Newborn Light (1John)

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Have you ever waited for a message or to receive certain news?

This past week has seemed like it lasted a month. From last Saturday evening noticing something wrong with our child, to Monday morning being told we must take our one year old daughter to the emergency room, to Tuesday seeing her undergo surgery and then being transferred from one hospital to another specialty hospital. We spent 2 days in ICU until finally on Thursday transferred to a regular room and have noticeable recovery. Each day we anxiously awaited news. [1]

News is necessarily important:

–          waiting for news or lab results from a doctor,

–          waiting for news from your auto mechanic following a car inspection,

–          waiting for news about a job interview

–          waiting for news from a love letter you wrote

–          waiting for news that life circumstances will change your future

 

In our series titled “Newborn”, in 1John 1:5 the apostle writes “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you [plural]…” Today’s message will share two newsworthy items about the Christmas story of Jesus Christ from 1John 1:5-2:6.

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EXAMINE   Newborn Light                      1John 1:5 – 2:6

Jesus is our light (1John 1:5)
In the previous verses John has noted the unique connection between God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. Faith in God is fellowship with the Father and Jesus, as well as the Spirit of God. John has noted that Jesus is eternally divine and historically human. So, when John speaks of God he also speaks of Jesus; they are uniquely separate but united as one.[2]

John declares God is light. This is the identity of the divine. Light represents a variety of character descriptions. Light symbolizes:

–          Spotlessness in moral purity
Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines bright”

1Timothy 6:16 Jesus “who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see”

–          Sight in truth
Psalm 78:14 “In the daytime he led them with a cloud and all the night with a fiery light.”
Isaiah 60:19 “The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

–          Salvation

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
Psalm 119:105, 130 “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path… The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple”
Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 4:26) “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined”

As Jesus enters our world to bring God’s salvation, He clearly states “This is the judgment: the light has come into the world and people loved darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes into the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out by God (John 3:19-21)… I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

When Jesus is our light then we see there is no darkness in God. John’s uses a double negative – no darkness, not at all; it may be poor English grammar but it is precise theology. Everything about God is perfect and good. And yet, in our fallen world there is darkness.

So, how do we find the light in a dark world?

–          How do we make sense out of 1-year anniversaries of NewtownConnecticut?

–          Why should we celebrate at the Christmas table when there are empty seats reminding us of deceased love ones?

The truth that God is light without darkness does not mean that God cannot be discovered in the darkness. In the beginning we see that God created the heavens and earth and there was darkness until God created light (Genesis 1:1-3). In the midst of a fallen world and faulty humans, “the word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The point is that light existed before darkness because God existed; and when darkness occurs there is always light present. Light does not hesitate or negotiate with darkness, but simply demands darkness to depart.

ð     Is your life filled with God’s light or covered with worldly darkness?

µ     Only Jesus can bring light to your darkness.

John 1:4 “In him was life and that life was the light of men.”

µ     Darkness cannot overcome the light
John 1:5 “that light shines in the darkness and the darkness could not overcome it”

 

Jesus wants us to grow in His light (1John 1:6-2:6)
Moving from the basis that God is light, John describes the conditions or tests for those to know if they are truly walking in God’s light. John differentiates those who are in light and those who are in darkness.

µ     Our beliefs will result into behaviors; Our creeds turn into deeds (1John 1:6-7; 2:3-6)

Those who walk in light will not walk in darkness. John says we cannot proclaim with our lips light and then promote darkness with our life. We cannot live hypocritically or two-faced. When the gospel of Jesus enters a persons life they are changed so that the pardon of sin triumphs the power of sin in our life. We may not be sinless but God’s grace empowers us for less sin in our life.

à Do you find yourself lying to others and rationalizing your behavior? If so, you will lie to yourself and soon enough you will start believing those lies in so fool yourself. On the Day of Judgment there will only be one who is fooled and it will not be God. Be warned that God has called us to account.

µ     Our sinning will result in surrender, repentance; Our failures of self-glory will transform into following God for His glory (1John 1:8-2:2)

John recognizes that we will still sin. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1John 1:8). We must not allow pride to overshadow the grace of God in our life. Instead, we must be honest and humble before God by daily confessing our sins. The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther said first among his 95 Theses, the entire Christian life is one of repentance; such is the truth in this passage. And when we do confess [ὁμολογέω a compound word with homo (same) and logeo (to speak) meaning to speak the same about sin and self as the way God sees my life and actions], then we discover a faithful and just forgiver & cleanser of sin; an advocate [παράκλητος one who counsels in my defense and comforts in my weakness].

APPLY/THINK

Jesus is the propitiation for our sins.

–          The punishment of sin was substituted from me to Jesus.

–          The place of eternity for sinners is substituted from hell to heaven.

Jesus has changed everything

–          Changed to provide an escape from evil (light from darkness)

–          Changed to provide hope from helpless circumstances

–          Changes to provide salvation from sin

 

John says that Jesus is not only the answer for sin for his sin but also for the sins of the whole world (2:2). This is not a statement of privilege that everyone is already saved but a statement of potential that everyone who confess Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord will be saved.

 

Change occurs by Christ. You cannot change without Jesus Christ.


[1] We are thankful to the prayers of God’s people and the support of family & friends from everywhere, some known and others unknown. At this time, it seems our daughter is recovering and nearing ability to return home some time the middle of next week, with need for continued healing from her surgery.

[2] Indeed, to understand the Trinity is complex and profound. Consider these analogies though they fall short: marriage (God, Husband, Wife); personhood (emotions, will, intellect or heart, soul, mind); time (past present, future);  Water (steam, liquid, ice); Trees (roots, trunk, branches); Eggs (shell, yoke, white); etc. Remember each analogy has shortcomings in describing the infinite God.

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