We are working through 1st John to ask what it really means to be a Christian.  Last week, we saw that a true follower of Jesus “lives in the light,” which means, at the very least, accepting the authority of God as THE authority in your life.  What’s next? 1 John 1:7 reads,

7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

It is interesting to me that the first consequence of walking in the light is “fellowship with one another.”But what does that mean? We tend to define fellowship as time Christians with coffee and donuts. But the Greek word means “participator” or one who shares in or an equal partner in the community.

So, if true Christian Community is defined by the worship of the one true God, acceptance of one another as family, giving help to those in need and spreading the Gospel, then “fellowship with one another” means we all participate in this and pull our equal share.

So that means, a true Christian does not sit at home and watch Joel Osteen or whatever.  A true Christian joins a community that accepts God’s authority, worships, accepts all, helps all, and spread the Gospel as defined by God’s Word.

That means true churches will be filled with people who we won’t like and even get on our nerves.  So, we will have conflict.  Heck, the only thing keeping a lot of churches together is a lack of communication.

But this is nothing new.  When Jesus chose His 12 disciples he chose both Matthew the Roman tax collector and Simon the Zealot! The two had to hate each other! Matthew may have kept one eye on Simon while sleeping.  After all, inviting those two to come together would be like inviting Majmoud the former Al Qaeda terrorist to a weekend retreat with Isaac the former Israeli soldier!  Yet, even before the resurrection, the two seemed to get along because real-time spent together will produce a “tolerance” our culture cannot dream of!

You cannot truly love without patience and you cannot know patience until you force yourself into a community of truly different people with whom you share everything equally. This isn’t just a nice cultural phenomenon, it is an integral part of being a disciple of Jesus.

Real Christians aren’t just forgiven…they are in community with people wholly unlike themselves—they worship with them, they accept them, they help them and they work with each other for the glory and honor of God.

Is this your life? If not, it is time to make it your life.