1 John 1:5-10 "Walking the Talk"

Gospel Resilience  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Cave tour. Pitched black. You can’t see anything. There is no ambient light, no sources of light. You can’t see a thing. When we don’t have light, when there is utter darkness, we get disoriented. If you have ever seen instruments on an airplane these become particularly handy when we can’t really on our senses. When it is either too dark or cloudy and the pilot loses their orientation. They don’t know which was is up Or down.

God is Light and there is no darkness at all.

This is what Jesus proclaimed in his ministry. God is light.
Notice it does not say God is a light. He is not one light amongst other lights. He is not a greater light amongst a lot of lesser lights. God is light.
Light in an absolute sense. The sun could be brighter, the sun has spots, eclipses, clouds block the light, the earth rotation, etc.
Light is used in Scripture to distinguish morality. Light being good, darkness being evil.
This is the sense that we get from this passage here. That God being light means that he is pure goodness. There is nothing in God that is not good. He is the perfection of goodness.
There is no character flaws is God, he is pure light.
We also see in Scriputre that light is also used to describe truth, and darkness is error. So God is the source of all truth
So we can say that God has no moral defects and he knows all truth.
This alone is good news. God Is not capricious, he does not change his mind. He doesn’t reconsider his decisions. James 1:17-18 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
God is pure light. There is no yin and yang, there is no mixture in God, where he has a whole lot of good, but some not so good. He is pure goodness.
Is that difficult for you to accept or conceive of? It is for me. Especially when life does not go the way I want it to go. When I experience hardship or pain, whether it happens to me personally, or to those I care about, it can be a challenge to trust God.
Or maybe you have thought or heard challenges to the Christian faith with something like this:
“In his book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis puts the claim this way:
If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore, God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.”
“That premise works only if something else is true, namely, that God has no good reason for allowing evil. But what if God does have a good reason for allowing evil? If he does, then premise 1 simply doesn’t work. If God does have a good reason, then he would not want to prevent evil in every circumstance.”
Take children for example…vaccines…just kidding. Let’s say your child needed life saving medical treatment, but there was going to be some level of pain necessary. Would you say…well I want my child to never experience pain so we won’t pursue any type of treatment. You can be a good parent and allow your children to experience pain at the same time.
Now we don’t know all the reasons why God allows suffering and hardship, but if we believe God is light, that he is utterly and completely good, and there is no darkness, no evil, no malice. That he is for your good and his glory, we can go through difficult things and know that is with with us and for us!
This is John’s grand statement about who God is. His theology is that God is light, he is pure, holy. Is that how you see God? OR do you see him with suspsicion. Do you see him as shifty?
I encourage you to take this confession seriously, and see God’s goodness as who he is.
But God being pure light means we have issues. How do we have fellowship with pure light?
Through Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,”
Here is the at home COVID test that helps indicate whether you are united with Christ.

1. Your walk matches your talk

Walking in darkness is a pattern of unrepentant habitual sin
John is likely dealing with Gnostism. And how that relates to sin, and really a license to sin, is that they believed that there was a radical distinction between the body and their Spirit.
Illustration - protective clothing that prevents what’s on the the outside from harming the person. They believed that the body was so distinct from their spirit that they could do whatever they wanted and not have it affect their soul.
Yes, I can have sex with anyone I want, thats a body thing.
I can eat, drink, and be merry. That’s a body thing.
1st We are not discussing sinless perfectionism.
Romans 7 shows us that even the great apostle Paul struggled with sin.
And in just a few verses John will say that if there is no sin, there are lies
There is no Change. There is no fruit. The life you are living is the same life-style that you had before then you’re all talk and no walk.
but pastor, what about God’s grace. And God is love.
Yes…but Ephesians 2:8-10
When a person has truly converted. They believe the gospel, they believe they are sinners desperately in need of God’s grace, you desire for darkness disappates. You don’t want to all in darkness anymore
This is one of the fruits that go along with repentance, its not just words, but words followed by actions. Restitution…Zacheus
The result is that we lie. Your walk and your talk don’t line up. You are deceiving others and maybe worse, you are deceiving yourself which has eternal consequences.
Illustration: - Derailed train trying to move forward on sand. You can crank the engine up to full speed, but it is not going to go anywhere. All talk, no walk.
What’s the antidote. Walk in the light.
That means in communion with one another. Unlike those who seceded from the fellowship and were still trying to influence.
Not this note of confidence.
We have cleansing
From all our sins
not just some of them. The sins that no one knows about, that if anyone were to find out you would be ashamed. The blood covers that one. The ones that we think aren’t that bad.

Talk that accepts our present reality

I have no sin. So these false teachers are stating that they no longer struggle with sin. Remember what we talked about earlier, that Paul , the great apostle, Scripture writer, and misisonary to the world still struggled with sin.
The disciple and later commission apostle Peter still struggled with sin. He broke table fellowship with the Gentiles (non-Jews) because he was fearful of man rather than fearful of God.
What is sin?
A. WSC 14 Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.
Ommission - not doing what is required - want means ”lack”. Here is an example of what that looks like. The good samaritan.
Commission - David and Bathsheba - that was an volitional act.
Notice what it does not say in the confession. It does not say, just the really bad sins make you a sinner. Murder, adultery, stealing. And there is no category for ignorance either. Ignorance does not negate the gospel. Jesus‘ death is for the ignorant sinner as well as the intentional sinner.
So if sin covers any of the good I should do and I neglect it, or preventing evil deeds from being committed, then I am a sinner. And we haven’t even talked about the sins of speech or sins of the heart. The things I think about, but never do. The bent desires that I have and I never act upon them.
Even those fallen desires that we have, those fleeting thoughts that we have and think, oh man that was twisted, where did that come from. Those too if they are in violation of God’s command are sinful.
You see, sin is something that whether we want to admit it or not, is something we are infected with.
But that does not mean we should continue to walk in darkness. You see the gospel does promise power to overcome and defeat sin.. It means that believers have experienced an actual, decisive break with the power of sin through their participation in Christ’s death, and have experienced an actual, decisive newness of life through their participation in his resurrection. We are “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
It does promise that sin no longer has a grip on you. But it does not promise that you will defeat sin utterly and completely in this life. Perfectionism in this life is is not possible. But we can truly have progress over sin.
We also need to be open with fellow believers about our struggle with sin
with your elders. With people that are discipling you.
Entrust yourself to your elders
Don’t deny your sin to the people in your life.
Your spouse
your children
the people you are sharing the gospel with.
How do we not deny our sin, we must confess it to the Lord
Allow the pattern in the worship service guide your confession in your personal life.
If the Lord convicts you of sin, don’t try to justify it, explain it away or minimize it. Confess it to the Lord for what it is and ask for his mercy.
Take some time each day and reflect on your day, I struggle with this, and I confess that I have need to practice what I preach.
I think the second half of this verse really challenges us with, how big is your gospel? In other words does God’s faithfulness really and truly cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
However much or little we believe this, it impacts our confessoin
Have you ever watched a news conference after a scandal is uncovered. If we have a little gospel, we have little confessions. We have press conference confessions. Politicians, celebrities, athletes, excutives offer some half-hearted apology.
It usually begins with a statement like “I’m sorry if my actions may have offended you” Or It was not my intent to hurt somebody.
Can you imagine if a thief stole something from you whether a precious heirloom or something your family enjoyed and was costly and just wrote a little note saying, I’m really sorry this theft may have offended you.
If we truly believe that God is good, gracious, faithful to cleanse us then lets tell God who we are. Who we really are. How we have offended his holy laws? That we have coveted, that we have forsaken God with our thoughts words, and deeds. That our struggle with pornography is not faithful expression of human sexuality in the covenant context of marriage, but a sin against God. That our anger toward our spouses or children are not righteous anger, but sinful anger. That we steal time from our company‘s when they pay us to work and we are not working. That we steal from our family when we forsake them for work. That we bare false witness when we lie about what other people said or did, or impugn motives on them. That when we share information about someone that harms their character behind their back we are gossiping. Are we willing to give the God who is already all knowing, a full confession, as best as we are able. Maybe this why it says here we deceive ourselves. God knows everything, he knows our sin. He knows when we are lying to him. He knows when we are trying to justify ourselves before Him.
So trust what he is says here. That when we confess our sins, he will forgive us. We will cleanse us. Why because those filthy deeds are cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. That is a big gospel. He will cleanse you from all sin. So don’t be shy, don’t be afraid, relish the freedom you have in Christ to confess your sin fullness and live in the confidence and assurance found in God’s amazing grace.
Now this does not mean that we should continue to walk in sin or that God’s grace gives us license to continue to sin. That would be walking in darkness. Walking in light, walking the talk means we acknoweldge God’s grace, our sinfulness, and our endeavor to live in his light through Spirit fueled faithful obedience.

Talk that acknowledges our past reality

If denying our present sins makes us a liar, John makes the point that if we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar.
We make God a liar if we deny the reality of sin, but how? Here is what God’s Word says about the Human heart
Gen 8:21 “And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.”
Ecc 7:20 “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”
JEREMIAH 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Romans 3:9-10 “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”
But we also make God a liar because the mission of his Son his an act of love, would be unloving.
John 3:16 ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
If we say we have no sin, it means that we are already in right relationship with God, so there is no need for His Son to be sent. He would be lying to us!
Or it means that God is capricious and not good. If we are sinless, and God is angry with us then he has no reason to be angry except that he is fickle.
This also means that his truth is not in us. We don’t understand reality. We don’t understand who God is and who we are. If we don’t ever acknowledge our sinfulness, we deny God’s goodness, and the truth about ourselves.
Here is the calculus, if you say you have no sin = God is a liar + we don’t have the gospel
Could you imagine going to a doctor and he telling you that you are desperately sick. They have looked at your charts, they have looked at your blood work, they know exactly what the problem is, they know exactly how to cure it. Apply this medial regiment and you will Live and you say. You know what, I feel fine. I don’t think there is anything wrong. In fact I have never been sick, how dare you accuse me of being ill and stop trying to sell me some medications I don’t need. Oh but you are sick, and you do need these medications. And I won’t charge you anything, the pharmaceutical company is very generous (lol) and they have covered the cost. But doctor, I am not sick, you are lying to me. But look at your charts, look at your blood work, look at your MRI, all of this points to you being Gravely ill. No I think I’m just sleep deprived.
This is what happens when we deny our desperate illness, the grave illness of sin. We make God a liar. Ephesians 2:1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins” But God is not a liar, and his word declares that we are sinners, but in Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 1 John 1:7 “But 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 cleanses us from all sin.” So we don’t need to try to justify ourselves, we don’t need to alter the story of our lives and pretend like we were always a faithful follower of Christ. Admit that you were a massive sinner. Don’t use the press conference confession, I’ve made mistakes in my life, I’ve done things I’m not proud of. No! Admit that you sinned against God, and then point people to the grace that you have received. People, believers and unbelievers need to hear that God forgives sinners like you and me. We aren’t mistake makers, we don’t just have little accidents.
Sin is not a little kid spilling the milk as they try to come to the dinner table. Sin is taking the glass of milk and throwing down on the ground and saying look mom, dad, what are you going to do it about. And its only in the gospel, that Jesus Christ 1 Timothy 1:15 “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
IF you deny sin, you deny the gospel and you are still walking in darkness.
How do we walk this out? How do we walk in the light
Depend on the blood of Jesus to continue to cleanse us. This is does not mean that he is sacfrificed over for us. Jesus sat down after he made purification for sins. His death was a one time act. But the effects, the application of it continues. And every time we sin, which as we talked about, we continue to do is a reminder of our need for God‘s grace. Don’t sin gleefully, don’t sin inentionally, but when you do sin, remember that Jesus paid for it. He paid the Price. Remember the grace and mercy found in the gospel. This is why in your liturgy we don’t just confess sins and leave it there. We have an assurance…a surety, a guarantee that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us. Because of of his Son. He is the reason we can have certainty.
And this leads to second, walk in the light through Confession. Allow the light of God’s Word and the illumination of the Holy Spirit convict you of sin. And don’t wait. Don’t justify. Don’t blame shift. Confess it to our gracious father, openly and honestly. Tell him what you said, what you did, what you thought. Tell him you need his abundant mercy and grace. Trust in his faithfulness and justice. That you have nothing to fear because your sin has already been taken care of through Jesus Christ.
There are some here who may be still walking in darkness. Maybe you have been coming to church for awhile, and you think because of that you have your life together. You don’t need the gospel. There is nothing you need to repent of. That is darkness. Walk in the light. See your desperate need of Jesus’ cleansing and receive it. Turn to him and confess him as Lord and Christ.
For others, continue your walk in the light by confess your sins and receive his cleansing.
Will you walk in the light? Will you depend solely on the work of Jesus? Will you live in light of his work through repentant confession?
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