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Walk in the Light (1 John 1:5-7)

1 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Everyone should know how valuable the light is because we all have experience with darkness. The reality of sin is all around us. Yet some people suppress it; ignore it; reject it. There are two ways any person can walk—a path of darkness or the path of light. Walk in the light!

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Intro

You never know how valuable the light is until you experience darkness. Shortly after we were married, Nikki and I served as counselors at a Bible Camp’s Adventure Camp. We went spelunking one day. Underneath the ground, we all turned our flashlights off. You could see nothing. Not even your finger in front of your eye ball. After crawling around in the darkness with flashlights, we walked outside and it took a while to adjust to the sunlight.
Spiritually, everyone should know how valuable the light is because we all have experience with darkness.
The reality of sin is all around us. Yet some people suppress it; ignore it; reject it. The idea of needing help in some way is beyond many people.
I want to tell you today that there are two ways any person can walk—a path of darkness or the path of light. I want to encourage you to walk in light!
Let’s see how John uses light and darkness to explain to his readers how they can truly experience fellowship with God and others.

The Light Represents God’s Character of Holiness

This is the message—God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. This analogy is a statement about the character of God. God is holy.
This is the message that John was proclaiming to people so that they could understand who God is, who they were, and why they need Him.
You need God because He is holy. And without holiness, no one will see the Lord. “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.” (, CSB)
So based on your own standard, do you think you’ll see the Lord? Proclaim this—God is holy. That is His character, that is His standard. And praise God He made it possible for us to be made holy.
My family was eating at Bob Evans the other day and a song came on. When it came to the chorus, Nikki gave me that look like “Listen, Bob Evans is playing Christian music.” But I said, “This might be one of the most sacrilegious songs out right now.
The chorus repeated “You are holy, holy, holy...” I told her that Florida Georgia Line, the group who sings it, are singing it to a woman, I presume, and it is an acronym for High On Loving You. They are singing to a woman, a created being by God, you are holy, holy, holy… Even the 3 times repeating, which is so often done in Christian literature and music.
I have a hard tie listening to that song, because it so blatantly takes the worship that should be only reserved for God and puts it on a person. And I know I don’t always ascribe worth to God in the way I should, but when creature-worship is so blatant in front you, it just makes me cringe. I don’t know if these men wrote this song to defy God or if they wrote out of ignorance, but I hope they will see one day that only God is worthy of our worship. Only God is holy.
God is light. There is no darkness at all. John uses the light and darkness analogies in his gospel account as well, and we are going to reference multiple times, so would you open your Bible there as well? (READ the passage)
It is clear that in order to see the kingdom of God, we must be born again. Physically someone is alive, but spiritually they are dead apart from a rebirth. This rebirth or regeneration is brought about only by the cross of Christ (v.16-18).
Those who don’t put their faith in Jesus are condemned. The nature of that judgment is that they loved the darkness rather than the light. That’s the summary truth of every person who refuses to repent of their sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ—they love darkness rather than light. Are you sitting here today more in love with the darkness than the light?
You must dwell in the light in order to have spiritual life.
Spiritual life, or the ability to stand in God's presence eternally and the ability to live by his plan now, depends upon our holiness. We must be in the light, and that holiness only comes by trusting in Jesus Christ.
There is the great theological truth that the righteousness of Christ is imputed, or transferred, to the believer upon her conversion. Taking on the holiness of Christ is the only way we can be considered holy before a righteous God.
Transition: v.6-7 make clear that what is in question here is a believer's genuine fellowship. The only way to know whether a believer is in genuine fellowship, like we talked about last week, is to see which path he is walking.
You see, there are two paths you can walk – a path of darkness, or a path of light. One of these pads carry out judgment to its fullest most wrathful conclusion – and eternal condemnation of a life separated from God. The other path relies on the perfect holiness of Christ to atone for our sin and give us life.
Let's look now at these two paths.

The Way of Darkness is Not the Way of Fellowship

If we say we have fellowship—this is the issue. But our response is that we are walking in darkness. First, we are talking about habitual behavior. The context of the passage indicates this. In v.8, we see that we cannot say we are without sin. There will be occasional sin as we give into our fleshly desires. So don’t cause yourself unnecessary panic to say maybe I’m not really in fellowship with God because I still sin.
That’s not what we’re talking about here. On the other side of that, don’t let it become a justification for you to increase in sin. Listen to and respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
If you say you have fellowship yet walk in darkness, John says you are guilty of at least 2 actions:

You lie.

Easy enough to understand, right? You are saying one thing but acting in another way. You say you have fellowship with God (meaning you are in the light), but you walk in darkness.
Maybe John heard reporting that people were saying this and then living like they wanted and he wanted to be clear about living in the light so that the name of Christ would not be defamed.
This does away with the idea some people falsely have of eternal security. You’ll hear people jest at those who believe “once saved, always saved.” They will criticize this position thinking that those who believe once saved, always saved, think they can say a prayer and then do whatever they want. If that’s what eternal security actually meant, then that should be criticized!
But John is saying that if you claim to have fellowship with God, then you are a liar if you’re consistently walking in darkness. We know the bad examples of someone who will ruin it for others. We know these type of liars exist.
Transition: The other action these people are guilty of is that they...

You do not practice the truth.

At first, this might seem like the same thing as being a liar. But not exactly. The verb here is “to do the truth”, used in the negative sense here of not doing the truth. But guess where else we see this expression: . “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”” (, ESV)
Doing what is true is the righteous work that is carried out according to God’s way. This is contrasted with , which explains wicked deeds.
So “to do the truth” is the opposite of “doing evil” which would indicate that John is referring to actively living (practicing) in light of the truth, seeking to avoid sin.
The bottom line: those who claim to know Christ should be actively putting on the practices of the truth of Christ and eliminating the practices of evil.
John addresses the words and actions of a person who claims to have fellowship but then walks in darkness. They are a liar, and their deeds disprove their words. This is the way of darkness, which will not result in genuine fellowship with God or believers.

The Way of Light is the Way of Fellowship

Walking in the light means walking as Christ walked while here on earth—seeking to imitate His life style in all that we do. When we walk in the light, our paths become illuminated and purposeful.
There may be darkness all around us but the light of Christ will always be shining. We need to walk in that path. And you know what our guide along that path is, right?
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (, CSB)

Some people change their ways when they see the light, others only when they feel the heat.

As we strive to live by the truth of Christ, we will be a light unto the world, as Jesus told us to be ().
As we strive to live by the truth of Christ, we will be a light unto the world, as Jesus told us to be ().
Just like John gave 2 guilty actions for walking in darkness, he now gives 2 positive outcomes of walking in the light.

We have fellowship with one another.

We’ll be brief here because last week I explained more in depth what this fellowship is. But notice again we see here that this fellowship with others exists because it was initiated in the Father and the Son.
We walk in the light, as He is in the light… Notice that as we walk in holiness, essentially we are where God is. The fellowship is with Him and then extends to His people.
John Wesley said:
I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field
When you have the Savior, you have his word and you’ll have true fellowship with His church, which involves participation in His mission.
Galaxie Software, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations (Biblical Studies Press, 2002).
When you have the Savior, you have his word and you’ll have true fellowship with His church, which involves participation in His mission.

Jesus’ Blood Cleanses Us From All Sin

Go back to . We only escape condemnation by trusting in Jesus. So in order to have fellowship with God the Father and Jesus the Son we must come into the light, or the holiness of God. The only way to be made holy is by accepting the righteousness of Christ; which means we come to the place of repenting of our sin and allowing the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all sin.
Listen— the blood of Jesus is fully sufficient to forgive your sin and make you righteous before the Lord!
His blood is so sufficient He tells us in His word On the mercy seat in heaven It was put there by our Lord.
It stops the accuser of the brethren As he walks before the throne Our God just points to the blood And Satan knows He cares for His own.
It’s sufficient for any situation To nourish, to cleanse, and keep. Oh, magnify your name my Lord My soul with rapture leaps.
Can my sins though oh so many Make this blood of no avail Once I’ve named the name of Jesus In my heart, I cannot fail.
His word has proclaimed it The work begun in me Will someday be completed When His dear face I see.
And when I dwell in heaven As the ages roll along Oh, that precious blood of Jesus Will be my victory song.
~Author unknown.
CONCLUSION
God is light. In Him is no darkness at all.
You can’t stand in His presence without walking in the light. Striving for holiness.
In the forests of northern Europe and Asia lives little animal called the ermine, known for his snow-white fur in winter. He instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it.
The ermine was also considered a symbol of purity in Europe. In the Renaissance era, legend had it that an ermine would die before allowing its pure white coat to be besmirched. When it was being chased by hunters, it would supposedly turn around and give itself up to the hunters rather than risk soiling itself. Henry Peacham's Emblem 75, which depicts an ermine being pursued by a hunter and two hounds, is entitled "Cui candor morte redemptus" or "Purity bought with his own death."
Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life.
(Our Daily Bread, April 21, 1997; http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ermine)
There are two paths to walk—darkness and light. And only one leads to God. Which path are you walking?
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