Scripture – 1 John 1:5 – 2:6 (ESV)
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. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin. 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.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Engaging the Word
This morning as we go through this passage we are going to divide this passage into three key elements, the truth, the journey and his glory. When our Lord said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” What does this mean to you and me? For many, we` have defined the light of our Lord as the illumination between what is right and what is wrong. However our Lord being the light of the world is more than just an illumination within the life of an individual. It is a way of living that defines who we are. It is a truth that when experienced, one can see all that is wrong and more importantly what brings forth joy and truth. So understanding the light of our Lord is more than just physical illumination to the life of the believer, let’s take a moment to consider the first aspect of this passage.
In verses 5-7, we see as it tells us that God is light and that there exists no darkness. Secondly it tells that if we walk in fellowship with him, yet walk in darkness, we do not practice the truth. So let’s for a moment consider these two elements.
Firstly, what does it mean to exist in light and not in darkness. As I considered this, one of the things that came to mind was one thing that has probably happened to many of us at one point of time. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and needed to check out a sound inside or outside of the house? For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of experiencing one of those moments, I am sure all of us have gotten up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night with no lights on. Now consider how dark it was, that you perhaps couldn’t see the right from your left and you didn’t know if you were going to kick your toes against the corner of the bed as you felt your way around. Now imagine, you have heard a sound, it sounds like it is in your house and you don’t know if someone has come to hurt you or to just steal from you. It is in this that you are on edge, not knowing what is out there but just waiting for that sudden surprise attack. It is in this moment that you realize that you are very helpless and in this moment of heightened senses you come to the startling reality that it is just your dog that got into your trash.
You see, in our lives without Jesus, whether we would like to admit it or not, we are like those who are stumbling around in their houses. You don’t know whether you are going to stub your toe in this life. You don’t know if there is a thief who is waiting for you and more importantly you don’t know how to get around the houses of your life. The clutter of this life has been strewn across of the floors of our lives and we find ourselves struggling just to get where we want to go.
It is in this moment, that our Lord comes into our lives and tells us that He knows that we are struggling to find our way through this life if we will just embrace his truth. For those of us who have not accepted Christ, the light of the world is foreign to them, because they have grown up in this darkened life. They have experienced this life and so Christ is just a blinding light in the darkened world that they exist.
So what is the light of our Lord in our lives? It is the Truth. The Light of our Lord is revealed in his truth, to which He brings forth the illumination of the stumbling of mankind. Whether it is stumbling to find fulfillment in success, in love, in family, all of these are merely transient joys that bring us satisfaction for a moment but bring no foundational eternal joy, truth and hope. I am not saying family is unimportant, rather I am saying that our truth in this world can only exist within the person of Christ.
The second aspect in these couple of verses that we need to pay attention to, is that no darkness resides within God and that if we walk in darkness that we do not practice the truth. So knowing this, is it possible to be one with God and still at times struggle with the darkness of this life? (NO) Is it possible to be a Christian yet still at times still struggle with darkness? (YES) We see here in verses 8 and 9 that if we say that we are without sin, then we deceive ourselves and that the truth is not in us. Yet it also says that if we have sinned, He is faithful and just to forgive us. Knowing this it is easy for mankind to then say, well it is okay then that we are human. It is okay to at times come short in this life. Yet, in verse 1 of the very next chapter, John is pointing this out so that we do not sin, not so that we can give an excuse to sin in this life. The scriptures were not given so that you and I could excuse our sin in this life, rather it was given so that we might see the truth more clearly.
The second aspect of this passage that we see here is the journey, or the application of this passage. In verse 7 we see that if we walk in this light, that we will have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. So what does it mean to walk in the light? For many of us we would probably answer, well it means to walk according to the scriptures. Yes, that is accurate, but even the Pharisees and Sadducees walked according to the scriptures. So once again, I would ask you what does it mean to walk in the light? At the end of this passage of scripture that we are discussing today, there is an amazing conclusion that brings light to this question. Whoever abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.
So how did our Lord walk?
- Well, it is evident that our Lord walked within the Word. In Luke 2:46 it says “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” Our Lord did not just know the scripture but he understood the scriptures and brought the scriptures to life.
- It is also evident that our Lord knew his Father. In John 5:19, our Lord illustrates for the people that he has personal relationship with his father. Even on the cross, our Lord still cried out to his father. Our Lord illustrated throughout his life that it wasn’t just about knowing the scriptures but it was about knowing the Father which meant personal relationship.
- Finally it is evident that our Lord knew a life of prayer. In Mark 1:35 it says that “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Notice it was not a prayer meeting that our Lord set up, it was not a prayer time during a service for all to see. It was when no one else was looking that our Lord took the time to step aside and spend some time in prayer.
These are critical elements to how our Lord walked and they are key elements to how we should walk as believers if we are to experience what it means to walk in his light. The great truth to this verse is that as we engage in these ways within our own lives, that He cleanses us from all sin. Notice that in verse 7 that it doesn’t say some sin, or most sin, it says all sin. For some of us, we may be asking how is it possible that God would forgive me of that terrible sin in my life, yet as his word tells us, He does and will if we will just embrace these truths in our lives. The amazing impossible truth that is revealed in this verse is that He will forgive us of all sin. In other words, if we are willing to dedicate our lives to the person and presence of Jesus Christ, we can experience Christian perfection in His presence. Not because we are great, but because He is perfect in all ways.
Lastly, it is evident in this passage that as we experience the light of our Lord in our lives, we will have the amazing opportunity to have fellowship with one another. What does this mean? It means that first we get to experience fellowship with our Lord and Savior. That truth is not only revealed for us, but it is also revealed through us. So for those who are in darkness around us, get the amazing joy of experiencing the light and truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, just because we experience within our own lives. So for those of us who have been shy about sharing their faith or for those of you who are worried that they don’t know what they will say when they are faced with that moment of truth, it is not about our truth but it is rather about God’s truth in our lives. It is for this reason that each of us can walk in a new boldness, knowing that our lives are not meant to be an example of how great we are, but rather it is about just reflecting the light of his life through us.
Conclusion – His Glory
At the end of this passage we see a promise that each of us need to understand and hold onto as believers. In verse 5 it says that he who keeps God’s Word, meaning this truth that we have spoken about today, that the love of God is perfected. If you have ever felt like you have come short in reflecting our Lord’s light in your live, the love of God is in the process of being perfected in your life. If you have ever wondered why the things in your life that you used to care about you no longer care for and the things that you didn’t care about, you now do, it is because God’s love is being perfected in your life.
God’s love is a strange thing. Even on the cross, it cares for those who would curse you. When you are cursed by those around you, do you experience God’s love? If not, God’s love desires to be perfected in you. Our lives are not our own and our Lord desires to reveal the light of his truth in our lives, if we are willing to just accept his call in our lives. If we never say no to his call upon our lives, we will experience the love of God perfected in a measure that we could never imagine.