Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

1 John: True, Fulfilling Fellowship With God
Part II: Identifying The True Standard Of True Fellowship With God
(1 John 1:5-7)
  1. Introduction
    1. Many false ideas exist in Christendom on what constitutes true spiritual fellowship with God. As evidence, we note some think regular church attendance, reading the Bible, prayer and giving constitute such fellowship, but we all know people who do these things but notoriously lack true piety in their lives.
    2. The standard of true fellowship with God is given in 1 John 1:5-7, and in its Biblical context, it directs the believer into true fellowship with the Lord in all of its many aspects (as follows):
  2. Identifying The True Standard Of True Fellowship With God, 1 John 1:5-7.
    1. John reported the message he and the apostles had received from Jesus Christ (1 John 1:5a with 1-3) that he was sharing with his readers, was that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, 1 John 1:5a,b.
    2. Bible teachers often define light here as God's holiness and purity from sin, cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to 1 John 1:5. However, the context of the Apostle John's life in view of his familiar Old Testament Scriptures shows he defined "light" in this context to be God's special revelation (as follows):
      1. John came from Galilee where Jesus called him to follow Christ as His disciple, cf. Mark 1:16-20.
      2. As such, John was deeply impressed by the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:1-2 where Jesus, the "Great Light" predicted there, came unto "the people that walked in darkness" in his native land of Galilee. Indeed, since "(a)lmost all textual scholars agree" the verses of John 7:53-8:11 "were not part of the original manuscript of the Gospel of John," (Bib. Kno. Com., N. T., p. 302), in reply to the claim by Jesus' foes that Scriptures taught no prophet arose from Galilee, it was John who wrote that Jesus in immediate response in John 8:12 said, "I am the light of the world," the Isaiah 9:1-2 "Great Light"!
      3. Now, that Isaiah 9:1-2 "Great Light" appeared on the scene in Galilee in sharp contrast to Israel's departure from God to seek insight from ungodly spiritual sources like spiritists, cf. Isaiah 8:19!
      4. Because these people had failed to say, "To the law and to the testimony," that is, "To the Bible," there was no "light" in them, Isaiah 8:20. Thus, Israel was left declining into deep darkness, Isaiah 8:21-22.
      5. Only with the coming of God's Ultimate Revelation, Jesus Christ, the "Great Light" Who would come on the scene at Galilee would Hebrews there like John come out of deep darkness into God's "light"!
      6. Well, as the "light" of God's true revelation in His written Word (Isaiah 8:20) is equivalent to the "Great Light" of that revelation in the earthly life of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:1-2), so that Jesus is the Personification of the "Word of God" (Revelation 19:11-13, 14-16), the term "light" in 1 John 1 is that which reveals, "God's special revelation" that illumines His truth, the written Scriptures and Christ!
    3. Accordingly, 1 John 1:5 means God has revealed Himself in His written Word and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in God is nothing that does not align with what is revealed in that Word and Jesus. (John 1:18)
    4. That being so, if we who believe in Christ claim we fellowship with God, but we do what violates God's written Word or what Christ would do, we lie, and do not practice the truth of God, 1 John 1:6; 2:6.
    5. However, if we "walk," that is, if we order our lives in line with the truths revealed in God's written Word and in Christ's earthly life, as God Himself is revealed in these sources of His special revelation, we have spiritual fellowship with God, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (katharizei = present tense; Arndt & Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the N. T., 1967, p. 388) us from all sin, 1 John 1:7.
    6. [Note: the people of Galilee to whom Jesus Christ, God's "Great Light" appeared, "walked in darkness" (Isaiah 9:2a), but John calls us to "walk in the light" (1 John 1:7), not to "walk in darkness" (1 John 1:6). T hus, opposite those who lived apart from Scripture truth in Galilee in Isaiah 8:19-9:2, we must live in alignment with the revelation of God's written Word and the revelation of Christ to fellowship with God!]
Lesson: The true standard of true spiritual fellowship with God is the Person and Work of Jesus Christ revealed in His earthly life and in written Scripture. God fellowships with man in the realm of what is revealed in these sources of special revelation; His fellowship with man is not at all separate from them.

Application: May we align our walk with Christ and Scripture to be sure to enjoy God's true fellowship!