1 John 1:3 “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” The experiences of the last months have caused me to think of this verse many times and especially the words, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” That is a fellowship that cannot be taken away from us; it is true spiritual fellowship. It is the fellowship that John knew from the time he began to walk with Jesus and right through his life and when he was on the Isle of Patmos.
We can know many social gatherings here on the earth and maybe even enjoy ourselves at them, but they come to an end. The fellowship we know with our Father and with His Son Jesus Christ will know no end, it is eternal. The days we have spent in isolation have confirmed that to us. John saw it there on the Isle and it was a wonderful revelation he received. He sent it to those seven churches in Asia and they would have understood how much John cared for them and more than that how much the Father cared for them. That message was sent to them because God had said ‘send it.’ We have known days of isolation, but in those days, our Father has cared for us and maybe, if we have drawn closer to Him in those days, we have come to understand that He cares for us even more than we realised before.
Our Father in heaven wants us to understand the fellowship we have with Him and His Son is like the fellowship we have one with another. In Genesis 22 we read of Abraham and Isaac. A father and a son on earth having fellowship like God in heaven was having with His Son. Abraham was God’s friend and God wanted Abraham to understand about the fellowship He had with His Son. We read of God asking Abraham to offer his son; He was showing Abraham this is what I will do, my Son will be offered. Abraham didn’t question, he obeyed God. As a result, there were wonderful blessings that came. There is still blessing in obedience to God today more than we can ever comprehend, and more than we can receive. As Abraham and Isaac climbed that mountain that day Abraham was walking in fellowship with God. As they came down from that mountain, they were both walking in fellowship with God and with His Son. Abraham knew, as he came down from that mountain: ‘God knows I love Him.’ Isaac knew, as he came down, God has made wonderful provision for me, the lamb has died for me. Is our relationship with God such that we know God knows we love Him? Do we understand that Jesus, the Lamb of God has died for us and is risen and intercedes for us?
Parents want to give the best to their children and that is very good. Abraham would have been no different in seeking the best for Isaac and God showed him what was the best. It doesn’t seem that way to our human thinking, but we do not do children any favours if we hold them back from sacrifice. God did not hold back His Son, Jesus Christ from sacrifice and if He had done so, we would not have the hope of the resurrection today. Abraham did not hold back Isaac from sacrifice and in that experience, he learned of the wonderful provision of God. It was seen on the mount (the highest place). The highest place we can take our children to is the place of sacrifice. It is the best we can do for the children.
The sacrifice Abraham made that day did not begin on the mountain, it had begun many years before, Isaac already understood there needed to be a lamb. How did he know that because Abraham had been sacrificing lambs every time he worshipped, Isaac had seen it. All the preparation that day was about sacrifice. There would have been other things planned, they were put aside, today God has called and we are going to worship. Those things that were put aside, may have been very important to Abraham, maybe even to Isaac, but God had spoken, that was more important.
The things of this life are never more important than the things of God.
Abraham never said God doesn’t understand. God well understood and still understands today. He wants us to share in fellowship with Him and that means going through the same experiences and going through them together.
Hebrews 11:19. “Accounting God was able to raise him up.” Tells us of the wonderful faith Abraham had in that experience. Just as God would raise His Son, Abraham trusted God, and Isaac was in better care in the hand and will of God, than he was in Abraham’s care. God had a friend in Abraham, but Abraham had a better friend in God!
We don’t know how old Isaac was at this time, old enough to carry wood, old enough to ask about the lamb. To see the lamb and understand the provision of God we don’t have to be very old. The emblems in the meeting we see, and do we know what they mean? Why are they there? Why do we partake of them? Do children ever ask those questions? Isaac asked where is the lamb? He and Abraham were going to worship: where is the lamb? Isaac knew the lamb was part of worship. In Revelation, we read of worship and the Lamb is there, it is part of worship.
The angels, the elders, the beasts, they worshipped the Lamb because the Lamb had been sacrificed and had risen and lives forever. ‘Worthy is the Lamb’ and God wants us to have a part in singing that song. It has to come from our heart, it has to be part of our experience here on earth, if we are going to be able to sing that song in eternity.
The seven churches in Revelation were not perfect, some of them were far from it, but the Lord had a message for them. It was an individual message. They were all given a little glimpse of the Son of God or the Lamb of God and then they were shown themselves. For some of them the picture of themselves was not a very pleasing picture but there was hope for them, if they would repent. As they came to the place of repentance, they would know forgiveness and could enter into worship. We see ourselves sometimes and wonder if there is any hope and there is hope. Our Lord stands ready to forgive, to wash us, to cleanse us so that we can see His Son again and worship. We come like that knowing His forgiveness and cleansing, then we have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
John was alone there on that island, and leaving the servants, Abraham and Isaac journeyed alone, to the place God had chosen. God has blessing to pour out on those that come apart alone with Him. Jesus said, “Your Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” To get that reward we need to get into the secret place. Our experiences of the last months may have helped us to value this even more. Jesus gave us an example of it and we read of Him going apart to pray. We can shun the lonely experiences, but if we have a relationship with God that is strong, if it is a father to son relationship where God could even look on us as His friend, we will find blessing in the lonely experiences. Maybe to us, those experiences won’t even seem lonely. We have Fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
As we come to know a deeper fellowship with God, we understand just how much God has to give to us, how much He is able to do for us. There is no limit to the power of God and there is no lack of bread for our soul in the storehouse of God. We wonder how can we get there, how can we become partakers of such a bountiful provision? Jesus said, “No man cometh to the Father but by me.” God saw to it that we have access to this provision through His Son Jesus Christ. It is there for us and Jesus came so that we could have it for ourselves. In this fellowship with the Father and with His Son we get to partake of that provision. It would be very sad for us if we were to think of all the provision God has made and it is out of my reach. If we don’t receive the Son, it is out of our reach because there is no other way to the Father.
When we think of those seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 some of them could almost have felt that way, some of them may have even been deceiving themselves, like the church at Laodicea. The very thing they thought they had, they didn’t have. They were not lacking in self-confidence, but they were lacking in humility, they failed the test of self-examination, they had not stood in the Light of the Lord and all that they thought they had and didn’t have. They could have had it if they were in true fellowship with God. We can get like that and God is still the same kind merciful God that He was to those Laodicean people and calls us to repentance. The Lord stands at the door and knocks, Jesus the Son of God came, that we may have access to the provision of heaven and His forgiveness.
We think of these messages and wonder would any not repent? Would any not want to come and partake with the Father and His Son of this sweet fellowship? When we look to ourselves, maybe the answer is not so clear, maybe there comes a little self-justification. The question ‘Why?’ comes into it. That question ‘Why’ was never mentioned in the story of Abraham going to offer Isaac. Why should I? Why me? does not bring us into the blessing of God.
Those questions don’t bring us into fellowship with God. They are questions that leave the Son standing outside, like we read He was there outside at Laodicea. Sometimes, sadly it may have been that way with us, but we are glad for the mercy of God and the Lord knocks at the door of our heart. We read there in that 3rd chapter of Revelation of the invitation “If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and sup with him and he with me.” That was fellowship and if we open the door to Jesus, we have fellowship with Him and with His Father. All that was lacking before would be provided. We rob ourselves of so much, when we do not receive Jesus, when we feel something in His Word doesn’t or shouldn’t apply to us, when we feel we are sufficient of ourselves or that we know better than He knows. No one can afford to miss the blessings of fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. That is the place of great blessing and we can know it here on the earth.
The fellowship we have with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ begins here on the earth. It begins, when we receive the message of the Gospel, as John wrote of “what we have seen and heard.” We can never expect to have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ in eternity if we do not have it on earth. That would be like trying to have fellowship with a complete stranger. When Jesus spoke of His return in Matt. 25, He spoke of the wise and the foolish. The foolish heard the words “I know you not”. They were not in fellowship with the bridegroom, so the door was shut. They had kept the door of their heart shut while they lived. They had made themselves appear to others that they were ready, but the Lord didn’t know them. Sadly, they would have known that if the bridegroom comes at night, I will be found wanting, I will be in the darkness. We can’t afford to leave to chance our salvation. It is foolish to neglect the wonderful provision of God for us. The foolish would never have fitted into that gathering that day, because they did not know the bridegroom and the bridegroom did not know them.
A little later in that chapter, Matt. 25 we read of the shepherd dividing the sheep from the goats. The sheep would hear the shepherd’s voice and they would know that voice because they had been with the shepherd and they trusted the shepherd. When we have fellowship with God and with His Son we know His voice, when we are His friend we know His voice and when He speaks, we know He is speaking for our benefit. This fellowship prepares us for the fellowship we will have in eternity, it is with the same Father, the same Son. We would not feel very comfortable if we came there and did not know Him and if He did not know us. The foolish had lived that way and found they had no place with Him.
In Revelation we read of worship and of those that worshipped. Abraham spoke of worship that day as he went to offer his son. Worship belongs to God and to His Son, they alone are worthy to receive it. It is robbery to be found worshipping anything here on the earth or anyone here on the earth except God and His Son. We will never be able to enter into the Spirit of worship to God in eternity, if we have never entered into it here on the earth. It will be a wonderful thing though to have a part with the throng that John saw worshipping in Revelation 5. Heaven saw the Lamb alone was worthy, and on earth, we need to see the Lamb alone is worthy.
Abraham told Isaac: “God will provide himself a lamb.” As Isaac came down from that mountain, from that wonderful experience, he would have known: ‘Today that ram died for me, he took my place.’ We consider the Son, the Lamb of God and remember. He took my place. He died for me. Could we have a friend who has done more for us? If we could only think of this more, we would look forward to fellowship with Him, we would never let the things of earth and time, or the things that appeal to our human nature rob us of that fellowship. We would be looking and waiting for His return, so that we could have this fellowship for eternity without having to be cumbered with the needs of life here on the earth. In that day we would hear the voice of the one we know, and He will find us walking in the light. We won’t be asked ‘How did we come here?’ because it will be clear that we are His friend even as Abraham was God’s friend.
From the creation, God had intended man would have fellowship with Him, that is why man was created in the image of God. Man was without sin and God had fellowship with him, but sin came and it separated man from that fellowship, he was ashamed and there was nothing he could do to hide that shame. God made provision when man, in his shame came, and confessed to Him. God still wants to have fellowship with us and to do that He has made provision to take away our sin, if we will come to Him, confess and forsake our sin. This fellowship we enter into on earth continues to eternity it is the fellowship of the forgiven with the forgiver, the redeemed with their redeemer.
May we value it, and may we seek a deeper, sweeter fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.