Walking in Darkness or Light

1 John 1:5-7

You’ve heard the slogans: The customer is always and completely right. Pleasure is the path to joy. Have it your way. It’s everywhere you want to be. Because you’re worth it.

Spoil yourself. Satisfy yourself. You be the answer to your own problems. That’s world’s idea of what is right. Not where John started. Didn’t start with self. Didn’t even start with the other guy. Started with God, everything else followed from there.

A. a holy God

1st worldview category: theology

belief determines behavior

belief begins with God

governs belief in every other category

belief in right God is essential to life

wrong belief about God results in wrong way of life

God is light = God is holy = God is pure, uncompromising toward evil

his holiness, purity, righteousness, goodness are perfect

absolutely no flaws, imperfections anywhere in his being or character

James gives additional truth about quality of “God who is light”

no flickering, dimming, power surges

always and unchangeably at full brilliance, intensity, perfection

fellowship with a holy God at the center of what it means to be a Christian

John already stated, v3: you => fellowship with us => fellowship with Him

another way of saying what Jesus said: John 17:20-21“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

no room in picture for stand-alone Christians, just me and my Bible and my special place

a holy God requires people with whom he fellowships be holy

he says so: “be holy for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2)

Isaiah saw glory of Christ (Isa. 6; John 12:41); response: “Woe is me! For I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

holiness a necessary result of Spirit’s abiding, taking up residence, in us: 1 Cor. 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

reminder:

to be holy means: devoted completely and irrevocably to God and his use, set apart from common use

ideas/beliefs have consequences; if that is what you believe about God and what he requires, then… certain things must be true.

To rightly consider yourself a child of God, one who has fellowship with God, certain things must be true.

B. a hypocrite’s life

old saying: “Deeds speak louder than words.” Whether true or not, people notice when there’s a mismatch.

Bible doesn’t give wiggle-room either – God requires honesty and consistency; saying and doing match and tell the truth

saying one thing, living another

say we have fellowship – a shared reality – with God; are fully devoted to God and his use

show no difference in behavior

from pre-conversion

no lasting ongoing change of priorities, desires, choices, actions

from no conversion

couldn’t be picked out of a line-up of unbelievers – same basic lifestyle as the majority

Sunday just another day; conversation the sort you could have with anyone: weather, friends/relatives, job, car, politics; basically nice person

nothing in word or deed that must have come from God’s word – see or hear and say “aha, there it is, that’s the proof”

means lying in word and deed

claim to be someone they truly aren’t

claiming to be devoted to God’s use while living / choosing / acting to satisfy self

claiming and living that deceives self, may deceive others, will never deceive God

based on a false hope

I walked the aisle / I prayed a prayer / I’ve been baptized / I belong to the church / I’m a good person, live a good life

not one of those things will earn heaven even if done perfectly

will a true Christian do/practice those things? certainly

new convert will ask Jesus for forgiveness, thank him for salvation; obedient Christian will be baptized and be joined to a local church; will live a lifestyle without reproach

but that’s not where hope lies; it’s in finished work of Christ on cross

bottom line

one who claims fellowship but disdains what Christ loves, behaves contrary to how Christ lived – speaks and acts a lie

perhaps you know someone who’s living a lie – neighbor, friend, loved one. Pray for them – God help them see their need, turn to him in faith. Challenge them gently, winsomely, suggest they read 1 John and see how they measure up to God’s standard.

perhaps you’re that someone. Don’t delay, acknowledge your helpless condition before God; seek his forgiveness, thank him for his saving grace, depend on his help to live pleasing to him.

C. holy living

true Christianity means

walking the right way

in the light = following Christ John 8.12“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

loving the things Christ loved – God, his Word, his people, the church, neighbors, enemies, sinners

living the way Christ lived – Mark 10:45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

beyond attention to things required for normal human growth & development & maintenance, what did Jesus ever do for himself?

life was one of total self-sacrifice – “loved the church and gave himself for her” (Eph. 5:25)

how Jesus defined it: Mark 8:34When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

“To deny ourselves, is to put off our natural affections towards the good things of this life, let them be pleasures, profit, honours, relations, life, or any thing which would keep us from our obedience to the will of God.” Poole

take up his cross – total public identification with Christ, daily sacrifice of self to degree we can say with Paul:

Gal. 2:20I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

life showing fruit of Spirit’s presence (Gal. 5:22-23)

if Christ lives in us (see Paul!) by his Spirit, then daily life will show in increasing measure

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

with the right people

fellow-walkers – remember idea of shared reality, those who likewise follow Christ

not simply present condition, is accompanied by desire

not a grudging sort of sharing air and space

fellowship source of joy for all who are joined in its bonds

neither is it limited to walking the right road with right people

possible to do many right things “in the dark” – we daily do many things unbelievers also do

but not in same context – fellowship with those who have fellowship with God as we do

and the right motive

love for God and desire to please him, desire to be like Christ

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me” John 4:34

“If you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15

love for fellow travelers and desire to serve them, desire to be like Christ

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” John 15:10

I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”John 13:15

on the right conditions

forgiven

constant ongoing necessity

sin a daily reality in believer’s life

sin hinders fellowship – with God, with one another

means we need daily forgiveness

made possible by blood of Christ

nothing magic about Jesus’ blood

stands for what he was and did: sacrifice, substitute, suffered punishment and death

forgiveness and new life in Christ what makes fellowship possible

How is it with you today? you walking with the Lord, walking in his light? enjoying the fellowship and joy and peace Christ has purchased for you? Stay close to him, keep short accounts, continue denying self and carrying your cross as you follow the Lord Jesus. Is all that missing in your life? something you wish was yours? Turn from your sins, throw yourself on God’s mercy and seek his forgiveness. Then join your brothers and sisters and experience fullness of joy only a redeemed and forgiven child of God can know.

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