Preached at Northwest Christian Church
David P. Kautt
Sunday Morning, April 25, 2010
1 John 1:5-2:2 - “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. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
He puts his headphones over his ears and reaches over to the volume knob to crank it up as far as possible, then he lays his head back and, in his mind he says, “Time to let myself go… time to get close to God…”
She pulls out her special mat and lays it across the living room floor. Then she crouches down into that certain position, with her legs crossed and her arms outstretched, “Time to shut out the world. Time to meditate on the divine…”
He pays his dues to get it, whether it be by way of sexual means or through the use of mind and mood altering drugs and alcohol, he’s aiming to go there, to get there through orgiastic ecstasy, to enter into an altered state of consciousness, to be unified with the universe…
What does it mean to be one with God? What does it mean to have fellowship – intimate, joyful communion – with your Maker?
Some would say what it means – and the way to get there is through ‘zoning out’ by way of loud and repetitive rhythms and words, “crank up the volume, I’ll be one with Him!” Others claim that the only way to be One with God is to enter into some sort of altered state, to engage in some form of spiritual or physical ecstasy – to “get high” on sex, drugs or alcohol. Still other pull out their yoga mats, cross their legs and meditate on the lint in their navel, thinking, “that will get me there, that will put me into a oneness with God…”
It’s interesting, a little bit amusing, and, most importantly, very sad to see the ways people go about trying to fill up that hole in their lives that is God-shaped! And, yet, try as they might, using these and other means, they never get there! They never really get there! Why is that? What DOES it mean to be one with God? What does this Book – the word of the One with Whom we desire that fellowship, that ultimate communion – what does He have to say about the subject?
We skimmed across it in our previous messages from this portion of scripture, but this morning, as we open up this subject and this text that instructs us and informs us on this subject, I want you to notice something with me, right up front. 1 John 1:3-4, we didn’t read them earlier, but let’s do so now, shall we?
1 John 1:3-4: “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. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”
Oneness with God, fellowship with God – do you see it? You see it, don’t you? That you and I might possess and participate in joyful fellowship with God and with His Son Jesus Christ. This is one of the Apostle John’s primary purposes for writing this letter, isn’t it? He wrote this letter to Christians like you and me, to describe and explain this fellowship, to secure and safeguard it from that which would harm and hinder it, and perhaps most crucial of all, he wrote this letter – God’s Spirit guided his pen to the end that fellowship with God might be the outcome. In other words, John wrote what he wrote to encourage and, yes, even to facilitate this oneness with God!
But saying that he is writing to us so that we might have fellowship with God immediately presents us with a problem – and I mean a huge problem! Take a look with me at verse 5 of our text:
“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.”
What does it mean to have fellowship with God? Answer – verse 5 – it means to be one with Someone in Whom there is NO darkness at ALL! “Whoa!” Are you thinking what I’m thinking? To be one with Someone who is totally, and utterly Light! Why, that’s impossible! Indeed it is – and on at least two accounts, right? Number one, it is impossible for you and me to be one with God if He is that way – why? Because He IS that way! And, then - you know what the second reason for this immediate road block to fellowship with God is, don’t you? You can’t be one with God – I can’t draw near to God – because of what WE are like! “No darkness at all?!” “I mean, that will never describe me!”
To be one with Someone in Whom there is no darkness at all! How is that possible? Could it be that somehow, someway God lowers His standards, that He somehow lessens His holiness or allows His utter ‘light-ness’ to diminish so that we can enter in? Look again at verse 5 and let the answer from this Book soak in. God does not diminish His purity, His holiness to allow for fellowship with the impure! No! If He did, then He would cease to be God! No! Rather, what He does is He extends to us His grace! My loved ones, it is God’s sheer grace that makes fellowship with Him possible. Yes, in His grace He gives us new birth and in that new birth He gives us, by His grace, a new nature; so that the Apostle John could rightly say, as he does several times in this letter, “You are God’s children – you have been begotten of God.” (See 1 John 3:1-3; 5:1-5)
What does it mean to have fellowship with God? To be one with Him? Orgiastic ecstasy is not the way! Zoning out by way of the music and the headphones is not the way! Neither is stooping down to get into the lotus position! No. God’s grace is the way! But, then, notice what John has to say in verses 6 and 7 of our text.
1 John 1:6-7: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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.”
Oneness with God, according to this Book – according to the One who issues the invitation to begin with – it is more basic than meditating on your navel lint! It is more behavioral in orientation than that! What does the text say> In so many words, it says that oneness with God, to enjoy full and glad fellowship with God, we must walk where He walks! We must live our lives, spend our time, our energy, our resources at a place called ‘fellowship with God!’ John puts it this way: “Don’t walk in the darkness, and claim to be one with God! No! That’s a lie! That’s false! Rather, walk where God walks, in the light, in the truth, in righteousness, in Christ-like love for others!”
What does it mean to be one with God? There are a lot of answers being offered out there to that question. But, listen, none of them will ever really get you there! Why? Because they are MAN’S answers, not God’s! God says, “to have fellowship with Me, first of all, I must make the way, by means of My grace!” Secondly, He says, “If you want to be one with Me, then you must walk where I am walking! You must pursue what I am pursuing!”
But, then what? Verses 8-10, notice the next things we need to learn about fellowship with God.
1 John 1:8-10: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
What is the Apostle John aiming to tell us through these verses? Well, whether it be rooted in an ungodly arrogance and pride – “I’m a Christian, I have no sin!” Or in something we now call ‘DENIAL’ – “I haven’t sinned!” Through these words in verses 8-10, John aims to clear up a misunderstanding about fellowship with God, and about what it means to be a Christian. Listen closely: what does it mean to be a Christian, and to be one with God? Does it mean that all of the sudden you and I are sinless, morally and spiritually perfect? No! That’s not what it means!
Rather, as someone else put it, and as John implies here in the text, to be a Christian does not mean to be sinless, but it does mean that you and I – with God’s help – are seeking to SIN – LESS, and too confess our sins more. So, how does all of that relate to our fellowship with God?
Two things – number one, to be one with God, to have fellowship with Him, means that you and I have received yet another expression of God’s grace. Verses 7 and 9, we have received – we DAILY receive – forgiveness of our sins. Jesus Christ’s blood keeps on cleansing us from all unrighteousness! Yes, as we come clean with God as far as our day-to-day sins and mess-ups are concerned, He is faithful and just to forgive us! And thus, to maintain that fellowship with Him!
What does it mean to be one with God? It doesn’t mean that you and I have to claim that somehow, someway we are sinless! No! That’s what false professors claim!
Rather, true professors confess what God already knows about us today, what He knew about us yesterday, and what He’ll know about us tomorrow – that we will sin, that we do sin and that we have sinned! Daily fellowship with God means that God has provided that essential ingredient for it to continue un-interrupted: forgiveness of our sins, when we confess them to Him!
Which brings us then, to our final point about oneness with God. 1 John 2:1-2, what does it mean to be one with God, to have fellowship with Him? It means to have an Advocate with God.
1 John 2:1-2: “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
It’s been a long time ago now, thank God, but I still remember it rather vividly. At 16 years of age, I stood before the judge at the Dallas County Municipal Court, to face the music – the speeding ticket I had incurred was due to be paid, and I was there to plead my case. To say the least, I was frightened. But, thankfully, I wasn’t alone. My Dad was there with me. When my turn came to approach the Bench, the judge asked my name, and why I was there. Then, my Dad spoke up, and began to try to persuade the judge to be lenient – “After all, He’s only 16, and it was his first ticket. Sure, He drove more than twice the speed limit on the Interstate Highway, but he has learned his lesson. He won’t do it again – ever.”
Now, listen closely, because the rest of what I’m about to tell you didn’t happen. After saying what my dad just said about me, imagine the judge leaning over to my dad and saying, “Mr. Kautt, how about we take a look at your driving record for a moment?? Ticket here, warning there, speeding infraction there. Mr. Kautt, I’m throwing your testimony out of court, you’re no better than your son!”
What does it mean to be one with God? It means to have unending fellowship with the One in Whom there is no darkness as all, no darkness. And to have that fellowship because God has supplied us with Someone like Him – not like us – to plead our case when we fail! “But if anybody DOES sin [and it’s inevitable, even for the best of us, isn’t it?] we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One.” And not only an Advocate – a righteous, just-like-God, Advocate – look at verse 2. We also have a propitiating Advocate with God, too!
Our fellowship with God is possible not only because God has given us an Advocate Who is like Him, but also because God has given us an Advocate Who takes away from us what makes us not like Him! Namely, our sin and our guilt!
What does it mean to be one with God? Beloved, do you know it? You should know it, and you should walk out of here shouting it! The One whose atoning death split the temple veil in two. The One Whose shed blood broke down the middle wall of separation (Eph. 2:14-18). The One Whose gracious sacrifice at Calvary wiped out the hand-writing of requirements that was against us. The one Who took what was contrary to us and removed it from us by nailing it to His cross (Col. 2:11-15). What do His out-stretched arms say? What do they say?
Enter in, draw near to me, and enter in…