Summary: Let us give courage to each other to walk in the Light of Christ as we live our daily lives!
My dear friends in Jesus, the Light of the world,
Can you imagine what it must have been like those first few moments after the creation of this world? Moses tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…” There were no stars in the sky, no sun to rise, no light of any kind. Complete and utter darkness was over everything. If you have ever been in a cave where no light penetrated, and all the lights were turned off, you can sense what this world was like without light. Without light it would be impossible to see anything.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Light from the sun, light reflected off the moon, light that filled the starry sky. In the light everything could be seen and enjoyed. What a blessing the gift of light is, a blessing we so often take for granted.
Yet in the midst of this beautiful world that could be seen for the great work of God that it is, human beings brought darkness. No, not physical darkness, rather they brought spiritual darkness into this world. “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples…” One of the blessings that God removes from those in hell is light, as Peter describes hell as “blackest darkness” (2 Peter 2:17).
“But the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” (Isaiah 60:2 NIV). That’s why God sent another light into this world, One who would break the gloomy darkness of sin with his glorious light. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV) Jesus came to rescue all people from the darkness of sin by enduring the darkness of hell in their place.
It is in this glorious Light that John invites God’s children to live:
LIVE IN THE LIGHT
1. Walk as Jesus did
2. Love your brother
John wrote this letter at a time when the Christian church was under attack by people called Gnostics. As the Christian faith grew, so did opposition to the Christian faith. The Gnostics, who opposed the Christian faith, taught the following:
• There was no incarnation or virgin birth, no atoning death or bodily resurrection
• The heavenly Christ and earthly Jesus were two separate things.
• All matter was evil and only mind and spirit were pure; thus since human bodies are basically evil anyway and just temporary tents for the soul, it didn’t matter how you live.
• The “spiritually advanced” Gnostic leaders were no longer sinful.
• The Bible was an insufficient source of information.
• The apostles had no special authority for telling people how to think and live. (“James, Peter, John, Jude”, p. 205, Mark Jeske)
We can see how dangerous these teachings are, teachings which are still warring against the Christian church today. There are those who teach that God wasn’t born on this earth, that he didn’t suffer and die, when the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, who suffered and died in our place. There are those who teach that we can live any way that we want, as long as we don’t hurt another. They forget that God says, “The soul that sins is the one that will die.” There are those who teach that the Bible is an antiquated book and now that we know more than then, the Bible really isn’t needed in this information age. There are those who teach that it is possible to no longer sin, when the Bible teaches us that we are sinful from our conception to our death. There are those who teach that we don’t need to follow God’s Word anymore, while the Bible teaches us what God’s eternal will is for our lives.
To this John writes: “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” The idea that some “greater joy” awaits us if we live contrary to God’s Word is the same ruse that the old serpent used on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. When God shines the light of his Word into our hearts and our lives, we can easily see that we are not living as he wants us to live. For all those sins, Jesus came into this world to suffer and die. Just before the words of our text, John says, “if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 NIV). Jesus Christ sacrificed himself on the cross in our place to bridge the gap between us and God. It is through Jesus, the Righteous One, that you and I are declared holy and just in God’s sight. Jesus is the Light that drives the darkness from our hearts.