1 John - That Your Joy May Be Complete
1 John 1; 2:6
Living In the Light
Greetings to our Mother’s today on Mother’s Day
We are so grateful for the contribution you made in giving us life, but more than that, the contributions and sacrifices you have made every day for us
We are beyond grateful and obligated to you
Now we move today into a new series as we look at the 3 small letters written by John in the latter days of his life toward the end of the 1st Century.
The Apostle John was the brother of James, they were the sons of Zebedee.
Some think that perhaps his mother was a sister to Mary the mother of Jesus.
He had personal wealth, evidenced by owning multiple boats in the family fishing business and the fact that they had many hired men working for them.
He was well connected. When Jesus was on trial, we find that John had connections with the household of the High Priest.
So had influence, wealth, and his whole life in front of him as a young man when he met Jesus
He left all of that behind to follow Jesus. Luke 5:11 says “They pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him"
Jesus said No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62)
John left all, never looked back and followed Jesus Christ
Eventually, as the early church was growing and expanding, John left Jerusalem and was the Bishop or Senior Pastor / Elder of the church in Ephesus.
John wrote his Gospel and The Revelation of Jesus Christ for which he is most well know, near the end of the 1st Century.
However, most likely, this letter was the 1st. Some call it a cover letter for his Gospel.
This is a different kind of letter from most in scripture. No particular people are mentioned nor any specific church.
Most likely he is writing to the churches in Asia Minor, like Ephesus and Colossae
One thing we will find right away and all the way through is that John is very to the point, cut and dry, black and white in this letter.
He doesn’t so much defend or explain Jesus but he assumes that his readers already know Jesus. He instead challenges us to follow him, imitate him, and obey him.
John is very straight forward because falsehood has infiltrated his church. We have referred before to Gnostics in the first century. The word comes from a word that means knowledge.
They denied that Jesus was God in the flesh
They denied that he is the only way to salvation
They taught a different kind of Christianity
They believed in secret special knowledge needed to move forward in faith.
They believed they had all the answers
They believed that their special knowledge of secret codes or passwords to move upward toward god and salvation … they were the first “cheat codes” you game players
Many connect this letter to countering a group called docetic Gnostics which believed that Jesus was just one of many levels of angels. They believed that Jesus couldn’t have truly become human because all spirit is good and all matter is evil, according to them.
Some Gnostics taught that since all matter, the body included, was evil, they it had to be DENIED every desire
Others taught that since the body is evil but the spirit is good, they are separate so give the body anything it wants and it won’t affect the spirit
John seems to have written his Gospel as an Evangelistic letter to the lost world that needed to know and believe
This Letter, then, was written to the Church to call us to TRUTH and away from falsehood. It is written to challenge us to LIVE what we believe
Now we need to be careful in the church today that we don’t become present day Gnostics who take the parts we like from the church and combine it with science and modern thought
Or We become Gnostics that are so concerned with protecting our understanding of right doctrine that we become an exclusive club for those on the inside
Or, we can be Gnostic when we take the extreme ways of license or legalism
Well, that’s an introduction, and I want to cover a lot of ground today … so let’s move on
Why did John write to the church?
Chapter 5:13 says “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”
And then here in the first chapter, verse 4, he writes “to make our joy complete”
John, an aged, faithful follower, teacher, elder, and Pastor is speaking to us and saying “I have learned a secret … and it’s not really a secret … there is no special code … the ‘secret’ is right in front of us … the secret is found in living by the truth that you already know”
Maybe I can explain it this way. What does it mean to make our joy complete?
I came to Christ as a boy so I don’t have a history of life before Christ. I have known people, though, maybe you, who were just going about their business, following their sinful heart And you know, they in many cases were actually happy in a messed up way. Then they met Jesus and they knew real Joy. That is until the newness wore off and the struggle of walking with God versus giving in to their own desires became real. As they found themselves following neither their natural or the godly way, they have found that their Christian life is some level less than a fully joyful experience.
The only joy they ever knew was in following the ways of self and then they came to know the REAL JOY in fully following the way of Christ.
However, it is when we, who know what is true and real, live BELOW that line that our joy is INCOMPLETE
John wrote that our “Joy May Be Complete”
- Read with me 1 John chapter 1*
take note of the contrasts. Take note of the many conditional statements, the “if’s”
John lays out a choice for us
Light and Dark, Day and Night
If we are going to Live In the Light, we need to KNOW the truth, so John introduces us to the Light
1. The Light
Now there was a docetic Gnostic teacher at the end of the first century named Cerinthus who taught that the Spirit of Jesus entered the Human Jesus of Nazareth at his baptism in the Jordan and left him before his crucifixion
But John sets the record straight … Jesus … The Light is
A. Eternal by Nature
In his gospel he says
In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God John 1:1
And here speaking to the church he reminds us not to be deceived
The Light “was from the Beginning”
“was” = eimi = to exist, be identical, to be in a place
When the beginning began, when time started, when all we know came into being …
The Word, The Light, Jesus Christ already WAS, existed, was in place, identical to what he is now … and
John 1:3 says all things were made by him
But he wasn’t just a God, way off and a God from the distant eternity … NO he was OUTSIDE our time and he stepped INTO time and was
B. Witnessed By Men
John said “we have heard … seen … looked at … touched”
John 1:14 says "The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we beheld his glory”
John reminds them not to take the Word of some philosopher but listen to the ones who experienced him with their senses as well as their minds and spirits.
There are a lot of people who never knew Jesus, never met Jesus, and haven’t come to know him NOW … but want to tell you about him … worse yet is when we LISTEN to them
And John, along with all those who had seen and experienced him found that The Light, Jesus produces
C. Life / Real Life
Jesus was no ordinary man. He brought life into a world that thought they knew what life was but had never known the real thing.
Photosynthesis is the process by which LIGHT produces LIFE in plants … and that is a wonder, but it then is NO WONDER that the one who created Photosynthesis is the giver of REAL LIFE in the lives of those who surrender to him
John says “we proclaim” = apaggello (ap-ang-el-o) proclaim, declare, report, bring news - that Jesus is Eternal Life and he left the Father and came to us …
So the choice before us as his followers, his children … is
2. Night And Day
“This is the message we have heard from him …
A. God Is Light
John says we aren’t making up our own conclusions, we got this from Jesus
The best way to understand Light is to know what darkness is.
Darkness is the opposite of Light
Light is the absence of Darkness
“Light” = phos = light, lamplight, torch, bonfire
This word is used without a defining article, which in the Greek means that it goes to the nature.
Vincent describes it as “not A light” or one of many or not “THE light” as in just an appliance for men to know the way … even though Jesus does that.
No, he is described here simply as LIGHT … just as he is Spirit, so he is Love, he is Light
This then shows to his purity, perfection, holiness, and righteousness and compares it to DARKNESS.
If then God’s pure holiness and righteousness is Light …
then what does he mean by Darkness … if not SIN?
John says “In him there is no darkness”
Skotia (skot-ee-ah) darkness, absence of light, ignorance of divine things
So, the reference here to darkness is SIN and as there is no SIN or darkness in God who is light and righteousness
God is the Opposite of Sin
God is the Absence of Darkness as
He takes it a step further and points out that
B. Darkness Doesn’t Fellowship with Light
Darkness and Light do not HANG OUT together … it is actually impossible for them to be in the same place at the same time
So if Darkness is the problem … In verse 7, he gives the antidote for darkness … are you ready … it’s deep … it’s profound … it’s amazing … do you know what it is?
when light is revealed, darkness is eradicated
when we walk = peripateo (per-ee-pat-eh-o) = to make one’s way, to live
When we come into a relationship with Jesus … “the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin”
Darkness is the absence Light
Sin is the Absence of Jesus
Someone asked me 2 weeks ago, “what is sin? I’ve never really heard a message on what sin IS”
SIN is the Absence of the Rule of Christ in our lives
SINS then are the byproduct of the Absence of that Rule. Sins are what we do when WE are in Charge
Night is the absence of the rule of the sun
No sun, no day
But when the light shines darkness cannot exist
Now we call 3:00 AM … 3 in the Morning … but it is NIGHT … why? Because there is no light
But you know what? In the winter, 6:00 in the morning is really still NIGHT because there is no light.
But what about in the summer, then the same time is MORNING because the Sun has risen, the light is shining, it is day because the SUN SHINES
I was playing golf the other day with a golf pro friend … and I’m struggling with a part of my game … and it is downright ugly at times … and I was having a bad hole and hit a few just terrible chips … then I stepped up … did it right and chipped the ball in the whole from 35 feet away. My friend said “same guy” … His point was “Jim … you can DO this … you just have to surrender to what you are able to do”
Oh does anyone hear me … WE DETERMINE if the same Christian will live in the light or the dark
6 AM will be Night or Be Day … depending on if the SUN SHINES …
So, if darkness is the absence of light and sin is the absence of Christ, how do we LIVE in the Light?
3. Surrender To The Light
In order to surrender to the light, we have to
A. Recognize Darkness
The problem today is we have swallowed the lie that says “I’m ok, you’re ok”
And another problem is when even Christians think we no longer have to address the problem and reality of and potential for sin in our lives
Remember this letter is written to Christians
And certainly before we belonged to Christ, we had no choice but to sin.
However, now that we are In Christ and empowered by his Spirit, we are still able to sin, we just no longer are BOUND, REQUIRED to sin.
John, the Elder, the beloved Pastor says we have to come clean, tell the truth
V8 says “if WE claim to be without sin …” – (hamartia) – It isn’t talking about simple original sin in which we are born, but personal guilt “being evil” … if we think we have arrived and no longer are susceptible to sin or darkness we are only fooling ourselves.
If you think you don’t still struggle with sin, ask any honest person that is close to you. They will tell you
Not only are you fooling yourself but V10 says you are calling God a liar if you say that sin/darkness isn’t a potential reality and a struggle
So V9 says “fess up” … “Confess your sin”
We can’t deal with sickness, darkness, sin, if we won’t admit …
Confess = homologeo = profess, agree
If you think you are NOT in the dark … you won’t reach for the light
If you think you can see, you won’t get glasses
If you don’t think you have a problem you won’t want a solution
If you surrender to the light we must confess our sin …
“Lord I’m a sinner … I need light”
But when we simply make the confession of need …
B. Light Takes Over
The reason many don’t come to God to deal with sin and darkness is because they wonder if he CAN and WILL do something
I have news for you, GOD IS FAITHFUL and JUST
YLT – Steadfast and Righteous
Faithful = pistos = trusty, faithful, credible, trustworthy
True = dikaios (dik-ah-yos) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, righteous, faultless
When you come into a dark room, what do you do?
FLIP the SWITCH … and what happens?
The Light comes on and darkness flees
Well that is true, as long as conditions are met,
you have a good bulb, and a light fixture, the fixture is plugged in, the house is wired, and THE BILL IS PAID
Oh Does Somebody GET where I am going?
Do you feel me?
When we recognize our sin and confess it to God … he is Faithful and Just
He is Light by very nature and he is Light of the World …
He is the source
He became one of us
He is the Fixture
His bulb is the Holy Spirit within us
He paid the bill once and for all at the Cross of Calvary
And Eph 1:19 says that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is “FOR US who believe”
All we have to do is FLIP THE SWITCH … and
C. The Result
Forgiveness, Purity, and Light, and a new way of walking
Forgiveness is only a confession away …
whatever you have been made to believe by others about forgiveness … with Jesus, forgiveness is only a confession away
When we confess, we FLIP the SWITCH
And he Forgives us for the darkness
Forgive = aphiemi (af-ee-ay-me) = to send away, to depart, to divorce
… he sends the darkness away when we admit our need for his light and power …
and when we sends away our darkness …
James 4:7 says submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will FLEE
After the darkness is gone then … he
Cleanses = katharizo (kath-ar-id-zo) – make clean, remove a leper’s sickness, consecrate
Isn’t this beautiful, God turns on the light, dispels the darkness, sends it out of the room, and makes us right, fills us with light …
So, then, what do we DO in this New State, Light and Clean …?
V7 says we walk in the light as he is in the light
Folks we don’t flip on the light just so we can see what the room looks like … and then turn off the light and continue to stumble in the darkness …
If we have confessed our sin, received the light of Christ, which sends away our sin and makes us acceptable and holy, consecrated for God … then
Let’s Walk That way
Act Like it … Live like, live in, live by, live according to the Light
2:6 says “whoever claims to be IN Him must (that means it is imperitive) walk as Jesus did”
Jesus said we are to come after him, take up his cross and follow him … (Luke 9:23)
Daily, hourly, moment, by moment, I must choose to fellowship, commune, walk, live according to the light
God is Light
Jesus became like us
Jesus Paid the Bill
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the House of God
Jesus Placed his Spirit within us when we received him, so we are hardwired to the Power Source
Recognize the need
Confess our sin and darkness
And Live in the Light
Forgiveness and Light is Only a Confession Away