- Our crawl space
- Recap: John's purpose statement
- Proclaim true Jesus.
- Promote true fellowship.
- Produce true joy (from walking with God).
- But deceivers said they were walking with God.
- So John wrote about God.
- So what did Jesus tell John and others about God? He told them God is light. Let's read 1 John 1:5 together.
God Is Light
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
What John Heard Jesus Proclaim (1:6a)
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you
Sabbatical musicals: close up seats.
- And, remember, when it came to seeing God through the life of Jesus, John had a front-row seat.
John called Jesus "the Word" who "was God" back in his gospel (John 1:1). Remember what he wrote in his gospel account's introduction:
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14).
"For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." (John 1:16).
You see, when Jesus came, he proclaimed God. John saw the "glory" and the "fullness" of the Word. The Word, according to John, is Jesus.
This same idea is repeated here in 1 John. He said what Jesus told the apostles is that God is light. The converse is also stated: and in Him is no darkness at all. When Jesus came, revealing God because He is God, His message was that God is light.
"He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature..." (Hebrews 1:3).
John had spent so much time with Jesus. And Jesus explained God to John. Jesus showed John, God is light.
Light Defined (1:6b)
God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all
The theme of light and darkness is found in many religions of the world.
- But John tells us God is light, and in Him there is no darkness. At all. God is entirely pure and without error.
- I don't know if you've ever been in a culture where it is considered rude to say you don't know, but it can be maddening!
- I think we often do this with Scripture.
- But God has created humanity with a capacity for language, and then used it to communicate Himself to us, so we must think about the words He spoke. If we do, we'll know Him.
So, here, we learn God is light. No darkness, as in some religions. But what does this mean?
In the Bible, as in the physical world, light reveals.
Sometimes light reveals God, illuminates the truth, uncovers sin, or exposes individuals. Think of it in verses like these:
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105).
"In Him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4–5).
"I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness." (John 12:46).
Additionally, light is used to describe the holiness and perfection of God.
- For instance, heaven will not need the sun or moon because God's glory will illuminate it (Revelation 21:23).
Set those two ideas firmly in your mind about God being light.
- God reveals the truth about things.
- God is completely pure and holy.
How did Jesus reveal God is light?
There is no record of Him saying "God is light," but that doesn't mean He didn't (John 21:25).
Likely, what John is referring to, is the summation of Jesus' life and teaching.
The life Jesus lived illuminated John, others, the truth, and God.
He heard Jesus say,
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12).
John saw how Jesus' presence exposed sin. He saw Jesus' perfect love and disposition. He saw how Jesus could reveal what people were thinking. John concluded, "Jesus taught me, God is light."
The Danger Of Rejecting God's Light (1:6-2:2)
So Jesus showed us God is light and no darkness. John has established the fact. Now, he will apply this great truth.
First, though, we should consider what happens when a person rejects the teaching that God is light.
The deceivers in John's day made various claims, three of which we will uncover in the passage today. Each claim, in one way or another, rejected the revealed light of God. And this rejection of God slowly eroded those who lived without His light.
Let me demonstrate briefly. I will show you what John says happens to the person who rejects God is light. They devolve into chaos, rather than mature into holiness.
Notice the first result of rejecting God's light:
We lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6).
First, they lie to others.
A couple of verses later, John will say, when we live this way:
We deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).
Second, they lie to themselves.
Finally, John will say, when we reject God's light, we:
Make Him a liar (1 John 1:10).
Third, they claim, in effect, that God is a liar.
So the claims of the departers -- whatever the claims are -- are killers. Every single relationship is hurt when we do not understand God is light.
So, know who God is. God is light. In Him is no darkness at all. This truth, if you befriend it, will aid you in every possible relationship. Let's venture forward and discover each error and its antidote, starting with 1 John 1:6-7, and learn what God's light can produce.
1 -- God's Light Produces Fellowship And Sanctification
6 If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
The Walk In Darkness (1:6)
If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1:6)
The claim some made was that, even though they walked in darkness, they were in right relationship with God. Though living contrary to God's light, they claimed to be friends with God.
Walk: Notice how John addresses the claim of one who walks in darkness.
- Later in the passage, we'll discover he believes Christians who are walking in the light will become tempted and sin.
This person has tried hard to turn off God's light.
- They no longer allow the Scriptures into their lives.
- Additionally, they often turn off the light of the church.
- And they turn off their prayer life as well, for spending time in God's presence is painful (or lifeless) when walking in darkness.
- Conclusion: To say, while living a life of darkness, "I have fellowship with Him," is a sad myth. John calls it a lie.
The Walk In The Light (1:7)
There is, fortunately, a better way. John says, "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light..." (1:7).
But what does this walk in the light look like?
- Not moral perfection, temptation-free, or rare.
- To walk in the light is a normal Christian life and experience.
- To walk in darkness is to try to turn off God and His light. To walk in the light is to want to live where God is, to have your whole life illuminated by Him.
- Example: Achan.
- How hard it must have been for him to carry that shame and guilt around! He had to live a lie. He couldn't wear the garment or spend the gold. Instead, he had to hide them. He was a shell of his former self. He was walking in darkness.
But walking in the light is so refreshing. For one, notice how John says it, "We have fellowship with one another."
- Achan had to fake his way through his life group ("Yeah, things are really going great."). But walking in the light produces fellowship with God, of course, which leads to fellowship with one another.
Second, notice how walking in the light leads God to cleanse us. John says, the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Remember Achan. He had to mumble his way through prayer ("God, I love you and give my life to...ah, forget it."). He was out of step with God. But in the light, he could have been cleansed from his sin.
Here's a major point:
John doesn't imply that walking in the light saves us. Instead, he means it sanctifies us.
Just as Jesus' blood positionally washed us of all our sins, so does Jesus' blood practically cleanse us from all sin. Progressively, as we walk in the light, Jesus works to purify our lives.
You should have this hope.
- Since it damages our relationships with others, we should crave cleansing from sin. Sin hurts fellowship and causes us to run away from each other, to other churches or away from all churches, rather than give us a loving friendship together. Instead of living in darkness, hurting one another, we should believe a walk in the light will grow us, which helps fellowship.
"But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day." (Proverbs 4:18).
Every day is a witness to the power of the blood of Jesus Christ in your life. When the sun peaks over the morning's horizon, it is emblematic of the beginning work of Christ in growing and shaping you. Later in the morning, when the day has its early glow, it sings of the way Jesus is progressively developing you for His glory. And when the heat begins to pick up in the late morning, it speaks of the significant progress Christ has wrought in your life. And when the sun is at its full strength, when the noon-day sun is beating down on you, it preaches of the ultimate work Christ's blood can produce in you, culminating in heaven when you are in glory.
As John would later write:
"We know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2).
But what else does God's light produce?
2 -- God's Light Produces A Chain Reaction Of Grace
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
To Disbelieve You Have A Sin Problem (1:8)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
John mentions a second errant claim the secessionists made. Some Christians make this claim today. They said, we have no sin (1 John 1:8).
This assertion an obvious error. But what, exactly, were they claiming when they said they had no sin?
- It is possible some thought moral perfectionism possible.
- It's also possible the eventual Gnostic error had begun to take hold, so, on the inside, they believed they were spiritual and holy, good with God.
And in our day, both assertions might creep in, but we have other creative ways for denying we have sin.
One thing we like to do is rename sin.
We also like to defend or excuse our sin.
And don't call it sin!
All, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God." (Romans 3:9–11).
To Believe You Have A Sin Problem (1:9)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
But if the truth is in us, what will result? We will confess our sins (1 John 1:9).
Here, he means we will confess our sins to God, since God is the One who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is not to say we shouldn't confess to one another:
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another..." (James 5:16).
He also means we should confess our known sins.
Man up, call it a sin and tell God you hate that you've gone there. Admit you were wrong. Don't weakly make excuses for yourself. Don't try to soften it. Instead, thunderously declare you sinned! The blood of the Son was shed for the very thing you did. With remorse and contrition, own up to it.
Experiencing Your Sin Savior (1:9)
Notice, in verse 9, John tells us that if we confess, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- He isn't saying you cannot go to heaven unless you admit every single sin you've ever committed. Instead, he continues to build his case for progressive sanctification.
When we look to the grace and mercy found at the cross of Christ, it ought to motivate us to confess our sins to our Father in heaven. He is predisposed to grant us His grace.
- Example: Pot, branch.
And one way He will dispense His grace is through forgiving and cleansing. Again, He makes us more like Jesus, more sanctified.
Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus, in a somber moment, knowing He was about to die, tied up his garments and washed the feet of His disciples.
Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean..." (John 13:8–10).
What did Jesus mean? He broke away from showing them how to serve each other and used the moment to teach a lesson. You see, Jesus' people, believers like Peter, have been made clean by the blood of Christ. But we walk through this world and still need Jesus to wash us. We still need sanctification. So, though you may have "gotten saved" or been "born again," you still need Jesus to make you better, to purify you, to make you more like Himself.
That said, let's look at the third thing God's light produces.
3 -- God's Light Produces Real Help For Everyone
10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
To Deny You Practice Sin (1:10)
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
It seems some thought they could walk in darkness and still have a good time with God. Others walked in deception, thinking they had no real sin problem. And this last group walked in denial, stating there was no sin in their everyday experience. They wouldn't admit anything.
But what was their actual claim?
- Perhaps this claim is the same as the one which came before, namely that they had no sin nature.
- Perhaps this group admitted one could have a sinful nature, and yet never commit sinful acts.
- They might have theorized that though their inner disposition had yielded to sin in the past, now that they were enlightened, they would no longer sin in their daily practice.
- Pause for a moment. It must have been frustrating to know someone who believed this stuff.
But a person like this -- notice how John describes them (1:10) -- does not have God's word in them. They make Him a liar because God's word makes it clear we will sin and experience temptation.
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13).
God paints a picture of a struggle in this life.
And, if you are living in denial, rest assured, you are killing your relationship with God and others.
Accepting You Can Have Victory With Jesus (2:1-2)
- John wanted to make sure we all understood this point. This is why he clarified, in verse 1 of chapter 2, "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin."
- He wasn't promoting license.
No, instead John wanted them to understand he was trying to show them a path toward real victory. Get in the light. Practice confession. And, finally, right here in 2:1-2 he said, "But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."
Let's consider the first statement: So that you may not sin. He believed victory is possible.
In our quest to spiritual growth, we will falter. In those moments, we must remember how we have an Advocate. Jesus Christ stands by the Father's side to plead our case.
Notice how Jesus is called Jesus Christ the righteous. John's point seems to be that, by ourselves and on our own merit, none of us can get that title.
No, our righteousness is built upon Jesus' righteousness.
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:" (Romans 3:21–22).
Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, John said. This means Jesus satisfied God's wrath towards unrighteousness for us on the cross.
"And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none." (Ezekiel 22:30).
He was the One who stood in the gap. He is the One who does intercede.
Stop blaming God.
- No darkness in Him.
Go places His light is found.
Practice confession to God and others.
Set sanctification as a strong desire and hope.
Believe Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.
Go to the Father knowing you are fully Advocated for.
Pursue Christ: He will transform you.
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