1 John 1:1-8
1 John 1:1-10, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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, his Son, purifies us from all [or every] sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (NIV)
1st John 1:1-10, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life: (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 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 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 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.” (KJV)
“We are in 1st John this evening. And I will quickly review some things that we will not have time to look at right now, but they will be on the tape for those of you who plan to make a fairly serious study of 1st John. [He’s speaking in a public auditorium for this first part of the sermon transcript—sounds like an echo chamber, soundman’s worst nightmare!] 1st John, typical of John the writer, it’s catholic in this sense—before the Roman Catholic Church the word “catholic” just meant “universal”. And a “catholic” epistle was a letter that was sent to the entire church. And in that sense, there is no particular church it is addressed to, there is no particular group of people, there’s not the usual introduction, greeting or ending that we find. So it certainly is written to all of us through all ages and all places, and it is very general, it is filled with pathos. And I didn’t count the times, but as you read through these five chapters, so many times you hear the word “beloved”, so many times you hear the words “the brethren”, so many times you hear the emphasis on how we should treat one another and love one another. It is remarkable when you read through the book, probably written after 90AD, John is the last living eye-witness that had walked [with Jesus], the last living apostle of the original ones that had walked with Christ and had been eyewitnesses of his earthly ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. And because of that, he has a particular burden upon his heart. Now, he is facing certain things, and the epistle is very important for that reason. Gnosticism was spreading through the church, a doctrine that taught that there were certain sects of Christianity that were far superior to others because they had “special knowledge”. [the whole purpose of my website is to show that ISN’T TRUE.] And certain Christians were deceived into going into that camp. There were many in that camp that were not even believers, they’d say ‘You have to realize this special thing, if you really want to be a first class Christian.’ ‘You know, there are special spiritual insights that you don’t have, just by having Jesus, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.’ Now there are those characters still around today, you have to have their book or their set of tapes, or their insight or their apostle, you know, they’re all around today. That’s nonsense. There was an elder in Ephesus name Cerinthis, and there was a Cerinthian heresy, and what he taught was that Jesus, because the spiritual is good, and physical is evil, that Jesus was only the Christ from his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist, until his crucifixion. That when he was baptized at the Jordan, Cerinthis taught, at that time the “Christ anointing” came upon him, that Jesus himself was not the Christ, but the “Christ anointing”—which smacks of Eastern mysticism—came upon him then and stayed on his life until the cross and then left him again when he was crucified. And so John is dealing with that lie as he writes, and that is part of the backdrop [for 1st John]. And there were those who just said that Jesus was not God. That doctrine was spreading and is still around today in the Jehovah’s Witnesses and certain organizations. There also was an emphasis that said “If the spiritual is the only true good realm, and if the physical doesn’t really matter because it’s evil, then you can do whatever you want, you can live in sexual sin, you can get drunk, because none of that really matters because there is a gap between the spiritual and physical that you can never breach.” So there were those who taught immorality. So many times through John’s epistle, though it’s filled with love and filled with grace, he challenges us about keeping the commandments of God, it’s remarkable. [i.e. the commandments and their requirement for Christians, with the enabling power and help of the Holy Spirit, are not “done away”. This is a theme that will repeat itself throughout the 1st Epistle of John.] So on your own, if you’re going to take your time to study through this epistle, it is so jammed packed, it really defies an evaluation in the sense of overlaying an outline upon it. Most of the scholars say it’s so woven together, it’s hard for us to come up with just one way of looking at the book. [That is why in this section of transcripts dealing with 1st John, I am giving the transcripts of two separate Calvary Chapel pastors, to give as thorough a coverage to this awesome letter of John’s as is possible. So be sure to log onto and read the other transcription when it becomes available.]
So many times through John’s epistle, though it’s filled with love and filled with grace, he challenges us about keeping the commandments of God, it’s remarkable
Now I’m going to give you some key words, and I’m sure there are others that I didn’t note, but I counted these, and it’ll be on the tape. You may want to take note of this if you’re going to study. John mentions “belief” or “believing” ten times through his letter. He mentions the word “Jesus” eleven times. In these five chapters, thirteen times he mentions “writing” or “this is the reason this is written”, “this is why I write this unto you”. Thirteen times he mentions the importance of his writing, that’s remarkable for five chapters. He mentions “keeping commandment” or “commandments” fourteen times in five chapters, and that’s important, because even in the church today there are those who think they can go on and live in sin, and it doesn’t have anything to do with their walk with the Lord. And all they’re doing is they’re abusing God’s grace, and his chastening rod has not yet come on a believer who’s acting that way, they’re running out of time. He mentions “sin” and “sinning” twenty-one times in the five chapters. He mentions “Jesus as the Son of God” twenty-three times in five chapters. Remarkably, he mentions “knowing” or “to know”, “you have known”, “I want you to know”, or “knoweth” thirty-seven times in five chapters, so there is an extreme emphasis to the believer that you are to know these things. In fact in 1 John 5:13 he sums it up and he says “These things I have written unto you, to believe on the name of the Son of God, that you might know that you have eternal life.” So for those of you who are struggling with assurance, this is a book that you should stay in, and continue to read. As he wrote the Gospel of John, at the end he says “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” “But the things I have written I have written that you might believe in the name of the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life through his name.” (John 20:31). “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31, Standard Revised Version). So he says the reason he wrote the Gospel of John is so that we might believe, the reason he wrote the 1st Epistle is, he wrote it to those who believe, that they might know that they have eternal life—for assurance. So the word “know”, or “known” or “knowing”, thirty-seven times. The word “love” is mentioned 46 times in five chapters, “to love,” or “to be loving”, remarkably. And he mentions “God” 57 times in five chapters.
Now typical of John, and I’ll leave you to find some of this on your own, he mentions the Holy Spirit seven times. For some reason he’s big on sevens. We’ll find it as we study his gospel, as we study the book of Revelation. There are seven contrasts that are set up, light and darkness, truth and error, that run throughout. There are a series of contrasts. And as you read through you’ll notice them. Each one is finally summed up by saying “Hereby we know…”. So in each contrast we are to know a particular thing. There are seven traits of being “born-again” that he mentions. Seven times he uses the word “born”, “being born of God”. So seven times he mentions the new birth and he gives in each one a trait that should accompany your life if indeed you are born-again. And that’s in 2:29; 3:9 twice; 4:7; 5:1; 5:4 and 5:18. He lists seven reasons that he wrote the letter, in 1:3; 1:4; 2:1; 2:13-17; chapter 2:21-24; chapter 2:26 and chapter 5:13—seven times he mentions why he wrote. And there are seven tests of our profession. As an example, look in chapter 1, verse 6. Seven tests of false profession. 1:6 says, “If we say”. Seven times he says that through the letter. “If we say that we have fellowship with him and we walk in darkness, we lie.” That is a test of false profession, if we say that we have fellowship with Jesus and we walk in darkness, we are a liar. Again, look in 1:8, he says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” Verse 10, ‘If we say we have not sinned at all in our life, we make him a liar…’ 2:4 says “He that saith ‘I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar”, and so on, 2:6, 2:9, and 4:20. So there are these remarkable series of seven tests and seven contrasts, and seven mentions of a particular thing. Seven purposes, seven traits of the born-again, just remarkable as John weaves these things through this small Epistle. So great, great, strong emphasis on your experiential relationship with Jesus Christ. Unlike Paul, who develops great theological concepts and argues for them, and sets them out in the open, John writes from a very subjective point of view in many places—and says “If we say this”, or “If we experience this”, or “I want you to know this”. John was the mystic, and John is the one who appreciates so much his relationship with Christ, who heard Jesus say things that it seems the other apostles passed over. You see how different his gospel is from Matthew, Mark and Luke. So John writes in a very remarkable way in encouraging all of us in the reality of our personal relationship with Jesus. What are we really experiencing in our walk, and in our perception of him? What do we really know about him, what do we really know about our assurance? How are we relating to that? What are our confessions? It’s remarkable as he goes through, he is very much emphasizing your experience with the Living God. And that was John, so God used him in an important time to write this epistle.
And John is desiring to communicate to us a relationship and not a religion…Jesus Christ did not come to leave a religious system, he came to give us spiritual life—and then eternal life.
He begins by saying “That which was from the beginning”—and you’ll notice how this reminds you much of the beginning of his gospel—“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of Life”—calling Jesus the Word, you remember in his gospel “in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God”, chapter 1, verse 14 of his Gospel, “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld his glory, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth…” and he is very strong on Jesus as the Word, so he says that here. “That which we have heard, that which you have seen, that which our eyes have looked upon, we have handled, of the Word of life, that was from the beginning, for the Life was manifested, we have seen it, and bear witness and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us, that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you”—here’s the first purpose for writing—“that you also may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” So he starts very strongly by saying, ‘This relationship with Jesus Christ is not based on something ethereal or, you know, meditating Ooohm, on the side. He says, you have to understand, you know, we saw him, that which was from the beginning, literally from beyond the vanishing point. John in his concept of eternity was incredible because he realized that we look at eternity as a very long chronological time, and John said ‘no, that which was from beyond the vanishing point, which came and was manifested, we have heard with our own ears.’ Then he said, ‘Not only did we hear,’ he progresses, and when he’s saying “we” he is speaking of himself and the other apostles. Up until verse 5, he speaks of “we” and “you”, and then finally he changes in verse 6 (we’ll talk about when we get there.). So he’s speaking on behalf of himself, remembering the apostles he had walked with and that experience they had. “That which we have seen, we’ve heard, we’ve seen”. Then he says “that which we have looked upon, or gazed upon”, it means to put under scrutiny or study. He says, ‘It isn’t just that we saw Jesus,’ he said ‘We sat with him, and we looked at the look in his face, we saw the tears in his eyes the times that he wept, we saw his face when the leper asked if he could be cleansed, we saw the expression and the tone of his voice when he addressed the woman who was taken in adultery—we studied him, we watched his power, we saw him rebuke the wind and the sea, we gazed upon him, we looked upon him. More than that, he’s saying because of Cerinthis and some of these other heretics that said that Jesus was just a spirit, he said—“and that which we have handled.” And just John, you know, bringing that to us. I believe with all my heart that Jesus treated these guys as family. When he was raised from the dead, he said to Mary ‘Go tell my brethren that I ascend unto my God and their God, to my Father and their Father’, and he said ‘Go tell my brothers’, and I really get the feeling that when these guys were together and they sat around the fire at night, they laughed, they carried on. You know, I think that when James and John came to Jesus and said ‘Hey, you know, we want to go through the Samaritan territory, but they said, ‘no way, I’m not gonna let them come through here.’ ‘Lord what you need to do with those guys, just do what Elijah did, call down fire and smoke those guys, that’ll show ‘em.’ And the Lord went ‘Oiw Vey, you don’t know what manner of spirit you are of. I didn’t come to burn people up, I came to save them.’ And he said ‘I’m changing your guys names to “son’s of thunder”.’ So here’s John, the apostle of love, early on he must have been quite a guy. Most scholars feel he must have been around sixteen years old when he began to walk with the Lord, because here we are after 90AD and he’s still alive. So as a teenager he’s walking with Christ, he’s filled with that energy, he wants to burn people up, and Jesus changes his name, him and his brother, to “The sons of thunder.” So, imagine these guys sitting around the campfire, and then James or John says something, and I can hear them all, “Ah, the Sons of Thunder speaking up again.” You know, it’s hard for me to believe that Jesus didn’t laugh with those guys and just look at them and thought ‘Father, this is going confuse Satan completely, that you would use these guys to turn the world upside down, he’ll never get a handle on them, I can’t manage them—what is he gonna do with them?’ I believe there was a remarkable friendship, I believe that they spilled things on each other. You know that if there was twelve of them, that in three and a half years, somebody knocked something and spilled it on Jesus’ lap. [laughter] You know that. You know that they brushed bees out of each other’s hair. You know that they helped each other up and down the hills. You know, they climbed hills and you know that Jesus reached down and pulled up Peter or Peter reached down and pulled up the Lord. And he’s saying to us this evening, though he’s not here, and he knows he’s the last eye-witness to be passing off the scene, and he knows that you and I will be sitting here, and he says ‘That which was from the beginning”—that which was from beyond the vanishing point—“was manifest in our lives, and we heard him speak, and we saw him and we studied him, and I leaned upon his breast and we felt him, that Eternal Word of God, that,’ he says, ‘is what we so desire to communicate unto you, that your fellowship might be with us. And truly the fellowship we have is with the Father and with Jesus Christ his Son.’ And you can hear the pathos in John as he tries with all of this heart to give unto a church that was believing all kinds of lies, the reality of what they had experienced with Jesus. And John is the one that had been there at the cross when the others fled, and Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold thy son’, and he said to John, ‘Behold thy mother.’ John was the one that recognized things after the resurrection. John was the one that Jesus said that he would see his glory before he died, and there were others that thought that John was going to die soon, but Jesus was speaking of the Revelation on the Isle of Patmos. So John communicating in a remarkable way with us, as they were transfixed on him sometimes and gazed on him and considered him…Imagine what it was like, in all four gospels mentioned, the only miracle all four gospels mention before the resurrection is the feeding of the five thousand. And it is because it says there that of course Jesus had them sit down in companies of fifties and hundreds, five thousand men plus women and children, ten thousand people—and he had three sardines and two little English Muffins. And the disciples think ‘and these people are gonna eat us, we’re making them sit down like we’re gonna feed ‘em, and it says Jesus looked to heaven and gave thanks, he said Grace, and they sat around looking at him thinking ‘And what is he doing?’ He’s got three sardines and two English Muffins, and he’s sayin’ ‘God is great, God is good and we thank him for this food.’ Jesus is saying Grace, and then it says he began to break and as he broke it continued. Imagine if you had a hoagie like that, as fast as you broke it off it got longer. It was a miracle of generation, there was a generation of material, it was creating something from nothing like when he created the worlds in the beginning, as he fed them. And it says ‘They all ate until they were glutted,’ and then Jesus sent them to collect the broken fragments and it says they collected twelve baskets, and it spoke of the personal basket that someone would carry their own food in, and after that long day they went through the crowds as it was evening and they came back up to Jesus at the top of that hill, every disciple had his own basket filled with food. And they sat there and they looked at his face, not thirteen, not one for Jesus. But they had tried to get him to send the crowd away. And they learned that he was sufficient, not only was he sufficient, but not one of them would be left out as they served him. And imagine what it was like for them to sit there and eat, each man eat from his basket at the end of that day. That’s why it says “We were transfixed upon him at times, we gazed upon him.” “We looked into his face.” You know, if you’re here this evening and you don’t know Jesus Christ personally, you need to make that decision. My father was in one denomination, my mom was in another. I grew up in the church, they made me go to church until they told me I didn’t have to go anymore, and I went straight from there to drugs because I never heard the gospel, I never heard it was true, I never knew he loved me and died for me and that he rose from the dead. And John is desiring to communicate to us a relationship and not a religion. And you have got to take that to heart. Jesus Christ walked this earth, and there is more historical documentation for his life than that of Shakespeare or anyone else. And Paul tells us that there were 500 witnesses, many of whom were still alive when he wrote 1st Corinthians chapter15, that had seen Jesus after his resurrection. Over 500 people saw him at one time. Do you know in our jurisprudence system, if they were to produce two eyewitnesses that saw O.J. Simpson commit the crime, he would be going away or to the electric chair. That is our jurisprudence system, two eyewitnesses put you away. Paul said there were 500 that saw him at one time, the most of whom are still alive in the time that he was writing Corinthians. And many of those shed their blood to seal their testimony, they gave their lives because they had seen him risen from the dead. And John said ‘That is what we desire to communicate with you—that you may have this fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father.’ So the first thing he says is, the reason I’m writing is so that you might have fellowship. The Greek word is koinonia. We don’t really have an English phrase that communicates it properly. In the book of Acts it talks about the disciples selling their goods and giving to everyone that had need, and it says there in Acts 2, that they had all things in common. Those English words, all things in common are one Greek word, koinonia. So it’s the idea of having all things in common. It is the idea of fellowship. Sometimes it is translated communion. We would say, and I think a good modern word for it is, cahoots—that he wants you and I to be in cahoots with Jesus. Now nobody really knows what cahoots really means, but we know how to apply it. That’s like koinonia, we don’t know exactly how to define it, but we know how to apply it. That you and I, here we are this evening, the thing that drives our relatives crazy about us is we’re not just religious, we’re in cahoots with Jesus. See, it says in the book of Acts that the Pharisees and Sadducees took note that they were unlearned and ignorant men, but they had been with Jesus. And John says, ‘That is the communion or the fellowship’, and I really would say that is the key phrase that all of the other contrasts and challenges throughout the letter hinge off of, that he wants you to be having a genuine experience with Jesus. In your prayer-life, when you pray and seek the Lord, it should not just be a monologue where you go ‘Gimmie this, gimmie that, gimmie this, gimmie that, bless this, bless that, heal this, heal that, sell this, sell that, gimmie this raise, gimmie that house, gimmie this person, gimmie this wife. It should be a time where you go to him and you pour out your heart and you are able to sit quietly and hear him also speaking to you, not audibly, but to know in your heart that he is making impressions, that there is a genuine communion with the Lord. That was John. He appreciated so much, and that is what he is desiring to communicate us, that our relationship with Jesus would be real. And to me, that gives, you know when I have that sense of adventure, that makes the whole thing worthwhile. And granted, there are many times, sometimes for long periods of time, I go on in my Christian experience “in faith”, believing his Word without those kind of evidences. But it is wonderful when there are those times when I get up in the morning and I read a certain passage, and it blows my mind and I shed a few tears, and then I run out, jump in the car and go to work and I click the radio on, and the guy on the radio is saying the same thing that I just got done reading [he must be listening to Christian radio], and I go ‘Wow!, He’s speaking to me!’, and I get to work and the first thing I hear from somebody is ‘You know the Word has really been putting this Scripture on—and I say ‘I know what the Scripture is, don’t tell me…’ I love it when there is that sense of adventure, when God does things in front of you to let you know he’s gone before you and things in your life happen and you have to say ‘This is more than coincidence.’ Now granted there are difficult times, when a marriage is disintegrating or when we are in an illness [or clinical depression, like Elijah was], you know. And the thing that I find is, God will also draw close during those very difficult times, but sometimes we don’t want him around because we’re mad at him. But he will make himself evident, and he will sustain us and carry us, and be with us. And John’s concern is that he will communicate to us the genuineness of the person of Jesus [Yeshua] who is crucified, risen and returning, and that through the Spirit you and I may have communion with him, with the Father and with the Son through Jesus Christ, that we would have a relationship and not a religion. Because Jesus Christ did not come to leave a religious system, he came to give us life. We have developed the systems, and categorized them, dress codes and this is how you do this, and…And God has blessed our cliquishness through the centuries, it is remarkable that the church has survived 2,000 years, that there are episcopal, presbyterian and congregational forms of government, and that some gotta do it this way, and some gotta do it that way. And I thank God there are different flavors so the nuts can do somewhere else, you know, some people, they need stained glass windows and incense to feel close to God and some people need to wear a tie, I feel like I’m going to die if I wear a tie, but some people need to do that and God has made all those allowances, some people need to speak in tongues and roll on the floor, and some people need a very ordered situation, you know. And the remarkable thing is that the body of Christ is much bigger than Calvary Chapel, and it is diverse, and it has survived thousands of years and is still here—and that is an evidence in and of itself that he is risen and that believers through the centuries have had a real relationship with a risen savior. [See http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm] And that’s what John is desiring to communicate. So the first thing he says, “That these things are being declared unto you, that you may have fellowship with us”—and truly, if you’re going to define that fellowship, it is a vertical fellowship. There is no horizontal fellowship unless there is vertical fellowship. Truly our fellowship is with the Father and Jesus Christ his Son (Verse 3). So up to this point we have covered:
verses 1-3, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Then he says, verse 4, “And these things write we unto you that your joy may be full.” Or that your joy may continue to be full. He takes for granted you have it. You know, that you would be in fellowship, and obviously somehow you being fulfilled or experiencing joy is directly related to the quality of fellowship or communion or cahoots that you have with Jesus [Yeshua] personally.
Maturity is a process of sinning less and repenting more
So, the second reason that your joy may remain full. “This then is the message” verse 5, “that we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” And there is something here in the Greek called a double-negative that we don’t have in English. If somebody does it in English we correct them. It says “that in him there is no darkness at all, no not at all” is the sense of it. So there is a double-negative to bring the point across. And this is the message we’ve heard, that God is light, God dwells in unapproachable light. We hear people say “I’ve seen the light”. Paul says that we should pray “that the light of the glorious gospel would shine within our being”, and again, this is not a physical light. It is not a physical light. And you and I, even as believers, ‘Oh Lord, I’m struggling, I really want to know you love me. Just shine a beam of light through my bedroom’, you know, ‘just let an angel feather drift down’. You know, we’d probably have a heart attack if a light shined down in our bedroom. But that’s not what it’s talking about. It says in John chapter 1 that Jesus, with him was the life, and the life is the light of men. He says in John chapter 3, verses 19-21 that men do not come to him because they love darkness more than light, they “agape” darkness. And that means unbelievers “agape”, have a devoted love, towards darkness. And the idea is, and you know with your friends, your unsaved friends and relatives and people you know, you could talk to them about karate, you can talk to them about dieting, you can talk to them about Jenny Craig, talk to them about anything that makes them feel good. But as soon as you say “Jesus” or “sin” or “savior” they’re out the door. Because Jesus said ‘the reason men don’t come to me is it brings their deeds into the light and makes manifest what they are.’ And for men to come to Jesus…if you have an electrical problem you need and electrician, if you got a plumbing problem, you need a plumber, if you got a sin problem you need a savior. And Jesus is not just a great teacher or guru, he was [and is] the Savior of the world, the Son of God. And John will develop that here. And for us to come to him means to bring our life into the light. Paul says in Ephesians chapter 5 that ‘anything that doth make manifest is light.’ ‘Anything that doth make manifest is light.’ What that means for you Christians, and me, as we’re struggling, we couldn’t even be struggling if the light of God wasn’t shining in our life. Thank God that we’re struggling. Because what that means is we recognize areas that need to change. “Anything that doth make manifest is light.’” The only reason we can feel bad or want to change is because this light which is the life of men has shone into our lives, and we see our life for what it is. We see our depravity for what it is. We see our selfishness for what it is. We didn’t see any of that before we got saved. We wanted to take care of numero uno, number one, all I want to do it is get my pleasure and my drugs and my sleep and my food and my clothes and me, me, me, me, me. And then you get saved and you cannot do the same things you used to do. You cannot be happy with the same things you used to be happy with because you look at yourself and you know there are just things that need to change. You try to do the same things and you know ‘This ain’t right, Lord don’t come now, Oh Lord, wait till I get this straightened out.’ I mean, “anything that doth make manifest is light.” It says here, “God dwells in light, in him is no darkness at all.” The closer we get to him, the more we see ourselves for what we are. That is why I think maturity is a process of sinning less and repenting more. And I think the great saints of God, as they came to the end of their lives, walking with the Lord, 30, 40, 50, 60 years, they were more appalled at themselves, the closer they get to the light. But of course, the more appalled we get at ourselves, the more we understand his grace and his glory and that no flesh will glory in his presence, and that all the glory goes to him. The more that we are appalled at ourselves, the more we understand only through the blood of Christ could any of us be saved, and that none of us will glory in his presence. So he says here [in verse 5] ‘the thing that we’re declaring is that God light, in him is no darkness at all.’
Now verse 6, he puts himself in the same category as us. “If we say”—here’s one of our tests, if this is your profession—“If we say”—including himself—“that we have fellowship with him”—koinonia, if we say that we’re in cahoots with Jesus—“and yet we walk in darkness, we lie, and we do not the truth.” i.e. we do not practice the truth. And throughout John there are tenses, and the great Spurgeon said there are sermons in tenses, this is important. What he says is, ‘If it is our habit to walk in the light, or if it is our habit to walk in the darkness.’ He’s not saying that Christian perfection is a perfection of performance, because he’s going to go on to say that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves’… ‘and if we confess our sins’, he taking for granted that as believers we will have to confess our sins. ‘If we say we’ve never sinned, we make him a liar.’ So he understands that Christians struggle with weakness and with sin. But what he’s saying is, ‘If it is our habit’—the habit of our life has changed. When you get saved, there should be a change in your life. Girls, if you’re going out with a guy who claims to be a Christian and all he wants to do is get you in a position where you compromise your morality, you need to question very seriously whether he’s even a believer. And when he presses you for that, you say ‘Honey, close your eyes and I’ll give you a surprise.’ And when his eyes are closed, ball up your fist as hard as you can and go WHAM! right in the…come here, we’ll pray for you, God will forgive you. [laughter] You know, when we get saved there should be a change in our lives. “Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity” is what the Bible says. And I’ll have people come up to me and say, ‘Well, once saved, always saved, right?’ And I listen to them, and I know what they’re saying, they’re saying ‘I’m messing around, and I’m still safe—ain’t I?’ And I say ‘Why take my word for it, I was a druggie, I just got saved, I just got here, I ain’t stayin’ long, you gonna bet your eternal destiny on me??? There are scholars that have been arguing about this for centuries.’ It says in John 15 if we abide in the Vine we have life. What else do we need to know—how far we can un-abide and still be alive? That’s not love, that’s compromise. So he says here, ‘If it is our habit—he says ‘If we say that we are in the habit of having fellowship with him, and yet the habit of our life is to walk in darkness, we are lying, and we are not practicing the truth.’ But, in contrast to that, ‘If we are in the habit of walking in the light, as he—Jesus—‘is in the light, then we have fellowship’—very important here—‘one with another’—there’s a rule with antecedents that refers back to ‘we and he’ in verse 7 and the idea is ‘If we’—you and I, and John—‘walk in the light as he, Jesus, is in the light, then we’—you and Jesus is the ‘we’—‘have fellowship one with another’—not you and other believers, but it has to be the two mentioned in the grammar. So what it’s saying is if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we, then I myself and Jesus, we have fellowship, one with another. And it says, in that condition “The blood of Jesus, his Son cleanseth”—the idea is continually cleanses us—“from all sin” (last part of verse 7). Isn’t that interesting? Because we know that we were saved once and for all. You know it’s interesting 2nd Corinthians chapter 1, verse 10 says, ‘we have been delivered, we are being delivered, and we shall yet be delivered.’ So yes, we were saved once and for all, and I believe that, and I believe we’re secure. But it says here ‘That if we walk in the light as he is in the light, if we’re walking in the light, the truth, and part of the light is admitting our need for forgiveness and confession—it’s not how you walk, it’s where you walk. Do you understand? The beam of light is shining down. It isn’t how you walk, how perfectly, it is where you walk. And if you’re walking in the light, all of our evil and selfish deeds are made manifest. And if we remain there, then, it says, we are confessing or saying the same thing he says about our condition, that we are walking in the light and the blood of Christ is continually cleansing us from all sin. It is not a license to sin. It speaks of the liberty that we have in Christ, and John includes himself in the illustration.
Then he says, “If we say we have no sin” verse 8, and when you see sin in the singular, he’s talking about the sin nature, he’s not talking about the fruit of sin that is ‘sins’, he’s talking about the root of sin, the nature we’ve inherited from Adam. He’s saying ‘If we don’t have a propensity toward sin, if we’re not willing to admit that, then we deceive ourselves. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (verse 8). And how many Christians do you know that are self-deceived, they’re not honest about their need for forgiveness and to bring their lives into the truth. Verse 8 says “If we say” and here’s John including himself, using a personal pronoun, “we”, 90 year-old apostle, or older saying this, ‘If we”, that’s you and I and John “say that we have no sin”—John was admitting that he had that nature [the fleshly pager/cell phone connection to Satan’s wavelength], that wrestling, “if we say we have no sin”—singular—“we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Verse 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Verse 10, “If we say we have not sinned,”—that’s plural, the idea is if we are saying we have never done sinful deeds, that is, the sinful nature has never expressed itself—“we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” That’s why he died on the cross. “If we say we’ve never sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” So, this is what it’s saying, there is an issue of sin in the life of the believer. The way we deal with that, and if we want to remain in fellowship, and we want to remain walking in the light, then there is an honesty that we have to deal with in regards to our frailty and our weaknesses. The first thing we have to realize is that we have that fallen nature [Pastor J. Mark Martin in his series on Romans 6, says that the fallen ‘Old Man’ of the flesh has died upon our being born again—but that the human nature signal of Satan, that pager/cell-phone signal is always active within us, trying to pull us down. Log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/Romans6-6-22%20part1htm.htm ] And there are those in the church today that will teach you that that’s not true. They need to read a Bible. It says ‘if we say we’ve never sinned, we’re making him a liar.’ But here’s the central issue, “if we confess our sins, then he is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Very interesting phrase. “If we—continually, the tense is in the Greek “If we continually confess our sins, then he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” To confess, there, I believe it’s homologeo—homo means “the same as”, logeo is where we get Logos, it means “a word” or “to say”. Homologeo is “to say the same thing”. This is what genuine confession is, it’s not just saying ‘Oh, I’m sorry, oh I really blew it,’ What it’s saying is ‘Lord, this is really wrong, and I do not have the power to change myself. I see in your word that this needs to go, this area in my life.” And see, you’re saying the same thing as God. “Lord, your Holy Spirit has brought me under conviction, this particular relationship needs to stop.” “The way I deal with money, the lying or the drug deal, or whatever—Lord, you know you’ve saved me, this is sin Lord…” That is confession, homologeo, to say the same thing that the Holy Spirit is saying to you—you are agreeing with God about your sinful condition. It doesn’t say our confession saves us, it says ‘If we confess—he is the saver, he forgives us,’ and it says more than that. So here’s the idea.
I remember a time when my son Mikey (he’s in the senior high room, I can talk about him), when he was a little guy, he was a terror. I would come home sometimes, my wife would be crying, saying ‘he is not going to live to be two, I don’t know what to do with him, his death is going to be on my conscience.’ He was amazing. Don’t name your kid Michael. And there’s this kind of understood thing amongst little kids and that is, if you’re alone in the house with one parent, and the phone rings, and that parent gets on the phone, you are then free to explore. Because that adult individual is tied up on the phone, you are on your own. Kids just understand that. So I’m upstairs, the phone rings, my wife gets on the phone—Mikey, two-and-a-half, decides to explore the refrigerator. Something, I don’t know what it was, drove him—demon—I don’t know. [laughter] ‘Something’s in there that I want to know about.’ So he opens the refrigerator and decides that everything that is round will come under his scrutiny. So all the grapes come out onto the floor, tomatoes come out on the floor, apples come out on the floor—then he finds a dozen eggs. And then—crack, crack, eggs on the floor. Now by the time Cathy gets off the phone, she’s on the phone, I come walking down, look in the kitchen, there he is standing in a puddle of ‘soup’ about this big, grapes, tomatoes, apples, and eggs spread all over. And I looked at him, and he kind of got startled, and his feet slipped right out from under him because he was standing in the eggs, and up and down he comes—boom! Right down in it—and then he tried to jump up, he was slopping around. And I said to him “Did you do that!?” And by then he’s already got his hands on his rear-end—‘Uh-uh!’ [laughter] See, there is an admitting by the hands on the rear end, but there is a denial. Real confession is ‘Yeah Dad, I did it.’ ‘I know it’s really wrong, I don’t know how to control myself when mom’s on the phone.’ [laughter] ‘You know, I know it needs to change, I love to smash eggs on the floor, it’s just an area I haven’t got victory over yet.’ [laughter] Do you understand what I’m saying? Confession is to say the same thing as God, to say the same thing as his Word, and not just ‘Oh I’m sorry’ or ‘No, I didn’t do it’—it’s ‘Lord, you’re right.’ Then you’re in the light. Now this is what it says, it says that if you are man or woman enough to confess, to continually confess, continually admit and agree with and say the same thing as God about our actions, the ones that are wrong, then, remarkably, he is—two things—faithful and just (your Bible may say ‘faithful and righteous’ I think NIV), he is remarkably ‘faithful and righteous to forgive us.’ Now, you know your own track records. Isn’t is remarkable that he is righteous to forgive us? Isn’t it remarkable that since we’ve been saved, some of the stupid selfish things we’ve done, that he can be righteous to forgive us? He is both faithful to forgive us, when we confess and agree with him, and he is just because he paid the entire price with his own blood once and for all, so he is justified, he is able to forgive us, and he is just in doing it—in justifying the unjust, remarkable.
But it doesn’t stop there. Then it says “and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Now listen, the word “cleanse” there is the Greek word katharizo [Strongs #2511]. What do you mean, ‘Ooh’? Somebody doesn’t like to be cathorized? I won’t go into an in-depth explanation of what cathorization is, if you don’t know, ask someone who’s laughing, after the service. But it’s when somebody outside of you, helps you to drain something out of you that you couldn’t drain out on your own—a poison. What it says, is if we will stay in the light, and let that light search our lives, and we will agree, say the same thing he does about our lives and what needs to change, that then he is faithful and just to forgive us, the blood of Christ is continually cleansing us from all sin, and there is this cathorization, it is a process. There is a change that begins. Paul says that he is faithful to perfect that work, to complete that work, to continue that work unto that day. Paul says to the Galatians “I labor over you till Christ be formed in you”, and the idea is that we are in-process. Not everything in our life changes like that. Guaranteed, some do. When we come to conversion, there are changes in our lives that are remarkable and they freak out our friends. But there are other things, those things in the heart, those other areas that seem to be so deep-seated, of lusts and of selfishness, that anger, that somehow seem to go on for years. What it says, is if we will stay in the light with those things, and we will continue to agree with God about the need for those things to change, that he will continually be cleansing us, forgiving us, that he will continually be cathorizing us. And slowly but surely, as life goes on, the poison of those things drain out—and we may begin as ‘sons of thunder’ that want to smoke somebody up, and end up as the years go by as ‘the apostle of love.’ John knew well in his own life that walking in the light had cathorized him, that his confession of sin had taken him from a place of being a young man that had anger, that just wanted to burn his enemies up. And we can probably all think of at least one person we would like to burn up this evening, or would have liked to burn up in the last five years, and depending on us, we may be able to make a list of some individuals we’d enjoy burning up. And John at the end of his life, known as the “Apostle of Love”—cathorized.
I encourage you, read ahead. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that you might sin not. But if anybody sins, we have an advocate”—a lawyer—“with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” The great thing about our lawyer is his Dad is the Judge. It’s a family matter. It’s settled, all this. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world”(1st John 2:1-2). So, we’ll move into chapter 2 next week. The tape guys, I’m always driving them crazy, I never know how far I’m going to get. Ah, remarkable book, certainly as we go through, we will challenge ourselves continually about our behavior, because that’s where he places this, where the rubber meets the road in our experience, and how important that is. And what I want you to do is if you’re here this evening and you don’t know Christ before you leave, I want you to come down here and pray with one of us. Look, we don’t get a commission on the sale, we don’t want nothing from you, we want something for you. And it’s the same thing that we have enjoyed, and that is, in being forgiven and being washed and cleansed, in meeting the risen Savior, that one who walked amongst human beings, that was seen and heard, that was studied and was handled. He is real this evening, and the Bible says Jesus Christ [Yeshua haMeshiach for our Jewish brethren] is the same yesterday, today and forever. And you can walk in that light, not a physical light, but a light that will shine within your being and give you life. So if you don’t know him personally before you leave this evening, come down here and pray with us, we’ll give you a Bible, we’ll give you some literature to read…” [a transcript of a sermon given by Pastor Joe Focht on 1st John 1:1-10, © Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116.]