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1 John 1:1-4 New England Series
1 John 1:5-7 New England series
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1 John 2:1-2 1 John 2:3-6
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1st John 5:4-13 1st John 5:14-15
  1 John 5:16-17   1 John 5:18-21  
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1st John 1:5-7

 

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  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 cleanseth us from all sin” (1st John 1:5-7, KJV)

 

“We’re in 1st John, as you remember last week as we got started, he [John] knew Jesus in a very personal way, in such a way that he wants to address false teaching—Gnosticism, those types of teachings.  As we continue now, he gets very practical.  As we noted in our last week’s study, and this book certainly makes things clear, draws a clear line in the sand, certainly a book of absolutes.   I think it’s great, it’s something that encourages us and motivates us as Christians.  But also if we are deceiving ourselves, not really true Christians, it is a book that certainly can get our attention too…Certainly the words that you and I speak, the things that we say are important.  But as we’re going to be reminded too as we go through this epistle in the last part of the first chapter, what we do is even more important.  That principle is carried on in other parts of the Bible too.  It is true, that what we speak and what we say can at times be even contradicted, even nullified by the things that we do.  So there’s that quote that’s often said, “What we do speaks louder than what we say”, no doubt about it.  So therefore, as we will be reminded this morning, our actions need to be in line with what we say.  That’s for sure.  Now this principle of our actions speaking louder than our words will be seen in this part of this text at the end of 1st John chapter 1, but he’ll also remind us, that was even more important, that’s more important than what I say and what I do is what God says.  That’s of most importance, what God says.  What God says stands true regardless of what I say, regardless of what I do, what he says is true and it doesn’t change.  Now in these last five verses we’re going to look at today, but we’re also going to look at them next week, we’ll see that a person’s speech is referenced at least six times, using various verbs.  Words such as “declare”, “say”, “lie” and to “confess”.  So “speaking” is certainly a theme.  There’s an important emphasis on it in these verses.  We’ll see that too in chapter 2 as we get into that the week after next.  But also we’ll see that there’s multiple references to a person’s actions.  Word’s such as “walk”, “practice”, “deceit”.  So it’s very evident that “walk”, a person’s “walk” an important theme on this passage too.  Now in referring to a person’s walk or lifestyle, John will also compare it or at least contrast it to light and darkness, the difference between light and darkness, he’ll compare our walk to that.  That a person’s lifestyle is either referred to as walking in darkness or walking in the light.  And furthermore, John especially wants you and I to understand as we study this letter together, especially here at the beginning, is that the reality of a person’s walk, whether it is in the light or in the darkness, will also have an effect on their ability to walk with God—their relationship with God, their intimacy with God.  And this is because as John will tell us this morning, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”  So as we begin and read these verses, let us also be reminded of Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus.  “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of the light.” 

          Beginning with verses 5-7, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.”   Now in order to simplify our study through these verses for the next two weeks, I’ve basically laid out a simple outline.  And here’s the five points, just a way for me to order my thoughts, and a way for you maybe to bring to remembrance some of the points that we’ll make.

First point: What John says.

Second point: What our life says.

Third point: What someone deceived says.

Fourth point: What someone cleansed says.

And the last point: What God says.

          So our first point, what John says.  John explains here in verse 5, what he now says is what Jesus said to him.  He’s just repeating what he heard from Jesus.  Jesus has told him certain things.  When he was with Jesus he heard him teach certain things.  So now he’s declaring, what he’s saying from this point on is exactly what God, Jesus Christ told him.  Now also he uses the pronoun “we”, so when he says himself, he also includes the other disciples, “what we heard.”  So the disciples, “these are the things that we have heard…and now this is what I declare to you” the reader, you and I this morning. 

 

God is light…how we achieve joy

 

          Now what is the truth that John is now saying that he first heard Jesus share with him?  The truth, verse 5, that he says is “that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”  Now if you remember in our study last week, at the end of the passage, verse 4, John says that he writes with a purpose.  The first purpose is that ‘your joy and my joy may be full.’  He immediately now begins with his message, and this message, when we internalize this, when we understand this, it will produce this life of the fullness of joy in you and I.  And I’m sure all of us want that experience more in our lives.  So may the Lord open our eyes to this truth, this truth that God is light.  But what is so important about this truth, that he would say “I write to you that you would have fullness of joy” and the very first thing he says is “God is light”?  What is so important about that?  What is the big deal?  Why would I internalize this truth and what follows from this is that it will have such an effect on my life, that I’ll have a greater joy in my life.  What does he mean when he says “light” anyway?  Well in the Bible we learn that in the physical sense, light represents God’s glory and his brilliance.  You see passages like that.  Paul to Timothy in 1st Timothy chapter 6 referring in a physical sense to God as light, he says “God the blessed and only ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal lives in an inapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.”  So when he says God is light, there is the physical sense of that as far as his glory and his brilliance.  Also, we see that in Revelation chapter 22:5, verse 5 at the end, referring to heaven.  “There will be no more night.  They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign for ever and ever.”  So God is the source of light in heaven [the 3rd heaven, at his throne].  So his brilliance, his glory, so when it says God is light we know in other passages that in a physical sense that refers to his glory and brilliance.  Also in the Bible, light represents God in an intellectual sense, as far as his illumination, his perfect illumination and his perfect understanding.  You’ll see what I mean in Daniel chapter 2, verse 22.  In Daniel we’re told there about God, “He (God) reveals deep hidden things.  He knows what lies in darkness, and the light dwells with him”, meaning he has perfect understanding.  He knows everything.  He’s omniscient.  So light in that sense represents God’s illumination, his understanding.  Also, though, here especially in verse 5, chapter 1, light here represents God in the moral sense, that of his righteousness, his holiness, his purity.  “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”   So you get this sense, there’s a sense of the morality, his righteousness, his holiness, his purity.  Now the Greek word for darkness is not the more commonly used word here in Greek for darkness, the word skotos [Strongs 4655].  The word skotos is the common word and it generally refers to physical darkness, or at times it refers to darkness in the moral sense referring to sin.  But when John writes “darkness” here, he uses the Greek word skotia [Strongs 4653] which has a moral sense to it.  But rather than referring to sin, it refers to the consequence or the result of sin.  So when he says “God is light and in him is no darkness”, when he says “darkness” he says that Greek word skotia, and that means the result of sin or the consequence of sin.  So what exactly does he mean?  What is the consequence of sin?  Skotia refers to what happened after Adam sinned, the consequence, the result of sin.  And even to this day, 6,000 years later, Adam’s sin has an affect on my life, meaning the world around me has been affected by that sin.  There is the result of sin in the world.  But also in my very nature, the Bible says I have a sin nature [via the spirit in man or spirit of man, which is receptive to Satan’s wavelength, Satan’s evil broadcast into the world—all human beings are tuned into this wavelength via the spirit in man that we all possess, giving us our intelligence and human intellect].  So the consequence, the result of sin, includes even me today, that I have a sin nature.  Now I can as a Christian be walking in the light.  Yet even as I am walking in the light, I still am affected by the consequences of sin, that type of darkness, meaning sin is still around me.  There’s this battle going on.  But also I still have this sin nature [called in Romans 6, “the flesh”.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/Romans6-1-5page1.htm ].  So there’s a battle within as I’m seeking to walk in the light, there’s this battle.  So when he refers to darkness here, he refers to it in that sense.  But John is making a point that in God there is absolutely, positively no darkness.  There’s no sin, or even consequence of sin.  And when he says, “no darkness at all” in the Greek there is this absoluteness to it, meaning there is no possibility whatsoever, there is no sin in him, no consequence, there is nothing in any way—sin is completely foreign to him.  So God, he says, is light, and in him is no darkness.  Now, why is that important for you and I to realize?  John, as he writes this, ‘these things that I’m going to share with you and teach you, that I write this to you that your joy may be full.’  So why is it so important that I understand that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all?  I think of David’s words in Psalm chapter 16.  You remember David said in Psalm chapter 16 that “In God’s presence is fullness of joy.” [Psalm 16:11 KJV]  In his presence God is light, and in his presence there is fullness of joy.  So then, that tells me a little bit about my own life.  If darkness is completely foreign to God, and if sin is absolutely not in him, and is completely apart from him, then what does that tell me?  That tells me that I can’t be living in darkness.  I can’t be living in darkness or living in sin and expect to be near God, and expect to be in fellowship with him.  And if I cannot expect to be near God or fellowship with him, I can be sure that I won’t be experiencing the fullness of joy.  Because the fullness of joy is in the presence of the Lord.  So that’s why this is so vital, that this concept that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”    I think of our recent Easter sunrise service.  You know, we got there as we do on Easter sunrise service, the folks are setting up, and ministering.  You get there before it’s daylight, you get there in the dark.  And our service is at six, so it’s at that time of day where the morning light is slowly working its way up, and there’s that transition time.  Well, some folks were taking some pictures with my camera, of the service.  And I liked the pictures.  I looked at them and said “Cool”.  The first picture taken was a dark picture, with just a little glimmer of light, coming up in the east, as the sun was just starting to come over to the point where there was a little bit of a glow, and you could see the steeples from downtown.  And in the camera if you get that little bit of ray of light, you get that little circle, and it’s kind of a good shot.  But there was this darkness.  And then as you look through the following picture, it quickly became more and more light, and eventually it was complete daylight.  There were the people standing and sitting in the stands, there was the worship team and others on the stage, it was light.  When the sun rose, the darkness left.  And as long as the sun was there, the morning sun, there was no darkness.  The darkness could not be there, because the sun came up.  So he says, “God is light, and in him is no darkness”, there is no possibility for darkness to be in him, it isn’t in him in any way, or to be in his presence, in the sense that it would affect him.  So, that is important for me to understand, as John describes the nature of God. 

          Now, also when I think of light, I readily associate joy with light.  Generally, for most of us, I’m sure, we don’t associate darkness with joy.  I think of just the physical darkness and physical light.  When I went to Bombay just a few weeks ago, maybe you’ve had this experience.  I was just arriving at the city, got in a van with some guys, and drove across the city to this Methodist center in Bombay.  As we were driving it was night-time, and there’s something about getting to a place you’ve never been at night.  It’s almost kind of eerie, it appears very different in the dark.  I will say to you that, getting to India, and getting to Bombay is radically different, especially at night, it was a completely different world to me.  In fact, as you drive through the city, compared it to parking garages, it looked like a bunch of parking garages that people were living in, and there were also a bunch of people living and sleeping on the streets, entire families.  But there was something just eerie about the city.  But then the next morning I got up in the Methodist Center and a couple of us went up on the roof of the Methodist Center to pray, and up on the roof now it’s daylight.  You can see the parks, you can see the bustle in the streets, you can see the buildings.  I got a different view of the city.  And actually the city seemed very exciting to me.  It was eerie the night before.  But in the light it was very exciting.  So to me I associate joy to light, and in darkness there certainly doesn’t seem to be joy.  I think also the times in Boston when I was in college and I would make my way from my university to where I lived on Columbus Ave., and I would make my way through this park called The Fens near Fenway, and in the summertime or in the springtime going through The Fens was really nice in the daytime.  If there was a sunny day there would be kids playing, there was the gardens, there would be elderly people gardening or other people that had gardens there, and it was nice, it was pleasant.  I enjoyed walking through The Fens.  But at night, it was a completely different experience walking past The Fens.  In fact, it was dreadfully fearful to go past that area.  And I would just set it into high-tail-it, in gear you know.  And I might even do a sprint through that area.  I remember even one time some guys passing by me, a guy pulled out a switch-blade to just sort of intimidate me there in the moonlight, was flashing a switch-blade.  I thought he was going to do something with it, maybe were messing with me.  Maybe they were going to do something with it, and they saw the angels with me that I didn’t see with me there and left me alone, I don’t know.  But we have that point, the darkness, I don’t associate joy with darkness, but I do with light.  And God is light.  God is light, there is no darkness in him.  And in his presence is fullness of joy. 

 

Our words vs. our actions, lifestyle

 

          Now, verse 6 to 7, he takes this principle further. “If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”  ‘If we say’, the phrase ‘If we say’, you’ll notice as we go on, this is repeated in this text at the end of chapter 1, but also into chapter 2 it’s repeated multiple times.  Verse 8 it comes up again, verse 10 it comes up again, then you get into chapter 2 it changes slightly, it’s then “he who says”, you see it in verse 4, chapter 2, verse 6 of chapter 2, verse 8 of chapter 2.  So this point of talking, our words, is certainly referred to, it’s certainly emphasized here in these verses.  And what John is now directly addressing is this issue of our words, our talk, specifically referring to what we say about ourselves in relationship with where we stand with God.  And he says here in verse 6 that ‘if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, then we are lying, and we do not practice the truth.’  If I say that I have a close relationship and close fellowship, an intimate relationship with God, but when you look at my life you see practices, you see habits, you see a lifestyle that is contrary to the Word of God, then what I am telling you is not true, I am lying, and I’m not practicing the truth.  And why is this the case?  Why is it the case?  It is because of what we just noted in the previous verse.  God is light and in him is no darkness.  So if I say I have an intimate walk with God and he is light, but you look at my life and you say, ‘George, man, there’s darkness in your life.’  Then how can I possibly be fellowshipping with a God who is light?  That’s the logic.  And it’s so vital for you and I to understand that.  This brings me to my next point, and that is we had what John says, and now we have what our life says.  And he’ll carry this through these verses here.  I may say one thing, I may profess that at present I am close to God, as he says there in verse 6, but if my life is saying another thing, it speaks more loudly, it speaks more loudly than my words and my lips speak.  It is in fact contradicting, my life is contradicting, even nullifying what I profess with my mouth.  So, what John has heard from Christ and is now declaring to us, is a message that most assuredly draws a very clear line in the sand.  It is one of absolutes.  And that to walk in darkness, to live contrary to the way of God, and yet to profess to have intimate fellowship with God, clearly proves otherwise, completely proves otherwise.  Rather, the darkness in a person’s life proves that their profession is not true, and they therefore do not practice the truth, hence there is no intimate fellowship between God and that person, regardless of what they might say.  Now when he says the word darkness in verse 6, it is that common word, the Greek word skotos which means sin, that is, the voluntary choice of sin as opposed to skotio which is a consequence of sin.  He’s now referring to this choice of sinning, of taking a route of a sinful lifestyle, equivalent of living for the flesh as we read in Romans.  Now, when he says this, it’s important to differentiate between voluntarily living a sinful lifestyle, walking in darkness, as opposed to merely stumbling, as James notes and describes in James chapter 3, verse 2.  There in James he says, “For we all stumble in many things.  If anyone does not stumble in word he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”  The Greek word there “to stumble” in James there is the word patao and it means simply to do something wrong.  So James says, if a man doesn’t stumble, but the way he says ‘We all stumble in many things.”  [KJV uses the word “offend” instead of “stumble”]  He says as believers we stumble, that means we trip up, we do sin at times, maybe more times than at other times.  But that’s not what he’s referring to, just stumbling, just sinning, you know, tripping up.  Today I may have said something that I regret.  Today I may have done something that I regret.  But if there isn’t a practice of that, that’s different from what John is referring to here.  That’s stumbling. But what he’s referring to here is “walking” in darkness, planting your feet in a lifestyle of sin, having a habit of sin, a lifestyle of sin.  That is what he is referring to.  And when that happens, you can be assured that it greatly hinders a persons ability to have an intimate relationship with God, regardless of what they may be saying.  Now, examples of this, I mean, you may be coming to church, you may be singing in the choir, but your life may be very different in such a way that it is declaring that what you’re doing and what’s in your heart is clearly saying you are not walking in the light, but you’re walking in darkness.  But John uses the phrase here in verse 6, “do not practice the truth.”  In the Greek there is the definite article “the” which precedes the word “truth”, and that means that he’s referring to the very life of Christ, all that Christ stands for.  So when he says “do not practice the truth”, I mean Jesus is the truth, there is the sense of the life of Christ working through an individual, the life of Christ being seen in an individual.  That’s what he means “do not practice the truth”, meaning Jesus is the truth and therefore if you’re not practicing the truth I’m not seeing the life of Christ in you.  So this explains then to me, first of all, a person who says they are a Christian, but when you look in their life you don’t see any evidence of the life of Christ.  Maybe they’ve been in church a long time, maybe they were baptized when they were little, maybe they’ve grown up in a Christian family and they say they are a Christian.  But when I look at their life, I don’t see the life of Christ, I see a different life.  I don’t see Jesus living through them.  So therefore what John says here is they do not practice the truth, meaning Christ isn’t in them, so therefore they don’t really have an intimate relationship with Christ.  You remember Paul said in Galatians chapter 2 verse 20 that when we became a Christian Christ now lived in you? 

 

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).                     

 

Christ now lives in me, Christ now lives through me.  He goes on to say, ‘Now the life I live, I don’t live anymore but Christ lives through me and I live by faith that he came and he died for me.  [And if you look at the precise wording, it is “the faith of the Son of God”, not our own.  That faith is a part of Christ living within us.]  Now if Christ isn’t ever seen in a person’s life, John makes it clear here that this person, if Christ is never seen in their life, then they are not a Christian.  It doesn’t matter what they say, their life clearly indicates and proves that they don’t know Jesus in an intimate way.  Because when I become a Christian I then have the Holy Spirit come in me, Christ now reigns in my life, I now have a relationship with God, and in time you should see Jesus in me.  You know the Bible says “All things are new in Christ.”  The old is gone, the new is come, you are new creations in Christ when you come to Christ.  So, when he says that ‘if we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.’  This verse makes it clear in the following verses that the honesty is important, honesty about myself, honesty before others, and especially honesty with God.  So, a simple question.  Today you’re here, maybe you’ve been around the church for a long time, but a simple question, are you a true Christian?  Are you a true Christian, according to what John is indicating here?  Is Christ in you?  Can the truth, the life of Jesus Christ be seen in you in one manner or another?  I’m not saying that you’re perfect.  But are you a true Christian?  Was there a time in your life when the Holy Spirit entered you and you became a new creation?  Can you point to a time?  I hope that all of us this morning can with a hundred percent confidence and assuredly say yes, I am a Christian.  I know, there’s a time in my life when I realized I needed Jesus, I accepted him, he came into my life, now Christ is in me.  I struggle, I stumble at times, but I am a true Christian, Christ is indeed in me.  So can you say yes?  I hope you can say this.  I know I can say this.  I can confidently say this.  And man, sometimes you may look at me and say ‘Wow, that doesn’t seem to line up.’  But at other times, at other times, the life of Christ, I can see it in me.  Christ is changing me, I’m not the same man I used to be.  I know, there is a point in time when Jesus Christ [Yeshua haMeshiach for our Messianic believers] came into my life, and became the Lord of my life.  So, Christ, the truth, is in me.  Can you confidently say yes to that question?  It is vital that you can.  The reason why I told you that is sometimes we grow up in traditions, sometimes we grow up in church environments where we don’t learn that.  And we think being a Christian is being an American, or being a Christian is just being associated with a church.  But that’s not being a Christian.  And when it comes to standing before Christ, it is vital that we are Christians.  And a Christian is somebody who Jesus Christ has entered their life through the Holy Spirit [cf. John 14], and now resides in their heart [and mind].  So are you a Christian?  It’s so important that you are.  Because to be without Christ is to be apart from God.  God is light, in him is no darkness at all.

 

Another application of ‘walking in darkness’

 

Verse 6, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.”  Verse 6 can also be applied to a Christian who for some reason or another has started to slip into a lifestyle of sin.  They’re saved, Jesus is within them, cleaned them all up.  But for whatever reason, there’s a habit, there’s a lifestyle, there’s an addiction that’s worked its way back in.  Now they’re stuck in this.  And if that is the case, they can say “I’m saved, I’m so close to God” and they may be saved, but we can say their fellowship with God is greatly hindered.  I can’t say I’m close to God and be living in sin, because God is light and in him is no darkness at all.  So, a Christian who is living in sin, it is affecting their intimacy with God.  And that is regardless of what they profess, regardless of how they try to appear.  The Bible says in fact that they’re hypocrites.  They try to appear one way, but man there is this private sin, there’s this lifestyle, sometimes it’s not even private.  It’s just in their life and they just want it and they don’t want to do without it, yet they’re not close to God.  That is for sure, no matter how many ‘Praise the Lord’s’ they say, no matter how many Jesus bumper stickers they have on their car, Christian video’s at home, books they read—their lifestyle of sin is greatly affecting their relationship with God.  So, with that today, are you a true believer in Jesus Christ, born-again believer?—but as you sit here you know that there’s a practice of sin in your life?  Maybe it’s a hidden sin, which often is the case, maybe an addiction to pornography, an addiction to alcohol, and addiction to drugs, continual practice of gossip, or a part of hatred or bitterness toward an individual, and it just sits there, or the sin of pride, or the love of the world—and there’s that habit, that practice, continuance in your life.  Maybe it’s not even a hidden sin.  There are people that, they’re Christians, born-again, they’re just in an open lifestyle of sin, two Christians living together that aren’t married.  Somebody in the lifestyle of promiscuity or homosexuality and they’re saying ‘I’m walking close to God’ and they’re deceiving themselves, because they’re not, because God is light—and in him is no darkness at all, that is for sure.  Now one of the first symptoms of a believer who is walking in darkness, that has their relationship with God hindered, because of that walking in darkness, one of the first symptoms is a dullness in that spiritual relationship, that walk with God.  It starts to affect their worship.  It starts to affect their Bible reading.  I can attest that, for a couple years in college, I’m a born-again believer, even witnessing as a Christian, living a horrendous life.  I was in the Bible every day.  I just did it to make my conscience feel a little better.  And I was praying, but I’m sure it wasn’t very effective, because I was living contrary to the Word of God, and I wasn’t close to God.  So, one of the first symptoms is dullness.  It affects my Bible study, it affects my prayer-life, it becomes empty and stale.  I come to church, there’s now a dullness, there’s a routine to the service, doesn’t have a vibrancy to the service.  Now has that become your experience?  Has that become your experience?  Well then, take note of what John is saying  here in verse 6, there’s a walk of darkness.   There’s a lifestyle, there’s issues that you’ve got to deal with in your life, that’s hindering your fellowship with God.   “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (verse 6).

 

Walking in the light brings us into ‘spiritual’ fellowship with other believers—‘walking in darkness’ spiritually separates us from other believers

 

          Now as we see in verse 7, he says “But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”  So now there is harmony between a person’s walk and what they profess.  But the result of that, he says ‘we have then fellowship with one another.’  So as I have an intimate relationship with God, it enables me to have an intimate relationship with other believers.  So if I don’t have an intimate relationship with God, but a walk of darkness in my life, then it will also effect my ability to have an intimate relationship with other believers.  And that is certainly something that you see happen even frequently in the church.  You’ll see believers that start to struggle in sin, and because they start to struggle in sin, maybe you don’t know about it, but you start to see symptoms because they start to get critical of other believers.  And then they start even staying away from church, because there’s no communion between light and darkness.  So there’s that strain, there’s these symptoms that there is a lifestyle, there’s something that’s grabbed their heart, hook that’s got them again, and you start to see it…clear signs of it.

          Now, going even a step further, if a Christian is married to another Christian, and a husband or wife starts to dabble in sin, starts to get into a lifestyle of sin, that can also affect a marriage, in that, if one believer is walking in the light, now one of them isn’t, there’s no communion.  There’s now a struggle.  So she just starts to wonder, man, I’m just not connected to my husband.  Sometimes it’s because he’s gotten into something he shouldn’t be, you know.  If there isn’t that spiritual connection with a brother and sister in Christ anymore, what’s happening?  Or vice versa, a husband, not connected.  You start to see there’s no hunger, no passion [spiritually].  And then because of that maybe there’s other schisms and struggles and problems in the marriage.  So, when I as a born-again believer, start walking in darkness, it effects my communion with God.  It effects my worship, it effects my reading, my prayer, my coming to church, and it also starts to effect my relationship with other people, and potentially even in my own home, those that are born-again because of the darkness that’s there.  So, if you are a believer today, struggling in such a way, understand too that God is righteous…sometimes we deceive ourselves [saying] ‘I know God will eventually forgive me, I’ll have my fun, I’ll lead this lifestyle, and I’ll confess and he’ll forgive me.’  But we fool ourselves, in that God will forgive us, but we forget the cost of what it took for him to forgive us.  So we kind of belittle that.  He will forgive us if our hearts truly repent.  We forget the Bible says we reap what we sow, there’s always consequences.  That’s the real problem, man.  It’s the stuff that comes back to us, that we have to deal with.  So understand the righteousness of God, he chastises those that he loves.  He loves you so much, he’s not going to just let you stay there for too long.  He’s going to work in your life.  He wants to be close to you, he wants a close communion.   But also we need to make this point, that if you repent [which in the Jewish culture means to make an about face, turn around and go the other way, interestingly] right now—maybe you have been hiding sin in your life, struggling with sin…the most wonderful thing today, is you can repent.  [Go to Pastor Joe’s sermon series for 1 John 1:1-10, where he explains this verse, dealing with standing in the light, as he is in the light, and what that means.]  That’s the great thing about being a Christian, is you can repent, meaning you can be forgiven.  And you can have the relationship restored with God.  That’s the beautiful thing.  I can be at my house, I can be in my office, and maybe it’s been a time where I haven’t been close to the Lord, I can get on my knees and say ‘Lord, what’s going on?  OK, I confess, this and that and this…That’s the amazing thing about the work of God in my life.  So today, if you’re a believer and you’re struggling with walking in darkness, it’s effected your relationship with God, it will effect your fellowship with others, but understand too today, this isn’t to condemn you, this is to tell you, to get your attention.  But also, you can change today, you can walk out of here forgiven, also with the power to have victory and to go and do the right thing regardless of what you may be facing, you can go and do the right thing.  I think of Jesus in our Bible reading last week, of that beautiful story of that lady caught in adultery, and you know these guys are trying to condemn her. But Jesus doesn’t condemn her, and he doesn’t condemn you either.  In fact, we made that point clear, who’s going to cast the first stone, we’re all sinners saved by grace.  Then he wonderfully said to the lady, he said “Go and sin no more.”   ‘If you put your faith in me, you are forgiven, but now you’ve got the means and ability to go and sin no more.’  I like that about the Bible.  God says we go and sin no more.  [Meaning that with the indwelling Holy Spirit we have the ability to turn from sin and chose not to sin, a supernatural power living within us, if we’re willing “to stand in the light as he is in the light”, which means to be honest with God about the sin we’re caught in, habit of sin, sinful lifestyle, and ask him to help us out of it, and he with the Holy Spirit operating within us, will cleanse us, helping us to ‘go and sin no more.’  But standing in the light as he is in the light means to be transparent with God, totally honest, exposing those sins, and asking for God to help us out of them, turning and walking the other way—not just saying “I’m sorry” but doing nothing about it. That’s what’s not often properly taught about, what the word “repent” actually means.  For clarification on this whole process, go back to http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/Romans6-1-5page1.htm and review that whole Romans chapter 6-8 section.]  It’s miserable really living in sin, it’s great to know that I can go on and sin no more.  That’s a beautiful thing, man.  That’s a word of hope to me.  It says, “We walk in the light as he is in the light” so there’s harmony.  I confess that I know God in an intimate way and having this neat time with him, and you look at my life and say, ‘Yeah, he’s just with the Lord, it’s just clearly evident, that man is full of the joy of the Lord, he’s in the presence of the Lord, there’s harmony.  So when there’s harmony, there’s also this ability to be close to other believers, and have a sweetness with them, as he says in verse 7.  Then he says “if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (verse 7).  And that’s a tremendous statement there, and we’ll pick up with that more next week.  When he says the word “cleanses” here, it is in the present tense.  So it means “continuously cleansing us from all sin.”  So what is implied here is, we’ll see in the following verses, when Jesus Christ cleanses me from the cancer of sin in my life through the shedding of his blood, he leaves me totally clean, totally clean in a way that now I’m acceptable to God, in a way that I can be in his presence, that I can have an intimate relationship with God, and that I can also have that intimate fellowship with others.  So, his blood cleanses me from all sins, so as I am walking in the light, that also proves that I’m being cleansed from my sins…there’s a continual cleansing going on.  I’m walking in the light, that doesn’t mean I’m not stumbling.  As we’ll go on next week, I’ll stumble, I’ll confess my sin, I give it to the Lord, he cleanses me, and I just continue to walk in the light, and there isn’t a hindrance or a stop in my communion and fellowship with the Lord.  Now, when he uses this term “the blood of Jesus Christ”, he’s certainly not ashamed to say that.  And as you remember, he’s also dealing with this Gnostic teaching, that Jesus, one part of the Gnostic teaching taught that Jesus was just a phantom.  Very clearly here he’s not saying that Jesus was a phantom when he talks about the blood of Jesus Christ.  Phantoms don’t have blood.  Jesus was a living being, he was the Son of God, God come as a man into the world, and of course that blood.  So there was that blood of Jesus Christ when he died on the cross that then has provided a means for me to be forgiven of my sins, and to be cleansed of my sins, so I can have a relationship with God.  It’s not the example of Jesus Christ that cleanses me, it’s his blood that cleanses me.  As you remember the teaching in the New Testament.  I like that word, as we get to the end of our time, “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”  That’s a great word, “all.”  Especially when it’s next to him.  He cleanses us from all sin, everything that I do.  If you’re here today and maybe there’s ‘ah, I can’t believe I did that, it still bothers me at this point, it bothers my conscience that I did that.’  You can know that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all sin, everything.  You can be cleansed of everything, completely cleansed, made right before the Lord.  And if you confess, just trust, ‘I’m cleansed, it’s over.’  My sin has been separated from me as far as the east is from the west.  Sometimes as Christians we just carry the yoke of something that we’ve done, and it bothers us and hinders us.  Jesus cleanses us from all sin.  Know today you can be cleansed from everything you’ve ever done.  Confess it to the Lord and ask him to forgive you, and Christ is in your heart, you are cleansed from all sin.  It’s all clean and you’re made white, that’s a beautiful thing.  I think of this story.   At the great parliament of religion that was held in Chicago many years ago, practically every known religion was represented.  During one session, Dr. Joseph Cook of Boston suddenly rose, and he said this, “Gentlemen, I beg to introduce to you a woman with a great sorrow.  Blood stains are on her hands, and nothing she has tried will remove them.  The blood is that of a murder.  She’s been driven to desperation in her distress.  Is there anything in your religion that would remove her sin and give her peace?”  A hush fell upon the gathering.  Not one of the company replied.  Raising his eyes heavenward Dr. Cook then cried out, “John, can you tell this woman how to get rid of her awful sin?”  The great preacher waited, as if listening for a reply.  Suddenly he cried out, “Listen, listen, John speaks.  The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin, 1st John chapter 1, verse 7.”  Not a soul broke the silence.  The representatives of eastern religions and western cults sat dumb in the face of human needs.  The gospel of Jesus Christ alone can meet the need.  The sin of the race of man demanded the blood of Calvary, the blood of Jesus Christ.  Man, it cleanses us from all sin, all sin.  So this morning each and every one of us can be completely clean from our sin.  And we can go and have peace in our heart, we can then leave with an intimate relationship with God.  And then if we’re in his presence there is the fullness of joy [cf. Psalms 16:10-11].  John writes these things so that your joy may be full.  Let’s pray…”  [sermon transcript from anther Christian congregation somewhere in New England, pastor wishes to remain anonymous.]     

 

For another excellent resource that goes hand-in-hand with a part of this study, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/GoandSInnomore.htm, and if you would like to purchase Dr. Brown’s book, the information and links are there to do so online.

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