That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, 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
To some preaching seems old, out-dated, antiquated. Why preach? Why do people show up every week, sit in a seat (or a pew) and listen while preachers preach. Isn’t there a better way? Better yet, why should you go to your workplace and talk about the sermon and even invite somebody to come sit with you and listen to the preacher preach.
John sums it up in verse 3. The linking phrase between the first part of the verse and the last is “so that you too.” John preached at the cost of being exiled. He preached at the cost of losing friends, family and his former standing in the community. John preached when preaching wasn’t popular, when no-one could podcast him from Patmos. Why?
First of all, John had heard, seen, looked upon and touched Jesus. He loved Jesus. Jesus loved him. Preaching overflowed out of his relationship with the Jesus who had called him to follow him. John was on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured right before their eyes. He was in the boat when Jesus was shaken from his sleep by frantic disciples fearing for their lives. He heard Jesus say, “Peace be still” and saw the wind and the waves calm down.
He preached out of his experience of knowing, loving, and walking with Jesus. We as preachers do the same thing. We love and preach Jesus. You do the same thing. As believers, you love Jesus and testify about him.
So that you too…
We preach and testify so that those who hear can hang out with us while we hang out with Jesus. (I know that is a loose paraphrase of fellowship, but go with me on this one!) We preach so that people can know Jesus like we know Jesus. And when they know Jesus like we know Jesus, they will get to know us.
Preaching and testifying draws the circle wider.
Think about it. Here at Grace, we give thousands of dollars every year to help people who are in dire straits. But unless we proclaim Jesus while we do it, we may as well be doing social work. Anybody can give money away. Only people who have been with Jesus can talk about him. Giving money keeps the power on. That’s important…necessary. Proclaiming Jesus can make the ones who hear the message friends for a lifetime, brothers and sisters in Christ, fellows in the ship (okay, that’s a poor attempt at the word fellowship).
Draw the circle wider. Tell somebody what Jesus has done for you. When you do, you’d better add a chair at the family table. They may just decide to leave their old way of life and join you.
That’s why preachers preach and believers testify.