1 John 1:1-10
INTRO: This is how I learned to spot a backslider in the congregation… During a Valentine banquet at another church the pastor told me they were having problems with one couple in the church. I told him I bet I could tell him which couple it was. They were easy to spot.. .they were the only ones not smiling, not enjoying the fellowship.
The Christian life is meant to be one of radiant joy. Jesus in John 15, 16, 17; joy is a fruit of the Spirit; Psa. 51; Psa. 86:6.. .Twice the disciples were criticized because they were happy.
The greatest ad for Christianity is joy. The greatest hindrance is that many people need to learn how to be a Christian and enjoy it.
This is the purpose of John’s writing.
JOY: Perfect tense: full, complete and continuous. Not silliness nor “happiness”, but an artesian spring of joy which nothing on the outside can affect or atrophy.
I. THIS JOY IS SHARING A COMMON LIFE. vs. 3,4
The NEB translates “fellowship” as sharing a common life. THE SOURCE OF THIS JOY IS FELLOWSHIP. Note the sequence of the passage. He’s telling us about the Incarnation that we might get in on the life and thereby have a full and complete joy.
WE SHARE THE LIFE OF THE FATHER. There are two ideas in this word “fellowship”–partaker and partner.
(1) Partaker of His Life…II Peter 1:4. Illustration: the prodigal son and Father sharing with him. Illustration: Rev. 3:20–”Sup with me…”
The good news of the Gospel is not that we are to IMITATE His Life, but that His life has been IMPARTED to us… IMPARTATION NOT IMITATION.
(2) Partner in the Life…a word used of marriage, business partnership–sharing in the work and responsibility. Paul said the Philippians were “partners” with him in the Gospel.
Vs. 3 lays out our part…”We declare unto you…that which we’ve seen and heard.” We are to share with others this life.
Illustration: When Jill told an old friend she had become a Christian, the friend said, “I’m a Christian, too.” But Jill told me, “I don’t believe she is. How could she be and not share it with her friend?”.
2. WE SHARE IN THE LIFE OF THE FAMILY. “Fellowship WITH US…”
II. THIS JOY IS SUSTAINED BY A CONSISTENT LIFE.
“Walk” is in the present tense, indicating habitual conduct, that which characterizes the believer.., hence, a consistent life.
A walk is a series of steps.. .one step doth not a walk make. You may take a step, make a decision, but that must develop into a walk.
IT IS A WALK IN THE LIGHT
1. We are to WALK IN HOLINESS.., light signifies moral purity and perfection. THE CHARACTER OF GOD DETERMINES OUR CONDUCT.
“As He is in the light…” Where’s God? Exactly where He’s always been… in the LIGHT. We need to live where God is.
2. We are to WALK IN HONESTY… light signifies exposure, nothing hidden, clear and transparent. “What you see is what you are.”
We must live INSIDE OUT. It’s the HIDDEN THINGS that kill. I visited a man in the hospital and said, “You’re looking good!” He replied, “My looks aren’t what’s wrong with me!”
The germs, the virus, the disease that lurks beneath the surface… that’s the deadly, dangerous thing. ARE YOU BEING HONEST…. WITH GOD, WITH OTHERS?
III. THIS JOY IS SAFEGUARDED BY A CLEANSED LIFE. Vs. 8-10
1. There must be a CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN.
(1) Sin as a Principle v. 8.
(2) Sin as a Practice v.10.
2. There must be a CONFESSION OF SIN. V. 9
(1) Continual — “present tense”
(2) Complete –“sins”, PLURAL, ONE BY ONE.
CONFESS means to say the same thing, agree—agree with God that it is sin. He’s been calling it a sin all the time. Some can’t get deliverance from sin because they’ve called it everything BUT SIN.
3. There must be a CLEANSING FROM THE SIN. vs. 7, 8
Some want forgiveness but not cleansing.
Illustration of little boy who falls in the mud and wants mom to forgive him but not bathe him.
The CLEANSING is from the pollution of the sin. Often we know God has forgiven us but we still feel dirty, unfit. We need to understand that god not only forgives, but He cleanses us from any stain we may have incurred from the act.
Note: vs. 7 says, “if we walk in the LIGHT” then the blood of Jesus cleanses us… GOD DOESN’T FORGIVE SIN IN THE DARK!
©Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2003