John tells us that we can have fellowship with God! One of the most glorious prospects before us today is that we can have fellowship with the Father, with the Son, and with one another.
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. (1 John 1:3)
Fellowship, koinonia in the Greek, is a unique word. It means "having in common or sharing with." Christian fellowship means sharing the things of Christ. To do this, we must know the Lord Jesus — not only know about Him, but know Him as our personal Savior. In our day we have lost the true meaning of the word fellowship, but let me give you an illustration of one place where the word is used correctly.
I had the privilege of being at Oxford University as a tourist and seeing the different schools that comprise the university. I visited one school which specialized in Shakespeare. Now suppose you wanted to know all about Shakespeare so that you could teach that subject. You would go to Oxford University and attend the particular school specializing in that subject. When you ate, you would sit down at the board, and there you would meet others who were studying Shakespeare, and you would meet the professors who did the teaching. You would hear them all talking about Shakespeare in a way you had never heard before. For instance, in the play Romeo and Juliet most of us think that Juliet was the only girl Romeo courted. It is shocking to find that when he said, "One fairer than my love! the all-seeing sun/Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun," that fickle fellow Romeo was talking about another girl! You would hear many things that would alert you to the fact that you had a lot to learn about Shakespeare. So you would begin to study and pull books off the shelf in the library and go to the lectures. After you had been at the school for two or three years, they would make you a fellow. Then when you would go in and sit at the board with the other students and professors, you would join right in with them as they talked about the sonnets of Shakespeare. You would have fellowship with them, sharing the things of Shakespeare.
Now fellowship for the believer means that we meet and share the things of Christ. We talk together about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. That is the kind of fellowship that John is speaking of when he says, "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. (1 John 1:4)
Now this is the second reason he mentions for writing his epistle: "That your joy may be full." How wonderful to have joy - not just a little joy but a whole lot of joy because we are experiencing fellowship. Koinonia sometimes refers to the act of fellowship — the communion service in a church is an act of fellowship, giving is an act of fellowship, and praying is an act of fellowship. But in this chapter John is talking about the experience of fellowship, such as Paul had in mind when he wrote, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings..." (Philippians 3:10).
My friend, the ultimate aim in preaching is that, through conviction and repentance, men and women might come to salvation and that it might bring great joy to their hearts, like the Ethiopian eunuch who came to know Christ with the help of Philip. He didn't continue his trip bragging about what a great preacher Philip was; he went on his way rejoicing. Why? Because he had come to know Christ. The purpose of John's epistle is that you and I might share together these wonderful things of Christ, that the Spirit of God might make the Lord Jesus and the Father real to us in such a way that our fellowship might be sweet.
—From Dr. J. Vernon McGee's message "How to Have Fellowship With God" ©2005