Life-Study of 1, 2, & 3 John, Judeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In these messages on the conditions of the divine fellowship, we have seen that there are two conditions or requirements for maintaining this fellowship. The first requirement, described in 1:5—2:2, is the confessing of sins. The second requirement, described in 2:3-11, is the loving of God and the brothers. Therefore, if we want to maintain our fellowship with God, we need to deal with sin, and we need to love God and love the brothers.
In verses 9 and 11 of chapter two John says that the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness. In verse 10 he says, “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause of stumbling in him.” In these verses John emphasizes loving the brothers. My burden in this message is to consider why John indicates that the last requirement for maintaining the divine fellowship is that of loving the brothers.
In order to understand why loving the brothers is the final term, condition, or requirement of the divine fellowship, we need to understand what is the purpose of the divine fellowship. What is the goal of the divine fellowship? In this fellowship we enjoy the riches of the divine life, but for what purpose do we enjoy these riches in this fellowship? The enjoyment of the riches of the divine life in the divine fellowship is for the church life. It is of crucial importance for us to see that the goal of the divine fellowship is the church life.
In 1:3 John says, “That which we have seen and heard we report also to you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed the fellowship which is ours is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” In this verse the pronouns “we” and “us” refer to the apostles. The apostles have seen and heard the eternal life. They report this to the believers so that the believers may have fellowship with the apostles. Because the fellowship described in 1:3 was first the portion of the apostles in enjoying the Father and the Son through the Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14), it is called the fellowship of the apostles (Acts 2:42) and “the fellowship which is ours” (the apostles’). The apostles are the representatives of the church. Hence, whenever the New Testament speaks of the apostles, the church is implied, for the apostles represent the church. This principle will still be in effect in the New Jerusalem. Concerning the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:14 says, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” The apostles represent all the saints in the church. Because the apostles represent the church and because the fellowship of the divine life is called the fellowship of the apostles, we may say that this fellowship is for the church life.
In 1:3 John says that the fellowship which the apostles have is the fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Therefore, this fellowship involves the apostles and also the Father and the Son. Only the Father and the Son are mentioned here, not the Spirit, because the Spirit is implied in the fellowship. However, elsewhere we are clearly told that this fellowship is “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor. 13:14). The divine fellowship is a fellowship of the apostles, the representatives of the church, and also a fellowship between these apostles as the representatives of the church and the Father and the Son. The fact that the divine fellowship is also a fellowship of the Spirit means that this fellowship is carried out by the Spirit. This fellowship is not merely with the Spirit; it is also of the Spirit. This means that it is the Spirit’s fellowship and that this fellowship is carried out by the Spirit.
We have just pointed out what it means to say that the divine fellowship is the fellowship of the Spirit. Actually, the Spirit Himself is the fellowship. This means that the fellowship is not only carried out by the Spirit, but also that the Spirit is the fellowship that is carried out.
Once again we may use electricity as an illustration of the divine fellowship. Electricity flows from the power plant into the church meeting hall. As a result, when the switch is on, all the lights in the ceiling have “fellowship” in the current, the flow, of electricity. It is the current of electricity that carries out this fellowship. However, it is more accurate to say that actually the current itself is the fellowship. If there were no electrical current, there would not be any fellowship. The current of electricity is the fellowship of electricity, and this fellowship includes the power plant, the meeting hall, and the lights.
Today the divine fellowship is the apostles’ fellowship. This means that it is the fellowship of the church. This fellowship is also the fellowship of the believers with the apostles. Furthermore, it is the fellowship of the apostles and the believers with the Father and the Son. Because this fellowship is carried out by the Spirit, it is called the fellowship of the Spirit.
We all need to realize that this divine fellowship is altogether for the church life. This fellowship is not merely for our enjoyment, experience, supply, nourishment, and edification. Ultimately, this fellowship is for the church life.
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