Summary: 1 John 1:5-10. Having fellowship with the Father means we walk in the light as he is in the light.
1 JOHN | FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND MEN
FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD: UNDERSTANDING HIS HOLINESS & OUR SINFULNESS
- There is something about famous people that causes us to act differently when we are around them than we normally act. Have you ever met someone who is famous, or extremely wealthy, or powerful? Do you remember that feeling? Odds are you felt differently than normal. Occasionally someone is so down to earth that your comfort level remains at equilibrium; but most of the time your pulse races and your excitement level rises.
- When we meet someone of great fame, fortune, or power there is almost an unwritten rule of conduct; and the rule varies depending upon the situation. I can remember when I was on vacation in my home state of Indiana last year and had the opportunity to attend a very small event where President Obama was speaking. My friend Rudy was doing Internet for the event and so we were able to get “backstage” passes. Before we were allowed to enter the building, we had to empty our pockets and set down whatever we had on us on the ground while the Secret Service checked us for any potential threats. Once we were inside, there were certain areas that were off limits to absolutely everyone, no matter what pass you had.
- Of course, this is standard protocol wherever the President of the United States speaks. Why? Well, obviously, because he is a very important, very powerful person who is protected at all times. Now I'm positive that you were not required to empty your pockets and spread out for a metal detector test when you entered the church building this morning. Why not? Because I'm not the President or anybody remotely close to as important (worldly speaking) as the President. The rules for conduct change when certain people are involved.
- When President Obama was done with his speech, he walked around the barrier between him and the audience and shook hands with some of the people. How did those who were fortunate enough to shake hands with the President act? Did they give him a fist bump and say, “What's up Prez? Glad you could come to Indiana, dawg!”? No. They most likely said something like, “Hello, Mr. President.” or “Nice to meet you, Mr. President.” Why did they address him that way? Because of who he is. Certain interactions and relationships require certain attitudes and conduct.
- This is true on an infinitely higher level when it comes to fellowship with God. We relate to God in a certain way; and if we claim to have a relationship with him, we act a certain way. When you meet the President of the United States, you act a certain way for as long as you are around him. When you encounter the King of the universe, you act a certain way if you truly have fellowship with him.
- That is what our passage is about today – it is the first of many sections in this letter that deals with how a person in fellowship with the Father through faith in Christ the Son and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit lives his or her life. The two key components that this section of verses contains are God's holiness and our sinfulness. So that is what we will attempt to get a grasp on and understand during our time together. Let's see what the Apostle John has to say to us:
[READ 1 JOHN 1:5-10]
- Now I have divided this section into the subtitle Fellowship with God, but in actuality there are aspects of interpersonal relationships here too. So there is overlap between the two aspects of fellowship; and this will be the case throughout the letter. So, just because we have titled one section as Fellowship with God for organizational purposes, doesn't mean the subject matter has nothing to do with Fellowship with Men, and vice versa. But this passage is primarily dealing with how a person relates to God. What does it say?
- Well the first thing we need to take away from this passage is this:
[UNDERSTAND THE MAGNITUDE OF HAVING FELLOWSHIP WITH THE GOD OF LIGHT]
- We began our look at this epistle last time by defining the true Jesus, the God Man of history. We laid him down as the foundation for our fellowship with God the Father and one another. Now, we begin to unpack some of the specifics of fellowship. And it starts with v.5 when John writes: This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
- There are several things that I want to draw out of that statement. First, let's examine how John describes the God he just wrote about having fellowship with. This is the message he heard from Jesus, the word of life: God is light and in him is no darkness at all. This is one of two declarative statements that John uses in this letter to describe God's essential nature. They are “is” statements; statements that define God's unchangeable characteristics. God is light. Later on the in the letter John will write “God is love”. In his gospel, he writes “God is spirit”. It is similar to you saying “Pastor Matt is half Mexican.” Being half Mexican is an unchangeable part of who I am.