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SERMON SERIES: Mission Statement
ME: A friend named Tom tells about a night when he was a teenager. He and his friends were walking around the neighborhood. It was a warm night and very dark. Suddenly one of them saw a police car and shouted. They hadn't done anything wrong, but they didn't want to be seen, either. So they began to run. The police car saw them and watched them turn down an alley. Tom tripped and knocked over some trash cans. The police officers got out the car and began to go after them. One of the officers turned on a searchlight. Tom looked around for his friends, but didn't see them. All he saw was that burning, searing searchlight, looking for him.
Tom jumped behind those trashcans, only to find his friends huddled there. With frantic energy they tried to hide, pulling trash over their heads and hoping to blend in. The spotlight fell on Tom. "Come out where we can see you," said the voice behind the light. Tom stood up where he was, covered in garbage.
"What are you doing?" said the voice.
Tom stammered, "Nothing."
The voice said, "I can't hear you. What are you doing?"
Tom said, "Officer, I wasn't doing anything wrong; I saw the light, I ran, I knocked over these garbage cans. I'm sorry about the disturbance." The searchlight was beaming into his eyes, blinding him. He stood there in the light with nowhere to hide.
Then the voice said, "I think I recognize you. Don't you live around the corner?"
"Yes," he stammered. His heart was racing, and he thought to himself, "My life is ruined. If I don't get arrested for disturbing the peace, something worse will happen: this officer is going to tell my parents."
But then the voice behind the light said something unexpected. "Son, I'm not here to punish you; I'm here to protect you." As he stood before that searchlight, Tom says he caught a glimpse of what it means to stand before Jesus, who is the Light of the World. There he was, fully exposed yet completely protected. He was fully revealed, yet free from unnecessary punishment. He stood hip-deep in garbage, yet cleaner than he had ever felt, somehow cleansed by a light that cast no shadow. In that moment, he saw something of what it means to stand in the presence of Jesus Christ, who is full of truth and full of grace.
Sometimes we can be like that teenage boy and run away from the very thing or person that can
help us. We rather stay in darkness then shed light on the situation. Sometimes we can even try
to hide our sin from God as if he doesn't know all and see all. God doesn't hate sin because
because it's pleases us for a season but, he hates sin because it hurts us. We can try to hide it not
just from God and other people but, from ourselves to by denial. It can be something as simple as
gossip in a bible study, a half truth, a bad attitude that makes us act out in our flesh or
unforgiveness toward someone.
*Transition statement*:...Let's see what God has to say about this....
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 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[a] sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Fellowship with God begins at His Holiness
Do Not Deny the Character of God (1:5)
The heresy in the early church that the apostle john is addressing was Gnosticism. There were a group in the church who believed salvation wasn't found in Christ but, in knowledge that was illuminated by a special "inner light". So their thought was that they could go on living anyway they wanted to. This sadly sounds too much like the American Church. Many people have bought the gospel that Jesus can be your savior but, he doesn't have to be your Lord. Meaning they let Jesus save them from their sin but, that doesn't mean they have to give Him their life. God will say to those people "depart from me for I never knew you". They have denied the very character of God and His nature of Holiness.
Many people can walk with God for a while. At first they can have a lot of passion and zeal for the Lord. For some, that soon turns into apathy and excuses. They wonder why they just don't "feel" God anymore. They search for answers and come up with things such as "it's just a phase", I am just maturing in the Lord" or that's just the way it is.
Fellowship with God is being in His Holy presence. Wherever you find sin, you won't find God and wherever you find God you won't find sin. We need to remember that God is Holy and he wants us to be Holy. For people that deny who God is, there is a lake of fire and gnashing of teeth reserved for them. We should work out our salvation with fear and trembling in expectation of our coming king. Our text describes God as being light.
A light guides. When we shine a light in a dark place it illuminates the path we should walk. It gives us a vision and perception to see. In Jesus calls himself the light. Just after he sends away the “woman caught in adultery” without condemning her, Jesus tells the Pharisees, “I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” ().
Think of a time when you have been “caught” breaking the commandments—failing to love your neighbor, gossiping, desiring more worldly goods than you need, or being unfaithful. Imagine if the story of the adulterous woman in were about you. How would the author describe you? “The man caught in anger toward another driver”? “The woman caught envying another person’s riches”? Now imagine Jesus saying to you, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more” [1] If we walk in the light of Jesus, we do not have to hide our sin. Only when we are humbled by our own sin is it possible to have deep fellowship with others. Then, rather than casting stones at others, we stand with them—prostitutes, thieves, users and abusers—all of us in equal need of Jesus’ cleansing. Ask God’s Spirit to help you put down your stones and stand in the light.[2] says..."The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins,he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. "
It can be described as this...Just as the sun gives off light that can blind us and gives off life giving rays that can help plants grow so does the son of God come into the world as light in the darkness and breathes in his life giving Spirit to those who are dead in their sin! Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. There is no darkness in Him at all. Jesus is the way, the life, and the truth. He shows the way by revealing who he is, who he is, is God in the flesh who came to give us life. This life is genuine and true. There is not a speck of darkness in Him.
Fellowship with God means living in His truth
The False claims made by some of those the apostle john is talking to is that they have a relationship with Christ while living in sin & the second is to claim to have never sinned. If we abide in Him he will abide in us. Even though we don't sin in word, thought, and deed daily, there will still be times that we do stumble and we do. Fellowship with God is acknowledging our sin and weaknesses it is walking in the truth of who we are. That we are frail and broken people in need of his grace. We cannot deny ourselves and God of the confession of sin. We are all dirty and filthy when compared to the glory, purity, and righteousness of our Lord.
We need to remember that darkness lies about the light and truth is only found in who God is. In his very nature of Holiness. Since God is light we can trust in Him. We can trust in his promises because of who He says he is.
When darkness comes, and we are stricken with illness we can know the promise and truth that God is a healer. When darkness comes and we have worry, anxiety or depression we can trust God because we know his grace is sufficient and he will take care of his children. When darkness comes and we lose a loved one, are struggling in our marriage, or are feeling alone we can cling to God as light because he has promised us "I will never leave you nor forsake you" and we can know that every setback is a setup for a comeback and God's glory will be revealed and Satan's head will be crushed underneath our feet.
Fellowship with God means having the benefit of forgiveness
We have an advocate in Jesus Christ who will plead our case before the father and because of what He's done on the cross we can be made clean with the cure of his blood that washes us white as snow. Walking in the light means being open and honest with God by confessing our sins. Walking in the light doesn't mean we won't sin but, it does mean we won't continue to sin after we receive knowledge of it. Because as the apostle Paul says "Should we continue on sinning so we can receive more grace? No! It was the prophet Isaiah who said "Woe to me, for I am ruined I am a man of unclean lips! Fellowship with God means living in the light of the Holy Spirit revealing our sin so we can turn to God in repentance & know that if we are in Christ we are covered by his blood and now therefore, there is no more condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and living under grace and not the law.
In the 18th century, an abbot was disciplining two monks for some infraction of the rules. He imposed on them the rule of silence. They could not talk to one another. They tried to figure out some way to fill the long hours.
Finally one of them gathered 28 flat stones from the courtyard. Putting different numbers on them, he devised a new game. By using gestures, the men agreed on certain rules, but the most difficult part was keeping silent when one of them scored a victory. Then they remembered that they were permitted to say aloud the prayer, “Dixit Dominus Domino Meo.” By using the one word of this Latin expression meaning “Lord,” the winner was able to signal his triumph by yelling, “Domino!” The monks gave the impression that they were praying, but really, they were playing. Thus the game of dominoes was born (From “Our Daily Bread” [8/77]).
It’s easy to put on a religious veneer by claiming that you have fellowship with God, when really, you’re walking in the darkness and deceiving yourself. John doesn’t want us to play spiritual dominoes. He wants us to experience genuine fellowship with the holy God by walking in the light, as He Himself is in the light.
- from Praying for a Whole New World by William G. Carter
Sinclair Wolcott, C. (2014). 1–3 John: Radical Hospitality (p. 11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[1] Sinclair Wolcott, C. (2014). 1–3 John: Radical Hospitality (p. 11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[2] Sinclair Wolcott, C. (2014). 1–3 John: Radical Hospitality (p. 11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
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