This morning we continue our series entitled, “Power of Fellowship.” Yesterday I introduced you to a passage in 1 John 1. Let’s go back to that passage today.
(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? A few things.
1. John received revelation from God, he had decades to process it, and in his old age he wrote down what God gave him to say. Part of that revelation is that, “God is light, and in him there is no darkness.” There is no level of deception in God. God says what He means and He means what He says. If He says something, He will do it. If He promises it, He will make it good (Num 23:19). Paul told us that we should imitate God, because we are His children (Eph 5:1). If we imitate God in this way — being totally honest, transparent and non-deceptive — John tells us that we will walk in the light, as God is in the light, and we can have fellowship one with another. Honesty and transparency are required for good relationships.
2. While Grandpa John (Apostle John in his 90s) is teaching us to be open, honest and transparent, he focuses on something special we are to be transparent about. That something is SIN. John says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us… 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.” In context, John is saying that if we claim to be without sin we are NOT walking in the light. We are walking in deception. We are deceiving ourselves and this lack of clarity, as it relates to our personal flaws, will hinder us from having true fellowship. No one wants to be around someone who claims to be perfect. Everyone knows that person is lying, and even worse, they are lying to themselves. I don’t know if you have ever met someone who truly believes they are perfect, and that they are right about everything. These people have a hard time establishing and maintaining good relationships, because they either come across as insincere or dillustional. Unfortunately, there are many who claim to be Chrsitians who are this way and they go around condemning others to hell, because they don’t measure up to their level of perfection. John tells us that if we walk in the light, and we are honest and transparent about our faults, we can have fellowship.
3. I am sure you have seen people who stand on a street corner with a megaphone yelling and screaming at people as they walk by, telling everything they are going to hell. I believe in evangelism. It is our mandate. Every believer should tell others about Jesus. But yelling at someone, telling them they are going to hell, is not effective, and it looks nothing like Jesus. Jesus would not approach the world that way. John teaches us that the best way to reach someone is for the other person to be able to relate to you. People don’t receive something they cannot relate to. And no one, in their right mind, can relate to someone who claims to be perfect and sinless. If we would simply be honest, open and transparent, we can have fellowship with others, and the love of God can touch their hearts. This is how we reach people. One of the best forms of evangelism is fellowship.
4. When I was in Bible College around 20 years ago, we had to preach in class. We prepared sermons and we had to deliver them in front of our peers. I remember our professor correcting one of my classmates. I won’t mention his name. For the purpose of this lesson let’s call him Jimmy. Dr. Charlie Parmer said, “Jimmy, you cannot be the star of every story. Everytime you tell a story in your sermons, you are the star. If you are playing baseball, in every story you tell, you hit a homerun. If you are playing football in the story, you threw a touchdown. If you come across that way no one will relate to you, because that’s not real life. In real life people deal with failure. If you don’t ever come across as someone who has failed, no one will connect with you or your messages.” I never forgot that. As I connect it to what John said, we have to be transparent. As a preacher, I know people look up to me. People sometimes have a warped view of Pastors. They think we do not make mistakes. This is why we need to be honest with them in our messages. When we are open, honest and transparent, and we talk about our failures, along with our successes, people can relate and we can connect with them in a real way. This is what happens in fellowship. If you would be honest with others and make it clear that you are not perfect, then you can have fellowship. But if you claim to be perfect, you are lying to yourself and lying to others. No one wants to have fellowship with someone who is either flat-out lying or who is deceived. If you want fellowship, be honest. You are not perfect, so stop requiring perfection of others.
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 am not perfect and I do not require perfection of others. You extend me grace. And since I am a recipient of Your grace, I shall be en extender of Your grace as well. I am not Your child because I am perfect. I am Your child because I am forgiven. I will be honest with others about it. This way I can have real fellowship with them, and if they are not believers, I can tell them about Jesus, they can relate to me, and the lost can come to You. You will reach the lost through me, because I refuse to come across as something who is perfect. I will simply come across as someone who has opened their heart to the love of my God, and then offer that love to the world. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!