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Shining Light on the Darkness of Sin

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My dad’s stories about walking in the dark

Stepping on the rake 2 times
Mom turning off the light and hitting the door.
Walking in the dark is a dangerous thing.
John uses the imagery “light and dark” throughout his Gospel and the letters.
It is a symbol of sin and righteousness, truth and lie, good and evil.
In this letter he is battling the against a misunderstanding of sin and salvation.

How do we keep from sinning?

How do we keep from sinning?
This is John’s purpose for writing.

Living in the Light

1) Conquer the Darkness

It is important to understand that darkness is simply the absence of light, it doesn’t exist where there is light.

Realize the Holiness of God ()

1 John 1:5 ESV
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1 jn 1:
God is light and there is no darkness in Him.
He is the source of all that is right, all that is true, and all that is good.
There is no flaw, imperfection, or evil in Him
He cannot be in the presence of anything that is dark.
The sun is the source of light and life for all the earth, without it we do not exist
But if you get to close to the sun you will be destroyed.
Moses and the burning bush
God is light and we are not; God is Holy and we are not
Unless you are holy, blameless, faultless, void of sin then you cannot have be in God’s presence.
1 John 1:6 ESV
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
You cannot have fellowship with God while living in sin.
Moses is walking along and God appears to him in a burning bush.
God introduces is holiness to Moses then
Walking in the light requires you to Realize that God is Holy and you are not.
Exodus 3:5 ESV
5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
ex
Do not come near because you are a sinful man in the presence of a Holy God.

Recognize our Sinfulness ()

Realizing the Holiness God shines the light on our sinfulness.
God is light and we are not; God is Holy and we are not
Unless you are holy, blameless, faultless, void of sin then you cannot be in God’s presence.
1 John 1:6 ESV
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
You cannot have fellowship with God while living in the dark.
John Piper give a helpful illustration about walking in the dark.
Remember the picture of the man in a dark room. He feels a warm, soft fur with one hand and a cold sharp edge with the other, and draws in close to the warmth and softness of the fur.
But when the light goes on, he sees that the warm, soft fur is the under belly of a horrid, man-eating monster; and the hard, cold edge is the sword of Christ ready to save. The reason he was controlled by his desire for the man-eating monster is that he was in the dark. Everyone who loves the world more than God is in the dark. Only it’s a darkness that you want, because, as John said in , “The light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”
When you walk in darkness, you are controlled by the desires for the soft, warm underbellies of prestige and power and two-second pleasures. This is the very opposite of what it means to have fellowship with God.

Ways we live in darkness:

1) Deny our sin

Blatantly denying God
Denying that God has standards (making God into who we are comfortable with Him being)
“Surely God doesn’t expect me to be perfect!”
1 peter 15-16
1 Peter 1:15–16 ESV
15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 pet
Quoting from Leviticus, Peter says that the holiness of God is the grounds for the requirement that we also must be holy.
You might be sitting here today hoping that your good deeds, your kind heart, your work ethic, or whatever you point to should be good enough
But God requires perfection and you do not have it!
Change the Word of God to fit our lives
Adjusting or denying the Word of God the power to direct our lives.
“The bible was written 2000 years ago, things change, culture emerges, and we have to read it differently now.”
Changing Christmas songs to political agendas
Culture changes all the time (skinny jeans are still outside of my ability to fathom)
But God never changes
BUT God is ($5 word) immutable.
James 1:17 ESV
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James
Immutability means God never changes. He is who He is, His plans and purposes never change
God’s expectation, God’s will and purposes, as well as His promises are the same and will never change. Regardless of culture, regardless of time, God is who He is.
We cannot shape God or His Word into what we want it to be, we must be shaped into what He wants us to be through His revealed Word.

2) Disguise our sin

By being “good” and doing the right things
Some of us in this room have made a pact with God, a binding agreement (probably unspoken)
“I’ll do the whole church thing, follow the rules and such and you will bless my life and let me into Heaven.”
So everyone around you would assume you have a thriving relationship with the Lord.
But the reality is your “good life” is disguising the sin-filled heart that is pursuing comfort, success, and a good reputation more than any pursuit of knowing and follow Jesus.
Jesus said “Give me the sick” because at least they will know they need me.
You don’t need Jesus, you are just using Him for the benefits.
Self-righteousness is a disease that destroys our ability to receive the grace of God
Charles Spurgeon said “How can you repent if you have never sinned? How can you mourn your failure to obey while you conceive that you have kept the law?”
If your hope is built on nothing less than your good deeds and church attendance then your salvation is truly in question.
By judging others in order to make our own sin seem minimal

3) Defend our sin

My Livie always has a good excuse for why she needs a sweet.
“Well Daddy, it is because...”
She is the master of justification when it comes to a treat.
We live in darkness when we defend and justify our sinfulness.
Develop justification for our sin
I gossip so that others can be aware of how they can pray
I lust because my wife doesn’t take care of my physical needs
I am angry and lash out because people don’t do what I want them to do
I am bitter because they do not deserve to be forgiven for what they did to me.
Walking in darkness means we are living in rebellion against God in unrepentant sin.

Walking in darkness means we are living in rebellion against God in unrepentant sin.

So how do we deal with our sin?

2) Come to the Light

Confess our sins ()

Look at the progression in -8-10
1 John 1:8–10 ESV
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8–9 ESV
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is a theological sandwich.
BREAD - “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not IN US.”
MEAT - “If we confess or sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us...”
BREAD - “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and HIS WORD is not IN US.”
The only way to over come our darkness is to shine the light on our sin.
Confession is the act of shining light on our sin.
Ok so we should all bow our heads and start rattling off all the sins we have committed (as best we can remember) then God will be happy with us and we will get to go to heaven.
No that isn’t really what John is saying (though he is saying something like that).
Confession and Repentance are inseparable terms.
A famous seventeen century pastor named Thomas Watson gave 6 ingredients
I read an article this week that listed 6 ingredients for repentance given by the seventeen century pastor Thomas Watson:

1) Realizing Sin

Genuine repentance starts with the understanding that we are desperate sinners whose sin touches nearly everything we do ().

2) Sorrow over Sin

Feeling the pain of our sin as we see its effect on ourselves, on others, and on God.
Brokenness over our sin.

3) Confession of Sin

Genuine repentance takes ownership of the pain that our sin has caused both in its particulars and generalities.
It requires that we come clean about our sin.

4) Shame of Sin

Coming clean, or shining light on our sin, is not easy and leads to feelings of shame.
Watson says “Blushing is the color of virtue”
ILLUSTRATION: Stealing change from my grandpa.
I knew is was wrong and it hurt to admit it.

5) Hatred of Sin

“Christ is never loved until sin is loathed”
The reality is when we sin we are pursuing something we enjoy and believe will satisfy us.
Until we realize the evil of sin and the destruction it causes and then grow to hate it, we will likely not overcome it.

6) Turning from Sin

If we repent without a sincere desire to keep from engaging in that same sin in the future, then one or more of the ingredients above are missing.
This is the heart of John in the passage “He is faithful and just to forgive…and cleanse...”
Jesus doesn’t just forgive, He empowers you to no longer continue in sin.
Once we shine the light on our sin our only hope to overcome sin is resting in the work of Christ.

Trust in Jesus’s Work (1 John 2:2)

The reality is without the truth of what John writes in 2:1-2 we have no hope for overcoming our sin and having fellowship with God.
He Lists 2 Works Jesus has done:

The Works of Jesus

I want to deal with these in reverse of how they come in the text, for good reason.

1) He became our propitiation.

Propitiation is a word that refers to a sacrifice that settles judgment or satisfies wrath.
In the OT the Jewish people would offer sacrifices as a symbols that the penalty for sin, which is death, had been paid. As a result, God’s just wrath toward sinful people was satisfied. His judgment was settled, so the people were spared.
Jesus died to show that indeed God is holy. God is perfect. He is righteous and just. And He is good and He is loving. In one crowning moment in all of human history, Jesus died to satisfy the wrath of God due sinners while showing the love of God to sinners at the same time.
Jesus died to show that indeed God is holy. God is perfect. He is righteous and just.
And He is good and He is loving.
In one crowning moment in all of human history, Jesus died to satisfy the wrath of God that each sinners in this room deserves, while, at the same time, showing the love of God toward sinners.
The reason you can confidently confess your sins is because Jesus has taken the punishment for those sins when you trusted in Him.
The reason you can enjoy fellowship with God is because Jesus has “cleansed” you from “all sin” by becoming the “propitiation” for you sin.

2) He became our advocate.

John says that Jesus not only took on the wrath of God you deserved for your sin, He also has become your advocate with the Father.
This is a great promise for those struggling with assurance of your salvation.
“How can I be a Christian if I still fall into sin?”
Because you have a savior who continually goes to the Father on your behalf.
Rest in knowing that Jesus died once for all.
Your salvation was not dependent upon you to earn, nor is it dependent on you to keep.
Galatians 3:3 ESV
3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Galatians 2:21 ESV
21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Galatians 5:4 ESV
4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
Galatians 3:5 ESV
5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—
Gal
Philippians 1:6 ESV
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:34 ESV
34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Oh how great a savior we have in Jesus Christ our Lord.

3) Continue in the Light

I will go into much more depth here next week.
But I want to point to 2 things in the passages today
1 John 1:7 ESV
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 cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 2:2 ESV
2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 Jn
the “cleanses us from all sin” and “cleanses us from all unrighteousness” refers to the saving effect faith has for the one who comes to Christ
But it doesn’t stop there.
The verb “walk in” in vs 7 is in the present tense, meaning the action “in process or a state of being with no assessment of the action’s completion.
Heiser, M. S., & Setterholm, V. M. (2013; 2013). Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Lexham Press.
It also refers to the ongoing, progressive work of cleansing us of our sin and unrighteousness.
It refers to the ongoing, progressive work of cleansing us of our sin and unrighteousness.
This is the rationale of the passage as a whole
“Because God is light and there is not darkness in Him at all, anyone who continues to live in their sinfulness without any conviction remains in darkness. But for anyone who realizes their sinfulness in view of God’s holiness and confesses their sins to Him, that person has received the salvation accomplished by Jesus on the cross and that person will be cleansed from their sin and their unrighteousness. That person will continually walk in the light of Jesus.”
The gift of salvation given to us by Jesus is a gift that changes us.
The Christian life is a journey.
And on that journey we continually come face to face with the sins that dwell so deeply in our hearts and receive opportunity after opportunity to confess those sins to God and receive the forgiveness and cleansing only He is able to give.

Opportunity for Reflection

John 3:19–21 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 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.”
That verse is printed at the bottom of your sheet for you to reflect on in the next few minutes and throughout this week
I encourage and challenge you to spend some time now and throughout this week praying and examining your heart and asking yourself these questions
Am I walking in the light or in the dark?
How has my life changed since I met Jesus? If I have met Jesus?
Am I denying, disguising, or defending any specific sins in my life, or an overall sinful condition in my heart (you are lost and in need of salvation)?
Am I denying, disguising, or defending any specific sins in my life, or an overall sinful condition in my heart (you are lost and in need of salvation)?
What sins do I need to confess to God and, maybe, to someone else?
Rest in this passage (also on your sheet)
1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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