Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene 400 Stillmeadow Lane York, PA 717.764.4888
God's Big Idea
Session #2 - Walking In The Light
Sunday September 26th
I John 1:1-2:17
Eugene Peterson writes: (p.1686 of The Message)
“The two most difficult things to get straight in life are love and God. More often than not, the mess people make of their lives can be traced to failure or stupidity or meanness in one or both of these areas.
The basic and biblical Christian conviction is that these two subjects are intricately related. If we want to deal with God the right way, we have to learn to love the right way. If we want to love the right way, we have to deal with God the right way. God and love can’t be separated.
John’s three letters provide wonderfully explicit direction in how this works. Jesus, the Messiah, is the focus: Jesus provides the full and true understanding of God; Jesus shows us the mature working out of love. In Jesus, God and love are linked accurately, intricately, and indissolubly.
But there are always people around who don’t want to be pinned down to the God Jesus reveals, to the love Jesus reveals. They want to make up their own idea of God, make up their own style of love. John was pastor to a church (or churches) disrupted by some of these people. In his letters we see him reestablishing the original and organic unity of God and love that comes to focus and becomes available to us in Jesus Christ.”
As a part of this series of sermons: God’s Big Idea: Love God . . . love others, I’ll be coming to first John . . . a lot. Why? Because that is what I John is about. What does it mean to love God? Why is loving others important? How are love and God and others connected?
So let’s begin . . . at the beginning – (that’s a very fine place to start.)
I John 1:1-2:17 (READ)
There’s so much here. But we will focus on God’s Big Idea here: love God, love others. John refers to this as walking in the light. And here’s how he describes it.
I. Walking in the Light Has Moral Implications.
1. You can’t say: Hey, I love God . . . I’m walking in the light as he is in the light, and continue to live in your old sinful ways.
2. John uses the strongest language available to him to make this point. “If you say you have fellowship with Him and you continue to walk in darkness, you are a liar, the truth is not in you. (I John 1:6)
3. To say you have fellowship with God . . . that you love God with all your heart . . . that you are walking in the light . . . and to continue in sin . . . to break the 10 commandments . . . to ignore the sermon on the mount. . . to continue to practice immorality . . . well, to use John’s words . . . you are deceiving yourselves . . . our enemy is deceiving you . . . false teachers and deceiving you.
4. If you truly love God, you will keep His commands. If you ignore His commands, John writes how can you stand there and say: I love you?
5. Here is a very important verse: I John 1:7 – If we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” Does that sound like once saved always saved to you?
6. Look at what John is saying here. “You cannot walk in darkness and light at the same time. This truth is self-evident. If we walk in the light we cease to walk in darkness. To continue to walk in darkness means the blood of Jesus Christ no longer is cleansing you! That requires confession and repentance if you want to be covered and cleansed by the atoning blood of the Lamb!
II. Walking In The Light Has Relational Implications
1. If you have fellowship with God you will have fellowship (community . . . relational connections) with others.
2. Have you ever run across someone who has said: I love God its people I can’t stand? Oh I love the church . . . I just can’t stand people.
3. I love Peterson’s translation of I John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience – shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin”.
1. Story – fireplace – move one coal away from the others. Goes out.
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