Summary: In this lesson we learn the right way to view our sins, and what God has done to maintain our fellowship with Him.
A. Good Morning! May God’s blessing and power be with every one of us this morning!
1. Praise Him for all He has done, for all He is doing, and for all He is going to do! Amen!
B. We are just beginning a series on the book of 1 John that I’m calling Walking In The Light.
1. Last week we looked at the first four verses of 1 John which are the prologue.
2. We noticed that John was trying to lay a foundation for the rest of the letter.
3. He declared his Mandate to write - which is the fact that he is a witness. He had heard, seen and touched Jesus.
4. He declared his Message - which is Jesus the Word of Life.
5. And He declared his Motive – that we might have fellowship and joy.
C. In this little letter of John’s he is going to be presenting two primary truths about God.
1. The first is that God is Light.
a. He begins that presentation in chapter 1, verse 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.”
b. John is going to deal with this truth about God beginning in 1:5 all the way through 3:10.
c. Basically, John is going to say “God is light and we should walk accordingly.”
2. The second truth about God that John will present is that God is Love.
a. 1 John 4:8 reads, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
b. This theme actually begins in 3:11 and continues through 5:12.
c. Basically, John is going to say, “God is love and we should walk accordingly.”
3. Think of light as foundation and love as structure.
a. Or see light as a summary for right thinking and love as the summary for right living.
b. And keep in mind always that the two are never separable in John’s understanding of the holy community that is Christ’s church:
c. People who live in the light of God’s message manifest their love for one another in practical ways.
d. Or, to say it in the negative: Anyone who does not exhibit love within the community of faith has not yet seen the light of the gospel.
D. As we study this letter it will become obvious that there are some opponents whom John is combating.
1. Just who were these opponents? It really is hard to say.
2. My personal opinion is that they were a hodgepodge of people and not some officially organized group.
3. These people were so steeped in what was a very common Greek worldview of the time that they recast the original message about Jesus into their own familiar categories.
4. This worldview embraced a sharp distinction between spirit and matter – believing that a true philosopher, the lover of wisdom, would invest himself in intellectual pursuits and care little about the physical things of this world.
5. The one thing these varied philosophies had in common was a sense that God, a pure spirit, indescribable light, and absolute truth, was detached from the physical world.
6. So the very idea of an incarnation of God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth was contemptible to many of these people.
E. For instance, Porphyry (poor-for-ee), a third-century scholar who helped found what we call Neoplatonism, was emphatic about the irrationality of a divine being entering flesh.
1. He wrote, “How can one admit that the divine should become an embryo, that after his birth he is put in swaddling clothes, that he is soiled with blood and bile, and worse things yet?” (Against Christians)
2. The thought of such a thing was absurd, childish, and anti-intellectual. But that is exactly how the story of Jesus begins, is it not?
3. Porphyry’s statement is rooted in ideas already circulating among many of John’s peers.
4. John will call them anti-Christs: “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist!” (2 John 7; cf. 1 John 2:22; 4:1-3).
F. Such a false view of the nature of God has obvious implications for ethics.
1. If God is hostile to matter and detached from physical experience, anything human beings do in their bodily life is ultimately insignificant.
2. There were various schools of thought that would have had no problem whatever with this motto: Pursue God with your mind, and satisfy your passions with your flesh.
3. Irenaeus, a second century church leader, tells us that they declared that a truly spiritual man was quite incapable of ever incurring any pollution, no matter what kind of deeds he did.