“What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3
Religion and politics are hot topics of conversation, often leading to division. These days, Christians are more apt to talk about how our religion affects our politics than how our Lord affects our lives. Today’s verse challenges us to examine whether we spend more time proclaiming Christ or debating religion.
What the apostles had seen and heard while following Jesus was so transformational that it became a natural part of their conversations. Proclaiming Christ is making Him known by giving a first-hand account of His love, power, grace, etc. But our personal testimony is more than how we came to salvation; it’s discussing how God is presently at work in our lives. The closer we grow to Jesus, the more comfortably we talk about Him in daily conversation.
The apostle John also points out the purpose of our proclamation – fellowship. Proclaiming Christ promotes fellowship with one another and brings others into fellowship with God. This is simply aligning our purpose with God’s purpose. Consequently, we’re more aware of our tone as well as topics of conversation.
Of course, proclaiming Christ doesn’t always result in harmony and fellowship. The world has tried to silence His followers from the beginning. In Acts 4, Peter and John were arrested and threatened for proclaiming the name of Jesus (v2). Yet rather than debating religion they said, “…we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (v20). The fact that their message was rejected by some didn’t change their purpose.
Because Christian views and principles are clearly under attack in our culture, we need to be careful to stay on message. Otherwise we try to defend our personal traditions, customs, and creeds by debating religion and politics. Our purpose then becomes winning an argument rather than proclaiming Christ.
Be mindful of your conversations this week. Is your purpose to promote unity and fellowship or to defend your personal views? Walking closely with Jesus is transformational. So, think about what you’ve seen God do in your life or heard Him say through His Word, then talk about it!