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We began our journey into John’s first letter last week. We learned that John interacted with Christ and experienced Him in the ways we experience one another today. John’s joy was complete when people responded to the truth of the Gospel enabling them to enjoy true fellowship with God and one another.
This morning we’re going to see some results of having Christ in our lives.
Take a look at 1 John 1:5-7.
John says, “This is the message we heard from Him.” He states this as fact. John didn’t come up with this on his own. It’s a simple message: “God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” John is setting up some qualifications to those that would claim fellowship with Christ. Remember that in order to have fellowship with God, you need fellowship with Christ. Jesus sais, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the only way to get to God.
John says, “God is Light.” John states that as factual so what does it mean? John 1:6-9 says, “There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” Enlighten means made known. In Rom. 1:18-20 Paul says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” In other words, God has made a way for people to know there is a Creator because of creation. God has provided sufficient evidence of Himself to hold everyone accountable if they choose to reject Him. John 12:46 says, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
John contrasts light and darkness and offers us a conditional clause in v. 6 that provides a connection with the first four verses. “If we say we have fellowship with Him.” We have a oneness of community; a common participation or sharing of something; a common bond. “If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Walk is a present tense verb. It is what’s occurring now. We say we are of the family of God. We say we love Jesus. We say He is our Lord and Master, but we walk . . . what we go about doing, is in darkness.
So what is darkness? In this context it literally means the realm of sin and evil. There is absolutely no darkness in God according to v. 5. Nothing bad, nothing wrong, nothing evil. There is only light in God. No bad intentions, no bad plans.
So if we say our fellowship is with God and we live in a world of sin, “We lie and do not practice the truth.” Notice that John includes himself in that statement. This is a recurring theme in 1 John. If you profess to be a Christian, you don’t get to say that you can live anyway you like, you don’t get to say that no one has the right to judge you, that what you do is between you and God, that you’re not hurting anybody else. When we have that type of attitude toward our behavior, John says, “We lie and do not practice the truth.” If you say you have fellowship with Christ and the only way to have fellowship is to receive the Holy Spirit into your heart by faith, you receive the power to stay out of the dark.
So what is truth? If I could use just one verse, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) There are expectations for the child of God and they are found in His Word. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) So what about John? Remember he included himself in that statement. It is so important to let Scripture interpret Scripture. He clarifies in John 8:55: “And you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word.” John keeps the Word of God and we can too.
Like he did in v. 6, John uses an if . . . then statement. Here’s the contrast in v. 7. Since John said that God is light by his very nature and has the fullness of life in Himself, he can deny the claims of fellowship with God to those people who live in darkness. In the context of this letter, John has to be talking to those Gnostics that reject Jesus as the incarnate Son of God. He’s talking about those people that live in darkness. If you live in the eternal life as revealed in the man Jesus, then you have true fellowship with God and one another. Now here’s the really good news. Since we walk in the Light, “The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” The blood of Jesus only cleanses those that have fellowship with Him. Cleansing here points back to the O.T. word purify that includes forgiveness of sin and removal of the power sin has over us. The image that John expects his readers to see is that there is a connection between purity and worship. Sin is impurity that is unacceptable to God and separates us from God. How is that impurity removed? 1 Tim. 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
John said in 3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” We’re going to look more carefully at walking in truth and sin in the coming weeks. Can you live for God and be a slave to sin? Stay tuned . . .