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Think of little Jessie who loved to make mud pies. She called them warm chocolate. The problem was the mess that gran had to clean up following her time in the kitchen. Gran knowing what mess was there asked Jessie not to make any more warm chocolate. But the little girl just could not resist, even though she knew that gran had asked her not to and she also knew gran would punish her if she made more warm chocolate. So Jessie said “Gran, don’t look at me” three times before gran acted.
We may know of people like Jessie who enjoy doing what is wrong,
Anytime we choose to do wrong or to withhold doing right, we choose hiding as well. It may be that out of all the prayers that are ever spoken, the most common one — the quietest one, the one that we least acknowledge making — is simply this: Don’t look at me, God.
It was the very first prayer spoken after the fall. God came to walk in the garden to be with the man and the woman and called, “Where are you?”
“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid,” Adam answered, “so I hid.”
Don’t look at me, God
It was here that God spoke and it is to a darkness that had fallen over the congregation
John is writing to that he shows us both the light and darkness the people are experiencing. Some may not know that they are travelling blindly toward destruction while others openly encouraged some to follow them into that darkest of places, a place without Jesus
What is so important about walking in the light? Why is John on about this Light? What is the light John is talking about?
Anyway can a message sent to a church 2,000 years ago really be of relevance today. Certainly things have changed. Today we are much wiser and we understand the world in much more detail. We have more compassion, more understanding, and more accepting of people and what they believed than those 2,000 years ago, RIGHT!!
Well not really. The years have changed but people are still very similar to what they were 2,000 years ago. I know there are differences in how people dress and talk, but inside, the very beings of people we really have not changed.
As we begin this series on 1 John it may be helpful to set the scene so that we can see how 2,000 years has not really made a difference in how people think and act.
When John writes this letter he is writing to a church that he loves. In each of the three letters there is a real sense of care and concern for the people. The very people who had begun so well in the faith of Jesus. These very people had a first hand witness before them. They had learned from one of Jesus’ own closest friends while here on earth. John was there from the earliest days of Jesus public ministry and there at the foot of the cross. One who ran to the empty tomb on that first Easter morning. One of the inner circle. One who after Pentecost shared the mission of telling people about Jesus.
John was in a unique situation and the early churches he founded and met with certainly had a solid foundation.
Yet it was in one of these congregations that John says that the anti-Christs were in the midst of the congregation and many of the people were being lead astray by their false teachings. These false teacher were claiming special knowledge that was opposed to the truths that had laid the foundations of their faith.
Some were arguing that Jesus and Christ were different. Jesus was the man who was born in Bethlehem of Mary and at the baptism of Jesus, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus Christ entered into human form. For the next 3 years or so the Spirit lived in Jesus so Christ was present. On the cross the Spirit left Jesus so Christ left him. The result is that Christ never died. This, if true is a major problem as how can we ever be welcomed back into a loving and caring relationship with the Father? What can you or I or any one do to make us again perfect. There is nothing.
Those who claimed this false teaching came up with the idea that we can become perfect and at that point we will never sin again. By living in this sinless state day after day it is possible to become perfect and any imperfection or put simply, sin, can be over powered.
The false teachers were also questioning John’s right to set the standards. The rules, the truth about Jesus.
John cried over these false teachings so he wrote this letter of love to them, who he called little children. A term of affection for them just as he writes to us today. John’s words are very relevant in 2020 as over the next few weeks we will
Let’s begin with John’s authority to write the letter and lay the foundation for the truths John will recall to those who are wandering and the truths, that is those walking in the light, and those same truths are being written to re-enforce and encourage those who are following the truths of Jesus, those who John calls walking in the light.
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
John begins in verse 1 to say, remember who I am. I was part of that group that was with Jesus. We walked with Him, shared meals with him, we touched him, We have seen, heard and touched Jesus. He is real and His words are words of life. This is the basis of our teaching.
It is this authentic message that we proclaim. It is this message that brings life, eternal life to you and all others who accept the message and come back into fellowship with the father. The fellowship is visible now as the eternal fellowship with the father is worked out here and now through the real and deep fellowship and relationship we have with each other.
If we have fellowship with those of the truth we can have fellowship with the father.
But John says later in Chapter 4 that effectively if we do not love others, having real fellowship with other Christians we must have a closer look at what we say with our mouths because our hearts are not in alignment with those words.
John wrote the letter and these words so that we may come to a real and lasting joy in Jesus both now and for all eternity.
4 We write this to make our joy complete.
Having established the authority he is speaking from he now starts to show those who are walking in a different direction something of the error of their ways.
John’s message is not a message that he sat down and wrote some fiction such as Dan Brown’s “the de’Vincy code” or some other fiction writer. Rather John is speaking of what he heard from Jesus. A message that is important to them as it is to us, that is “God is light and in him there is no darkness”
Over the next few verses John compares and contrasts light and darkness a number of times. As he does he shows the results of living a life in either light or dark.
Each of us knows the importance of seeing and seeing clearly.
Imagine someone wanting to break in to a house that is right across from the police station. When do you think they will do it? At midday or
at midnight? Yet sometimes we joyfully choose to do just that, maybe not in the physical world of our lives but in our spiritual lives before God.
Even little Jessie tried to walk in the dark because of her wrong doing.
But how can we hide if we walk in the light?
Walking in the Light
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 yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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.
There are times when we are in the dark and do not know it.
Consider this story: One time there was a ship, steaming in the North Atlantic. It was a dark night and the navigator spotted a light in the distance. The captain got on the radio and notified the on-coming vessel to immediately change course. There was no reply. The light kept coming closer and the captain again radioed the on-coming light that was fast approaching; "This is a US Navy ship, please alter your course immediately." Still there was no reply. Finally, the captain got on the radio again and said, "I am an aircraft carrier that is the largest vessel on the sea, please change your course at once since I am superior to all other ships afloat." Finally, a voice came on the radio, "I am a lighthouse, change course immediately or be ready to sink in rocky, coastal waters."
Although we don’t want to admit it we sometimes act like the captain of that aircraft carrier, thinking we are superior to others. Anytime we put others down, boast of our own goodness or believe we have arrived we too are living in darkness.
Like the captain we need to yield to the light of God which can show us the way. God is like that lighthouse,
giving us directions and leading us. To ignore God’s light is to live in the dark, for "God is light and in God is no darkness at all."
This is the situation John was writing to. Those often spoken words from 1 John 1:8 to 2:2 Let me read them again to you
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 has no place in our lives.
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--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.
The people John is opposing are those who claimed to be perfect. They had received some secret teachings and had dubbed themselves into believing the lies. What a terrible situation to be in. There were those who claimed to be the leadership team and were out there teaching false and destructive doctrine to many.
John stands up and says they are wrong, wrong, wrong. They are like the man who built his house on sand and it will truly come crashing down. Remember the parable in Matthew 7:24-27
˜ Where do we get our truth?
o Is it real or is it convenient?
˜ Are we living in the light or darkness?
o How do we judge this?
˜ Are we embracing reality?
o Do we take sin seriously enough?
˜ Can we discern darkness from light?
o Will we correct someone who is in the dark?
I do hope that our light is not found in Reverend Google or from TV but in God’s Word. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”