Summary: A Real Deal Christian stops hiding behind reationalizations and blame, is honest before God about their sin and embraces God’s forgiveness.
ÓOctober 29, 2006 Rev. Bruce Goettsche THE REAL DEAL: A Study in 1 John
We are on a mission in our study of 1 John. We are in pursuit of authentic discipleship. Our goal is to become “real deal” followers of Christ. In a world of pretenders, we want to be genuine.
In our first two studies we have seen two characteristics of a real deal Christian: 1) such a person is convinced of the truthfulness of the Gospel 2) this person understands that any true Christian life must start with God who is Light and in whom there is not darkness at all.
This morning we are going to discover another trait of real deal followers. We will see that a true follower is one that sees his or her own failures clearly. There are at least four things we can learn from verses 6-10.
Christian Belief Has a Practical Impact (6-7)
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 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.
John speaks to us in a very direct manner. He tells us that a person who is a true believer will show that fact by the way they live their lives. The unchanged Christian is a contradiction in terms. We cannot walk in the darkness and have fellowship with the One who is Light.
If someone tells us that they love us, we expect to see evidence of that fact in the way they treat us. We don’t expect a person who loves us to abuse us, lie to us, betray us, speak ill of us before others, or be unfaithful to us. When we see these kinds of behavior we are justified in questioning the genuineness of their love. On the other hand, a person who is kind, giving, sacrificial and attentive give evidence that their love is genuine.
Likewise, a person who claims to be a follower of Christ, yet lives like the Devil, give evidence that their profession is not true. We are saved by God’s grace apart from our works BUT true faith leads to Christ-like works.
Walking in the Light Makes us Aware of Our Sin (8)
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)
John says a true believer has come to grips with his or her own sinful heart. The true believer does not see sin as “the other guy’s problem”. They understand that under the right circumstance they themselves are capable of the most despicable evil. The true believer sees the sinfulness of their own nature.
Having said this, we must admit that we live in a society that rebels against taking responsibility. I love Anna Russell’s “Psychiatric Folk Song”
I went to my psychiatrist to be psychoanalyzed
To find out why I killed the cat and blackened my husband’s eyes
He laid me on a downy couch to see what He could find,
And here’s what he dredged up, from my subconscious mind.
When I was one, my mummy hid my dolly in a trunk
And so it follows, naturally, that I am always drunk.
When I was two, I saw my father kiss the maid one day,
And that is why I suffer from kleptomania
At three I had a feeling of ambivalence towards my brothers
And so it follows naturally, I poisoned all my lovers
But I am happy now I have learned the lessons this has taught
Everything I do that’s wrong, is someone else’s fault.
It happens all the time.
· Overweight people blame the fast food restaurants
· Kids who shoot their classmates blame the bullies of their class
· Criminals blame their parents
· Cancer patients blame cigarette manufacturers
We blame doctors, teachers, employers, and the government. We even blame God! We blame him for our personality types and for the circumstances we have encountered. Terrorists justify their barbaric actions by saying they are only doing the will of God!
Think about it this way. Every year children done costumes and masks for Halloween. They pretend to be superheros, cartoon characters, pirates, princesses, athletes and even produce (pumpkins!). It’s fun to pretend. But it is dangerous when someone begins to believe that they are what they are pretending to be. The child who really thinks they are superman and jumps off their roof is going to get hurt.
Many people live their lives wearing a mask. They pretend to be something they are not. They pretend to have it all together. They pretend to have no problems or no struggles. They are wearing a mask, playing a part, but they think it is real.