• 1 John 1:5–10 – “What is Light?”

    “Light is electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength that may be seen by the normal unaided human eye.” It is light that reveals the world around us. Without light we are in the DARK!

    The apostle John said, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” What in the world was he saying? Well, in the first verses of his letter the apostle John said that they had “heard,” “seen with their eyes” and “handled” the “Word of Life” [Jesus]. He went on to say that he was “declaring” or telling us what he had heard from Jesus. Then he said:

    5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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 Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

    8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

    “This is the message” that the apostles heard from Jesus. This is what he is “declaring” to us. Jesus said that “God is Light.” Now that is profound! Note, He did not say “light is God.” So what does he mean? The apostle is using the word “light” as a figure of speech, to describe God. In other words, it is God that reveals the truth about the world around us. Without God we are in the dark about life, about who we are and about God Himself.

    So, if God shows us the truth, how does He do that? In Hebrews 1:1-2 we read, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” God reveals the truth through Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

    The apostle said, “The things we saw and heard from Jesus, who was revealed to us, we tell to you” (1 John 1:2-3). For more than 3 years John had followed Jesus. He was there at the crucifixion. He was in the upper room when the risen Jesus appeared. He was an eyewitness! Now he is telling us that it should be as life changing for us as it was for them. He points out that many were confused about what this means. Some said, “We have fellowship with Him” (v 6).

    That is they may have said that they were “Christians” and had fellowship with Jesus, but they still “walk in darkness.” Maybe they just went to church or did what they thought was right. But, they were not trusting Jesus to reveal the truth. Many do that today. The apostle says that if we are doing that, “we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words we are really not a Christian. Why? Because Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). A person may say they are a Christian, but just saying it does not make it so. John says Christians “walk in the light as He is in the light” (v 7). That is, they trust Him enough to allow Him to change their life. Can you trust the all-knowing Creator to lead you in life? If you do trust Him to do that, then “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses [you] from all sin.” That is good news! Jesus paid the price for your sin when He died on that cross, and He said, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30). There is nothing to add!

    A second mistake we might make is to say, that now that we are trusting Jesus to change us, “we have no sin” (v 8). Even while allowing Jesus to light our way, we “fall short” of God’s plan for our life. That is what “sin” is. It is failing to be all that God has planned for us. If we think we have become sinless, “we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” That is, we do not know what God’s Word says. We don’t understand what God’s plan really is for our life.

    A third mistake some may make is saying that they have never sinned (v 10). God’s word says, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s plan for their life” (cf. Romans 3:23). So, if we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and His word is not in us. This is not good! So, what is the solution? We need to see that God has a good, acceptable and perfect plan for each of our lives (cf. Romans 12:2). If we ignore God’s Word, it may be evidence that we are really not a Christian. But, even when we allow Him to lead us, we will fall short.

    There are two things we must see. First, “it is the blood of Jesus Christ His Son [that] cleanses us from all sin” (v 7). It is not our efforts. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). None of us have anything to brag about. It is all about God’s love for you! He did it for you. The victory is won. You only need to “walk in that victory.” It would be a shame to miss out on so great a love.

    Second, when we do fail, we need to admit (confess) it to God (v 9). If we trust the Light, then we can trust Him even in our failures. God is “faithful” to His promises and He is “just.” The price for sin has already been paid by Jesus. “Confessing” (admitting) our sins to God is in reality a part of embracing His Word. It is seeking His “Forgiveness” and “cleansing.” If you do not see your need, you only fool yourself.

    Once you grasp what it means to “walk in the Light,” and “practice the truth,” you will see Him at work, changing who you are from the inside out. You will begin to experience that fellowship with Him. That fellowship brings lasting joy. God says that in His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (without end, Psalm 16:11). We will see later on that the apostle John will tell us that when we experience this fellowship and that joy, we can KNOW that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

    What doing with your life? You may see jail as an interruption of what you want to do. Or you could see it as God at work in your life. It can be a starting point of a new life. It is up to you!

  • 1 John 1:1-4 – “Were You There?”

    The apostle John began his gospel account with the words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Then he said, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He was clearly talking about Jesus. Here, in his first epistle (letter), the apostle continues that discussion by referring to, “That which was from the beginning” (the Word of God, Jesus).

    In this “greeting” John neither mentions who he (the writer of the letter) is nor to whom he is writing. He just cuts right to the chase and says:

    1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

    As we read the Scriptures, we tend to think that these are just some religious writings. Notice, John did not even say that He was an apostle as Paul did (cp. Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1). He did not even say that it was the Spirit of the living God that guided him as Peter did (cp. 2 Peter 1:16–21). While both are true, John gives another reason why we should listen to what he has to say. So, what in the world was this old man talking about?! Quite simply put, about forty years earlier, he saw something that not only changed his life, but it would also change the whole world. In these first 4 verses of his letter, the apostle John clearly explains why we should listen to what he has to say.

    Back when John wrote this letter (about AD 70), there were already people that wanted to “reinvent” Jesus. There were people that thought that they knew better than to believe all of this stuff. As a matter of fact there was a church somewhere in Asia Minor, probably at Ephesus, that had split (1 John 2:19). Some were saying that they had some new ideas about who Jesus was, about life and what sin is. They couldn’t understand why there ideas weren’t just as good as those of this old man. So they just walked out. Today, there are many people that claim to be “experts.” We need to ask what their credentials are. Even more importantly, we need to ask ourselves why we believe what we believe.

    The truth, how do we know what it is? Believing a lie is the fastest way I know to get in trouble. It can even cost us our life if we believe something is good for us, but is in reality poisonous. We need to start by defining truth as “that which is real.” No one, not even the Church can redefine reality. At 80 or 90 years of age the apostle John was heartbroken. He saw some of those he cared about turning away from the truth. Like many today they thought they could believe what they wanted.

    About 40 years after that day in the upper room (John 20:19–23), John still remembered what he had “heard” Jesus say. He remembered what he had “seen, with his eyes.” It was not some dream or a ghost. Jesus said, “Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39). That word “handle” is the very same word John uses here. After 40 years we tend to forget a lot of things, but those things that have had an impact on our life are indelibly etched in our thinking. John clearly remembers all he heard, saw and touched. JOHN WAS AN EYEWITNESS!

    What was it that he experienced? Why, it was Jesus! He was alive three days after He died on that cross. Unbelievable, you say? Well, John may have agreed with you, except he was there and saw it. He could not ignore the facts about the “Word of life” (Jesus, v 1). John says that the risen Jesus was “manifested” (revealed) and John bore witness and declared the truth about that life (v 2). What is it that John “declares” to be the truth as he heard it from Jesus? He says, that Jesus had “eternal life” with the Father. He was “from the beginning” and was “eternal.” These are only true of God! As he said in his gospel account, God “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). In other words, Jesus is GOD in the FLESH. He is GOD become MAN. Now if you have trouble understanding that, John did NOT say he understood all of it, but that it IS the TRUTH. Now, YOU have a crisis, a dilemma. Will you believe only what YOU have seen and touched? Or will you include what the APOSTLE JOHN heard, saw with his eyes and touched?

    If you think that you need to stay ONLY with what you know, ask yourself “Why?” It is not a matter of fact, but rather a matter of choice. You may have chosen to make yourself the master of your destiny, without God’s interference? This is like saying, “I do not believe Washington DC exists.” What I believe does not change the fact that the city is there and that Congress is making laws that affect me. Just because we have not seen something or someone, does not mean they do not exist. John wrote this letter to people 2,000 years ago. This letter is true for us as well. And, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This letter says that we can experience that life (in Jesus)! John wants his readers to have “fellowship” with God. Now that deserves some thought! And, John says this is the only way to make “our joy to be full.”

    Listen, how many times have you said or thought, “I have a right to be happy.”? The apostle John is telling you how you can have lasting joy! God says that in His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Furthermore, God created all the pleasures you desire. Sight, taste, smell, touch and hearing all come from God. The problem may be that you don’t want God’s plan to interfere with your pleasure. God is the only one who can make your joy full.