6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Those in true fellowship with the god of light are those who walk the talk.

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Unless indicated otherwise scripture is quoted from the New Living Translation of the Bible.

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Have you ever taken a personality test?

These are instruments designed to give you an indication of how you are wired as a person.

A few years ago I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – which was a very enlightening experience.

I found out that I am an ENFJ.

The E in ENFJ tells me that I’m extraverted – but only slightly so.

The N says that I tend to perceive life intuitively – seeing possibilities, relationships, and the meanings of experiences rather than the immediate, real, and practical facts.

F says that I tend to make decisions on a feeling level instead of a thinking level.

I "subjectively and personally weigh values of choices and how they matter to others."

The J in my ENFJ says I live by judgment – (not judgmental but judgment) that is, in a "decisive, planned and orderly way."

I prefer planned events over spontaneous -- not that I dislike spontaneous. It’s just that I tend to enjoy a well planned party slightly more than a spontaneous get-together.

Now, I know that most of this psycho-babble is pretty meaningless to most of you – unless of course, you’ve done the Myers-Briggs type indicator. And if you ever get a chance to do that, it’s well worth it. You can actually do a mini test just to introduce the ideas at


I bring the whole thing up because taking this test was a helpful experience. It gave me a point of reference for looking at my life.

And this is exactly what St. John is doing in 1 John 2:3-11 – laying out a bit of an instrument to give us a point of reference for our lives – albeit on a significantly different level.

That is, John is giving us a test to help us see where we stand in relationship to God – who we are, what we’re like.

Myers-Briggs tells us about personality type. John tells us about fellowship type. Perhaps we could call this section John’s Fellowship Type Indicator.

You recall from our study these past few weeks that 1 John is a New Testament book that’s about fellowship – the glue that bonds us with God -- the God of light. And we need to relate to him as light, says John.

Well, how do we know if we’re doing that? How do we know if we’re relating to God as we should?

Good questions!

"Well, let me give you a little test here", says the apostle. "This is a test that will help you better understand where you stand with the God of light."

Now, I know that over the years people have come up with a lot of tests for knowing if you’re relating to God in the right way.

The false teachers that John is opposing – they were advocating an esoteric experience of religious enlightenment test. That was their litmus test.

If you’ve been enlightened in the right way, they were saying, it doesn’t matter what you do with your life or how you live. You could be Osama bin Laden or Adolf Hitler – and it wouldn’t matter because what you do

is irrelevant to true life.

What really matters is that you’ve had this enlightening religious experience. That experience was the test – the indicator for them.

These days there are many tests floating around.

One test that was pretty popular 50 years ago says that you know you’re in good with God if you don’t play cards, smoke, chew, or go with girls who do.

Another version of the test says that you know you’re in good with God if you vote for the PC candidate. If you’re in an oldline church the PC candidate is usually a democrat tottering on the edge of socialism.

But if you’re in an evangelical church the PC candidate is most likely a Republican with at least some resemblance to Rush Limbaugh.

Another indicator of modern spirituality is the Sincerity Test. (And this is a best-seller in our culture). What you believe or don’t believe doesn’t really matter.

The only thing that matters and truly indicates that you understand God is that you are sincere and accepting of everyone else who is sincere. Unless they sincerely don’t accept you.

There are lots of God tests floating around -- some of which are rooted in an element of truth. Others are just bogus to the core.

So John says, "I want to clear this up once and for all. Here are the things that really count when it comes to being in fellowship with God."

And John lays out three key indicators. We’re only going to touch on two this morning. The third one comes later on but here in 1 John 2:3-11 he spells out two tests by which you can know that you are in the light and in fellowship with God.

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