Summary: Christians are to reflect the nature of their Heavenly Father through a morally pure lifestyle.
Title: Light Reflections
Text: I John 1:1-2:2
Truth: Christians are to reflect the nature of their Heavenly Father through a morally pure lifestyle.
Aim: To lead them to commit to a morally pure lifestyle.
Labor Day our whole family went to the zoo and the Omniplex. One of the fun experiments at the Omniplex involves mirrors. As you walk through a maze it multiplies your reflection and confuses you as to which person is the real one. Bradley had gone ahead of me and I called out, “Bradley, which one are you?” He raised his hand and said, “This one, papa.” Of course, all the Bradley’s raised their hand and spoke to me.
I like those fun house mirrors where one mirror makes you shorter and squattier and some make you long and lean. A house of mirrors works on the simple assumption that being surrounded by mirrors is a disorienting experience. You find it difficult to tell which images are reflections and which are actual people.
Suppose those mirrors were dirty and smudged. It would be easier to detect who is the person and who is the reflection. Could it be that the reason why it is difficult at times to distinguish who is a Christian is not because peoples lives are so good and clean, but because Christian’s lives are so dirty and smudged? Could it be that the lifestyle of the typical Christian confuses people about what God is really like?
Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore we are to reflect the nature of God. The way we do this is through a morally pure lifestyle.
I John addresses some problems Christians were facing at the end of the first century. There are strong internal evidences in this letter that it was written by the disciple of Jesus known as John. Some church members had pulled out of the churches in Asia Minor and set up a rival “Christian” church. They claimed to have the only true doctrine and fellowship.
It appears that their beliefs were the beginnings of a philosophy known as Gnosticism. Gnosticism is alive and well in our day. You hear its fundamental beliefs in the teachings of Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and very liberal theologians in some of the seminaries of our land. Basically, Gnostics believed that spirit is good but material is bad. God is spirit, and therefore, good. Since Jesus had a body He could not be fully God.
This belief led some to suggest that Jesus really didn’t become a man. He only seemed to be a man, to have a body (Docetism). They denied the incarnation of Jesus.
Another group accepted that Jesus was real but He was not divine. Divinity descended on Jesus at his baptism and left just before His crucifixion (Cerinthianism).
The Gospel of John emphasizes that the human Jesus is divine, I John emphasizes the divine Jesus is human.
The two false beliefs led to a couple of extreme unbiblical lifestyles. Some abandoned themselves to immorality. They believed it didn’t matter what they did with their body; it’s evil to begin with, according to this false doctrine. Others became very strict and denied their body is normal and good needs. It was all very confusing. Is God like the one taught by the Gnostics or is He like the one taught by the Christians? John begins his letter by telling the Christians they are to accurately reflect the true God by morally pure lifestyles.
John makes very clear the purpose for his writing this letter. He mentions four purposes. The first is in 1:4. Read. John wants Christian’s to be filled with joy. This joy depends on the Christian’s fellowship with God and fellow believers.
The second purpose explains how to increase a Christian’s joy. In 2:1 John teaches us that we increase our joy by decreasing our sin. John wants to move us from where we are to where we ought to be as accurate reflections of a holy God.
The third purpose was to promote doctorinal accuracy. Read 2:26. We will never know the joy of the Lord and the cleansing of sin from our life if we are confused about the truth of Jesus Christ.
The fourth purpose was to give assurance to disturbed believers. Read 5:13. When a believer is sure about Jesus then he knows his sins are forgiven and this fills him with joy.
I John is written for the Christian that wants more joy in their life. It is written for the Christian that is struggling with sin and guilt. I John is written for the Christian that is questioning some of his basic beliefs about Jesus. All of this is to produce a more confident Christian.
A Christian’s moral, pure lifestyle that accurately reflects God is based on Jesus.