Walk in the light

Text 1 John 1:7 Time 18 11 07 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
Here is another great text from the New Testament. 1 John 1:7 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, purifies us from all sin.It is true that it is not remembered like John 3:16 or John 14:6 or Matthew 11:28-30 or even 1 John 1:9 for that matter. It is a great text nevertheless as it sums up for us in just one verse some vital things that we all need to know.
The Apostle John begins his first letter by speaking about that which was from the beginning, by which he means the Eternal Word, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. Now he says that this Eternal Word was someone he heard and saw and touched – it was Jesus Christ, God come to earth as a man. John is both a witness to Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and one who declares or proclaims this One to his readers.
He does this, he says, so that his readers also may have fellowship with him and other believers. And our fellowship he says is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is talking about a fellowship that is horizontal and vertical then – a brotherhood with man and with God. He also says (4) We write this to make (y)our joy complete. No joy can surpass that of fellowship with God and his people.
Verse 7 flows out of what the Apostle John then says in verse 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.Today we are being bombarded by messages from every direction – on your computer, your 'phone, in the street. When I get a message on my e-mail system one of the first things I want to know is where it has come from. Is it from a trusted source? John says two things about where this message came from.
1. This is the message we have heard from him. Its is not a message that John made up himself but one that he and the other disciples have heard from him, from God's Son, Jesus Christ, the one they heard with their ears, seen with their eyes, the one they'd looked at and that their hands had touched. John, the eye-witness, ear-witness, hand-witness, testifies here. Here is a reliable witness.
2. This is the message that he and the apostles declare to you. John has not kept quiet about this message. He wants to pass it on. He proclaims it; he preaches it.
From that statement - God is light; in him there is no darkness at all - he draws certain conclusions. There are five altogether but we are just focusing on the second.
First, negatively, he says that if you claim to have fellowship with God yet walk in darkness, you're a liar. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. Here is a person who claims to be a Christian. He says he has fellowship with God – with the Father and Son. However, he walks in the darkness. There are shady dealings in his life, things that are not entirely transparent. Such a person, says John, is a liar. He's not really a Christian. There is something false here. The man is not living by the truth.
Do you claim to be a Christian? Do you say you're in fellowship with God? Then that is bound to affect how you live. Because God is Light, you will walk in the light and not in the darkness.
Secondly, we have this positive note, the one we want to explore, here in verse 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, purifies us from all sin. John is speaking here to those who profess to be Christians but we can take the verse and apply it more generally to all. It easily divides into three and so we will look at it under three main headings.
1. A call to walk in the light as he is in the light
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light ...The main picture here is light. We know what light is. It is the opposite of darkness. The sun is the greatest light we know – too bright to look at. The moon and stars are lesser lights and there is the light that comes from fire in candles and lamps and, today, electric light. The main value of light can be spoken of in these terms. Negatively, it helps you avoid danger. Positively, it helps you reach what you are after.
Light points to purity, honesty, transparency, holiness. John has just told us that God is light; in him there is no darkness at all and we know that Jesus is the Light of the World. When you walk in the darkness, you may stumble over a log, step on a snake, fall off a cliff or hit your head on a low door. Darkness is full of threat. It frustrates your ability to attain your goal. But light changes all that. It exposes dangers and frees you from their lurking power. It opens the way to your goal. It is full of hope and promises the glad attainment of your goal.
With it is the idea of walking. Walking implies movement, going from one thing to the next. It stands for living. We must live in a way that can be described as 'walking in the light'. We must all seek to walk in the light or go on walking in the light as he is in the light. A person who is really converted will walk in the light, as he is in the light. Such a person has left the darkness and has begun to lead a life of holiness. He has a true sight and sense of sin, he knows Jesus Christ and he knows way of salvation by him. He walks in the light in the sense of
1. Walking in the light of truth. He accepts what God's Word says about the soul and sin and God and death and salvation. Is that you? Are you walking in the light of truth?
2. Walking in the light of holiness. He leads a holy life – not a perfect life - but a life that is constantly exposing itself to the light so that where there is sin it is willingly acknowledged. As he is in the light emphasises that the light comes from God. God is light. He dwells in unapproachable light. As all in him is light so it must be in us. There is a difference in degree, of course, but the same kind of light.
3. Walking in the light of peace and joy that Christ gives. This sense may also be included. Where are you looking for assurance and confidence?
In practice this means at least 3 things
Walking in the light of God. The fear of God the Bible tells us is the beginning of wisdom. To fear God is to walk in the light of his existence. It is to remember that he is watching you. It is to make every decision in that light. Is that how you live? Is that how you think?
Walking in the light of God's Word. The Word of God is described as a light for our feet and a lamp for our path. We do well to pay attention to it like a light shining in a dark place. It will show us how to live. This is why we need to get to know the Bible and to see how it applies to our lives in different ways. It is a sure and certain light in this dark world.
Walking in the light of our God given conscience. The conscience is also a light. Various illustrations can be used to describe the conscience – that aspect of a man's soul that deals with right and wrong. In one sense it is like a light as it shines out and dispels the darkness in our lives forcing us to recognise our sins and to do something about them. Are you walking in the light of your conscience? It is important not to ignore what your conscience is saying. Conscience can be mistaken, of course, but it is still not right to ride roughshod over it.
Christians are often called Children of light – they have seen the light, they are in the light and they belong to the light. They also grow in knowledge day by day. Is that you? If not come into the light and walk in it from today. If you are already in the light seek to go deeper into it.
2. Consider the first consequence of walking in the light – fellowship with God and his people 
we have fellowship with one another The next picture is that of fellowship, of sharing. The simplest way of picturing this in our minds is to think of a shared meal. When you eat with someone you share your food with them.
The first consequence of this walking in the light that John draws attention to then is fellowship, having certain things in common. One another points most obviously to fellowship on the horizontal plain but it must include the vertical aspect – fellowship not just with one another but also with the Father and with the Son. It takes us back to as he is in the light. When we walk in the same light as God walks in then we share that light and so share fellowship not only with him but all who are in him.
Part of Christian fellowship is walking in the light. As believers we need to be open with each other about our faults, all the while seeking to live holy lives not only as individuals but also as a family. We will be doing all we can to promote holiness among ourselves and not to be a stumbling block one to the other.
Is that you? Are you seeking fellowship of that sort with God's people? Has your becoming into the light brought you into fellowship with God and his people? Are you in the light and sat down to eat with God and his children?
3. Consider the second consequence of walking in the light – forgiveness of sin
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. Another part of this true walking in the light is to also see that we need forgiveness and that comes because the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Here the picture is of purifying or cleansing or washing. Think of a shower or a bath for example, a cleansing fountain. Sometimes the image of red carbolic soap is used.
The blood of Jesus refers particularly to his death on the cross but it really stands for all the work he has done by his life and by his death. It is by means of his work that we can be made clean from our sins – by trusting in him and in what he has done on the cross.
By nature we are not clean. Our hearts are polluted. It is something that we are all born with, everyone of us with no exceptions. When people become conscious of this they try various means to cleanse themselves but nothing can remove sin but the blood of Christ, that is trusting in his death for sinners. Some try ritual washings and sacrifices. Some think that by following moral duties or by doing things like praying and reading the Bible, etc, they will be cleansed. But neither these things nor baptism nor taking the Lord's Supper nor having wonderful spiritual gifts or anything else can cleanse you. Only the blood of Christ will do it.
Here we are thinking firstly of the atonement for that Christ's sacrifice has brought about leading to justification for all who trust in him. We are also thinking of the pardon for sin that has been procured by the blood of Christ and the way it is applied to the conscience, purging it from dead works. There is an ongoing aspect here then. The moment you believe in Jesus Christ all your sins are washed away but there is a need too for daily cleansing. Each time we sin we need, as it were, to be right with God again and that is possible once more because of what Jesus has done by dying on the cross.
A Christian, as we have said is not someone who never sins. Rather, he is someone who when he sins finds forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ. What is a clean person? What do we mean if we say 'he's a clean person'. Not – he never gets dirty but when he does get dirty he cleans himself up again. You know the old joke 'I have a bath every week, whether I need one or not'! Christ died for the very purpose of providing forgiveness for sin. It is the duty of every true Christian to keep looking to Jesus to be cleansed by his death. Or as Jesus once put it – we have been bathed clean by him and our duty is now to keep our feet clean. When they are soiled he must wash them.
Again is that you? Are you knowing daily forgiveness through Christ?
You may say to me 'Is Christ's blood applied by the Spirit of God really the only way to be cleansed. What about in the Old Testament? They weren't saved by the blood of Christ were they? Yes, they were. Christ's blood has always been cleansing from sin – even then. It had this virtue in it, we may say, even before it was actually shed. This is one reason why Jesus is called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.It has the same power to cleanse now as when it was first shed and it will continue to have that same power to the end of the world. When it is sprinkled on the conscience by the Spirit of God, it takes away the sins of believers and purifies from them corruption and sin just as fast as the corruption of nature rises, or sins appear. It removes them out of sight and speaks peace to their souls.
All this is, of course, because of who Christ is and because he has not only died but intercedes in heaven for his own even now. He is able to forgive every sort of sin – original, Adamic sin - actual, personal sin; secret sin and open sin; sins of heart, thought, lip and life; sins of omission and commission; big sins – little sins, sins against light and knowledge, grace and mercy, law and gospel anything but the sin against the Holy Spirit itself. One writer says rightly “There is no stain made by sin so deep that the blood of Christ cannot take it entirely away from the soul.”
Oh believe that all your sins can be forgiven.
In the Old Testament he was pictured in the scapegoat. This was the one led out into the desert to die. The Jews say of it "it atoned for all the transgressions of the law, whether small or great, sins of presumption, or of ignorance, known, or not known, which were against an affirmative or negative command, which deserved cutting off (by the hand of God), or death by the sanhedrin.''
Jesus's blood can forgive your every sin. All you have to do is just trust in him.
So we are saying walk in the light – live a holy life, informed by God and his Word. Enjoy fellowship with God and his people. Realise that this is truly possible in Christ for through him and through him alone there is cleansing from every sin. If we repent from our sins and look to him his blood can make us clean and make us fit for heaven.