The Fellowship of the Chosen: Following Jesus Means Fellowship With His Brethren

Today’s selected reading is found in the first of three New Testament epistles which were written by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters one through five of this New Testament book. When you come to this particular epistle you will find the first of three epistles or letters which the apostle John would write unto the saints and brethren. What’s more, is when you come to the first epistle written by the apostle John you will find the second of five total books he would write throughout and during the course of his life as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. WE have already encountered the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, which was a powerful description of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. We now have before us the first of three epistles written by the apostle John—an epistle which was undoubtedly written unto the saints which were at Ephesus. It is actually quite intriguing and captivating to read the words which are found in this first epistle which was written by the apostle John, for this epistle was on that was written unto the saints and brethren which were at Ephesus to combat a false doctrine and form of teaching during those times known as Gnosticism. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this epistle, for there is a tremendous witness and testimony found and contained within it, as this would be the third epistle so far within the Scripture that was written by one who actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. There has already been the two epistles written by the apostle Peter which was one of the original disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ who walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ while He was in the flesh among us in the earth. In fact, it would be in the second epistle written by the apostle Peter that he even emphasized and spoke quite clearly about his being an eyewitness unto the glory of the Lord Jesus, for he would write and speak of the experience upon the holy mount when Jesus was transfigured before their faces, and when He appeared talking with Moses and Elijah. It would also be on this particular encounter when the voice of the Father would speak from heaven in the midst of a cloud which overshadowed them and declared that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased.

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in this epistle it’s that it was written from the unique vantage point of one who had actually walked with Jesus during the three and a half years He walked upon the earth in the form of physical flesh. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly powerful this truly is, for the witness and testimony which the apostle John had when writing this epistle serves as the foundation and heart of the epistle. It is the witness and testimony the apostle John had while walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ that brings us face to face with the heart and foundation of this epistle—namely, that he was writing from a place of having actually walked with, having actually fellowshipped with, having actually followed, and having actually interacted with the Word which made flesh and dwelt among us. What’s more, is that when and as you read the words which are found within this epistle you cannot and must not separate it from the words which are found in the opening chapter of the gospel narrative which the apostle John wrote concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is when you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the opening chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John that you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous witness and testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ who was the eternal Word and only begotten Son of the living God who took on the form of human flesh, and who dwelt among us. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to this tremendous truth, for it serves as the backdrop for the words which are found in this epistle. Whereas in the gospel narrative the apostle John sought to write and describe Jesus as the eternal Word who walked among us in the form of human flesh, this first epistle which was written by the same epistle was written that men might know how to live and how to walk in response to the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is with this in mind I now invite you to consider the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

            “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as man as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace to face. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. NO man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:1-18).

            We must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this particular section of Scripture, for the words we find in this passage bring us into a place where we recognize and understand that Jesus was the only begotten Son of the Father who took on the form of human flesh that He might walk with and dwell among us. The words which are found in the opening verses of the first chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John bring us face to face where we truly understand that the Word which was in the beginning with God, and the Word which in the beginning was God actually took upon Himself the form of human flesh, and that for thirty-three and a half years the Word of God was present among us in the physical form of human flesh. For thirty-three and a half years the manifestation of the Word of God was present among us within the earth in the form of human flesh as He would spend thirty years among us in obscurity, while spending three and a half years among us in manifestation and demonstration. I continue to think about and be absolutely captivated with and by the fact that when we read the words “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the fact that this doesn’t merely refer to those three and a half years He walked among us in demonstration and manifestation. It would be very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in and with this particular truth that “the Word made flesh and dwelt among us” only refers to the three and a half years Jesus walked among us demonstration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and yet the truth of the matter is that we must needs understand and recognize that there were thirty years when Jesus walked and dwelt among us in the form of human flesh. The Word did not take upon Himself the form of human flesh and dwell among us at the age of thirty when He was publicly revealed and manifested within the earth, and publicly acknowledged by the Father who was in heaven. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand the incredible truth behind this, for the Word became flesh at the incarnation when He was born into this world of the virgin Mary by and through the power, person and presence of the Holy Spirit.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the tremendous truth and power of the Word made flesh and I am brought face to face with the fact that the Word did not take on and put on the form of human flesh at the Jordan River, and/or when He was publicly acknowledged by the living God whose voice would speak from heaven. It would be at the incarnation of Jesus Christ when He was born of the virgin Mary that He would actually have the form of human flesh—and not only this, but I would even argue that He would begin taking on the form of human flesh while still present within the womb of Mary. I would argue and contend that Jesus didn’t even take on the form of human flesh when He came forth and was brought from the womb of Mary into this world, but actually took on the form of human flesh within the womb. We must needs recognize and understand that when Jesus came forth from the womb He would come forth already clothed with that form of human flesh, for He would come forth from the womb as any other infant and any other newborn baby would. What makes this all the more intriguing and captivating is when you think about and consider the fact that the form of human flesh which Jesus would take upon Himself wouldn’t remain in that infant stage, shape or form, but would over the next several years grow and continue to grow until he would actually be in the form of a man who walked among us. Oh how absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would take on and be given the form of human flesh while in the womb of Mary, and when He would come forth from the womb of the woman there in the town of Bethlehem He would indeed be the Word of God which was in the form of human flesh. For the next thirty years that Word would abide, grow and dwell with men in the midst of the earth in obscurity. What adds more weight to this particular truth is when you think about the fact that after Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem he would spend a certain period of time in the land of Egypt with Mary and Joseph while they waited for the death of Herod who had sought to kill Him. Upon the death of Herod Joseph would take Mary and the child unto Galilee and would abide in the city of Nazareth where Jesus would dwell and abide with those in the city of Nazareth.

            I am absolutely gripped, astonished and captivated with the fact that when we read the first epistle which was written by the apostle John we must needs recognize and understand that it was an epistle that was written by one who had walked with and followed the Word which was made flesh for three and a half years after He had been publicly manifested in the earth. It would be after Jesus would be baptized by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan River, and it would be after Jesus would return from the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit that He would indeed and would in fact begin being publicly manifested unto and among men. For the next three and a half years Jesus the Christ would walk among men as the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. For thirty years Jesus was perceived and known as the son of Joseph, and yet after the voice of the Father spoke from the midst of heaven He would begin to be known as “the Son of the living God.” Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely incredible this truly is, for you will find Jesus beginning to walk and move among men in the earth as the eternal Son of God. For the apostle John he never knew Jesus as the perceived and assumed son of Joseph the carpenter of Nazareth, for he only knew Jesus as the eternal Son of God who had come down from heaven and from the Father. During those three and a half years the apostle John—together with the other eleven disciples—knew and understood Jesus as the only begotten Son of the living God, and that Jesus was not only the Christ, but was also the Son of the Father who was in heaven. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely wonderful and incredible this truly is when you think about and consider it, for it brings us face to face with the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ during those three and a half years, and how the apostle John and the other disciples would have known Jesus.

            The more I think about and consider the truth surrounding this awesome and powerful reality the more I am brought face to face with the fact that for three and a half years—as the apostle John walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ with the other eleven disciples—Jesus would be known as the Son of the living God, and with God as His Father. Oh how absolutely wonderful and incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it presents with an awesome and wonderful truth that during those three and a half years the apostle John walked with and followed Jesus—not as the son of Joseph the carpenter from Nazareth, but as the eternal Son of God. For three and a half years the apostle John would walk together in fellowship—not only with the other eleven disciples, but would also walk in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in the four gospel narratives which were written by the gospel authors it’s that not only did the disciples walk together in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, but the disciples also walked together in fellowship with each other. If there is one thing we must needs understand and realize when reading the words written and recorded concerning the public life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ it’s that while walking and following Jesus—not only were the disciples walking in fellowship with Jesus Himself, but by and through walking in fellowship with Him they were walking in fellowship with one another. Stop for a moment and think about the tremendous significance and importance of this, for it reveals and brings us face to face with something we must needs realize and understand. Oh we must needs realize and recognize that when we walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ—it is not merely about us walking and fellowshipping with Jesus alone. There would be those who would like to think that walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ is simply and solely about walking in fellowship together with Him, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. We dare not and must not allow ourselves to get caught up in believing this lie and deception, for it can and will hinder our ability to truly fellowship with those whom the Lord has called us to walk in fellowship with.

            If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider when reading the words which are found in the four gospel narratives written concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ—and not only these gospel narratives, but also the first epistle which was written by the apostle John—it’s that when we make the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ we are making the conscious and deliberate decision to walk with and fellowship with others. In fact, I would dare say that you cannot truly walk with, follow, and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ and not also at the same time walk and fellowship with others. Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that Jesus’ invitation given unto James and John, as well as unto Simon and Andrew, and unto the other eight disciples wasn’t merely an invitation to walk with and follow Him, but it was also an invitation to walk with and fellowship with one another. It would be very easy to read the four gospel narratives written concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and get caught up in the fact that the disciples simply and solely walked with the Lord Jesus Christ alone, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ is also a wonderful and powerful invitation and extension of walking with and fellowshipping with one another. Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that we cannot truly walk with the Lord Jesus Christ alone and not at the same time walk with His brethren, and walk with others. Despite how often and how much we would like to try and refute this particular claim and idea we dare not and must not try to make this separation. What’s more, is that I would dare say that if we are not walking with the brethren of Christ—how can we truly say we are even walking with the Lord Jesus Christ? If we are unwilling to walk with the brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ in this life then how on earth can we truly say that we are even walking with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself?

            As you read the words which the apostle John wrote unto the saints and brethren you will find him writing and expressing an awful lot about fellowship with the living and eternal God—and not only fellowship with the living and eternal God, but also fellowship with each other. What’s more, is that the apostle John seemed to draw this intrinsic link and connection between our fellowship with the living God and our fellowship with each other, for the apostle John saw absolutely no distinction between the two. For the apostle John—walking with the Lord Jesus Christ was just as much walking with and following Him as it was walking with and walking among brethren. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand just how absolutely wonderful and powerful this truth is, for I am becoming absolutely and completely convinced that we cannot and must not think that we are truly and indeed walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ if we are unwilling and unable to walk with and fellowship with His brethren. Tell me dear sister, tell me dear brother—how can you truly say you are walking with and fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus Christ if you are unable and unwilling to walk with and fellowship with His brethren? For the disciples—their walking with the Lord Jesus the Christ automatically signified and meant they would walk with each other, for it was impossible to separate their walking with Christ and Christ from His disciples. Oh we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this, for the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ meant more than simply walking with Jesus alone, for there was no disciple who walked and followed the Lord Jesus alone. THERE WAS NO DISCIPLE WHO WALKED WITH JESUS ALONE! THERE WAS NO DISCIPLE WHO FOLLOWED JESUS ALONE! The more you read the gospel narratives the more you will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth that walking with Jesus inevitably and undeniably meant walking with others—and not only walking with the other disciples, but also the various crowds of people who would indeed walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that there would be seventy others whom the Lord would appoint to carry out and continue His ministry within the cities of Judaea and Galilee, and that walking with and fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus Christ would mean—(1) walking with and following Jesus, (2) walking and fellowshipping with the other disciples, and (3) walking and fellowshipping with those who would also make the decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I am sitting here thinking about and considering this truly awesome and powerful truth and I am brought face to face with the reality that no one has ever, nor should anyone every try to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ alone. We must needs realize and recognize that walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ does not happen in a vacuum, nor does it take place in a bubble. There would be those who would like to think that they can walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ alone without and apart from walking with others, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. There are those among us who think, feel and believe they can walk with the Lord Jesus the Christ without and apart from walking with His brethren, and without walking and fellowshipping with those who are also walking with and following Him. The truth of the matter, however, is that this simply is not the case, for the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ is one that ultimately and inevitably means that we are walking with others. If and as you read the four gospel narratives which were written concerning the public life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ you will be brought face to face with the absolutely wonderful and remarkable truth that there was no single disciple who walked with and followed Jesus alone, and that even when James and John were called to walk with follow the Lord Jesus the Christ they were called to follow together. Oh how absolutely marvelous and incredible it is to think about and consider the words which are found in the gospel narratives written concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, for within them we find the disciples walking with and fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus, yes—however, we also find the disciples walking and fellowshipping with each other.

            WALKING WITH JESUS MEANS WALKING WITH EACH OTHER! Oh the more I think about and consider this truly astonishing and captivating truth the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth that our decision to walk with Jesus invariably and inevitably means our walking with each other. It is absolutely impossible to walk with and follow Jesus and not at the same time walk and fellowship with His brethren and with His saints, disciples and followers. If and as you read the four gospel narratives which were written concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus the Christ you will find that the decision the disciples made to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus would also be a decision to walk with and fellowship one with another. WALKING WITH AND FOLLOWING JESUS! WALKING WITH AND FELLOWSHIPPING ONE WITH ANOTHER! WALKING WITH JESUS—FOLLOWING JESUS, FELLOWSHIPPING WITH EACH OTHER! I am absolutely blown away with and by just how much this is something that sorely and completely missed among us within many of our churches and Christians circles, for there are men and women who think and believe they can walk with and follow the Lord Jesus alone. What’s more, is that for the longest time even I myself thought and believed this was possible. There was a point within my life when I thought I could walk with and follow Jesus alone by myself without and apart from others who also walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand when reading the four gospel narratives which were written concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ it’s that the decision the twelve disciples made to walk with and follow Jesus was also a decision to walk with and fellowship one with another. Not only this, but I would also argue and contend that walking with Jesus was just as much about following Him as it was fellowshipping with each other. I would contend and argue that walking with the Lord Jesus Christ in this life would require following Him as much as it would fellowshipping with each other, and that no man could say they were truly walking with and following the Lord Jesus if they were not fellowshipping with each other. We dare not, we cannot and must not seek to draw a dividing line of separation between our walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ and our fellowship with the brethren, for any and every invitation to walk with and follow Jesus is also an invitation to walk with and fellowship with the brethren.

            Upon reading the words which are found in the first epistle which was written by the apostle John you will find him emphatically inviting the saints and brethren to not only walk with and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, but also walk with and fellowship with each other. Perhaps one of the greatest silver linings and currents that runs through this epistle is the invitation—not only to walk with and fellowship one with another, but also loving one another. You dare not, you cannot and must not read the words found in this epistle and not encounter just how absolutely necessary it is for us to walk in fellowship one with another, and in the process of walking in fellowship with each other—also loving one another. In fact, it would be within this epistle the apostle John would write and ask his audience how they could say they loved the living God whom they cannot and do not see if they cannot love their brother whom they do see. For the apostle John there was absolutely no distinction, nor was there any separation that would exist between our loving the Lord our God, and our loving our brother(s) and sister(s). When the apostle John wrote this first epistle he sought to bring his readers and his audience into a truly wonderful and remarkable place where they realized and understood that they could not say they loved the Lord their God without and apart from loving their brother. For the apostle John—if you could not, if you did not, and if you would not love your brother whom you saw and interacted with on a daily basis, you cannot, and perhaps even dare not say that you love the Lord God whom you cannot see.

            The more I read the words which are found within this particular epistle the more I cannot help but think about and consider this truth concerning our decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus, and how that decision invariably and inevitably invites us into that place where we walk with and fellowship with the saints and brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ. Any and every decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ is a wonderful and powerful invitation to also at the same time walk and fellowship with the saints and brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely necessary this truth truly is, for just as the apostle John wrote and asked how we can say we love God whom we do not see when we cannot love our brother whom we do see, so I would also argue and ask how we can say we are walking and fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus whom we cannot and do not see if we cannot walk and fellowship with our brethren whom we do see. What’s more, is that I would wholeheartedly and without reservation declare that there are countless men and women among us within many of our churches who think and believe they can indeed and can in fact walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ without and apart from a willingness to walk with and fellowship with the saints and brethren who are before and all around us. There are countless men and women among us in this life who think that they can somehow separate and segregate walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ from walking with and fellowshipping with the saints and brethren of Christ here upon the earth. Oh dear reader—how can you claim to have fellowship with the Head if you detach yourself from the body which is joined together and connected with and to the head? There are countless men and women among us who claim fellowship with the Head of the Church which is the Lord Jesus the Christ, and yet they somehow think they can do so without and apart from being connected to the body of Christ here within and here upon the earth. Oh I am convinced that just as we cannot separate the body from the Head, so also we cannot separate ourselves from the body. If we would seek to be joined to the spiritual Head of the Church which is the Lord Jesus Christ, then we must also needs be connected and joined together with the spiritual body of the Jesus here within and upon the earth.

            Oh the first epistle which was written by the apostle John is one that is truly astonishing and remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for within it is an open and honest invitation given unto us to walk with and fellowship with the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ just as much as we would walk and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the body without the Head cannot survive within and upon the earth, so also the members of the body cannot seek or hope to survive without the other members of the body. Oh it is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the gospel narrative(s) concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus, as well as this first epistle written by the apostle John, for each of them bring us face to face with the absolutely wonderful and fascinating truth that our decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus without a doubt also invites us to walk with and fellowship with His brethren. Oh, how can we say we are willing to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet not walk with His brethren? How can we say we are willing to follow Jesus if we are not willing to fellowship with His brethren? Think about what the gospels would have been like if Thomas declared unto Jesus that He was willing to walk with Him, but he didn’t want to walk with Matthew. What would the gospels have been like if James and John declared unto Jesus that they would walk with and follow Him, but they did not want to walk with Thaddeus or Judas? Oh how drastically different the four gospels would indeed be if any of the disciples sought to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet they perhaps wanted to walk with Him without any of the other disciples.

            WALKING WITH CHRIST, YET BEING SELECTIVE ON WHO YOU WALK WITH! FOLLOWING CHRIST, YET BEING SELECTIVE ON WHO YOU FELLOWSHIP WITH! I am sitting here this morning thinking about and considering this truth surrounding our walking with and following the Lord Jesus, and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that more often than not our walking with and following Him does not mean we get to choose who we walk with. If and as you read the four gospel narratives written by the gospel authors you will find that when the twelve disciples made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ they did not get to choose who they followed Jesus and walked with. James and John weren’t invited to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus and then given the choice as to who they would walk with together with Him. Nowhere in the four gospels will you find it written that the disciples who made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus were also at the same time given the ability to choose whom they would walk with and follow Jesus with. There is absolutely no place within the four gospels when you will find Jesus inviting the disciples to walk with and follow Him, and then at the same time allowing them to choose who walked with and among them. I am absolutely convinced that we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this, for our walking with and our following the Lord Jesus the Christ does not mean we have the license, nor are given the choice to decide who we are willing to walk with in this life. When James and John, Simon and Andrew, Matthew and Thomas, and the other disciples made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ they would ultimately and inevitably make the decision to walk with and fellowship with the other disciples who were also chosen to walk with Him. What’s more, is that nowhere in any of the four gospels do you and will you find those original disciples being given the ability and opportunity to choose and decide who would accompany them as they walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. It was Jesus and Jesus alone who would choose and determine who would actually walk with and follow Him, and the disciples were never given the chance, nor were they every given the opportunity to be selective on who they would walk with as they followed the Lord Jesus.

            It is truly something worth noting and pointing out when reading the words which are found in the four gospels that when the disciples made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ they chose to walk and fellowship with those other disciples whom the Lord would choose. When the disciples made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ they would also make the decision to walk with and fellowship with all those among the crowds and multitudes who would also choose to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus. There was absolutely no place in any of the four gospel narratives where you find the disciples being given the choice to be selective on who among them they would and could walk and follow Jesus with. The disciples would make their decision and choose to accept the invitation given by the Lord Jesus Christ to follow Him, and it would be that decision they made to walk with follow Him that would require them to walk with the other disciples who were also chosen. WALKING WITH THE CHOSEN, WALKING WITH THE BRETHREN! Oh it is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the gospel narratives that when the disciples made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ they made the decision to walk with those other who were chosen, and to walk with those others who were considered the brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh how absolutely necessary and critical it is to recognize, understand and get this down deep within our spirit, for if and when we do it can and will dramatically alter how we do church, how we be the church, and how we interact with the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ in this life.

            The more I read and consider the words which are found within the first epistle which was written by the apostle John unto the saints and brethren the more I am brought face to face with the incredible truth that it is centered around and centered upon walking with the Lord Jesus Christ and walking with His brethren. This particular epistle is not only centered upon our fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is also centered upon our fellowship with the brethren of Christ. There is absolutely no way we can, nor is there any way we should expect to separate fellowship with Christ from fellowship with the brethren, for fellowship with the brethren is indeed a direct manifestation and expression of our fellowship with Christ. In fact, this is precisely what the apostle John was writing about when writing this epistle, for as the apostle John wrote this epistle He would seek to invite the saints and brethren into a place where their fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ would indeed and would ultimately lead to that place where they would learn to experience and walk in fellowship one with another. Oh how truly astonishing and powerful it is to think about and consider this reality and truth, for it brings us face to face with one of the realities that is so absolutely critical within many of our churches and within many of our Christian circles. I am absolutely and completely convinced that this first epistle written by the apostle John unto the saints and brethren—while it would begin with a testimony and witness of his own personal experience and encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ—would ultimately and inevitably be about the saints and brethren learning how to operate in fellowship and community with each other. You cannot read this epistle without encountering and coming face to face with the invitation to fellowship—and not only fellowship, but also the invitation to love. What’s more, is that we cannot, we dare not and must not seek to separate fellowship from love and love from fellowship, for the two are intrinsically linked and connected to each other. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely critical and vital this is within our hearts and lives, for we must needs realize and recognize that our fellowship with Christ most certainly means fellowship with the brethren, and our love for Christ most certainly means our love for the brethren.

            HOW CAN YOU SAY YOU HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST AND NOT HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH THE BRETHREN? HOW CAN YOU SAY YOU LOVE CHRIST AND NOT LOVE THE BRETHREN? I am absolutely and completely convinced that how we answer these questions can indeed and will in fact directly confront how live our lives within this life upon the earth. We must needs recognize and understand that our fellowship with Christ, and our love for Christ cannot, must not and should not be separated from our fellowship with the body and brethren of Christ. What’s more, is that we must needs realize and recognize that our love for Christ—or the love we say and profess we have for Christ—cannot and must not be separated from our love for His body and for His brethren. Our fellowship with Christ and our fellowship with the body and brethren are absolutely and intrinsically linked and connected with other in the same way and in the same manner as our love for Christ and our love for the body and brethren are linked and connected with each other. With this being said I would dare say the greater our fellowship with Christ is the greater our fellowship with the brethren is and must be. Not only this, but I would also dare state that the greater our love for Christ is the greater our love for the brethren is and should be. We dare not and must not say that we have fellowship with Christ if we cannot have fellowship with His body and His brethren. We dare not, we must not and we ought not say that we love Christ if we cannot also at the same time say—and not only say, but also mean—that we love the brethren. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first and opening chapter of this epistle which was written by the apostle John:

            “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us) 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. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:1-10).

            THAT YE ALSO MAY HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH US! OUR FELLOWSHIP IS WITH THE FATHER, AND WITH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST! IF WE SAY THAT WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM! WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP ONE WITH ANOTHER! Oh please don’t miss the words which are found in this opening chapter of the epistle which was written by the apostle John, for it brings us face to face with the truly awesome and powerful truth that from the very start and beginning of the epistle there is this intrinsic link between the witness and testimony the apostle John had having walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the brethren together with him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely tremendous and necessary it is to read the words which are found in the opening chapter of this epistle, for what we find in the opening chapter of this epistle is the apostle John writing of his personal experience walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is from that place of having walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ that he was able to walk with and fellowship with the saints and brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that I would dare say that it was precisely because the apostle John was able to not only walk with and follow Jesus, but also walk with and fellowship with the other disciples that he was able to walk with and fellowship with the saints and brethren which were present within the churches throughout Judaea and Samaria—and not only within and throughout those churches, but the churches which were present within and throughout what was known of Asia and Europe. It was the apostle John walking and fellowshipping with the other disciples that enabled him to be able to have fellowship and walk with the saints and brethren in the midst of the churches which were present in the earth. What’s more, is that in the third verse you will find that it was the witness and testimony of walking with and following the Lord Jesus that enabled and caused the apostle John to invite the saints and brethren into that place of fellowship—and not only fellowship with him, but also fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

            If there is one thing we must needs understand it’s that the fellowship the apostle John had with the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship which the apostle John had with the other disciples brought him into the place where he would extend that fellowship unto and among the saints and brethren which were found within the churches. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for what we find in the third verse is a powerful picture of the apostle John declaring unto the saints and brethren that which they had seen and heard—and not only this, but this declaration of what was seen and heard had a very specific reason and purpose behind it. Oh we have a great need within our hearts and our lives to recognize and understand that our fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ stands and serves as a powerful invitation unto the saints and brethren to have fellowship with us—and not only their having fellowship with us, but also our having fellowship with them. We must needs realize and understand when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture that the witness and testimony of fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ extends into and unto a place where we invite others into fellowship with us—a fellowship with the brethren, a fellowship with the eternal Son, and a fellowship with the eternal Father. You will notice in the third verse of this opening chapter that there are three distinct manifestations of fellowship in the earth—fellowship with the brethren, fellowship with the Son, and fellowship with the Father. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand just how absolutely necessary and critical this truly is when speaking of fellowship, for fellowship is about more than simply fellowship with the Son and with the Father, but also fellowship with the brethren, and fellowship with the saints and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider how the witness and testimony of walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ would ultimately and inevitably lead to a place of fellowship with the saints and brethren—and not only with the saints and brethren, but also with the Father and the Son.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture that walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ not only meant the apostle John would walk with and fellowship with the other disciples, which would include his own brother James, but it would also mean the apostle John would walk together in fellowship with the saints and brethren within and among the churches that had been established in the earth. Oh how absolutely remarkable it is to think about and consider how walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ inevitably and ultimately leads us—or I might say that it should lead us into the place where we walk with and fellowship with the saints and brethren. We dare not and must not ignore and overlook this truth, for it is absolutely necessary and critical when we think and speak about fellowship with the eternal Father and the only begotten Son. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we cannot and must not state that we have fellowship with the eternal Son and the eternal Father if we cannot also at the same time say that we have, and that we are willing to have fellowship with the saints and brethren in the midst of the churches. Try and try as hard as we may to separate fellowship with the Son and fellowship with the Father from fellowship with the brethren we must needs realize and recognize that they are absolutely and intrinsically linked and connected to and with each other. We must not make any mistake about it, for any fellowship we say we have with the Son must also include with it fellowship with His brethren, and fellowship with the saints and with the brethren. What’s more, is that it is within this opening chapter where the apostle John also goes on to write that if we say we have fellowship with the Father and with the Son and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. In other words, we cannot and must not say that we have fellowship with the Father and fellowship with the Son and yet choose to continue to walk in darkness. The apostle John drew a distinct and intrinsic link and connection between our fellowship with the living and eternal Father and Son and our choosing to either walk in the light or walking in the darkness. We must needs realize and understand that if we say we have fellowship with the eternal Son and the Father we must also have fellowship with the saints and the brethren. What’s more, is that if we say we have fellowship with the eternal Son and the Father we dare not and must not walk in darkness, for we lie and do not the truth.

            Upon continuing to read the words which are found in this first epistle written by the apostle John we find ourselves encountering the absolutely wonderful and incredible truth concerning what this fellowship with the eternal Son truly does indeed and does in fact look like—and not only what it looks like, but how it is manifested in our relationship with the Father, as well as with our relationship with the brethren. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—it is absolutely necessary that we understand that our relationship and our fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ directly impacts our fellowship with the Father, as well as our relationship with the brethren. If you want to truly understand the link that exists between our fellowship with the Father and our fellowship with the brethren you must needs look no further than our fellowship and relationship with the Son. It is the eternal Son and only begotten of the Father that truly enables us walk in fellowship with the Father, as well as walking in fellowshipping with the brethren. We as the saints and brethren must needs recognize and understand that at the very heart and center of our fellowship with the Father is the eternal and only begotten Son, and that at the very heart and center of our fellowship with the brethren is the eternal and only begotten Son. It is through the Son that we are able to have fellowship with the Father, and it is through the Son that we are able to have fellowship with the brethren. As surely as Jesus emphatically declared that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that no man comes unto the Father but by Him, so also must we recognize and understand that Jesus is the way into and unto the brethren. Just as surely as no man can come unto the Father but by the Lord Jesus Christ, so also can no man come unto the brethren but by the Lord Jesus. There would be those who would think and believe they can come unto the body by and through another way other than the gate and door of the sheep which is the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet the truth of the matter is that Jesus is the way, Jesus is the entrance, Jesus is the access, and Jesus is the invitation unto and into the body. In all reality, I would dare say that no man and no woman comes unto and comes unto the body apart from and without coming through the Head. It is absolutely impossible for any man or woman to come unto and into the body without coming through the Head, for it is only the Head that grants access.

            The apostle Paul would write about false brethren which sought to enter into and invade the churches that they might spy out the liberty they had in Christ, and Jesus spoke how in the last days there would be many who would come in His name declaring themselves to be Christ, and I am absolutely and completely convinced there are men and women among us who will attempt to invade and infiltrate the body of Christ without and apart from coming through and by the Head. The truth of the matter is that we must needs recognize and understand that no man and no woman can come into or unto the body of Christ without and apart from the Head of the body which is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who no only unites the body of Christ, but it is also Jesus that is the entry way into and unto the body of Christ. Oh there are many who feel as though they can come unto and enter into the body of Christ without and apart from the eternal Son who is the Head of the body, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not and cannot be the case. It is absolutely necessary and critical that we understand that Jesus who is the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father is indeed the door, the way, and the invitation into and unto the body of Christ and unto the brethren. Not only is Jesus the Head of the body, but Jesus is also the bond that holds and keeps the body together. Without the Head that is the person of Jesus Christ the body cannot and does not exist within and upon the earth. What’s more is that I would also dare say without the Head and apart from the person and power of the Holy Spirit the spiritual body which is present within and upon the earth cannot exist the way it was designed, created, ordained, appointed and chosen to. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand just how absolutely necessary this is, for it helps us to truly understand the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by the apostle John unto these saints and brethren:

            “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our sonly, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do now that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:1-11).

            HE THAT LOVETH HIS BROTHER ABIDETH IN THE LIGHT! HE THAT HATETH HIS BROTHER IS IN DARKNESS, AND WALKETH IN DARKNESS! Oh dear brother, oh dear sister, please do not miss the awesome and incredible truth that is found within these verses, for the apostle John emphatically declares that if we love our brother we truly and indeed walk in the light, however, if we hate our brother we are not only in darkness, but we also walk in darkness. What’s more, is that those who love their brother have no occasion of stumbling in them, but those who hate their brother know not where they go because the darkness has blinded their eyes. Pause for a moment and think about how incredibly challenging this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for the apostle John directly links spiritual blindness to our hatred of our brother—and not only this, but the apostle also links it to being in darkness, and walking in darkness. Not only this, but it is that darkness which we walk in that blinds us and keeps us from walking in the true Light which is the Light of all men. Oh it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the words that are found in this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with just how incredibly important our fellowship with the Son truly is—and not only how incredibly important our fellowship with the Son is, but also how that fellowship with the Son is directly linked and connected to our fellowship with the Son and with the brethren. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for it confronts our willingness to be those who walk in fellowship with the saints and the brethren, for we cannot say that we walk in fellowship with the Son if we do not walk in fellowship in fellowship with the brethren. Moreover, we cannot say that we walk in fellowship with the Father if we do not walk in fellowship with the Son. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to this, for it brings us face to face with just how incredibly important our fellowship with the Son truly is, for all fellowship in this life—whether fellowship with the Son or fellowship with the brethren—is directly linked and intrinsically connected to that fellowship. It is Jesus who is both the Way unto the Father, as well as the Way into the body which is the Church. Oh how absolutely necessary it is to realize and understand this, for if and when we do it dramatically alters and transforms every are and part of our life and how we conduct ourselves in this life. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle beginning to read with and from the twelfth verse:

I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because he know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye shall also continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him” (1 John 2:12-29).

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