Written and preached by David P. Nolte

1 JOHN 1:1-10

A young lady named Elizabeth decided to abandon the strict and moral guidelines by which she had been raised and by which her mother expected her to live. She was at that rebellious point in her life where she decided to go her own way, to chart her own course, to make her own decisions -- and she'd rather make wrong decisions that were her own than right ones that agreed with her mother's way of life. She got to sneaking out at night; she started lying about where she was going or had been; she made excuses for broken promises and stubbornly refused to admit that at any time she was wrong. Eventually she threw over her mother's love, her mother's protests, and her mother's God. She left home to enter a life of unmitigated sin. She became like the adulterous woman in Proverbs 30:20 "She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, 'I have done no wrong.'" there are many people in the world like that. Justifying sin by human rationale; defending a Godless lifestyle by human wisdom; continuing in denial of culpability, wrongdoing or sin and saying, "I've done no wrong! I haven't sinned!" In so doing, they are not walking with God. But if we'd walk with God, if we'd walk in the light as He is light, a higher standard is required of us. What does it mean to walk in light?

    1. In the text, John lists three things people say which are not the truth:
      1. Some say they have fellowship with God, but walk in darkness, that is, wilful sin. Jesus characterized these folk in John 3:19, 20 where we read: "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."
      2. Some say they have no sin. There were then, and are now, those misguided people who think that once you are saved you are beyond temptation and you cannot sin again.
      3. Some say they have never sinned, now or in time past. Either they are saying that whatever they did was justified, or they deny the concept of sin altogether. This flies in the face of Paul's assertion: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23 (NASB).
    2. But walking in light means living in truth and that includes being honest about our sins. Being honest about our sins has certain ramifications:
      1. Taking responsibility for our own actions. Not blaming anyone else, not making excuses, not shirking the onus of accountability.
      2. Agreeing with God that any sin, all sin, my sin is reprehensible, indefensible and inexcusable.
      3. Candidly acknowledging that we have sinned, rebelled, erred, fallen short and gone our own wilful way, contrary to God's way.
      4. Decisively, resolutely, stubbornly shunning sin, turning from it, repenting of it, and forsaking it.
    3. Walking in light is living in truth. Truth is more than academic; truth is practical; it is a way of life. Truth is functioning by God's standard of honor, honesty, integrity, sincerity, forthrightness and guilelessness. John wrote in his third letter: "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." 3 John 4 (NASB).
    4. However gentle, mild and kind Jesus may be, one thing at which He struck with severity was the untruth in the lives of the religious leaders: the Pharisees and Sadducees of His day. Their sham piety, their hypocrisy, their pretense, their posturing, their deceit galled Him. Claiming to be religious, they were spiritually darkened because they did not live in truth.
    5. So, if we refuse to, or carelessly fail to, live by the truth we are living in darkness.
Elizabeth lived in darkness and she left home with a vow never to return. She wanted nothing to do with the God of her mother or the Christian life her mother lived. There was no contact for 10 years. Fellowship was severed. That's what happens between the wilful sinner and the holy God. The Bible says that our sins have made a separation between us and God. When we are living in sin, fellowship with Him is broken. If we continue to live in sin, salvation is forfeit. But it is God's full intention to restore that broken relationship, to reconcile us to Himself and to bridge the gap so we can live in fellowship with Him for time and eternity. For personal fellowship with God we must walk in the light.
    1. Fellowship has a deep, interpersonal meaning. It is much more than just knowing someone; it is more than just having a casual friendship. Real fellowship is:
      1. Intimate companionship, comradeship, open rapport, heart to heart, spirit to spirit, life to life sharing.
      2. Partnership, alliance, and being in league with someone.
      3. Kinship, affinity, friendship and being family in the deepest sense.
      4. Having common goals, aims, and values and purposes.
    2. Walking in light means being in that kind of fellowship with God! Pause to reflect: it is a wonder! The transcendent God of creation desires that kind of intimacy, sharing, friendship and fellowship with us, His creatures.
      1. No wonder the Psalmist cried out: "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor." Psalms 8:3-5 (NIV).
      2. Jesus cried out to Jerusalem: :"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." Matthew 23:37 (NIV).
      3. Paul reminds us that it is God who instigated this fellowship! He wrote: "God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (NIV).
      4. James indicates the willingness of God to have fellowship, saying, "Come near to God and He will come near to you." James 4:8 (NIV).
    3. God is transcendent, that is "beyond the ordinary range of human experience!" But He is also imminent, that is: "Close at hand and involved with us!" Now,
      1. to the Deist, God was totally uninvolved and disinterested.
      2. To the Greek philosopher, God was apathetic.
      3. To the Jews He was Formidable.
      4. To the agnostic, He seems unknowable.
      5. To the atheist, He seems non-existent.
      6. To the cultist, He is whatever they fabricate.
      7. To the Christian, however, He is creator, sustainer, Savior, Lord, Father - knowable, approachable, inviting, available, and caring!
    4. So, if God wants fellowship with us, and walking in light is being in personal fellowship with God, what will that mean in our lives?
      1. It means taking time to speak with Him, perhaps a sentence at a time, many times through the day.
      2. It means developing an awareness of His interest in us and His presence with us in our joys and our sorrows.
      3. It means trusting His guidance and His protection when the way is uncertain before us.
      4. It means simply focusing our attention on Him even if we can't find the words to express what's in our heart.
      5. It means taking God into account in all our decisions and choices and goals and aligning our lives with His will.
      6. It means sharing our lives with God and having in common with Him the same attitudes, feelings, and yearnings. It's having our hearts broken by what breaks His heart, being pleased by what pleases Him, and cherishing what He cherishes.
    5. Well, how is your fellowship with God? That's crucial because your fellowship with God is no more nor less than your fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ. He who is in fellowship with the Son is in fellowship with the Father; he who has no relationship to the Son is a stranger to the Father as well.
Elizabeth had become a stranger to her mother. But this ever-loving mother kept a light burning in the window. One night there was a knock on the door and a woman stood there in the rain. When invited in to warm herself by the fire, she asked, "why do you have a light in your window?" The mother replied, "I have kept that light burning continually for 10 years in the hope my darling Lizzie would see it and want to come home." The woman spoke as she removed the hood of her coat, "Mother, I have come home. Will you really take me back?" As the overjoyed mother enfolded the tired woman in her arms, her answer was clear. The arms of God ache to hold you if you are separated from Him. The heart of God yearns to welcome you if you are alienated. The question, "Will you really take me back?" is answered on Calvary. With outstretched arms Jesus shows the enormity of God's love for the lost. God loves you. This morning there's a light in His window. He is waiting. He is yearning. He is longing. He wants you to come home.

Story From Walter B. Knight

Return To Sermons On Walking With God

Return To Archive

Return To Home Page