The Fellowship That Counts

Bible Book: 1 John  1 : 1-3
Subject: Fellowship; Christ, Fellowship With; Christian Living

When you think about the word “fellowship”, what does it bring to your mind? What images are conjured up by that very simple word? If you’re like most church folks, in the South in particular, the word “fellowship” usually has one connotation…FOOD! It usually revolves around covered – dish meal of some type, or an invitation to dinner at someone’s house. And rightfully so, because around the table is a great place for fellowship to happen. However, there’s a lot more to fellowship than just sharing a meal together.

The word “fellowship” literally means 1.) the condition or relation of being a fellow: the fellowship of humankind. 2.) friendly relationship: the fellowship of father and son. 3.) community of interest, feeling, etc. 4.) communion, as between members of the same church.

Listen to that third definition again, “Community of interest, feeling, etc.” It’s a community where there is buy-in to a common interest, belief system, or set of accepted truths. It’s where hearts are knit together for a common purpose. It’s when our “fellow” laborer, the ones called alongside us in a common effort, share in the struggles and triumphs, the pain and the comfort of being in community.

So, where do we find a “fellowship” that really counts; that really makes a difference in our lives? The writer of our sermon text today tells us that the fellowship that counts is the fellowship that we share as believers with God the Father through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.

In Hebrews 1:1-2, scripture tells us that God, who has spoken unto us in many different ways in times past, has, in these last days, spoken unto us “by His Son”. You see, the person of Jesus Christ is the best picture that we have of a father.

If you want to know what God looks like, look at Jesus. If you want to know what God would say, listen to Jesus. If you want to know what God would do, watch Jesus. So, what did John and his fellow disciples hear and see and observe and touch that had to do with Jesus and their fellowship with Him and with the Father.

Let’s see what He says. Read I John 1:1-3 and Pray. There are six ways in which John and His fellow disciples saw truth at work that gave them the basis for fellowship with God the Father and the Son. Let’s explore them together.

I. We Find our Fellowship in Eternal Truth

“…that was from the beginning”

In the first chapter of John’s gospel, the same writer of this short epistle reminds us that Jesus Christ was there in person when that heavenly conversation was held and God the Father said, “Let us make man in our image”. He remind us of this by saying that “all things were made by him and that without Him, nothing was made that has been made”. You see, it was God, in the person of the Son who spoke the world into existence. It was God the Son who said, “Light, be!” and light was. And He was there from the beginning.

Every Christmas we celebrate His birth. We celebrate the coming of that little baby to a stable in a Bethlehem barn with fanfare and pageantry, with music and spectacle. But, it was not so for this babe in the manger. The only singing done on that night was by a group of angels to a lowly group of shepherds who were out on the Judean hillside busy tending their sheep.

They were the outcasts of society who would have been the very last to be invited to celebrate the birth of royalty.

But there was something unique about this baby. He wasn’t just any ordinary baby. His birth was very different from ours. “How so?” you might say. Well, when you and I were born, a brand new personality entered this world for the very first time. There was a new voice and a new soul. When Jesus entered the world, the creator became a part of the creation. A personality entered this world in the form of human flesh that has existed for all eternity past, exists now in the present, and will exist for all eternity future.

He is the eternal truth.

II. We Find our Fellowship in Audible Truth

“…that which we have heard”

Think of all the things that John and his fellow heard. The heard:

“Blessed are they…” and learned the true sources of spiritual blessing.

“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn of me”, and they learned the source of real rest for their souls.

“Peace, be still,” and the winds and waves ceased to blow and they learned the real source of peace for the storms of life

“Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more,” and a woman who had been brought before Him in shame walked away with her dignity intact and they learned the real source of mercy.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”, and they learned what forgiveness really is.

What have you heard Jesus say? Have you been still and have you been in His word long enough to hear Him speak to you? What is he saying?

Is He saying, “You’re in too much of a hurry; slow down. You’re throwing away the things that matter, and you’re holding on to the things that don’t. Slow down, follow me and be blessed.”

Is He saying, “Peace, be still” in the midst of the storm that you are facing?

Is He saying, “I forgive you, now you forgive yourself, but don’t go there again”.

Is He saying, “Don’t you have a brother who needs to know your forgiveness, or don’t you need to know that you have forgiven him/her in your heart?”

Have you stopped and been still long enough to hear what He is saying? Have you heard the audible truth of Jesus?

III. We Find our Fellowship in Visible Truth

“…that which is seen with our eyes”

Now, think with me about all of the things that John and his fellow disciples saw: They saw water turned into wine. Can you do that? He didn’t even say a word. He just had the servants at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee to go and fill the water pots. When they brought them back from being

filled, it wasn’t water; it was wine! It wasn’t the cheap stuff either! Even the governor of the feast said to the host, “One usually puts the good stuff out first, and gives the bad stuff later, but you saved the best for last!”

The disciples also saw a paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof on a stretcher and told to take up his bed and walk, and he did! Of course, that was after Jesus had also publicly forgiven this man of his sins. The miracle just proved His power to do so to the skeptics in the crowd. They saw Jesus reach out and touch a Leper and make him whole, now let’s think about that one for a movement. He actually reached out and touched a leper. You might remember this story from Luke 5:12-13:

12 ”In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. ‘Lord’, he said ‘if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean. 13 Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing’, He said. ‘Be healed!’ And instantly the leprosy disappeared.”

Now, what significance does it have that Jesus reached out and touched the man? Leprosy in Jesus’ day was a death sentence and to touch one who was affected with this terrible disease was also a death sentence. The flesh would decay, and the skin and muscle tissue would literally rot off the skeleton. That’s why lepers in Bible times were considered unclean and were exiled to leper colonies. When a leper would come near a crowd of people outside of a leper colony, he was required to call out, “unclean, unclean” so that the folks around him would clear out of the way and not touch him.

However, Jesus wasn’t afraid to touch him, and the touch of Jesus healed him.

The disciples also saw Jesus take little children into His lap and place His hands upon them and bless them. You see, He had time for anyone who had time for Him.

What have you seen with your eyes? Have you seen Jesus in the hands of caring doctor who brings healing to those who are sick?

Have you seen the spiritual and emotional paralysis that is brought on by sin taken away because of the healing and forgiving hand of Jesus when someone gets things right with God?

Have you seen modern-day “lepers”’ those who our society would not touch healed with the balm of Christ through a caring follower of Jesus? Are you such a follower of Jesus? Have you reached out and touched someone of whom the world would say, “Oh, don’t touch them, they are unclean”. “Don’t touch them, or you’ll become tainted by their sickness, their lifestyle, their sin”?

Have you seen Jesus with your eyes? Have others seen Jesus in you?

IV. We Find our Fellowship in Objective Truth

“…that which we have looked upon”

That which we have looked upon means more than just seeing. This means intently gazing upon Jesus. The disciples closest to Jesus intently “looked upon Him” on the Mount of Transfiguration. They saw Jesus in all of His glory with Moses and Elijah.

I can imagine their intense gaze fixed upon Jesus as He took the basin and the towel and washed their feet just before that final supper with them before the cross. Here was their Master, their Lord, stooping to the most menial of task – washing their feet.

However, their most intense gaze was when they fixed their eyes upon Cavalry’s cross where their Lord and Master was stretched out to die. Can you see that in your mind’s eye? The One with whom they had walked and ministered with for three years was now dying at the hands of Roman soldiers after suffering the terrible and excruciating pain of a Roman scourging.

Have you looked upon Jesus? If so, how long was your gaze? Have you fixed your spiritual eyes upon what He has done for you? Have you really looked at the person that we call “Christ” from an objective point of view?

V. We Find our Fellowship in Tangible Truth

“…and our hand have handled”

This is truth you can touch. The disciples had actually touched Jesus and they touched many things that revealed the truth of who He was. Perhaps they touched the water pots and actually drank some of the wine. Perhaps they helped the paralyzed man to his feet. Perhaps they shook the hands of the leper once he was healed. We know that they helped to distribute food to the multitude when Jesus took the five loaves and two fishes and blessed and broke them. Then, in the Upper Room after His resurrection, we know that Thomas touched His hands and His side. I’m sure that many other disciples touched Him that night.

Have you touched him? Have you crawled up in His lap like a little child in need of a blessing? Have you known His touch to heal your body, your spirit, or your mind?

Like Thomas, have you said, “Unless I touch the nail prints in your hands and the place in your side, I will not believe”? Have you reached out and placed your hand in the nail-scarred hand of Christ? No. We cannot do it literally or physically, but we can do it spiritually. And, we can do that right now. Have you given food to the hungry or water to the thirsty? Have you visited those who are in prison or given clothes to those who need them?

What have you actually touched where you could say, “Jesus did that”.

He is waiting and He is longing to touch your heart and make it whole. He is waiting to touch a hurting world through you.


This is what the “fellowship that counts” is all about. If you would like to experience a fellowship that feeds your soul and nurtures your heart, then the only place to find that is in a deep, daily relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you want to experience this fellowship that counts, then take the first step. Come to Him, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and let Him give you rest. Take His yoke upon you, learn of Him and you will find rest for your soul. Come to Him, right now, to find the fellowship that counts, for “Truly our fellowship is with the Father