Summary: People should not be judged by their outward appearances. It is our approaches to sin and truth that make a difference in how we impact others. John teaches us some things in this
Our approach to Sin
1 John 1: 5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 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.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
I just returned from a three day youth camp at Yelagiri. This was a hectic schedule, with day long sessions, lovely worship sessions, skits, choreography, activities, alter calls, counseling etc etc. The camp was filled with almost three hundred young people, who were eager to get involved, participate ask questions, clarify their doubts, learn new things..
When I first walked into the camp, for a moment I was stumped. As I watched the young crowd mulling around, I thought I might have been in the wrong place first. I thought these things happened only in west. I thought the “Christian” camps in India had people who met with my understanding of modesty. What I saw was a crowd of youngsters who were like any other crowd of youngsters. Some had weird hairdos, many boys had long hair and pony tails, many girls had very short hairs, a lot of boys were in their shorts, many of the boys wore bangles, and heavy metal chains, some of them ( I mean boys) had their ears pierced and were wearing big ear studs, I even saw a couple of them who had pierced their eye brows and were wearing ornaments in them… My mind was ticking away.. wondering, questioning, doubting, disapproving… till the Lord spoke to me and stopped me… The Lord asked me , hey… What makes these people, come here, and go through this difficult three days when they could have been enjoying the vacation in the cool comforts of their homes, most of them obviously were from well to do families, and later on I came to know that some of them were from non believing families and were there against the wishes of their families. The Lord made me think, and I think the Lord for stopping my chain of thoughts which were based on outward appearances and not based on who they were.
The Lord reminded me of 1 Samuel 16:7. “Do not consider his appearance or his height, .. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
So the question came up in my mind, what should we be looking for in Christians? It is OK for the Lord to say He looks in to the heart. He has vision that can see the matters of the heart. But how about us? How do we know if we are not going by outward appearances? How can we give out ward signs of our true selves? So that others do not need to go by our outward appearance?
Let us turn to the 1st epistle of John, Chapter 1, verses 5-10. This short passage describes four approaches to Sin by Christians, or four types of Christians for that matter. Let us take a look at the types
1. Liars who do not live by the truth. Vs 6.
2. Deceivers who hide the truth Vs 8
3. Blasphemers who distort the truth Vs 10
4. Confessors who celebrate the truth Vs 9
Let us look at these types a little bit more in detail and see if we fit into any of these categories, or how to identity the people who are like these.
1. Liars who do not live by the truth Vs 1: 6, and 2:4: Many of us claim to know the truth. How many of us really live by the truth? It is easy to claim knowledge, but very difficult to live it, isn’t it.? The truth is that God is light, and in light there is no darkness at all. Can we claim to have fellowship with him, and yet walk in the darkness? We need not feel embarrassed, the bible tells us stories of great people who did this.. Look at Saul, the first King that God anointed over Israel, conceding the persistent demand of the people for a ruler. He know the Lord, he know the truth, yet, he did not live by it. He know that obedience was more important than sacrifice, yet, when the Lord asked him to destroy all of an enemy possessions, he kept back one bleating goat, to sacrifice.