Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness (1 John 1:5-2:2)

God is light; in him here is no darkness at all.

As a sports game official, I often experience the harsh unbiased truth of my ability to call a game while “coming into the light” of the video camera.  I have an idea of how well I perform based on my own observations and receiving feedback from other officials, coaches, and even fans. However, there is something about seeing oneself on tape that overcomes my ability to see myself in my own favored light.  The camera doesn’t lie, and I am forced to acknowledge the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The same thing happens when we come to God.  God is light, and when we have truly been in his presence, we have seen the truth about ourselves.  Coming to God means seeing him as he is, and reckoning ourselves with who we really are.

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

Only a Christian can commit this sin.  Being in fellowship with God is the act of discovery of our flaws, frailties, and weaknesses.  There can be no other result of being in God’s presence.  More than once I have put on a clean “zebra” shirt only to take it off and throw it away because next to my partner’s new shirt, my white stripes appeared slightly grey.  Without anything to compare it to, I fooled myself into thinking that my shirt wasn’t grey and black instead of white and black.

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, purifies us from all sin.

Not only can I see that I am not pure when I am in God’s presence, but I can also see that no one else is either.  The act of coming to God with others is the act of taking the planks out of our own eyes.  It is liberating to not have to worry about others seeing my flaws, because those I am around have also exposed themselves to the light.  Together, we can acknowledge our flaws and help each other overcome them.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The point is, God wants us in his light.  He wants us to see our flaws, frailties, and failures in the light of his love.  He wants us to have the opportunity to become increasingly holy.  Therefore, he forgives us and invites us into fellowship with Him. 

Discovering one’s own flaws can be humiliating.  Especially if one has been deceiving themselves for a long time.  That may be why some Christians claim to have not sinned.  Or, that some claim to be satisfied with their own holiness.  I suspect they are the same people who have developed an intolerance to the opinions, policies, and choices others make.

But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

Here’s the comforting thing about coming to God.  First, he has promised to forgive us of our sins.  Second, Jesus speaks on our behalf before the Father.  And finally, any punishment for our sins has already been paid by the same person who speaks on our behalf.  Therefore, there need not be any fear in coming to God.  He wants you to know him.  He wants you in his presence.  Through the discipline of coming to terms with and correction of our faults, frailties, and failures we grow in fellowship with him.

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More defining/dividing statements

Whoever

Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. (1 Ti 3:1)

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. (1J 2:4)

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1J 2:6)

But whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1J 2:17)

Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. (1J 2:22)

Whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1J 2:23)

Whoever knows God listens to us.  (1J 4:6)

Whoever is not from God does not listen to us. (1J 4:6)

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1J 4:8)

Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  (1J 4:16)

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. (1J 4:20)

For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1J 4:20)

Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony.  (1J 5:10)

Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.  (1J 5:10)

Whoever has the Son has life; (1J 5:12)

Whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1J 5:12)

Whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.  (2J 9)

 

No One…

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. (1J 3:6)

No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.  (1J 3:6)

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.  (1J 3:9)

 

All who…

All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.  (1J 3:3)

 

Everyone…

Everyone who sins breaks the law;  (1J 3:4)

Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  (1J 4:7)

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,  (1J 5:1)

Everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. (1J 5:1)

Everyone born of God overcomes the world. (1J 5:4)

 

The one…

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, beause the devil has been sinning rom the beginning.  (1J 3:8)

The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them.  (1J3:24)

The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  (1J 4:18)

 

Every

Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.  (1J 4:2)

But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  (1J 4:3)

 

 

God is…

“God is…” From this years material.

God is light. (1J 1:5)

God is greater than our hearts. (1J 3:20)

God is love. (1 J 4:8)

God is our witness. (1 TH 2:5)

God is just. (2 TH 1:6)

Anyone from John’s Epistles

Anybody, Anyone from the Epistles of John

But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (2:1)

But if anyone obeys his word, love God is truly made complete in them. (2:5)

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness (2:9)

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. (2:10)

But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness.  They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. (2:11)

If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. (2:15)

Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child,  (3:10)

Nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. (3:10)

Anyone who does not love remains in death. (3:14)

Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (3:15)

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (3:17)

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. (4:15)

Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (4:21)

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. (5:18)

Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; (2J 9)

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. (2J 10)

Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work. (2J 11)

Anyone who does what is good is from God. (3J 11)

Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. (3J 11)

 

“If” Statements from the Epistles Written by John

If Statements from 1, 2, and 3 John

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. (1:6)

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, purifies us from all sin. (1:7)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1:8)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1:9)

If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. (1:10)

…But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (2:1)

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. (2:3)

But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. (2:5)

If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  (2:15)

For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; (2:19)

If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. (2:24)

If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. (2:29)

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (3:17)

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (3:20)

If our hearts do no condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. (3:21-22)

If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (4:12)

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. (4:15)

If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (5:14)

And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of him (5:15)

If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. (5:16)

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. (2 John 10)

 

Saved in Order to Do Good (Titus 3:1-14)

Consider the following list of sermon topics: 

  1. Congress:  Why Should Honor Your Congressmen and Obey Their Laws.
  2. The Importance of Obeying Those Who are in Charge.
  3. How to Recognize When Something Needs to be Done, and Why You Should Do It.
  4. How to be Delivered from Gossip.
  5. Calm Down, You’re Actions are Louder than your Witness!
  6. Why You Should Give Up Your Right to Your Opinion of Others
  7. You Have the Right, rather, the Responsibility to Remain Silent, and Listen.

Like it or not, these are the kinds of messages that Paul tells Titus need to be preached in the church.  Remember, earlier in the book Paul says that our good behavior and righteous lifestyle attracts those who are trapped in sin to the message of the gospel.  Just to illustrate why this is important, Paul reminds us of who we used to be, and he makes a list: 

                We were…

                                Foolish, disobedient, deceived..

                                                Enslaved (addicted) by all kinds of passions and pleasures…

                                                                We lived in malice and envy…

                Being hated, and hating one another.

Don’t forget where you came from.  Don’t forget why you are not there anymore, either.

You are changed because the love of God through Jesus Christ appeared to you and saved you from yourself.  You are changed because God loved you too much to leave you the way you were.  You are changed because the Holy Spirit made you aware of your need for God to change you.  You are changed because God forgave you and gave your life a new start.

He changed you because He wanted you to become the heir to the hope of eternal life.  That means you get to live in hope, and you have the opportunity to show your gratitude by drawing others to that hope.

And you do it by devoting yourself to doing what is good, both for yourself and for others.

Paul stressed that we are responsible for doing good, not believing, preaching, or opining about what is good.  Hence, he tells us to avoid useless arguments and quarrels about the law and to avoid people who would draw us into those arguments.

Paul sums up the letter he has written, and the reasons for writing it with these words:

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not to live unproductive lives.

Doing Good for the Sake of the Gospel (Titus 2)

 

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine

Paul instructs Titus to teach “what is appropriate to sound doctrine.”  It seems like a fairly straightforward command.  It isn’t an easy assignment, though.  In giving these instructions, Paul tells us the mission and purpose for believers and for the church.

Question:  What is sound doctrine?

Answer:  A doctrine is an underlying philosophy that guides decision making.  Soundness refers to the truth and reliability of that doctrine.   In Junior Bible Quiz, you are taught that doctrine is teachings from the Bible.  That is, we learn what the Bible teaches and use it to guide us in making good decisions.

So, how does Paul define sound doctrine that is to be taught?  Paul breaks it down into what needs to be taught to specific groups based on social status.

Older men:  temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and in endurance.

Younger men:  self-control

Older women:  reverence, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine, teachers of what is good.

Younger women:  love husbands and children, self-control, pure, busy at home, kind, subject to husbands.

In other words, Titus’ “job” was to teach people to behave well, be self-controlled, and to be responsible for themselves while doing good for others.

Titus’ job might not seem so glamorous or even interesting in light of the fact that popular preaching today focuses on prosperity, receiving God’s blessings, and experiencing the presence of God.  However, Paul was telling Titus what he needed to do in order to draw people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Sound doctrine gives hope for salvation for all people.

  1. Hope for freedom from sin.  Sound doctrine leads people to be able to say no to the things that trap us in addictions, compulsions, self-defeating attitudes and thought patterns, depression, disorders, and the like.  Sound doctrine, once taught and believed, frees people from sin.
  2. Hope for the future.  Jesus Christ is coming for all those who have been set, or rather, are being set free from sin.

Sound doctrine accomplishes Jesus’ purpose for his sacrifice.

  1. His purpose was to redeem us from wickedness.
  2. His purpose was to purify us into a people that are his very own.  He wants a church who are brought together by their devotion to living redeemed and purifying lives.

Sounds simple, right?  As we will find out later, teaching sound doctrine makes many enemies.  However, a people who have followed the principles of sound doctrine free themselves from wickedness and set the example that gives hope to those trapped in sin.