Worship, to be real, has to be done by real Christians. There cannot be worship from sinners, there cannot be worship from the carnal, the backslidden, the apostates. True worship is only found in DIVINE FELLOWSHIP. When the truth is contaminated, there is no longer any real worship.
Contamination of the truth of the Lord has always been a problem in Christianity. We have been given the Word of God to help us maintain a standard by which all doctrines that arise in congregational circles are to be tested. Doctrine after doctrine has been tested by the Word, and many adherents of some false doctrines have claimed to have Scriptural support. Yet, in order to believe any false doctrine, one must ignore or pervert certain Bible passages.
In these last days, as the Bible has forewarned, there are many "false prophets," and many "doctrines of devils" within the church. John dealt with, not only the false doctrines of his day, but also, the same evil doctrines with which the demonic forces are attempting to again pollute the faith.
Since there are so many false doctrines, so much contamination of the Word of God, there is little real worship. These false doctrines prevent fellowship with the One Who tried to teach us differently. Without fellowship, we cannot have true worship.
The Christian faith is meant to be a fellowship. Too often the devils have succeeded to make a segment of the church to believe that the faith was simply correct doctrinal dogma, a church membership, a formula of proclamation, or a past experience, but the Word of God definitely maintains and affirms that real Christianity is a fellowship relationship with the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and other believers. The fellowship is a time of worship.
This type of Christianity is unfamiliar and foreign to many within the churches of today due to the success of the false doctrines within our age. In I John, John is attempting to re-instate to the church of his day, this doctrine of redemptive fellowship worship that we must have. All believers are to share a common spiritual life, and this life is only obtained by fellowship with the Father, and this is only achieved by fellowship with the Son. This is why Jesus had to come and die for our sins, that we, through a relationship of Him abiding in us, and us abiding in Him might have a restored fellowship with God the Father. When that fellowship is established, worship is present also.
The word for "fellowship" is the Greek word - "koinonia". It is found only 20 times in the New Testament. Four of those times, it is found in I John. (1:3 twice, 1:6, 1:7)
This word means:
a close relationship...
not just an association, but a participation in the faith with...
and it is sometimes used to refer to a marital relationship.
This participation is shown to be:
a participation in Christ's suffering (Philippians 3:10)...
a sharing in relief and aid to the saints (II Corinthians 8:4)...
a participation in the Holy Spirit (II Corinthians 13:14)...
a participation in the blood of Christ (I Corinthians 10:16)...
In the gospel of John, we find that the main message and truth that Jesus is trying to convey is that He was sent to illustrate and teach that Christianity is a "sharing" with the Lord, the Father, and other believers. This sharing is translated by Paul and John with the word - koinonia.
CHARACTER OF THE TRINITY
WITH WHOM WE FELLOWSHIP,
TO WHOM WE WORSHIP
In our Koinonia walk with the Lord we must not lose sight of God's purity. To walk in fellowship worship with God, means that we too must be pure. We are taught that in Him there is "no darkness at all. We are to worship while in this koinonia walk, we are not in darkness, but in the light. We are cleansed from all unrighteousness in this fellowship worship.
I John 1:5
"This then is the message that we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."
God is light, only light...
There are several possibilities of the translation of "light".
It could refer to the majesty, splendor, and glory of God.
It could refer to the self-revealing of God.
Or it could refer to the moral perfection of God.
The third is affirmed by the context to be of what John is talking.
Therefore if "light" is moral perfection, then "darkness" is moral evil.
There is no moral evil in God at all... In order to have koinonia fellowship with this morally perfect God, we must conform to His moral perfection. When we are made morally perfect by our coming to God through the sacrifice of Jesus, we come into fellowship worship, that was never possible before.
I John 1:6-7
"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."
We must walk in the light, walk in moral perfection, or there will be no communion. We cannot maintain the fellowship with the Lord, if we walk in sin. Fellowship with God is the privilege of this faith. To walk in darkness puts us on separate road, moving in a different direction than God. To try to claim a sinful life, and still claim that we have fellowship with God, makes us liars.
If we choose to walk in the light, we are immediately cleansed from all darkness by the blood of Jesus. God dwells un the light of moral perfection, and for us to approach Him, we must be cleansed from the moral darkness that we have had. The blood of Jesus cleanses us, and keeps on cleansing us as we maintain fellowship worship with the Lord.
There can be no fellowship worship with the Lord, without confession of sins, without forgiveness of sins, and without cleansing of sin.
I John 1:8-10
"If we say, that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."
Denying our past sinfulness, and denying the possibility of us presently failing God by sin, makes us separate from God, by insulting His veracity. There is no fellowship worship then. For He has told us that we are all sinners, and we still have only filthy rags to produce as our righteousness. We constantly need cleansed by His blood, and to have His righteousness clothe us.
The gnostics claimed that by being a member of their group meant that they did not need to be forgiven of sins. Yet, in reality, the closer we are to God, the more aware we are of uncleanness, and unworthiness. The more we recognize our former uncleanness, our former unworthiness without Him, the more we are in fellowship worship.
Today, some so-called saints, claim a perfection or holiness, and actually think that their sins do not count, because of some experience or commitment that they think gave them a superior standing with God. They are not able to worship, for they are not even in true fellowship with Him.
Paul, the great apostle, even stated about himself.
I Timothy 1:15
"...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
If Paul was so aware of his own weaknesses, and his own spiritual frailties, who are these so-called saints who claim a holiness, and moral perfection?
We are instructed by John to "confess our sins." (vs.9). "Confess" means "to agree with". We must think the same about our sins as God does, and to confess, agree with the sins we find in ourselves, requires a contrite heart.
The word "sins" is made plural, and means all of our sins. Some will confess a minor flaw, perhaps one that they cam blame on our grandfather and his genes. Or perhaps we can blame it on the tough life, and the persecution from others who do not believe we are as perfect as we claim. No! Let's be real. We all have failures, and no matter what our spiritual legacy, we have not reached perfection. We cannot come into fellowship worship until we do admit our sins, confess our failures.
God wants to deal with our sins, and ideally, He would like to "forgive us our sins." God can remove all pollution of our sins, and renew us to a moral perfection found only in a re-cleansing by the blood of Jesus.
The gnostics claimed to have not sinned, even though they had broken many of the commandments. They claimed that none of their sins counted as sins, because they had a knowledge that made them superior to other Christians. John makes it clear that any such claim would be like calling God a "liar." God's whole plan of redemption shows that we are never capable of ourselves to be morally perfect.
If we try to claim a moral perfection, or an impossibility of sinning, we are warned that this dictates that His "word is not in us." If His word is not dwelling in us, then we do not have Him dwelling in us, and we are speaking the word or doctrines of someone else.
In other words, any such one is a false prophet. Do not trust any doctrine espoused by anyone who claims a moral perfection of themselves, any who try to put themselves on a higher standard than other saints. If they have stumbled on the simple truth of the gospel concerning the fallibility of all the saints, and the frequent need of all of us to repent of weaknesses, they do not deserve any consideration as being any more than a false prophet.
REQUIRES AN ADVOCATE!
I John 2:1-2
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
Since we are so likely to fail, we need an advocate. Notice, that John is talking to "little children" and this is a tender address to others of like faith as he. He does not encourage them to simply expect sin, but tells them to "sin not."
There is an Advocate with the Father. The "advocate" is a "comforter, a pleader, an intercessor, a counsel for the defense." Our Advocate does not plead our innocence, but pleads for mercy on our sinfulness due to the penalty that Jesus Christ Himself has paid on calvary's cross. He is our "propitiation", our "atoning sacrifice." Jesus is the remedy for our sins.
FELLOWSHIP AND OBEDIENCE
ARE BOUND ONE TO ANOTHER
The gnostics taught that men could be made free from moral law. John teaches that "if we know Him" we will obey His commandments.
I John 2:3-6
"And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep his commandments, He that saith, I know Him and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked."
Knowledge of the Bible, orthodox dogma, formal acts in worship, all are nothing unless we obey. We cannot separate the fellowship (koinonia) from obedience to the Lord. Some false prophets demand obedience to themselves, or to their specialized dogma, but allow themselves and some of their disciples to disobey the commands of the Lord.
Obedience is the keeping of the commandments of the Lord, the following of God's Word, and the walking as Jesus walked. These are difficult standards to achieve... and we will fail. That is why the Lord has provided a Sacrificial Lamb in Christ Jesus, and He is now at the right hand of the Father being an Advocate for us.
The reward for humble repentance (in place of stupid denial) for our sins, is a fellowship (a participation) worship in the faith. This participation is a fellowship worship with God the Father, Christ Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit.
Those who pretend, even if sincerely believing that they are right, are not in such a fellowship. They have excluded themselves. Sometimes blatant sinners (pretending to be saints) have been accepted by others to be partakers of the same faith. In other ages they were called Pharisees, hypocrites, false prophets, tares, and disorderly.
The Bible warns us that in the last days there will be many such ones in the churches. We had better beware.
II Timothy 3:1-5
"This know that in the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof from such turn away."
We are to "turn away" from them, because they have already excluded themselves from the fellowship worship with the Lord. False prophets have instilled in many congregations the heresy that we are to simply love them, ignore their sin, and wait till the Lord deals with them. This has allowed many congregations to become too filled with these non-fellowship, non-worshipping, members.
They become abusers of others... cause others to fail and backslide... and become like untreated cancer to a body. The cancers keep destroying more and more of the body. Cancers need to be surgically removed. In the spiritual body of Christ, we need to "turn away" from such. To tolerate and try to include them in the fellowship will keep the church ineffective and void of true revival.
I Corinthians 6:11
"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother, be a fornicator, or covetous, or be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one, no not to eat."
In how many congregations has this been taught in these last days? Paul could teach it... John could teach it... Peter could teach it... but too many in our last days have bought into the part of the gnostic false doctrine that make them think that these kind of sinners can be board members, deacons, pastors, Sunday School teachers, church members, choir members, orchestra members, etc. They cannot truly even worship God in that state, so why should they be church leaders?
It is time to examine our own membership in the fellowship, and make sure we are taking care of our own sins... calling on our Advocate, Jesus Christ. But we must also be aware of the false and perverted sinners within many congregations... and withdrawing from such! Those who cannot be in fellowship worship with the Lord, admitting their unworthiness, and blessing God for the right to still be in worship fellowship, despite their former sins. This fellowship worship requires seeing ourselves in reality, as truly saved only by grace, and now in fellowship simply by His grace, and thereby able to be in fellowship with a Perfect Lord. This is worship.