Read 1 John 1
Light and darkness—a contrast that we don’t know as well as we once did. How many places can you go where there is absolutely no light. There is always some ambient light it seems. It may be some plant or rock that absorbs light energy in the day and has something of a glow at night.
It might be that night light in the hallway that never gets turned off. It could be some luminous strips designed to guide you safely out of a building or for some other function when the power fails.
If you wake up in the middle of the night, you can probably see well enough to get to the bathroom because it’s not totally dark. Coming from light into darkness leaves you blind for a while until your eyes adjust.
But with John the apostle, his words intend a stark contrast. There is light and there is darkness. Light permeates darkness. Darkness cannot permeate the light. And so, John reminds his readers that the Light came into the world. God incarnate was known to him and others and they testify to his life.
But if they or we continue in darkness, we do not have fellowship with God or each other. We can’t claim to be people of the light and live in darkness. We can’t claim to know God but live as a friend of the world.
If our words say one thing and our life says another, we lie. The truth is not in us. We want to be people of God but we become liars. Our lives are full of dissonance.
But if we walk—if we live—in the light, and John would bring analogy into this metaphor saying as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another. The blood of Jesus has made that atoning sacrifice for us and we get to enjoy this thing called fellowship.
John doesn’t use the word here, but we must repent. We first must turn away from the darkness of the world. We must leave behind the old ways, old thinking, and outside-in motivators. Do you remember Psalm 15 where we talked about the truth that comes from the heart?
Living in the light is an inside-out process.
Think of David who cried out to the Lord in psalm to create in him a clean heart. David wanted to live in the light, to walk in the Lord’s ways not because he was a great rule-follower but because God had made him clean once again.
David needed and knew he needed what the blood of goats and bulls could not give him.
Do we not know this experience? Do we not know this thing that John called walking in the light? I am not asking if you have been sin-free since you professed Jesus as Lord. I am asking do you know what it is to walk in the light?
I think that we all have a taste of it. It’s good but still we struggle. Still we sin.
We say that we sin, to which I say good. I’m not saying sin is good. I am saying that we know we sin and we confess that we have sinned. That’s the good part. We don’t fake it. We have sinned. We confess.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
The truth is not in us. We have been talking about truth for several weeks but when we claim that we have not sinned, the truth is not in us.
We have been made right with God. We live in the light and yet we let darkness in where darkness can’t come. We have dissonance that can only be resolved by confession.
We know that we are to live in the light as he is in the light and yet, we let the world creep in. So, what do we do? We confess.
Do we upset God when we confess to him time and again? Do we wear out his patience? What? This guy again! Didn’t we just go through this?
I think God would be upset with us if we stopped confessing, if we stopping trying to live in the light, if we gave in to the darkness.
We know that we fall short and we know that God is faithful and just to forgive. His faithfulness continues through all generations. His faithfulness continues.
It’s as if he knew that he made us from dust and blew spirit into us to make as a living soul, that we are a unique creature among all creatures, made in his image but subject to human frailty, much of which comes from having this thing not labeled in the Bible, but that we come to call free will.
God knew that we would need forgiveness. Our sin is no surprise to him.
We need to understand that this dark world is still trying to find its way where it doesn’t belong. In him there is no darkness, but we still wrestle with living up to the righteousness that we have been given.
So, today, I challenge you to self-examination and confession. That’s not exactly accurate. I challenge you to examination by the Holy Spirit and God’s holy Word—both are within you—and to confession. Self-examination is subject our own biases and there is a whole bunch of that going around these days.
Let the Holy Spirit and God’s word do their work.
I challenge you to understand the power of confession. God will push back the darkness. God will purify us. We can walk in fellowship with one another once again.
The battle of God over everything that opposes him—wickedness is won. God wins! God has won. We wrestle with darkness and falsehood and when we lose a skirmish, we must understand that God has already won the battle for us.
We are called to confess so we can get back to living in fellowship with one another.
For those who seek him, for those who profess Jesus is Lord, God is not going to run out of light or out of grace; so let’s confess our sins and receive the purifying power of God’s love.
Let’s confess and walk in the light.
I could stop right there, say amen, and we could go eat. But I want to challenge you a little more. Do not be afraid to be a light in the darkness. Do not be afraid to be people of love in a world of indifference. Do not be afraid to stand in stark contrast to a dark world.
Do not be afraid to share the good news in a world that doesn’t want to hear it. Be so bold as to invade a godless world with light and with love.
We are to let our light shine in the darkness. We don’t hide it and we don’t let it go out. When we confess, our light is still shining. Do not be afraid to confess. God is faithful and just to forgive. Our light which comes from living in his light keeps shining.
Do you know what the penumbra is? It’s that partially dark and partially light area around a shadow. Seldom is there a perfect distinction between light and shadow. You might call it a gray area.
Why is this important? We are talking light and darkness. If our light does not shine in the darkness, we won’t have this penumbra. If we do not live in the light, how can we witness to those in the darkness?
Most of our ministry reaches those in this area. They are not consumed by evil but do not seek good. They live in a state of apathy or are ambivalent about just about everything. This is our mission field, but to work this field, we must walk in the light. We must let our light shine in the darkness.
Paul noted that he became all things to all people so that some might be saved. The toughest word in this sentence for me is “some.” That some might be saved.
We might not reach everyone, but some might be saved. I don’t think that we reach very many if we don’t walk in the light, confess when we stray, live in fellowship, and let our light shine before humanity.
I conclude with John’s words as he prefaced what God’s Spirit had inspired him to say what we have discussed this morning.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete
Let us live in the light, enjoy fellowship with each other, trust in God’s faithfulness as we confess, and know joy even in the midst of a dark world.