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1 John 1:5-10
INTRO: How far can you walk? one block, two? one mile, ten? We used to be a nation of people who walked, but now are a nation dependent upon the automobile. We used to be a church of people who walked with God, but now what are we?
Can a Christian have a private fellowship with God, to the exclusion of others? Can we ignore other Christians and be real Christians? There are three things in this text that tell us about the walk of the Christian life. They are the conditions of fellowship with God and man.
I. WALK IN THE LIGHT (vv. 5-7).
This letter was written to Christians in a world where there was a real fear of darkness. Evil was associated with it. Modern man, with his electric lighting, has a hard time understanding how societies were developed around the idea. When night came, men slept, or watched in anxiety or fear of the dark. John tells us that God is more than just light. There is no darkness (evil) at all in Him. He says: “You claim to be sons of God, Light has enlightened you, do your actions show this?”
ILLUS: In the early days of the energy shortage of our country when the cities turned off the street lights the crime rate rose in those cities. They had to leave the street lights on in order to reduce the crime rate.
As modern day Christians, we need to ask ourselves the same questions John asked these early Christians (see question above). If we claim to have fellowship with God who is light, how can we have darkness (evil) in our lives? Some of the deeds we do, some of the things we say, some of our attitudes reflect darkness not light.
II. WALK WITH ONE ANOTHER (v. 7).
John was writing to enlightened Christians. His use of the personal pronoun “we” shows that he included himself in their fellowship. All Christians are to have fellowship with one another. It is theoretically possible to have fellowship with God and not with man (John on the Isle of Patmos), but John longed for the day he could fellowship with man again.
ILLUS: One of the astronauts talked of the feelings of being alone while the other men were on the surface of the moon. He said it was the worst feeling he had ever had.
It is inconceivable to N. T. Christianity that Christians could voluntarily live in isolation from one another, but this happens all the time in the modern church.When we fail the test of fellowship, we have caused disruption to the well being of the church. Our forgiveness of sin is conditional upon our fellowship with each other.
III. WALK IN FORGIVENESS (vv. 8-10).
John tells those early Christians that God is a forgiving God. In order to be forgiven by God, the Christian must confess his sins. Before he can confess them, he must first admit them. To refuse to admit them makes God a liar.
ILLUS: “I PLEAD GUILTY!” The great “prince of preachers” Charles Haddon Spurgeon used to tell this story: “A certain duke once boarded a galley ship. As
he passed the crew of slaves, he asked several of them what their offenses were. Almost every man claimed he was innocent. They laid the blame on someone else or accused the judge of yielding to bribery. One young fellow, however, spoke out, ‘Sir, I deserve to be here. I stole some money. No one is at fault but myself. I’m guilty.’ Upon hearing this, the duke seized him by the shoulder and shouted, ‘You
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