I John 1-5

I John 1: 1-5    Life with Father

Before we begin this study, I want us to see John as a young, impetuous man before we read the words of the older mature John. John would write not only the gospel of John, but his three epistles here and the book of Revelation. Only Luke and Paul wrote more of the New Testament. John was a bold, brash young man when the Lord called him to follow him. He and his brother James were known as the ‘ sons of thunder.’. They were loud, ambitious young men. They were entering into something that would not only change their lives – but would turn the world upside down. These were not shy, studious men- they were full of life, energy and excitement.

They were not saints, scholars or religious experts. These were common, hard-working, ordinary men.  But under Jesus’ teaching and touch, they would become a force that would forever change the course of the world.

At the time of the writing of these epistles, John was an old man, the last surviving original disciple. Christianity was now in its 2nd and 3rd generation and false teaching was creeping into the church as well as sin and John defends the truth and warns against sin.

He will tell us his readers the reasons he wrote this letter: that our joy may be complete; that we do not sin; that we be not deceived; and that we would know we have eternal life. He will discuss three themes- love, truth and righteousness.  He will expound on love, light and life; on fellowship with God and one another.  But John was just a teenager when he first met the Lord Jesus. So let’s look back at the moment in time, when he first met the one described by his mentor, John the Baptist as “ the Lamb of God.”

In the Gospel of John, in the first chapte, verse 35, we read:  “ And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he(John the Baptist) saith Behold the Lamb of God. And the two disciples ( John and Andrew) heard him speak and they followed Jesus.” The first step in fellowship is follow-ship. Following Jesus brings fellowship. Fellowship involves forgiveness and cleansing. Remember when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper- he told Peter if he could not cleanse him – he could not have fellowship with him.

There is a difference between relationship and fellowship. Relationship is becoming a member of a family. We become a member of the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ. It is established by asking Jesus to come into your life and heart.  A relationship begins in this way and is referred to as being born again. For we are born into the family of God. Relationship is accepting Christ; fellowship is experiencing Christ. It is about this fellowship that John will write in his first epistle. But back to John’s encounter with Jesus in the Gospel of John.

The story of the first meeting continues:  : “ Jesus turned and saw them following, and saith unto them, ‘What seek ye?’” May I ask you the same question as we start this study- what kind of God are you seeking?  What kind of Messiah do you want?  In our study of Genesis we saw God as creator. Almighty God. We saw God as long suffering as in the days of Noah when God had Noah preach for 120 years without a single convert.  And in type, particularly Joseph, we saw Him as provider.  In the story of Joseph ,we saw God’s ways are higher than our ways. God always does what  provides the most good  for the most people for the longest period of time, or as Joseph said for the saving of  many lives.  But the question is one that we must answer for ourselves- what are we seeking?  To be happy, most of us would reply. John will tell us what will make our joy complete.

John and Andrew, these two teenage boys said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi ( which is to be interpreted Master) where dwellest thou?”  He,Jesus, said unto them- come and see. (His invitation is still the same today for those who are honestly seeking the truth. Today people still want to know where Jesus lives..) They came and saw and abode with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.”  Fifty- to sixty years later, John recalls with clarity the day he first met his Lord. And today, people are still wanting to know the answer to their question: where do you dwell Lord? Do you know where Jesus lives? Does He live within your heart?

Jesus still invites people today to come and see.  As we will see in this story of first meetings, Phillip invites a friend to come and see.

Thus John and Andrew meet the Lord. These two young men the younger brothers of James and Peter, respectively, were fishermen on the sea of  Galilee.  They were the students of John the Baptist. It was an interesting time in the history of the nation of Israel. They were under the rule of the Roman Empire. As Jews, they did not like this for they believed they should exist as a free nation with a king of their own as they had in the days of David.

There had been a very dormant period for Judaism. The Pharisees, the Sanhedrin ran the religion of Judaism with its sacrificial system and law given to their nation by God through Moses.  But they had not heard from a prophet of God, a man of God in over 400 years.With Malachi’s death the voice of God’s prophets would be silent for 400 years. Then a prophet like Elijah would come – his name was John the Baptist. His mission was to prepare people’s hearts for Jesus by urging them to repent of their sins.

Now under the thumb of the Roman Empire, they longed for freedom. They were looking for a man of God to direct them.  Then here he came out of the wilderness desert, John the Baptist. What a sight he was and with what power he preached. He was the forerunner – the one who would announce the coming of the Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God of which the prophets had spoken.

The people were hungry for the truth. And John the Baptist spoke the truth. He drew large crowds, a revival was taking place. John the Baptist was a preacher of repentance who challenged people to turn from their sins and be baptized. The response was amazing. John the Baptist was a fearless confronter who was uncompromising. It was such a man of God that these young men along with many others were attracted to in those days.

We need preachers of the truth like John the Baptist today who call people to repentance as individuals and as a nation. Could it be God is allowing what is happening in our country today to make us believers hunger and thirst for truth and righteousness? Surely there will be one last great revival for God will want to save as many as possible before He brings down the curtain on this era of history. But maybe there will not be a great revival- Noah preached for 120 years and saw no one come to believe. Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared if there had been only 10 righteous people. There was not 10.  What did Jesus say about His second coming? It would be like the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah.

It would be John the Baptist that would point John and Andrew to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Watch what these two young men went to tell their family and friends: “ we have found the Messiah!”  A profession of faith that would be worked out in experience over the next 3.5 years and for the rest of their lives.

Jesus met with John, Andrew, Peter, Phillip and Nathaniel over the next couple of days. Then Jesus went into the wilderness to fast and pray and be tempted for forty days. Let’s look at the ‘call’ and observe what Peter and John were doing when they were called by Jesus to follow him.

“ As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Peter was casting a net. (Matthew 4)

Then Jesus walked on and called James and John, the sons of Zebedee and we are told they were mending their nets. John was mending a net and Peter was casting a net.  Perhaps these two activities reveal something of how the Lord would use them. Peter cast a big net to bring in 3000 souls on the day of Pentecost. But almost 70 years later, John, the elder statesmen would have the job of mending the net, the false teaching that had left holes in the story of the gospel and allowed sin  and apostasy to enter in.

So now that we understand what John was facing at the time of this letter- unbelief in the story of Jesus, His Diety, perhaps even His miracles were in doubt plus the people John was communicating to  had not seen Jesus for themselves. All they had were the stories which had become distorted and combined with false teaching. So John, the last living disciple will set the story aright  The last eye witness of those days when Jesus walked the earth and taught and healed and performed miracles and died and rose again- John would tell them and us what we must do and what we must know.
“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.”   So begins John’s epistle, letter, to the churches to deal with the early church that was already beginning to decline. Remember how in the early days of the church, there was growth, conversions, daily prayer meetings, sharing of goods, and missionary journeys to take the gospel into the world. The reality set in- life happened. Original disciples died, the fiery prophet was beheaded- the false teachers moved in. John had to put the believers back on track- for they had strayed from the truth. His references to light and darkness are references to truth and error.

John was concerned with one thing- authentic Christianity. True faith.  John’s mission is to call the people of his day and of this day back to the vital things that make for a real life. He reminds us there is only one way we can live this life and that is in union with the true and living God. In fellowship with the Lord- as He dwells in you and you dwell in Him.  It is Life with the Father.

In his first verse, John lets his readers know he is talking about a relationship with a real person. Christianity does not rest on ideas or doctrine only. It is not about joining a church or being a member of a denomination. Becoming a Christian is about being related to a real person- the person of Jesus Christ.

Think about it—everyone in this room is related to someone. It is the only way you can have life. We live and lived in a family. Children are related to their parents, parents are related to their children. We share the same life- the same DNA, the same genes. My father and mother are in me just as I was in them. We resemble one another. I was born into a family and we shared and share a life together.

What makes one a Christian is we were born again into the family of God. We are related, we share a life. Jesus is in me and I am in Him. John could not make it any plainer than he did in I John 5:12:  “ He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son, does not have life.”  And that is why Jesus told Nicodemus- you MUST be born again.

So in verse 1, John testifies as an eye witness that he has seen, heard and touched Jesus. He is speaking of witnessing with his physical senses the physical life of this real man who lived and died and rose again- named Jesus.

But watch what he tells us in the second verse. “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.”  What is John talking about here?  Notice he is not talking about physical life that he described in verse 1, but eternal life. John is testifying that Jesus made visible to us eternal life which was in Jesus’ relationship with His Heavenly Father. Jesus came not only to reveal the Father- show us what God was like and told us- if you have seen me , you have seen the Father. But here John is telling us about something else Jesus came to show us- which is equally important.

Jesus came to show us what a person’s life looked like and could be in a relationship of complete dependence upon our Heavenly Father. Jesus came to show us the way man is intended to live- in complete dependence upon the Father. He came to show us what Life with the Father can be.

Jesus said on numerous occasions: I do not do the things I do on myown- it is not I who accomplish these works, but the Father who dwells in me. ( John 14)  Jesus said the very words he spoke were from the Father. This life is what John is talking about- life with the Father. A new way of life made possible only by being born into the family of God and learning how to live in complete dependence upon God. “Trust  in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” ( Proverbs 3)  Do you  notice the word ‘all’ used twice there? All of your heart – all of your ways.  I remember when I first got saved, going to church, going to AA meetings, reading my Bible and reading the Big Book. The Big Book said ‘half-hearted efforts did not work.’ The Bible tells us the same thing.

If you are to live the Christian life the way God intended us to live it- we must acknowledge God in all our ways not just for salvation. Leaning has the connotation of putting ones’ whole weight on someone or something. It is a picture of trust. It is picture of commitment.

Why is the life of Jesus so different and notable?  Why is his life of all who ever lived so important that all of history is marked by before His coming and after his coming. ( BC * AD)  Because Jesus is the only one who has demonstrated what it means to walk in complete dependence as a man in whom God dwells. (D.L. Moody)

John then tells us—“I am going to 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 His Son, Jesus Christ. We write these things that your joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard and declare to you: God is light and in Him there is no darkness.”

We often hear people tell us we only use a certain percentage of our brain’s power. But can you imagine what would happen if we became to believe and live our lives in complete dependence upon God?  Your first reaction might be—this sounds not only impractical, it sounds impossible- maybe even a little fanatical.  I know.

But what does the scripture tells us: Apart from me you can do nothing.(John 15)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4)

The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? ( Psalms 27)

Faithful is He who calls you who will also perform it. ( IThess 5:24)

Living the Christian life in your own strength is what is impossible.

Was there not a time in your life when you were a child when you trusted your parents to take care of any and everything?  Did you not so trust them so much that you never worried or were anxious about anything?  In your child like faith- you were so sure your parents could solve any problem, meet any need, that you lived a life of complete dependence upon them. And in that complete dependence, you enjoyed your life as a child. You still look back at those days and think what a joy they were. ( I realize some who read this may not have experienced this family life- but that is more the reason to rejoice for being born again in the family of God!)

Jesus said if you fathers, being evil know how to give good gifts how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him. (Matt. 7)

Want to hear something remarkable?  Jesus said in John 14: “ I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. “

Life with Father. It is something John tells us we don’t want to miss- it the source of complete joy.  Learning  to lean on the Lord- who has all wisdom and knowledge and will direct your paths is the solution. Fellowship is the key.

Life with Father is the only life you want to experience; because truly- Father Knows Best.

John’s Letter: I John 1: 6-10 

This letter to the church is written toward the end of the first century. John is the last living disciple. The Lord Jesus knew John needed to be the last living disciple for he would be best suited to deal with the problems the first century church was experiencing.

When the Lord first called to John to follow Him, John was mending his nets. Jesus knew a mender of nets would be needed at this time. The original disciples had died as had most of the eye witnesses. The Lord had ascended to heaven probably 50-60 years ago. Few eye witnesses if any were left that had actually seen and heard the Lord Jesus live.

False teaching had found its way into the church, sin abounded and John had some mending to do  to repair the holes thru which the apostasy had found its way.

John is calling the church back to basics. He is calling the church of this time and ours to true faith- to a relationship with a person, the person OF Jesus Christ and a relationship with God the Father. When we are born again, we enter into a relationship with God, a relationship as His children and we are blessed with every spiritual blessing . The relationship gives us the potential to draw upon the unlimited sources God has for us.

How do we draw upon those sources?  The key is fellowship. And what is the key or secret to fellowship? Walking in the light.

Let us look the verses of I John 1:5-10.  We will want to pay close attention to three claims that are made.

“ This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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 sins. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in us.”

Two reasons one walks in darkness:  1. They are not saved; do not have the light of the world, Jesus, indwelling them. They are in the kingdom of darkness. 2. A Christian who is deceived and has turned aside to walk in darkness. We do not walk in darkness because we sin; we sin because we walk in darkness.

What we must realize is that when John is talking about fellowship with God the Father and His Son Jesus and walking in the light- he is talking about the abiding life. The abiding life is what Jesus taught his disciples about on the night of the Last Supper.(John 15) Walking through a vineyard, Jesus paused to give a great truth with a perfect illustration. He told his disciples and us- I am the True Vine and you are the branches- apart from me you can do nothing. When we walk in the light we are participating in the abiding life- we are connected to the limitless sources of our Heavenly Father. In fact, Jesus said : ‘ask and you shall receive’. The abiding life, the fellowship that comes from walking in the light produces the fruit or good works that make our joy complete.

How do we produce fruit? By abiding. How do we abide?  By obeying. How do we obey? By loving Him. ( If you love me, you will keep my commandments, said Jesus.) How do we come to love Him?  By knowing Him- by walking in the light in fellowship.

So how does a Christian end up walking in darkness? Very simply they turn from the light. They walk in the shadows and the dim light where sin is not so obvious or clearly seen. There are three common ways this occurs:

  1. Stop attending church. Where the light of the gospel goes forth- now there is one less light shining on our way. ( Forsake assembling. Hebrew 7:25)  Even though it is a parable- do you think the prodigal son ( Luke 15) was going to synagogue every Saturday?  NO.
  2. Stop reading scripture. The word is described as a light upon our path and lamp unto our feet. We are told to hide the word in our heart so we will not sin against the Lord.
  3. Stop examining our self to see if we are in the faith 2 Cor. 13.

So if one is walking in darkness but claims to have fellowship with Him, we lie and do not live by the truth. When we walk in the light, however, His blood cleanses us. You know what characterizes a Christians walking in the light? Continual confession as they examine themselves in the light of Word.

The next claim: “ If we claim to be without sin,  we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

This is a difficult verse  to me- how could we claim to be without sin?  Well the answer is right there : we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. How do we deceive ourselves? We do not call sin- sin. It is a weakness, a mistake, our Irish temper, a bad habit, bad judgment. No it is sin. Sometimes we do not confess it because we have not exposed it to the Lord, we have not confessed- which to confess means we agree with the Lord it is sin.

Consider King David: He was called the apple of God’s eye a man after His own heart. Yet he committed a horrendous series of sins starting with an adulterous affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. When the affair led to Bathsheba becoming pregnant, King David sought to hide his sin by arranging for Uriah to come home on leave from the war. But Uriah was a noble soldier and slept at the door of his king while home on leave. Nothing King David could do to get him to go home and spend the night with Bathsheba. Now to cover up his sin and hide this relationship, David resorts to murder and he devises a plan to leave Uriah in a vulnerable position where he will be surely killed. Do you see the lengths David went to in order to hide his sins?

We believe David refused to confess this sin to God for over a year. The confronted bravely by the prophet Nathan, David was convicted and we read his confession in Psalms 51. David asked God to restore the joy of thy salvation to him. You see when you do not walk in the light of fellowship there is no joy. He also said something very important- David told us God desired truth in the inner parts. God does not look on the outside- He looks in the heart. David had not confessed his sins- he had hidden them in secrecy. He had a place in his heart locked away from God, who is light and in whom there is no darkness.  Do you have a sin or sins you have not confessed?  Then guess what you have a place in your heart where the truth in not in you. You have not allowed the spirit to search you- you have locked that room.   What must we do? We must confess- agree with God we have sin in our life and he will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Here is the picture- I want you to see right from the scripture. The Lord Jesus in John 13 gives us this picture:  He has taken the towel and basin of water and is performing the task of the house servant and washing the feet of his disciples. When he comes to Peter , Peter refuses to let the Lord wash his feet. The Lord tells him :” Unless I wash you, you have no part of me. ( Can ‘t have fellowship)  Then Lord, Peter replied, not just my feet but my hands and head. Jesus answered, A person who has had a bath needs only wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean.( speaking of Peter’s condition- saved) though not every one of you .” He was now speaking of Judas, the betrayer who was not saved.

When one gets saved all our sins, past, present and future are forgiven. We have been baptized into Jesus by the Holy Spirit. However when we sin in the present and the future in daily walk, we need to confess it so the Lord will once again take the towel and basin and clean our dirty feet. If we do not- the Lord says to us- then I cannot have fellowship with you.

King David did not think his feet stunk…but they did. Read Psalms 51- this is a good outline for one to use when confessing sin. You can tell how awful David felt- he was filthy – he was miserable- he so wanted to be cleansed.

“Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” ( Psalms 139:23,24)

Now the third claim that John addresses:  “If we claim we have NOT sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.”

The old nature, the flesh, is where Paul said no good thing dwells. In fact it is in the old nature that the sin principle and root resides. The old nature hates to be made to feel guilty. So we rationalize. Rationalizing our sins is one of the most common problems we face as believers. We do not call sin- sin. We call it a : weakness, bad habit, error, mistake, a family trait and so forth. The homosexual says I was born this way. Guess what? He is right – he was born with a sinful nature. That is why he as we all must – be born again. For that born of the flesh is flesh and that born of the Spirit is spirit.

All have sinned.

So how do we make God to be a liar?  We do not agree with Him that sin is sin.

We rationalize our behavior with excuses that begin with “ you don’t understand the circumstances…”

We say we could not help it.

But God says there is not temptation taken you, but such is common to man. But God is just and will not allow you to be tempted above that which you can bear but will with the temptation prove a way out so you can stand up under it. ( I Cor. 10:13)

To say you could not help it—you could not keep from it- is to make God a liar. And His word is not in us.

It may be pride- one of the strongholds of our old nature that plagues us all that keeps us from confessing and admitting we have sinned.

The alcoholic goes to great lengths often to hide their condition. They live secret lives. Their life is a lie. Yet they are told by AA the first step to getting sober is to admit that you’re an alcoholic: Hello, my name is Tim and I am an alcoholic.  Amazing how the truth can set you free when you confess you are a sinner- have committed a sin and now the light of God’s word can begin to set us free.

So remember:

Sin is still sin even if:


  • You don’t get caught.
  • You do it for a good reason- a lie for example is still a lie.
  • Others are doing worse. Our favorite ploy- to compare ourselves to others who are doing worse. We like to categorize our sins as those that are real bad and those that are not so bad at all.
  • Your conscience does not bother you. Which is really scary- for you may have seared your conscience.


Here is what Paul wrote:
“ I am crucified with Christ- ( this is a fact- past tense already done) nevertheless I live-( a present reality) yet not I but Christ lives in me( the essence of walking in the light- the abiding live) and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
This is the best description of walking in the light of fellowship drawing upon the very life of Jesus.
We will never live in sinless perfection in this life. We should however sin less. Like Paul we do  not consider ourselves to have arrived a some point of spiritual maturity- but we still press toward the mark.

The challenge is :  YET NOT I – BUT CHRIST.
Press On Brother and Sisters. Strive to enter the narrow gate.

Resist the Devil and he will flee.

Flee youthful lusts.

Present your bodies a living sacrifice, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed by the world but be transformed that you might know what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12: 1&2)
“ So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Galatians 5:16

I John: Lesson Two. “Turn on the light, please.”

We only covered the first five verses least week and let me re-connect us by looking again at verse 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.”

When the Apostle John speaks and writes of darkness and light he is referring to two different life styles. Light represents what is good, pure, true  and holy. Darkness represents what is sinful and evil and not true. That is why unbelievers will call good-evil and evil – good.  Darkness cannot exist in light  just as sin cannot exist in the presence of God.

So today let us look at these next six verses from I John 1: 6 – I John 2: 2:

“ If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify ( cleanse) us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives. My little children, I write to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate who speaks to the Father in our defense- Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the world.”

The Apostle John is writing to tell us life without fellowship with God is like being shut away from the light and walking in darkness. The world we are told and warned wants to conform us while the Lord wants to transform us. His Word is light and directs our path. This Word of God is alive and powerful and is life giving, life changing and life nourishing. It is this life of fellowship that John is exhorting us to live and telling us how to live it.

Fellowship is the key. You can never have fellowship until you have established a relationship with God. This occurs when you ask the Lord Jesus to come into your life, placing your faith in Him to forgive you of all your sins and indwell you. John says clearly – he who has the Son has life- he who does not have the Son does not have life.

When we begin this relationship by becoming ‘born again’ as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3. It means that all God has is potentially yours. Fellowship means you are actually drawing upon those unlimited resources and it is visible to others that you are. It was this type of life that Jesus lived and the disciples witnessed. But Fellowship is not an automatic thing- it requires that we walk in the light.

*Fellowship is the secret, the key, to the power ; and walking in the light is the secret of fellowship.

So if one is in this relationship- professing to be a Christian, how can they miss out on so great a benefit as fellowship with the Father and with the Son and one another? Life with Father is not something that is beyond any believer- it is in fact the very reason God wants to establish this relationship in the first place.

John explains how one misses  out on this fellowship. Did you notice three times the phrase “ if we claim” is used? KJV uses the word say- but I like the NIV’s interpretation- claim. Claim denotes ownership. Note the three times, John says ‘if you claim’:

1.         If we claim we have fellowship, yet walk in darkness.

2.         If we claim we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.

3.         If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him to be a liar and His word has no place in us.

Let’s look at the first claim . The problem here is a very common condition. Those who claim to have a personal relationship with God but the life they are experiencing and living does not match the profession they claim. Their behavior does not match up with their beliefs. In other words there is no visible evidence in our lives that we have the fellowship that comes from the relationship we claim to have. We do not live according to the truth. What is going on?  Remember the relationship with God, life with the Father gives us the potential but we see that we are not experiencing the fellowship where the full flow of the life in the Spirit is.

Obviously this could be a person who has never established the personal relationship with God. A tare among the wheat. However, I believe John is speaking to believers and as such is addressing a common problem that the church was experiencing at that time and it is a very present condition in today’s church.  If a person does not have a relationship with the true and living God – he/she cannot experience the fellowship. Since John is speaking of experiencing this fellowship with God, we can assume he is writing to those who already have a relationship with God.

Therefore,  let us look at these verses and instructions as John did that he is writing to believers who have a relationship with God –but are not experiencing the fellowship and thus missing out on the joy . What did David pray from the depths of despair from his horrendous sins?  In Psalms 51- David prays: “ Restore unto me, the joy of Thy Salvation.”  It is obvious sin, unconfessed can rob us of the joy of the fellowship with the God, where ones shares the life with the Father.

John immediately identifies the problem to this first claim. The problem is we are not walking in the light, we are walking in darkness. Walking in the darkness is the opposite of walking in the light. We do not walk in darkness because we have sinned- we sin because we walk in the darkness.

How does one walk in darkness? We have shut ourselves off from the light. Darkness is the absence of light. How does a believer come to shut himself off  from the light?

There are several ways, it starts usually when one quits coming to Church. If the Word of God is being proclaimed – it is a source of Light- for the Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light upon our path. If we stay away from the light- the light does not expose our sins, make us uncomfortable or prick our conscience.  That is why we are commanded: “ Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ( Hebrews 7:25) {Prodigal son}

Another way we shut off the light is to stop reading the Scriptures. The Word of God is alive and a two edged sword. It cuts us with conviction. It is also a light that exposes our secret sins. The Word of God is a lamp unto feet and a light upon our path. Once again we turn off a light.

We also turn off  the light when we stop examining ourselves to see if we are in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5) Examining yourself means asking yourself what kind of Christian am I ? Where am I in my walk with the Lord? Growing closer, about the same as it was six months ago, a year ago or more distant?  Remember the Lord’s first question in the Bible in Genesis?  Where are you? When we stop examining ourselves – we risk turning off the light that we once depended upon to search our hearts and expose any sin.  Are you just pretending to be what you know you are not?

Walking in the light is the best way to examine yourself. When you walk in the light you expose yourself, you become transparent, no hypocrisy, no pretending. No defensive walls that begin with ‘ you don’t understand.’ Walking in the light is where there is not only exposure, but also cleansing and restored fellowship. Quit pretending- God already knows everything about you and loves you unconditionally. Do not let yourself be overwhelmed thinking – I can never live this life. You are not expected to- in fact cannot do it in your own strength. That is why the Lord sent a Helper, the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer, to give us the desire to obey and the power to obey.

Do you know what characterizes a believer walking in the light? It is  NOT in living a perfect sinless life which is impossible – but instead living a life of continuous confession that characterizes Christians. Paul said as he neared the end of his life- that he was chief among sinners. The more Paul walked in the light- the more he realized what a sinful man he was. If we walk in the light as He is in the light- His blood continually cleanse us from our sins. Remember if you have established that personal relationship with God, you have been cleansed of all your sins. Jesus said ‘ a person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. You are clean( talking to Peter, who was saved) , though not every one of you .’ ( now referring to Judas- who was not saved.)

Now let us look at the second reason or second claim and understand why we are not experiencing the joy of fellowship that comes from walking in the light.

Verse 8&9 :  “ If we claim to be without SIN, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our SINS, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Notice first the difference between the words SIN and SINS. SIN is the root. It is our old nature, it dwells in the flesh, where Paul discovered there was no good thing. We were born with this nature, inherited from Adam. The fruit produced of that root is SINS. There is a root in every one of us that wants its own way- pride, selfishness  and independence is the root that produces the fruits- which are SINS. To say we are without SIN is to say we do not have a sinful nature that can produce sins.

These fruits of the sinful nature are listed in Galatians 5. If you believe you are without sin check out the list. This resides in our old nature, called the flesh or simply described as our sinful nature. So God in His wisdom and in creating the plan of salvation had to deal with two things.  SINS and SIN. What can wash away our SINS? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. However, just as the old hymn says- the answer to washing away our sins is the blood, the blood does not wash away our old SIN nature. We commit sins because we are natural born sinners. Since we came to have this nature by birth, there is only one way to deal with it, it must die. Since we came in by birth, we must go out by death. Death is the secret of emancipation.* We have died to sin. How did this happen? God placed us ‘in Christ’ at the cross. I died with Him, I was crucified with Him. ( Galatians 2:20)

This is a fact .Paul says this is something we must know and believe. We do not believe it based on our feelings. We believe it because the Word of God says it is so. We  are to reckon it as true and done. Reckon or reckoning is an accounting word, it means to count when you have counted all the money in the till, t.  When you have recorded it all in your deposit slip and take it to the bank, the bank teller counts is again and if there is no error in your reckoning, it is put down in your account book. The secret to reckoning is knowing. That is why Paul in Romans continues to point out what we must know. Believing we are crucified with Christ is the first step, I then can reckon this to be true by revelation by the Holy Spirit. ( Like the bank teller who verifies what is in my account.) God   would not tell us to put in our account what is not true and real.   However, we must daily and sometimes moment by moment take up the cross to crucify that old nature. In other words, we are drawing upon that account which we have reckoned to be true. As long as we live in these earthly bodies, this old sinful nature will always strive against our new nature. Recognizing the impulses of the old nature and understanding the weapons we have to fight against those temptations is critical. Our weapons are mighty not carnal to the pulling down of strongholds. ( 2 Cor. 10)  Temptation is not a sin- for Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, yet without sin. Sin is giving into the temptation.

According to the Word of God- sin is a reality- it exists. One of the greatest deceptions and lies of the enemy is to deny the reality of sin. We are not taught that we will not sin and live in sinless perfection after we are saved. If we had no sins- why would Jesus have told Peter those who had been bathed ( saved) need not bathe again but only wash their feet. The Lord said in fact you could not have fellowship with Him unless your dirty feet were bathed. In their daily walk, a person in those days wore open sandals. They could come from the public baths having bathed all over- but on their walk through the dirty, dusty streets, their feet were exposed to the dirt and filth. Upon entering the home where one was received, their feet were washed to cleanse them from the dirt. Jesus is saying and John is talking about repeated washing of our feet.

We also must know and reckon another truth the Word of God tells us. Not only were we placed in Christ at the cross and crucified with Him and my old nature was buried with Him. But we were united with Him in His resurrection, that Christ is in me- providing me with the power to live in fellowship and walk in the light.

What keeps me from walking in the light of fellowship- sins. So in order to restore that fellowship I must confess my sins.

To not confess our sins, agree with God, that we have sinned in word, thought or deed is to deceive ourselves and neglect the cleansing that restores the fellowship.

Someone who never washes his feet because he/she does not think their feet are dirty or stink is not a very pleasant person to be around are they?

Do we need to confess our sins to others?  Sometimes. If our sins have affected others and caused them harm- we need to confess our sins to them, ask for their forgiveness and make restitution when that is what is required. We usually know when our sin has caused others harm. But we must always begin with confessing- agreeing with God we have sinned. We deceive ourselves when we say we have no sin.

Do we have the means by which to resist sin?  Yes. Remember when we are in fellowship with the Father and His Son we have access to all the resources we need, including the ability to resist sin.  We will never become sinless until we have a new  glorified body, in the meanwhile, we have the weapons we need to defend against the sin.

But it begins with knowing the truth of the Word of God and reckoning it to be true- not based on our feelings but fact.

You know what can create a chink in your armor faster than anything?  Thinking you are spiritually mature enough you would not sin.  In particular we might say, I would never do that!  Paul warns: “ He who thinks he stands, take heed, lest he fall.” I Cor. 10:12

Paul is saying when you think you have come to the place where we have mastered the process of walking in the Spirit, you need to think again.  Paul never considered himself to arrived at that point, but made sure he kept pressing toward the mark.

The person who denies he cannot sin and therefore is not in need of any light are deceived and guilty of self-righteousness. The Pharisees were like this  They exhibited a form self delusion . How subtle our adversary is to keep one in darkness by deceiving them into thinking they cannot sin. The Pharisees are portrayed in the parable Jesus tells of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18. The Pharisee prayed about himself and thanked God that he was not like other men. And listed all the works he did. The tax collector stood at a distance not even looking up but with bowed head beat his breast and said God have mercy on me a sinner. The Pharisee could not see his sins for he walked in the darkness of  deluded self righteousness.  Where as the tax collector knew he had sins and asked God to be merciful a person who says he cannot sin is deceived. He gets deceived by comparing himself to others who he/she views as being more sinful.

say we have no sin- the truth is not in us. We are deceived. We don’t believe our feet get dirty as we walk through the world. As a result we are out of fellowship, we are walking in darkness and when we walk in darkness we sin.

Notice the way to return to the light is to confess( agree with God)  our sins ( plural). The sins result from the sinful old nature that Paul wrote of in Romans 7.

So John tells us we have people who ignore the light turning it off by not attending church, or reading the Scriptures or examining themselves. We also have those who think they have arrived to a point of spiritual maturity where they cannot sin and are deceived and the truth is not in them.

There is one other condition that will keep one in darkness. It is the person who rationalizes their sin which the light reveals. Verse 10 states: “ If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word has not place in our lives.”

This is the person who rationalizes their sin. This is the most common failure in the Christian life. Rationalization is the ability to come up with reasons why we did what we did. We can clothe wrong so that it looks right- evil so it looks good. It is no our fault, it was the circumstances. The homosexual says he was born that way- in other words God made me this way. Is this not what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. Eve said it was that serpent you let talk to me. Adam said it was that woman you gave me. They blamed God. But more than that they made God a liar.

When we rationalize sin we say the circumstances caused us to do this.  Circumstances such as: pressure, the behavior of another person, tired, nerves frayed, sick  How does this make God a liar when we excuse our sin as nothing more than human weakness, after all we are frail, we humans. We make God a liar by saying sin is not sin. We can call it other names- but sin is sin.  But if we have fellowship with the Father and the Son; if we walk in the light do we not have access to the source of power to resist sin?

If  I sin I have made God a liar. How?  God told me( and you) : “ There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  Whenever we say I could not help it- I was tempted above that which I was able to bear. It was the circumstances. We are saying God lied. He is a liar- He cannot be trusted.

God said this to Job in Job 40: “ Will you put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified?”

Adam and Eve did that in the Garden of Eden- they blamed God that they might be justified.

Our old nature will always battle against our new nature- the flesh against the spirit. The old nature hates to be accused of sin, wrong doing and seeks to justify itself with rationalization.

John now tells us :  “ I am writing this to you –so you will not sin.”  In other word John is saying it is possible not to sin. We have the resources provided by our Father to NOT sin. Those resources are found in the light of fellowship as we walk in the light as He is in the light. John has given us three methods that will put us walking in the darkness:

1.         We turn off the light by not attending church, not reading the Scripture and not examining ourselves.

2.         We turn off the light when we in pride come to believe we cannot sin thus not turning to the light where we can be cleansed.

3.         We rationalize our sin. It wasn’t our fault, it was difficult circumstances.

Remember we do not walk in darkness because we sin; we sin because we walk in darkness.

But if anybody does sin ( and we all do) we have one who can justify us. He is the perfect defender, our advocate, our lawyer who has a perfect defense available to us. A defense the Father will gladly received. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

The first thing is to stop defending yourself. You are guilty. Quit trying to rationalize your sin before God. We are told Jesus died not only for our sins but for the sins of the world. There is not a single person on the face of the earth who will be kept away or separated from God if he accepts the work of Christ on the cross.  Why will they not receive this greatest of all gifts?  They will not believe Him. This is the verdict, said the Lord Jesus, light has come into the world, but men preferred darkness because their deeds were evil. They will not receive Him or what comes from Him.

Why do we not enjoy the full flow of the Spirit and live lives of power, love and wisdom?  It is simple we will not receive it because we do not believe it. We ignore the light, we shut off  the light, we say we don’t need any light. We do not call sin- sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to search you- to turn on the light, please.