Summary: the people of God are a forgiven fellowship.
We Are A Forgiven Fellowship: Series: The People Of God – Studies In 1 John
1 John 1:1-2:2 September 18, 2005
What does it mean to be “The People of God”? That question has been nagging me recently, rattling around in my heart and in my mind. What does it mean for you and I to be the People of God – not just individually and as families – but together, corporately, as a church? What should it look like to be “the people of God”, how should we act and react, who are we when we look deep within our community, where are we different from the world around us, and why would anyone outside of us want to become a part of the people of God?
This morning I want to launch our fall sermon series, entitled “The People Of God – Studies In 1 John”. As we walk together through this short book right near the end of the Bible, we are going to discover some of the answers to that question – “what does it mean to be the people of God?”. We are going to be challenged, loved, and inspired by what was likely a sermon by John, the beloved disciple of Jesus who also wrote the Gospel of John.
I wanted to begin by reading the whole book, start to finish, out loud. But although it would only take less than 15 minutes, that is more time than we have together so I ask you to do that on your own this week.
Why 1 John? It is not often that I find something really profound in a “preface”, but I did in preparation for today. In John Stott’s commentary, he says: “John writes as a pastor to his people in language which every modern pastor will understand. He loves them. He is deeply concerned to protect them from the enticements of the world and the errors of false teachers, and to see them established in faith, love, and holiness. So he appeals to what they are and what they know. He warns them, exhorts them, argues with them, instructs them. All this will find an echo in the experience of every pastor who has been entrusted by the Chief Shepherd with the care of a flock.” (Stott, The Letters of John (rev), Tyndale NT Commentary, p. 9). In me, that was more than an “echo” – I thought “yes! absolutely!! that is me!” I love you, I’m concerned for you, that is why I too will warn, exhort, argue, and instruct. So that together we might, in John’s words, “walk in the light.”
So let’s get started! This morning we are going to look at chapter one and the first two verses of chapter 2.
“1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our joy complete.
5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Let me break this up into a really simple outline: vs 1-4 are John’s introduction. vs. 5-10 address three false claims. And 2:1-2 wrap up the discussion about sin and forgiveness.
A Witness, A Proclamation, And A Purpose: John’s Introduction (vs 1-4):