Summary: Exposition of 1 John 1:5-10
Text: 1 John 1:5-10, Title: Can You See Where You Are Going? Date/Place: The Road, 5/16/16, AM
A. Opening illustration: Never know how much you miss things until they are gone. Talk about interior dome lights. There’s an old story of a man who was walking at night, and saw another man searching for something near a lamp post. Approaching, he asked the man what he was looking for, and the man, without looking up, replied, “My watch”. The first man asked, “Well, precisely where were you standing when you dropped it?” Continuing his search, the man pointed a finger in the distance and said, “Over there somewhere.” Incredulous, the first man said, “Well then sir, why are you looking for it here?” Finally looking up in frustration and meeting the first man’s gaze, the searcher replied testily, “Because sir, the light is better here!”
B. Background to passage: The heretics have left the building to go and spread their dark, deadly teachings amongst the churches and believers of Asia minor. The Apostle John is protecting his children and the churches that he feels a sense of responsibility toward from false teaching, false assurance, and a false mentality about Christ and his church. As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the main two heresies he is dealing with are about the nature of Christ, specifically his eternality and incarnation. He takes up the practical side of heresy in general, and this one in particular—it’s affect upon your life. He gives some helpful and discerning ways of self-examination (as he does in the entire book), as well as a warning to those who may be walking in the light (in Christ) for protection. This theme comes up over and over in 1 John.
C. Main thought: Two ways to tell if you are in Christ.
A. What’s Your Practice (v. 6-7)
1. John begins with an underlying principle for the whole paragraph—the nature of God (fitting because of the heretical nature of Christ teaching of the dissidents). God is complete purity and holiness. In fact, John notes the same truth in the opposite; no darkness at all. Although as I said before this is not a full treatment of a theological topic, but of the practical nature of our lives that flows from that truth. So, John uses if…then statements to help us. He gives us more insight to those who left, indicating their stance is that they can live in “darkness” and have a right relationship with God (idea of koininea from above and below is the link). To that, he says that we are lying and not practicing the truth. The lie is that you cannot have fellowship with the Father and live in/walk in/perpetuate in a sinful life. The truth is this: the gospel application to our lives is transformation. Those who are born again have their desires changed from the inside out. The key to this whole text is living their lives different from their confession. If we walk in the light…fellowship with one another because Christ has forgiven sin, and we join in fellowship with each other because of that truth. And remember we are mainly focusing on behavior at this point—horizontal. Those who left had left their brethren, again the warning, not under the blood…John 3:20:21
2. Illustration: “Satan is called the prince of darkness is sufficiently evident. When, therefore, God on the other hand is called the Father of light, and also light, we first understand that there is nothing in him but what is bright, pure, and unalloyed; and, secondly, that he makes all things so manifest by his brightness, that he suffers nothing vicious or perverted, no spots or filth, no hypocrisy or fraud, to lie hid…God is such a light, that no darkness belongs to him. It hence follows, that he hates an evil conscience, pollution, and wickedness, and everything that pertains to darkness…-Calvin, Hypocrisy can be illusrated by the way we clean house when company is coming - We shove our junk in the closet, stuff it under the bed, etc. where it can’t be seen. Out of sight it doesn’t exist at least to our guests. That is not a horrible way to clean house, but it is terrible way to deal with the spiritual junk in our lives. If you believe Mark 16:18, you’ll take up a serpent like I did this week! Robert Courtney below.
3. Hypocrisy is one of the main reasons given for unchurched people to stay away. Why? Because it’s true on two fronts. First, in many cases it’s true. Many professing believers, church goers, leaders speak one way, and live another. Clean the outside up for Sundays, and live the rest of life dirty. Secondly, people don’t want to be around inauthentic people. They are liars. Here’s the truth: if you are living in continual hypocrisy, your profession needs to be examined? Has your life (all of it) been transformed? This is not to claim perfection can be achieved, but Jesus said to aim for it in Matt 5:48. We are told to be obedient to the gospel. Jesus said to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to observe, or do, all the things that I taught you. You and I cannot divorce the way we live day in and day out from the truth that good trees bear good fruit, and the gospel takes bad trees and makes them good. Christ turns goats into sheep. God makes sons out of rebels. Does your life bear a witness? With consistency, do you love your neighbor? Do you lust after women or men? Do you worship God in Spirit and Truth? Do you die to self? Do you worry? Do you look down upon the unholy? Do you always pray and not lose heart? Do you get angry? Do you rejoice in suffering? Do you give sacrificially? Are you merciful? Do you love your enemies and pray for them? Are you on a gospel-oriented, national and global evangelistic advance? How?