Preached on 2023-2-16 at DTS.
I like to tell you a story about a little girl named Priscilla. Priscilla’s father that loves her very much, and she loved her father too. Growing up, she enjoyed sweet fellowship with her father. She especially enjoyed their fellowship when they walked a beautiful garden near their house on every Saturday morning. She eventually grew up to be a successful businesswoman. She worked very hard to advance her career. But she seldom had the time to call her father. The father calls her frequently and longs for his daughter to visit him, but Priscilla had other priorities and seldom returns his calls. They have not walked the garden for a long time. They are not as close as before. She is losing her fellowship with her father.
How about you? Are you so busy with studies and ministry that you have neglected to fellowship with God, your heavenly Father? Maybe you are not as close to your heavenly Father as before. Maybe you are feeling lonely or empty deep inside you. These may be signs that you are losing your fellowship with God. It is a sad thing to gain your ThM but lose your fellowship with God. What do you need to know about God to renew your fellowship with Him? What do you need to change if you want to renew your fellowship with God?
My subject today is “How do we renew our fellowship with God?”. Again, my subject today is “How to renew our fellowship with God?” Our text for today is 1 John 1:5-10. In 1 John 1:5-10, God tells us there are three things we to need to do to renew our fellowship with God.
1 John was written by Joh at his old age to his spiritual children so that they can have fellowship with John and with God the Father and with His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Please look with me at 1 John 1:3, “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
How do we renew our fellowship with God?
(Main Point 1)
First, we must know God is light.
Please look at 1:5 with me, “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.” Why must we know God is light to have fellowship with God? Because John singled this out of all God’s characters when discussing fellowship with God. This is very obvious that John 1:5-10 is about fellowship with God, for John mentioned fellowship twice in verse 3 and again twice in verses 6-7, which we will discuss later.
What is the meaning that God is light? It means God is holy. Please look at the second part of verse 5 with me. “in God there is no darkness at all.” Light represents moral purity. The light-darkness theme is one of John’s signatures in his gospel and his epistles. Later in 2:20, he wrote that God is “the Holy One”. God’s moral purity forms the basis of His relationship with us. No darkness “at all” means God is absolutely pure. Holiness is the only character of God that is repeated three times in a roll in Scripture. In Rev 4:8, John wrote that in heaven, the four living creatures worship God by singing, “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God Almighty.”
Let me illustration this. I brought my family to visit the McDonald Observatory in West Texas recently. The Observatory has one of the largest telescopes in the US. We joined its Sun viewing program, where an expert showed us live views of the Sun through a telescope. The Sun is so bright that if you look at it with your bare eyes, you will go blind. They had to put in special filters in the telescope to look at the Sun. I know that the Sun is bright, but the experience expanded my knowledge and understanding of the brightness of the Sun. However, I found out that even the Sun has dark spots due to different in temperature on the surface of the Sun. The sun, God is bright, God is light, He is Holy. But unlike the sun, God has not dark spots, in Him is no darkness at all!
You can only enjoy fellowship with God to the extent of your knowledge of His holiness. He is light, He is holy, and in Him is no darkness at all!
Next time when you sing the song, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” do not just sing it. You need to know that God is light, He is Holy, and in Him is no darkness at all! You need to see with your spiritual eyes that God is light, He is Holy, and in Him is no darkness at all! You need to meditate that God is light, He is Holy, and in Him is no darkness at all! You need to grasp that God is light, He is Holy, and in Him is no darkness at all! I suggest you take time in your devotion to meditate on the holiness of God. He is light, He is holy, and in Him is no darkness at all!
How do we renew our fellowship with God? First, we must know God is light. But fellowship with God is not only about our mind; it is also about our will and our actions. How do we renew our fellowship with God?
(Main Point 2)
We must walk in the light because God is in the light.
Please see look verses 6-7 with me, “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practise 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 His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
What is the meaning of walking in the light? Walking in the light means walking with God. How do I know that? Look at verse 7 with me. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light.” God is in the light; when we walk in the light, we are walking with God. What does it mean to walk with God? It means living a life in obedience to the word of God. Fellowship with God is not only in our devotion, although that is important. Fellowship with God, who is light, is a lifestyle of walking in holiness with God, who is holy, who is in the light.
What would happen if we do not walk in the light and say that we have fellowship with God? We become liars, and we do not practice the truth.
What would happen if we walked in the light? When we walked in the light, two things will happen. First, we have fellowship with one another. Some commentators think it means fellowship with God; some think it means fellowship with other believers. I think John could mean both. When we walk in the light, we will have fellowship with God, but we will also have fellowship with other Christians as a result of us living according to God’s word.
Second, the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. Walking in the light does not mean we live a sinless life. Walking in the light means we sincerely practice God’s word, although we still will fall short of the perfect holiness of God, or else there is no sin to cleanse. This verse shows us that the blood of Jesus does not only work to make us righteous in our justification; it also works to make us holy in our sanctification. We thank God for the blood of His Son! Because nothing can wash away our sin, but the blood of Jesus! “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” The text emphasized the blood of “Jesus His Son” to highlight God’s love for us! The theme of love is another of John’s signatures in his writings. The blood of Jesus is a reference to the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. God loves us so much that He sent His begotten Son to die for us!
Let me illustrate this. Last Summer, I brought my family to hike the Rocky Mountains. One day, we were hiking the Chasm Lake trail, one of the more challenging but beautiful trails in the entire park. Its peak is at 9400 feet elevation! We told my son he must walk with us. We told him we must walk in the daylight because it would be dangerous to walk at night. At one point, my son did not obey my words; we were separated. We could not have fellowship when we were not walking together. We were so worried about his safety. Thank God we finally found him, and we walked together again. (Explain the illustration) In the same manner, to renew our fellowship with God the Father, we must walk with God by walking in the light as God is in the light.
Are you walking in the light or walking in the darkness? If you say you are having fellowship with God but are walking in darkness, you are a liar. Do you practice what you teach and preach? Are you so busy with studies and ministry that you ignore loving your family and friends? I suggest you slow down, examine your current lifestyle, and ask the Lord what you can change so that you walk with God again. Maybe you need to call your parents more. Maybe you need to be more patience to difficult people in your life. Maybe you need to trust God more. Maybe you need to keep your body holy for God. Maybe you need to you need to stop watching the movies or youtube videos that are corrupting your mind and heart.
How do we renew our fellowship with God? We must know that God is light, we must walk in the light because God is in the light. Does that mean you need to be a sinless, perfect Christian in order to have fellowship with God? (pause) No. In fact, walking in the light will make us more aware of our sins. Therefore,
(Main Point 3)
We must confess our sins as we walk in the light (1:8-10)
Please look at verses 8-10. “ If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Walking in the light will reveal our sin. The more we walk with God, the more we see our sins, not because we sin more, but because we are closer to the God who is holy. What would happen if we did not confess our sin? If we did not confess our sin, we will not lose our salvation, but we will lose our fellowship with God. Verse 8 says if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth of God is not shaping our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Verse 10 says if we say we have not sinned, we made God a liar, and God’s word is not in us.
What will happen if we confess our sins? God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The word sins is plural. It means we need to confess a particular sin, not just sin in general. Some Christians think they do not need to confess their sins. It is not biblical. Jesus also taught us to ask God for forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer. God is faithful means God will keep His promises. We can count on Him! God is just means God demands justice for our sins, and justice has been paid by the blood of Jesus His Son! What does all unrighteousness mean? All unrighteousness means all unrighteousness!
Let me illustrate this. There is a super washing machine that is free. You don’t need to put in money in it. It is free. It can wash away the worst stain. But you need to put your dirty cloth in it. In the same manner, you do not need to pay for the forgiveness of your sins, because Jesus has paid it all. But you need to confess your sins. There is no sin that is deeper than the forgiveness of God. I like the song, Jesus has paid it all, do you? “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
When was the list time you confessed your sins to God? Last week? Last month? Last year? How frequently do you confess your sins? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly? Or never? Maybe you have slowly become arrogant as you learned more in seminary, confess your sin. God will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness! Maybe you have neglected your family when pursuing your ministry, confess your sin. God will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness! Maybe you have walked in the darkness, confess your sin. God will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness!
God the Father is saying, “My child, confess your sins to me, I will forgive the wrong you had done. Any wrong you have done. Because my Son, has paid it all! My Son, has died for you. My Son had shed His blood for you! My child, confess your sins to me.”
How do you actually confess your sins? One suggestion is you can incorporate confession into your daily routine, so you can do it daily. You can add a short confession time to your daily devotion. If you have neglected your daily devotional time with God, God is telling you today, you need to come to Him again. You need to walk with Him again. Ask the Lord to show you is there any thing you have done that have sinned against Him and ask for His forgiveness.
(Close Opening Image)
One Saturday morning, Priscilla finally took the time to call her dad. She said, “Dad, I am sorry I have not returned your calls. Will you forgive me?” “Of course, my child,” her father replied. “Why don’t you come over for a brunch?” Priscilla drives across town to spend time with her dad on that bright Saturday morning. Her dad cooked a delicious brunch for her. After brunch, they walked together in the beautiful garden near his house, just like before. She had a wonderful time of fellowship with her dad. She had renewed her fellowship with her father.
How do we renew our fellowship with God? To renew our fellowship with God, we must know God is light, we must walk in the light as God is in the light, and we must confess our sins as we walk in the light.