Walking Confident in Light
Topic: Sunday Message Verse: 1 John 1:5–1:10, 1 John 2:1–2:2,
A 13-week message series in the book of 1 John
1 John 5:13 NIV
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
John wrote 1 John so that we would know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we as Christians possess THE greatest God-given gift anyone could ever have—the gift of eternal life. Eternal life means the forgiveness of our sins, the promise of heaven, fellowship with God, the fulfillment of our soul, and so much more, all because of Jesus.
Mind the Gap
Signs in the London Tube warn passengers to "Mind the Gap"--to pay attention to the space between the station platform and the subway car, otherwise bad things might happen. Likewise, John wants us to "Mind the Gap" spiritually speaking--to be aware of the great gap that exists between a perfectly holy God and our sinful imperfection and to live in light of that gap. John saw the effect of these supposedly enlightened teachers who downplayed the gap or denied it all together, and how that undermined the confidence of Christians and their eternal life in Jesus.
1 John 1:5-10 NIV
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 sin. 8 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.
God is LIGHT
John says that God alone is LIGHT, which means that He is both perfect knowledge (TRUTH) and pure goodness (CHARACTER). So for us to walk in the light, it means we possess the truth of God and we live in light of it. Light affects both what we know and who we are becoming.
“Fellowship" (koinonia) is this incredibly personal and intimate relational word that speaks to the QUALITY of a relationship (its closeness) rather than the REALITY of a relationship.
So being friends is one thing, but being best friends is another. Being married is one thing, but being happily married is another. Likewise, being a Christian is one thing, but being a vibrant Christian who shares a close relationship with Jesus is far better. This "fellowship" with Jesus is what John wants for every Christian.
No hypocrisy, dishonesty, or blasphemy
Back in John's day, there were false religious teachers leading Christians astray by elevating their own knowledge while also undermining Jesus and His Gospel. Even in our day, beware of self-professed experts who act superior and promise perfection while living morally inconsistent lives.
1 John 2:1-2 NIV
1 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.
Jesus is our Advocate & our Atoning Sacrifice
John uses these two wonderful descriptive terms to describe who Jesus is for us and what He does for us. To say that Jesus is our Advocate, John is telling us that Jesus is with us and Jesus is for us. In His perfect righteousness Jesus pleads our case before God the Father, the righteous Judge. And then as our Atoning Sacrifice, Jesus bore the righteous judgment of God in our place. His death fully satisfied the debt we owe God because of our sin. We can absolutely confident about this because the resurrection is proof that God the Father accepted Jesus’ payment on our behalf. Because of all this, we can be honest with God and confident in Jesus that we will receive forgiveness not fury along with pardon not punishment when we are honest with God.
Because God is pure light, we must be honest about the gap.
Downplaying or denying the gap between us and God doesn’t make it go away. Deceiving ourselves about our sinful imperfect only makes things worse. God IS light, and in Him (unlike us) there is absolutely no darkness whatsoever.
Because Jesus is sacrificial love, we can be honest about the gap
Jesus changes everything--He has bridged the gap. Because Jesus is the Savior of Mankind and the Sacrificial Atonement for all who believe, we don’t have to pretend any more. Jesus invites us to come out of hiding and step into honesty. This is true for those who have yet to believe by confessing Jesus as their Savior. This is also true for those who do believe and want to enjoy greater fellowship with God.
1. How many names can you remember of others in your group? For serious bonus points, match favorite holiday foods to the right people!
2. What do you know about John, the writer of this letter? Who was he? What other books or letters did he write? Compare your answers to “About 1 John” on page 2.
3. Read 1 John 1:5-2:2. If you were writing this letter, what would you say first about the message of Jesus? Why do you think John starts with “God is light” and how we live in light of that truth?
4. What does it mean that ”God is light”? What else does John say here that helps us understand it? Also read John 1:4-9 and 1 Timothy 6:15-16.
5. What are all the ways John refers to sin in verses 6-10? What else does this letter say to us about what offends God - 2:9; 3:4, 8; 5:17?
6. Explain from these verses how we should handle our sin. What should we say and not say? What should we do and not do? Note the ways that the Father and the Son deal with our sin - and thank them!
1 John series start page
Check out this link for more information about our 1 John series Discussion Groups. You can also access the electronic version of our 1 John journal here.