John again reminds us that he himself knew Jesus and saw Him personally and now he passionately wants to share with his readers the Truth about who Jesus is and what His relationship is with God and all He taught His disciples when He was alive on earth.
1 John 1:5-6
God is light. Light stands for holiness righteousness, truth, purity and reliability. Darkness stands for sin and evil. Light and darkness cannot co-exist. When God’s Son Jesus Christ came into the world, He was The Light shining in the darkness. (John 1:5-9; John 3:19; John 8:12; John 12:46).
We are so used to everyone we know having flaws we find it hard to see God as totally pure in every way. He has no history that He needs to hide. God is Light so we can rely on His Word, His actions and His promises. As we walk in the Light of Jesus we see ourselves as we really are and He enables us to walk His way, always shining Light on our journey and making sure we do not fall blindly into darkness or sin of any kind. Those who walk in darkness – in sin – can have no fellowship with God. When we are in sin if we say, ‘We have fellowship with God’ we are lying. We are not living by the Truth. ‘Light has come into the world but men loved darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil’ John 3:19.
We do not want any of our deeds which are done for wrong motives to be exposed so we hide ourselves, just like in the Garden of Eden after the fall, Genesis 3:10. It is nonsense for a person to claim to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, yet willingly behave in a way that is dishonouring to God. John says there is a contradiction in the life of a person who claims to be in close relationship with God but who is living a willfully sinful life. God cannot exist with evil and sin so He cannot be in communion with a person who is choosing a sinful life. He is not talking about a person who is struggling with a known sin and knows they desperately need God’s help.
John is thinking about those who are living a life of deceit, who are claiming to be holy and yet living a life of ungodliness. These words are a reminder that it is not adequate just to go to Church and sing along all the amazing words from the worship songs, give testimony of tremendous spiritual experiences from God, but at the same time being unkind behind closed doors, dishonest at work, and have immoral behaviour. ‘But whoever lives by the Truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God’ John 3:21.
The Truth is not just something one speaks; truth is something one does or lives. We must live by the Truth. We must worship God in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23) Truth is a way of life. Jesus said: ‘I am the way the truth and the life’ (John 14:6). God so wants us to ‘walk the walk’ not just ‘talk the talk’. As we walk in the Light that God is shining on areas of our lives, it is clear He wants us to deal with what He wants to change in us. As Christians we need to be people of integrity whose lives can be totally transparent to anyone. We should have no hidden areas or hidden agendas in our behaviour or speech. Our responses inside and outside Church should be totally in line with the Word of God.
How does God shine His Light?
- His Word Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23-25
- Life of Christ John 12:35-36
- Leading of the Holy Spirit John 14:26
- Prayer Matthew 6:6
- Voice of the Shepherd John 10:3-5
- Other Believers Psalm 141:5
- Gifts of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 1 Corinthians 12:27-31.
What dims the Light in us?
- Fear of men Proverbs 29:25 (eg: Pilate)
- Rebellion and willful sin Jude 19
- Hardening our heart, especially unforgiveness Hebrews 3:7-11
- Closing our ears Romans 11:8-10
- Repeated disobedience eg: Jacob in Genesis 26-37
1 John 1:7
As Christians we are to be Christ’s Light bearers, pointing people to Jesus and letting His light shine through us to everyone around, Matthew 5:15. John gives a fantastic description of the exciting, victorious Christian life in 1 John 1:7 saying as we walk in the Light just as Jesus is in the Light we can have total unbroken fellowship with all other believers who are walking in the same way. The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses and removes us from all sin and guilt (keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations).
The Blood of Jesus is the only opportunity for washing away of all our sin, by the spotless Lamb of God who shed His blood for all the sins of the whole world. He did not die for His own sins as He had none but He died so we did not have to die. That is a picture of the amazing life our wonderful Father has given us if only we would appropriate all that Jesus paid for, eternal Life, health in our body, wholeness in our emotions, and soundness in our minds. Just as Christ rose from the grave we too can rise to a whole new life. We cannot understand this with our finite minds so we need to accept this by faith that is trusting in, clinging to and relying on His promises. Know these great and precious promises are true and establish them as concrete as His Word in our hearts!
To have fellowship with one another means to love one another (1 John 4:7-11). In order to be able to have valuable, meaningful, eternal fellowship with one another we need to be in the Light. If we are living in the darkness of sin, we cannot ‘see’ our sisters in the light of the Truth and so cannot have quality fellowship that will be fruitful for eternity. We must first be in fellowship with God by walking in His Light checking out in our quiet time how He sees us. We must be perfect as He is perfect. What an awesome thought, yet He would not ask us to do this without making it possible as Matthew 5:48 AMP says. “You therefore must be perfect (growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity) as your Heavenly Father is perfect”.
This lifestyle can only come from walking in the Spirit and so not fulfilling the lust of the flesh, (Galatians 5:16-18) it does not come from just hard effort. We choose to die to self, surrender every area of our lives and walk in the power of His Spirit and His Name. Shed the Light of God’s Word on your relationships, and get a revelation of the fact that we are all part of one another. We are part of one Body and one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:26) so we need to wake up to the danger of strife and start walking in God’s love for each other. We have not taken note of the Word of God where our relationships are concerned and have been very critical of each other and so limited God’s force in our lives and in our prayers, 1 Peter 3:7. Strife has a very profound effect in the spiritual realm, (James 3:16) and really opens the door to the devil and keeps our angels from fulfilling their job, Hebrews 1:13 (Colossians 1:16; Matthew 18:10; Revelation 14:6-12; Acts 12:5-11; Psalm 91:11-13).
1 John 1:8-10
It is wonderful to know we have been set free from the law of sin and death, Galatians 3:12-14. We never again have to be a slave to sin. A Christian’s old sinful nature occasionally causes her to stumble and fall. However we should not remain fallen, we are no longer in bondage to sin. Christ is our master not Satan. Paul says ‘… we should no longer be slaves to sin, Romans 6:6. Again he says…. Count yourselves dead to sin, Romans 6:11. Sin has no power over Christians who are walking in the Light, but we must never deceive ourselves saying we are without sin, that is a lie. But new temptations which become new sins keep springing up in our lives, so we must keep asking to be forgiven and receive cleansing for them, sooner rather than later. Only when we are with Christ in heaven will we be completely sinless. It is amazing that despite these wonderful truths we still miss the mark.
It is so clear in this passage and repeated in 1 John 2 that all we have to do is so simple. 1 John 1:9 is such an important verse as we all need to be ‘purified from all unrighteousness’ and as Jesus paid the price for all men everywhere to receive forgiveness we need to accept it and not allow His death to be in vain. We run to the Father and confess our sin, which is agreeing with Him and speaking it out. It has to be confession with repentance which means turning completely in the opposite direction and hating the sin. It should be specific sins not just sin in general. We must resist the temptation of letting fear and guilt drive us further from our Father God. Don’t let Satan talk us into sinning in one area of our life just because we missed it in another. When we get off track with God be quick to confess and be filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing and keep on going. God knew about the sin long before you ever confessed it. We run to God see His arms open wide to receive us and embrace us, showing us His totally forgiving agape love, Luke 15:20.
Receive His Forgiveness. Receive His cleansing, with no guilt, otherwise that is saying that the Cross was not enough for our sin and that would slap Jesus in the face.
03. Walking in the Light – 1 John 1:5-10 Challenge Questions
Read the notes ‘Walking in the Light’ 1 John 1:5-6.
1. What was exciting for you in this section of the notes?
Read the notes 1 John 1:7
2. What spoke to you in this section?
3. How do you understand what ‘valuable, meaningful, eternal, fellowship’ is in reality?
4. What changes could we suggest in love for our Church to be able to have this God kind of fellowship
5. Is there any area of your life where you have a problem with strife and what do you feel God is saying is the answer? Read James 3:16
Read the notes 1 John 1:8-10
6. Take five minutes to ask God whether there are any sins in your life. Write them down on a spare piece of paper and then write these verses over them and give them to the Father with a real sense of a spirit of repentance. Then burn them or bin them believing you are washed clean.
7. Read Luke 15:11-31. Focus on the attitude of the Father. Can you see Him running to the son when he comes home? See God the Father running towards you and embracing you as you have told Him ALL your sins. Do this now. Don’t be distracted. How do you feel? Where are the sins now?
Read 1 John 2:1-6
8. What point does John repeat here? Why do you think He repeats this?
9. Who speaks to the Father in our defence?
10. What do you understand as the ‘atoning sacrifice’?
11. Who is included in this sacrifice? Do we believe this for murderers and Hitler etc: Are you sure?
12. How can we check out whether we are growing in our relationship with God?
13. Do you know God better today than the day you first met Him?
14. Can you give a recent example from your life showing how you have grown in Him?
15. What area of your life do you feel God is asking you to stretch your spiritual muscles and grow stronger? How are you going to do this?
16. If we are walking with Jesus how should we conduct ourselves?
17. From your knowledge of the Bible how much do you think Jesus did in one day? How many people did He see and talk to?
18. Are you sure you are a Christian? On what do you base your confidence?
Memorise 1 John 2:3: ‘We know we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.’
Don’t forget the prayer from the end of Lesson 1