Summary: To walk in fellowship with God, believers must walk in the light as he is in the light.
In the book of 1 John, John explores two issues pertaining to our relationship with God.
The first is the issue of SONSHIP.
John shares several tests to help one determine if they have truly been born into the family of God.
The second is the issue of FELLOWSHIP.
All Christians have SONSHIP; but not all Christians are in FELLOWSHIP with God. It is the issue of FELLOWSHIP with which John deals here. If a Christian is going to walk with God in such a way so as to be in fellowship with Him, he must "walk in the light." John tells us that the Christian who is in fellowship with God will have:
1. An Open Walk With God - vs. 5-6
John doesn't mince words, as he speaks of those who pretend to be right with God when they are not. John says such Christians are "liars."
Why was John so dogmatic in condemning Christians who pretend to be right with God when they have known sin in their life? Because he knew that when Christians live a lie . . .
A. They Misrepresent The Lord.
Bill Hybels, in his book, Honest To God, tells about an experience he had as a young Christian, while attending a Christian growth conference. He was privileged, or so he thought, to be invited to attend of meeting of the conference leaders.
"Midway through the meeting, a question over a delicate decision led to a debate. Debating descended to arguing and finally to an ugly division. It only took forty-five minutes for these Christians to come nearly to blows.
Before those gathered could resolve the issue, however, the signal came for the next part of the conference schedule - a worship service for all the conferees. We shuffled to an adjoining room. There the committee chairman, who had been as vitriolic as anyone in the previous meeting, grabbed the microphone. Smiling from ear to ear, he said, "Scripture tells us that the mark of a true Christian is love, so let's all join hands and sing, 'They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love.' " That was my initiation into the world of inauthentic Christianity."
If you've been a Christian any length of time, you've probably had a similar experience. Even worse, perhaps, you've been a part of introducing another believer to the world of inauthentic Christianity. The sad fact is that too many Christians would rather pretend that everything's O.K. between themselves and God than to walk in open, honest relationship with Him. Consequently, they misrepresent their Lord and give people a false impression about Christianity.
B. They Misdirect The Lost.
There was a lighthouse on the Florida coast. When one of the glasses of the lantern was broken, they replaced the glass with tin. In that part of the lighthouse there was a dark spot.
A ship came in one night in a storm, seeking harbor. The captain looked for the lighthouse, saw nothing, and crashed on shore because there was a dark spot.
When Christians are content to live with sin in their life, they are a dark spot in the testimony of the church to a lost world. How many people today look at us and only find a dark spot?
Instead of living a lie, let's walk in open relationship with God, for the sake of the lost and for the sake of our Lord! But how do we maintain an open walk with God?
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." - Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
"It is good to pray the following prayer, 'Lord, you are light, Shine into my heart and show me anything which should not be there!" - Bertha Smith, How The Spirit Filled My Life
If we are to walk in fellowship with God, then we must have an open walk with Him, and allow Him to reveal to us any sin in our life, so that, rather than ignoring, justifying, excusing, or covering it up, we might confess and be cleansed of it!
2. An Intimate Walk With God - v. 7a
The life of the Christian who is in right fellowship with God is characterized by intimate communion with God. He gives priority time to both speaking to and hearing from God.
A group of natives was going through the jungle with an explorer. The explorer was quite impatient, constantly hurrying, constantly in a rush, constantly moving. He did not have time to rest. Finally, one morning he got ready to push on through the jungle and the natives just sat there; they would not move an inch. The explorer went up to the head of the natives and said, "What's wrong? Why won't these men move on?" The leader said, "Sir, you have gone so very fast that our men are going to stop for a while today and let their soul catch up with their body."