Summary: It turns out CONFESSION is an important aspect of remaining in the light along with the obvious - Understanding Scripture and following the Holy Spirit.
A man and his wife are awakened at 3 o’clock in the morning by a loud pounding on their door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger in the pouring rain is asking for a push.
“Not a chance” says the husband - “It’s three o’clock in the morning!”
He slams the door and returns to bed.
“Who was it?” asks his wife. “Just a drunken stranger asking for a push” he answers.
“Did you help him?” She asks.
“No, I didn’t-it’s three in the morning and it’s raining out.”
“Well, you’ve got a short memory” says his wife. “Can’t you remember about three months ago when we broke down on vacation and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him.”
The man does as he is told and gets dressed and goes out into the pouring rain and calls out into the dark.
“Hello-are you still there?”
“Yes,” comes the answer.
“Do you still want a push?” calls out the husband.
“Yes, please!” comes the reply from the dark.
“Where are you, I can’t see you?” asks the husband.
“I’m over here……on the swing”
Light can be very helpful at times….
Here in our Scripture this morning John is teaching us about faith. This morning John continues and explains how faith and sin relate to one another. Now John makes some very strong statements about light, darkness, lies and sin in this passage – they kind of sound a bit philosophical, a bit mysterious – what John says may be a bit difficult to piece together at first, but John is actually very practical here – well, let’s see what John has to say to us this morning.
John’s first claim is that the information he is about to tell us, this information we read here this morning, this information is from God, and he is passing on the information to us. (When John says “him” e is referring to Jesus) Remember, we saw last week that John is now the longest surviving disciple, probably about 90 years old or so; He was Jesus’ favorite person here on earth, perhaps you could even say that he was Jesus best friend – if there is anyone who knows about Jesus, especially in how Jesus relates to our faith, if there is anyone who knows about Jesus first hand – John is that man.
So when John claims that this message comes from God – I take him quite seriously, and so should you. What John says here can have a serious impact upon our lives.
John tells us that God is Light. This is a well known way to describe God as was used quite frequently in Judaism and Christianity. The comparison of light and darkness was used by other religions of the day as well. We specifically see this in Iranian Zoroastrianism, but again, it is also very prevalent in Jewish thought and because it is seen in other religions of the day should in no way suggest that John is applying pagan thought here to Christianity – this is Judeo Christian thought through and through.
Two specific convictions became associated with God as light in Jewish and Christian thought: First revelation and salvation:
Psa. 27:1a The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
Psa. 36:9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
The second conviction is holiness and illumination. The description of light provides an example of the flawless perfection of God. The light of God shows His absolute holiness in a sinful world. Here John plays into both meanings, but he leans much heavier on the aspect of illumination. Light providing illumination in dark places is an appropriate way to describe how God reveals himself to human kind. God several times throughout Scripture reveals himself as fire or as a bright light and is said to be clothed in light (psalm 104:2).
John tells us that God is light and then he emphasizes his point by showing the negative form of his emphasis – darkness. This is the strongest way to show a contrast of how pure God is. God is so pure, the only way to sort of describe Him is that He is light – and in contrast there is darkness – the absence of purity – the absence of the holy.
Take a light into deep darkness, like into a deep cave, and there in that dark cave the light appears so much brighter, so much more pure, rather than in a place with any ambient light, like if light is seen in the daylight outside the cave. So this light / dark comparison is showing us first the absolute purity and holiness of God, but also that the light of God illuminates the darkness in our lives.