The three letters of John toward the end of the Bible are rich encouragement to the believer. The letters are about fellowship with the Father, Jesus Christ and each other. The Free On-Line Dictionary defines ‘fellowship’ as:
1. a. The condition of sharing similar interests, ideals, or experiences, as by reason of profession, religion, or nationality
b. The companionship of individuals in a congenial atmosphere and on equal terms.
2. A close association of friends or equals sharing similar interests.
3. Friendship; comradeship.
John’s letters are addressed to Christians, not pagans seeking salvation. He makes this quite clear in
I John 2:21:
21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
When reading all three letters, it is important to keep who this is addressed to in mind.We can be a son of God and be out of fellowship with Him. God wants to have a vital spiritual relationship with us. in 1:3-4 it says:
3 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. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
Our joy is to be full! It is one thing to say we are Christian, but it is quite another thing to experience the great pleasure that comes with having an active relationship with God. Throughout these letters, fellowship is the big topic.
In I John I and II, the word ‘abide’ is used over and over (actually 26 times). It is an interesting study and substantiates the point of John’s letters. ‘To abide’ in something means to continue in, to stay in or to remain at. Studying God’s word enables a person to reach for the ‘full joy’ of fellowship. It is a continuing process. We remain at it. An appleseed never produced an apple without first producing roots, stems and leaves. It takes time and staying at it. We produce fruit in just the same way. The fruit is a result of our continuing relationship with God.