This morning we continue our series entitled, “Power of Fellowship.” Today I feel led to go to something the Apostle John wrote in his latter years. When he was about 90 years old, after having meditating on God’s love for decades, He wrote the following.
(1 John 1:5-10 Easy To Read Version)
5 We heard the true teaching from God. Now we tell it to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness.
6 So if we say that we share in life with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars, who don’t follow the truth.
7 We should live in the light, where God is. If we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, washes away every sin and makes us clean.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we are saying that God is a liar and that we don’t accept his true teaching.
So what does this mean to you today? There is a lot in this passage. I will take my time over the next few days discussing it. For today, here are a few high-level thoughts for your consideration.
1. The Apostle John is considered “The Apostle of Love”. He even called himself, “The one Jesus loved.” Unlike many of the other Apostles, who died seemingly premature deaths, John was exiled to the island of Patmos and he lived to a ripe old age. After meditating on God’s love for decades, John wrote three letters that are full of revelation. He also wrote the last book of the Bible, as a Revelation of Jesus the Christ. In his letters John revealed to us that God IS two things. God is LIGHT and God is LOVE. He can DO lots of things, because He is God. But these are two things God literally IS. God is light and in Him there is no darkness. God is love and in Him there is no selfishness. Notice that I used selfishness as the opposite of love, instead of hate. There are things God hates. You can hate without sinning, because you can hate the things satan does. But you cannot be selfish without sinning. The love of God will always cause you to focus on others. God IS love. God IS light. If God is IN you, then you must walk in LOVE and LIGHT. If you do, you will be able to have meaningful fellowship with others.
2. The LIGHT John talks about in 1 John 1 is all about transparency. Basically, the Apostle John is telling us that if we are open and transparent, especially about our flaws, we will be able to have meaningful fellowship with other people. But if we lie and deceive ourselves into thinking that we are sinless and flawless, we won’t be able to have true fellowship, because no one is perfect and people are put-off by those who claim perfection when they are clearly flawed.
3. The Bible tells us that if we claim to be without sin, we are clearly lying and the truth is not in us. But if we walk in the light, and in the transparency the Holy Spirit will lead us to walk in, we will be able to have meaningful fellowship with other people. Because honesty is a foundational requirement of good relationships.
4. The reason why many people today reject the church is not because of Jesus. God is love. They are rejecting the church because of people who put up the wrong image. They claim to be perfect and they look down on those who are not. This is one of the dangers of religion. Religious people turn others off, because they are always focused on performance. They claim their performance is good and anyone who does not measure up to their performance is going to hell. Listen, people are going to hell, but it has nothing to do with their performance. If a person goes to hell, it is because they failed to open their hearts to the love of God and they failed to receive Jesus as Lord. Those of us who are going to heaven are NOT going to heaven because of our performance. If it were based on our performance, we would all go to hell. If we go to heaven it is not because of anything we did, or anything we failed to do. It is only because of what Jesus did for us. So stop looking down on others. The Gospel is not, “We are RIGHT and you are WRONG!” No. The Gospel is, “We are ALL WRONG outside of Jesus. But when we accept Jesus as Lord, He makes us RIGHT in Him!” Please stop running people away from Jesus with hypocrisy. You will never reach someone you cannot relate to, and no one will ever relate to you if you claim to be perfect. None of us are perfect. But if we are transparent about our flaws and our sin, people will relate and we can have fellowship!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I walk in the light as You are in the light. I am open and honest with myself, with You and with others. Living this way I can have fellowship. I do not look down on anyone. I am not better than my brother or sister. I am not perfect. Thankfully, Jesus was perfect for me. I am not righteous in and of myself. Thankfully, Jesus was righteous for me and His righteousness was imputed to me when I accepted Him as my Lord. I reach out to others and I share Your love with them in a way they can receive, because I refuse to put up a false image. Others can relate to me because I am no better than anyone else. I am a child of the Most High God who is forgiven, called and destined. I can do all things, but it is only because You give me the grace to do so. So I have nothing to boast about. If I boast, my boast is IN YOU! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!