1 John: What I do, what I say…matters!-08/16/20

Message Title: ‘What I do, what I say… matters!’ Text: 1 John 1:5-10

Introduction: Pastor Ken Ritz tells the following story: When John Quincy Adams was president of the U.S. he stood before Congress and held up two bushel baskets, one from New York and one from S. Carolina. He said, “The problem is, one of these baskets holds 68 cubic inches more than the other.”

Then he held up two one pound weights, one from Maine and one from Massachusetts. He said, “The problem is, one weighs one ounce more than the other.” He said, “Gentlemen, we need a standard.”

As a result, the House Weights and Measurement Committee was formed.

It’s because Pres. Adams knew that the U.S. needed permanent, absolute standards that could be relied upon.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. We need a standard, and that standard is Jesus Christ. When you look at Jesus you can hear God saying,

  • This is what I had in mind when I made you. I want you to be like Jesus.

Friends, in Romans 8:29 God said For those whom He (God) foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Jesus)

Since God wants us to be like Jesus, then what we do, what we say, how we choose to live… matters.

But that’s not how it is, is it? We often hear,

  • How I live my life and the things I do and say are nobody’s business but mine as long as I don’t hurt anyone else.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Now, we expect to hear that in the world, from those who reject Jesus, but the truth is, even though the Christian may not actually say this, it’s often revealed in how they choose to live.

  • Specifically, this has to do with sin.

We’ll find in our text today that yes, Christians still sin, still choose to sin. We continue to do and say, to live in such a way, that’s inconsistent with our faith in Jesus and with God’s Word, the Bible.

Transition: Open your Bibles to 1 John 1:5.

1. 1 John 1:5 God is light

This is the message we have heard from Him (Jesus) and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

The Apostle John started this letter saying that a principle truth of Christianity is that we can have fellowship (we can belong to) God and each other.

But… this fellowship is not being buds, or BFF’s with the ‘big guy in the sky.’ It’s making conscious choices to live in the light of God’s Word and by Jesus’ example found in the Bible.

  • And to do that, John knows we need to understand who God is.

That’s why John qualifies what he said in verse 3 about fellowship with God, with a statement about God’s nature. He declared that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

First, note that this was not something John and the other apostles made up. It was something Jesus taught them.

  • This is the message we have heard from Him (Jesus)

Second, why begin with God’s character? Because if we’re to be like Jesus, who is God, then we need to be like Him, if we hope to have fellowship with Him and with each other.

So what does John mean when he declares that God is light? Light is used many ways in the Bible in relation to God. Here are just a few of its meanings:

Light represents holiness.

Look some would say the most important thing

about God is His love for us. I’m not comfortable prioritizing God’s attributes. Here’s why.

  • W/O understanding God’s holiness, we’ll never truly understand the need for Jesus to die on the cross for our sin.
  • And that true because in verses 5-10, John doesn’t discuss God’s love for us, but the great importance of recognizing and confessing our sin against a holy God.

Light reveals sin

  • You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. (Psalm 90:8)

Light speaks of guidance

  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Light represents truth

Jesus in John 17:17 speaking to God the Father said:

  • Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

Light represents splendor and glory.

There is nothing so beautiful as a sun rise. There is nothing so wonderful as a burst of light piercing the darkness. There is nothing so marvelous as walking in the light of God.

  • But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

The apostle writes that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. I’ll look at darkness in the next verse, but let me say here that light and darkness are mutually exclusive. Darkness never overtakes light. John said that in his Gospel:

  • The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

And listen this is important.

  • Just as light has power to continually dispel darkness, Christ, our Light, has the power to save and reconcile us to God.
  • And even though we will continue to sin, that sin will never overcome us, will never separate us from the saving light of God.

2. 1 John 1:6  If we say…

If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

John is writing to Christians who say they have fellowship with God, but in fact, are choosing to walk, to live in darkness.

  • They believe they can live however they want and still maintain fellowship with God.

John very boldly and unapologetically says…

  • No, you can’t. You’re living a lie.

So, now’s the time to discuss darkness. Darkness is sin.

  • It’s knowing the right thing to do and not doing it.
  • It knowing the wrong thing to do and doing it.
  • It’s disobedience to God, to His Word and His will.

Back in verse 5 John said that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. John was saying that God never sins,

  • He never does the wrong thing. That God always does what’s right.

And John is saying in verse 6 that if we walk in darkness, if we habitually sin, our fellowship with God and with each other is broken.

  • So… this is serious stuff.

And Christians know this, so we’ve become very creative in how we deal with sin. You see, we want  to give the impression to others and perhaps to ourselves, that we’re still fellowshipping with God and other Christians. That we’re OK with God!

To do that we often make excuses for our sin by trying to show it was a necessary evil, but still necessary so God will overlook this one.

  • You don’t understand, the government doesn’t need the money as much as my family does, so yes, I fudge my taxes a bit but God understands. You get the idea.

ILL: Corrie ten Boom spoke to this when she said:  The blood of Jesus never cleansed an excuse. (Brian Bell)

Another way we deal with sin is by not calling sin, sin. Boy do we see that running rampant in America today.

  • It’s when people who break in to stores and take what’s not theirs. They don’t call it stealing, or theft, they call it people getting what they deserve, they call it pay back for past injustices.
  • People call law enforcement evil, bad, rather than recognize the common good of protecting our individual freedoms by upholding the rule of law.

The prophet Isaiah spoke to this very issue. And he did it as a warning from God:

  • Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness… (Isaiah 5:20a)

And when it comes to walking in darkness, Christians aren’t much better.

  • I’ve seen professing Christians one day they’ll post something on facebook or Instagram about how they’re saved by the grace of God and that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.
  • The next day they post something that has foul language, inappropriate sexuality or is just purposefully mean.

The Bible clearly says: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

There is the idea that we can worship God on Sunday and live however we want the rest of the week. Well, it’s a lie. And when we continue to walk in the darkness, life gets even worse for us.

  • They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. (Ephesians 4:18–19)

Come on, Pb, Paul was talking to unbelievers. Oh, I’m sorry I left out verse 20:

  • But that is not the way you learned Christ!—

Look, it does matter what we do and what we say. Walking in darkness, will take us out of fellowship with God and with others.

  • We’ll lose His guidance, fail to recognize His truth, develop a hardened heart to His revelation of our sin, will no longer bask in the wonder, splendor and glory of His presence.
  • And… it will ruin your testimony for Christ.

People will see it and won’t want anything to do with the church, with Christianity or with Jesus. 

3. 1 John 1:7 If we walk…

But if we walk in the light, as He (God) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

BUT.. Oh I am so thankful for all the buts in Scripture. It denotes a contrast. In this case, it’s between the Christian who walks in darkness and the Christian who walks in the light.

  • But… here’s the thing.
  • Even though John is giving a contrast, there is one commonality… sin.

Everyone sins.

  • The unsaved and the saved.
  • The Christian who walks faithfully with God and the Christian who doesn’t.

But… here’s the difference.

  • The Christian who chooses, who strives to walk in the light of God’s truth, guidance, revelation of sin and the beauty of His presence,
  • When they sin, it’ll be cleansed, forgiven by the blood, Jesus shed on the cross of Calvary.
  • They’ll maintain their fellowship with God and with each other.

Here’s the great news… the Greek words and grammar tell us that

  • As we continually walk in the light of God
  • The shed blood of Jesus, continually cleanses us from our sin
  • And we maintain our fellowship with God and with each other.

It’s an ongoing process of walking of living, of choosing to do and say the right thing, the godly thing… because it matters.

One last thing before I move on… do you know what it means that the blood of Jesus His Son, cleanses us from all sin? Just one great and wonderful truth:

  • We live w/o carrying the burden of guilt around with us.
  • When we choose to walk in the light of God, our sin is cleansed, there is no stain, no guilt. It’s all gone, removed by the blood of Jesus.

Christians who choose to walk in darkness, when they’re in a quiet place, know they’re bearing a burden of guilt that grows each day they stay in the darkness.

  • That’s not the life of joy that Jesus wants for those who are His.

4. 1 John 1:8 If we say…

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

There are not many Christians today who would openly say that.

  • In Johns day there was a group that said what they did, what they said wasn’t sin because it’s not the body that’s saved, but the spirit. So they can do what they want, as long as they believe in Jesus.

John’s response to them and their belief…

  • You lie, you’re only deceiving yourselves. What you’re saying is not the truth.

Today, this might be seen by being defensive when we’re caught in sin. We try to justify our sinful actions or what we said that was sinful, by placing the blame on others or on the environment or society in general.

Look, are there times when we’re provoked by others or by a specific situation to sin? Absolutely! BUT, that doesn’t make us any less responsible for then choosing that sinful act or word.

5. 1 John 1:9 If we confess… If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

The best news in the world for the Christian is the fact that there’s a place we can deal with our sin. A place where our guilt can be replaced with peace.

  • When you sin against God (and by the way, all sin is against God)
  • When you sin against God… confess it and it will be forgiven.

First, confession is not just agreeing with God that you’ve sinned. It’s not just admitting it.

There is more to confession than just admitting it. But, it is a start.

Second, the Greek tense for confess is a present continuous… That means it’s an ongoing act…

  • Whenever we sin, we confess it to God.

Third, Confession is looking at sin, and thinking about sin, the same way God does.

  • It’s not someone else’s fault. No one made you sin, you choose to sin.
  • Sin is not just an unfortunate event or act. It’s willful rebellion against God and His Word.
  • God hates sin, so sin shouldn’t be our hidden friend.
  • Sin is serious, it sent Jesus to His death on the cross.

Fourth, confession always includes repentance.

ILL: Someone once said ‘Confession w/o repentance is boasting.

To repent means to be sorry for your sin. But it’s more than just feeling sorry,

  • It’s the action of turning your back on that sin, of choosing not to sin like that again.
  • It’s getting off the wide road of disobedience to God and getting back on the narrow road of obedience to God.

John says If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

When we confess our sin, God is faithful. That means God can be trusted to do what He has promised. And in this case, He has promised to forgive our sin.

  • Christian, what sin is holding you down?
  • What sin is adding to the burden of guilt you’re carrying?
  • What sin is keeping you up at night?
  • What sin are you unable to break away from?

Listen, when you confess and repent of your sin to God, He can be trusted to forgive you, because He is righteous, it’s who He is, it’s what He does.

  • God promises to forgive you and God keeps His promises.

No matter how often you come to Him, He will forgive you.

  • Yes, my friends, what we do and what we say … matters.

6. 1 John 1:10 If we say…

If we say we have not sinned, we make Him (God)  a liar, and His word is not in us.

ILL: Pastor Jack Arnold tells the story of a time when D.L. Moody had someone came up to him and told him that he had reached the place where he no longer sinned.  Mr. Moody, in his practical way, said, “Well, I’d like to ask your wife about that!”

Everyone sins, by choice and by omission.

  • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
  • Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12) Now ladies, that does not mean that only men sin…OK?

This is very serious. To deny that you’ve sinned means that you’re calling God a liar, since He has said many times in the Bible, that we all sin.

  • If you do that, perhaps you’re not the Christian you think you are.

What we do, what we say… matters.

Conclusion: Christian, are you walking in the light of God? Are you continually confessing and repenting of your sin against God? I hope you all are. But I believe that might not be true.

Some of you listing to me today are choosing to walk in the darkness of the world.

  • What you do and say doesn’t always match up to what you claim to believe.
  • Are you making excuses for your sin and not taking responsibility for it?
  • Are you finding it just too easy to stay in sin?
  • Does the thought of sin excite or repulse you?
  • Are you controlled by your desires for the world or by your desires for God?

Then listen to what the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:14-16

  • Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Wake up Christians… If you’ve been walking in the darkness, wake up.

  • Open up the curtains and let the light of God shine in your heart and to over your life.
  • Pay attention not only what’s going on around you but to what’s going on in you.
  • Start to live wisely by choosing each morning to walk in the light of God and His Word.
  • Choose each day not to sin, but when you do, confess and repent immediately.

And choose to believe and live as if what you do and what you say… matters!