This is the 2nd instalment of my sermon series through 1 John entitled “Litmus”. This time, rather than post my sermon manuscript, I’m going to post my slides with some notes. This should sufficient to address the subject of dealing with deception,
Ultraviolet (UV) light has a number of uses. It is used in insect traps (insects can see it while humans can’t) and also in checking materials for cracks. It can also be used to test if currency notes are real and if a diamond is natural, artificial or just glass! Our passage today tells us about another Light – one even more powerful when it comes to revealing hidden things!
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we 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 his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
This flowchart helps us to understand the passage better. In 1 John 1:1-4, we have already established that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human. In v5-10, John recounts the message Jesus had told His disciples. In doing so, John is validating, to those reading his letter, the authority of Jesus’ message.
What is that message? It is in 5 parts. The first part is the message of the Father, as one commentary puts it. In v4, God is love. In v5, He is light. This is the combination that deals a knockout blow to deception!
Verse 6 is a message to fakers – those who say they have fellowship with God but continue to walk in darkness. They deceive themselves. Gnosticism was a major false teaching affecting the 1st-century church. The gnostics often claimed to be very spiritual while indulging in all sorts of sinful behaviour.
The message about fellowship is seen in v7. As each one of us has more in common with Christ, our fellowship increases!
Then we see the message about fools and falsehood in v8 and v10. If we think we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and we actually make God to be a liar. His Word says all have sinned (Rom 3:23) so how can we have none?
But Christians do sin and this is where the message of forgiveness (v9) is so powerful. If we sin, we can repent, confess our sins and receive restoration because of the cross!
So God is light! One of the strongest weapons we have against deception and false teaching/teachers is to have true fellowship with others who live in God’s light. His light enables us to easily detect and discern falsehood because it reveals what is in our hearts. I believe OasisCF should be a place of true Christian fellowship – it is our defence against deception!