Walking in the Light
My name is Rob Hines, and I am a sinner. Just in case you didn’t know it, you are all sinners as well! Oh, I can see what the majority of you are thinking right now, it’s written all over your faces.
“Who is this young wiper snapper coming in here and telling me I’m a sinner. Hear that southern accent! must be one of them hell fire and brimstone teachers. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t sin! I’m a Christian!”
Or perhaps there are some of you who are sitting there thinking, “I’m not into this “Christian” movement, I’m a good person, I don’t really have anything to do with this whole sin thing. Just ask around, there’s no one to accuse me of sinning!”
Well, bear with me a second and lets look at the position, that says “I’m a good person! I haven’t anything to do with Gods rules! you aren’t talking about me! I’m not a sinner.” We have made some great advances in technology and some really amazing things are possible these days. Imagine that when you were born, they had an extremely tiny recording device that they assigned to you and it followed you around your whole life. Then, finally, you pass on and get your opportunity to stand before God.
God takes one look at you and say’s, “You are a sinner.” and you say “Whoa God! Those are harsh words. I didn’t have anything to do with your rules and regulations, I was enlightened, I was a good person by all accounts, what do your rules have to do with me, why would I be judged by what you say is right and wrong?”
Now lets imagine at this point that God abdicates, which is just a fancy way to say sets aside, His divine right as creator and say’s, “You know, you are right. I’ve decided that I’m not going to judge you by my rules! I’m going to judge you by your rules!” Whoot, you are thinking “Yes! My rules are the best! I’m good for paradise now!”
Then God reaches out and calls to the stand exhibit A, that little recorder that followed you through life. And He reaches out and hits the play button, and you hear yourself at two years old screaming, “Mine! Mine! You can’t take my stuff!” and God looks at you and says “Your made your first commandment â€˜Thou shall not steal’! oh I like that one.” Then He fast forwards a little bit and you hear yourself at age seven saying, “You can’t lie to people, that’s wrong!”. . .
I suppose now you can see how this is going to play out. You have, of your own volition, painted yourself in a corner. Even if you don’t like to subscribe to God’s rules you can’t contradict the fact that you fail to even live by the standards you set for yourself and others around you, how much less the standards set by your Creator!
Now, lets take a more in-depth look at our passage. First, a quick overview of the book of 1 John is in order.
As one of Christ’s apostles, John spoke authoritatively about the truth of the Incarnation, a message his doubting readers needed after hearing false teachers deny the full divinity and humanity of Christ. John reaffirmed the core of Christianity, saying that either we evidence the sound doctrine, obedience, and love that characterize all Christians, or else we are not true Christians. When all the basics of faith are in operation, we not only know joy but can live a holy life and be reassured of salvation – even though we are still far from perfect. This assurance comes especially as we find ourselves learning to “love one another” as brothers and sisters in Christ. John wrote this general letter to congregations across Asia Minor (now Turkey) in the late first century A.D.
Our scripture today directly addresses the basics of faith so that we may not only know joy but can live a holy life and be reassured of salvation. I’m going to follow the same outline as Mr. John Piper and break this text into three parts: 1.The Foundation (Verse 5) – God Is Light 2.The Application (Verses 6-7) – Walk in the Light 3.The Clarification (Verses 8-10) – Don’t Claim to Be Without Sin
This text is particularly addressed to those who call themselves Christians. So, while the non-Christian can certainly profit from these versus and we can and will easily demonstrate the need for salvation from them, keep in mind that it was written with you, the Christian, in mind.
5This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
God is none of the depressing and confusing things that darkness represents. God is undoubtedly not darkness, nor is there any darkness in him at all. This verse clearly points out the nature of God. God is all the wonderful and illuminating things that light represents. Spiritually speaking God is a bright sunny fall day, His light reflects off the still water of our prayers, and brings out the radiant colors of the leaves of our lives. This is what we are called to imitate, what must directly influence us in our Gospel work.
6If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Let’s look at the term “walk” and how it is used. It is commonly known that to walk, as scripture uses the term, means to order and frame the course and actions of the moral life. So that, to walk in the darkness would mean, to quote Matthew Henry, “to order and frame the course and actions of your life according to such ignorance, error, and erroneous practice, as are contrary to the fundamental dictates of our holy religion.”
You can see then, how one individual, walking in the gloom of darkness and confused by the indistinct shapes of things around them, might say to those within hearing, “I walk with God! Here, look at the fruit of my labor!” But due to their confusion and lack of illumination the fruit they hold out for inspection is riddled with wormholes of wickedness and rotten spots of unrighteousness.
If you purpose to walk in the Light, then the brilliance of the light that is God, dancing through the leaves of your life, will clearly illuminate the fruit of your harvest.
Those that walk in the light clearly see the state of their lives, you can avoid those dangerous areas in the forest of this world, and when you find yourself caught up in the brambles of this world and your fruit being starved by the weeds of wickedness growing around you; simply turn the Christ who can and will cleanse you from all sin! Use the light to actively improve the fruit of your life by taking actions illuminated by God and relying on the blood of Christ to do that which you can not!
Therefore, we should strive to walk in the Light, to order and frame the course and actions of our lives according to the fundamental ways of God. And we as we do so, we receive the benefits of having fellowship with God and with each other.
8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
As I demonstrated earlier, every single one of us is a sinner, and we continue to sin. According to verse eight, none of us may claim to be without sin, if we do, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us!
This verse is here to ensure clarity so that the religious lawmakers don’t twist this teaching in such a way as to claim perfection. There are certainly some, perhaps you are among them, which feel and believe that once you give your life to Christ you no longer sin. Untrue! Once we give our lives to Christ, we correctly spend the rest of our lives struggling against the flesh and striving to so order and frame the course of our lives as to reflect Christ in us, but we regularly fail! Not one of us is perfect and completely free of sin.
So then, what do we true Christians, who continue to fail and sin, do about it? Verse 9 clarifies this for us as well, we confess our sins! This is not some one time deal where we come to Christ, admit to being sinners, and then never have to talk about it again. It is a daily, for many of us an hourly, practice.
I admonish you as Christians, use the light to be aware of your sins and confess them. Do not deceive yourselves by choosing darkness over the light! As you pray to God daily, confess your sins daily, strive for the self-discipline only available through the power of God to overcome those sins.
To quote Hodges:
“The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father’s loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves.”
By all means, do not claim to be without sin! That statement directly calls God a liar, which we label as blaspheme and is of itself a Sin!
I very much hope of have encouraged those Christians here today to continue to take the issue of sin more seriously and to proactively seek God in confessing those sins, in order that you may more fully enjoy fellowship with God and with other Christians.
For those of you who are not Christian, perhaps through self deception or through some other ignorance, I pray that you have profited from this as well. That you are coming to an understanding about what it means to follow Christ and attain fellowship with God. If you have any questions or would like to follow up on this topic please see Pastor Carr or myself after the service.
So, in summary: Verse 5: Foundation – God is light and in him is no darkness at all. His truth is bright and hopeful for all who come to him. Verses 6-7: Application – Therefore, let us walk in the light of God so that we can enjoy his fellowship and experience the cleansing of Christ’s blood. Verses 8-l0: Clarification – Nevertheless, do not presume to claim sinlessness as you walk in the light, but confess your sins to God.
My name is Rob Hines, and I am a sinner. Just in case you didn’t know it, you are all sinners as well. Oh, I can see what the majority of you are thinking right now, it’s written all over your faces. By the Grace of God, let us seek forgiveness let us seek forgiveness together through prayer that we may more fully enjoy our fellowship with God and with each other.
PRAYER Our most loving and forgiving Father, we beg you to continue to pour out your gentle showers of blessings on us. We are sinners, and we have no excuses for our transgressions, we have only the love and blood of Christ. Lord, forgive us of our sins, our selfishness, pettiness, our greed and our lust. Lord, we confess to you that we are imperfect and can not meet your standards alone. We are constantly at war with our own desires and need Your Holy Spirit to constantly encourage and counsel us. We thank you for Your Word that admonishes us, and I pray that You have used Your Word to this effect today. Let us enjoy our fellowship with each other in Your name and may this fellowship generate a bountiful harvest for Your Kingdom. In Christ’s name, Amen.
September 18, 2016
January 08, 2009