Summary: Sermon from the series based on questions asked on various spiritual issues.
Joe was overcome by emotion as he sorted through his father’s belongings. After a long battle with cancer it was hard to believe that his father was gone. Reflecting on the past decade, Joe had plenty of regrets. He had a rebellious streak and lived a very indulgent life. As a result of his sinful life style, Joe’s life was now in shambles. He could not help but to wonder if his outrageous escapades had been too much for his father, hastening his death. However even at the end; Joe’s father reaffirmed his love for him. He seemed thrilled every time Joe walked into the room. Now he would never be able to visit or talk to him again. Joe knew he had turned his back on all the values he had been raised with. Feeling very alone, tears began to stream down Joe’s face. Just before he died, Joe’s father asked him to start attending church again. Joe agreed but wondered if there was any point. He had serious doubts if God would ever forgive all that he had done in his life. If we are really honest with ourselves we would discover that we have probably struggled just like Joe. Are there some sins that are so big and so bad that God will just not forgive them? Are there sins that we commit so often that God comes to the point where He says enough is enough and refuses to forgive them any more? Many a Christian life has been severely impaired by the guilt associated with past sin. The truth is we all need to gain a correct understanding of forgiveness. A faulty understanding of forgiveness can be one of Satan’s most powerful tools in slowing down our spiritual growth. Regardless of how long we have been a Christian we have experienced that nagging doubt in the back of our minds, as we wonder has God really forgiven all my sins? Today, let’s gain some insight about forgiveness from John’s answer to this question.
I. We must always remember the nature of God Himself, and the truth that God is light.
A. The message that John declares to all of us is: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
1. The Greek literally means, “Darkness is not in Him ever.” God is untainted by sin or evil.
2. The concept of light versus darkness in a religious sense is not new to the Christian era. The prophets of old recognized that God is light.
3. The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1—NIV)
4. Light produces growth in crops, enables people to do their work; it reveals beauty and provides safety.
B. God is perfectly holy and true and He alone can guide people out of the darkness of sin.
1. In this sense light relates to the truth because light exposes whatever exists, whether it is good or bad.
2. Light produces life and growth and beauty, but sin is darkness; and darkness and light cannot exist in the same place.
3. If we are walking in the light, the darkness has to go. If we are holding to sin, then the light goes. There is no middle ground, no vague “gray” area, where sin is concerned.
4. Now it follows that in order for a person to be in fellowship with God, there can be no hiding of sin.
5. Light and darkness cannot exist in a person’s life at the same time.
II. We must gain an understanding of the effect sin has upon our lives.
A. Sin destroys our fellowship with God and severs our relationship with Him.
1. As far as John is concerned in this passage, a man is either in the light or in the darkness.
2. If he is in the light, he is a member of God’s family. If he is in the darkness, he does not have anything in common with God because there is no darkness in God at all.
3. Our individual goal needs to be to take on the qualities and characteristics of God, but as long as sin exists this goal is unreachable,
B. Sin often causes individuals to desire to cover it up.
1. We want our Christian friends to think we are “spiritual,” so we lie about our lives and try to make a favorable impression on them.
2. When we work hard to lie to others about the way we live our life, sooner or later it leads to us beginning to lie to ourselves.
3. It is quite possible for a believer to live in sin yet convince himself that everything is fine in his relationship to the Lord.
4. This will more often than not send our life into a downward spiral leading us to the point where we actually try to lie to God.