship happens because Jesus loves us, and we have that in common.
Considering that, let us be a people who are excited to talk about Jesus to Christians as well as to non-Christians! Do it today.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus! Now, despite our imperfections, we can have fellowship with You and even fellowship with other imperfect people. Help me to become a person who proclaims Christ inside and outside the Church, that our joy would become complete!
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 4
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 John 1:1-4 again: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 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. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Questions to Consider
- What are some things that John tells us about this Word? What can we learn about the Word in relation to God the Father?
- Why do you think John emphasizes the reality of “the Word” as he does?
- How do you think proclaiming the reality of Christ leads to fellowship (cf. Ephesians 5:18-19)?
- The Word of Life was “from the beginning” and “with the Father” and “made manifest to us.” Jesus Christ is the manifestation of the Word. He is “co-eternal” and “co-equal” with the Father. He is not a lesser God nor is he a human who became divine. These were all heresies that existed in the early church. Interestingly, John doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit here (which he does plenty in John 14-16), perhaps in order to emphasize the divinity of Christ.
- Our faith is not based on a myth nor based on an intellectual or a philosophical concept that exists only in our minds. Our faith is based on the historical reality of God entering into our brokenness to forgive, heal, and reconcile.
- Ephesians 5:18-19 points out the connection between being filled by the Spirit and speaking “hymns, psalms and spiritual songs” to “one another.” When we proclaim Christ to one another, there is a unity that comes from the Holy Spirit filling us. Our fellowship is based upon the deep fellowship that exists between the persons of the Trinity, that we are invited to join. Note that joy is also one of the fruits of the Spirit.
What are you basing your fellowship on? Do you fellowship based on personality, mutual interest, or even geographical proximity? If our fellowship is to be built upon the foundation of Christ being proclaimed to one another, how might you fellowship differently? Who can you encourage with the Gospel tomorrow?