The Third Most Important Thing
Text: 1 John 1: 5-10
Proposition: The third most important thing is to know both the reality of God and the reality of you, to blur or distort either is to deceive ourselves.
Introduction: Last week we began the series of 1 John and we held out the truth that the things that are most important are common not unique. It’s not the owning of a house or the desire to travel or the longing to have children that is most important. Though these are good and wonderful things they fall short of what is most important. So last week we proposed the three most important things:
The First Most Important Thing… God Is Known By You.
The Second Most Important Thing…You Are Known By God.
That’s as far as we got and I promised to present to you this morning the third most important thing. Before I do that let me just summarize what realities are pushing in on our world. We have reality television shows like Survivor, Amazing Race, American Idol, and the awkward scenarios of dating rituals and bachelorettes and cop shows, all playing out as actual realities to one degree or another. We have virtual reality which is an artificially replicated reality that is becoming more and more popular for education and training and entertainment. We have artificial intelligence that can turn on lights and thermostats and drive cars and function as human interfaces. Then we have one of the more recent innovations called Augmented Reality. A company called Meta has developed one of the cheaper augmented reality headsets that lets you to do things like grab and prod 3-D imagery with your hands, conduct video calls with other Meta users, who can hand you virtual objects that you can inspect from any angle. My point is that reality is becoming a product, rather than being what it is, real. So let me suggest to you that the third most important thing is this… to know both the realness of God and the realness of you because to blur or distort either is to deceive ourselves. Have a look at 1 John 1:5-10.
III. The Third Most Important Thing…Know Both the Reality of God and You. Listen to what John writes in verse 5, “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.” Author and Pastor Ray Steadman observed that, “…what light is, on a physical plane, God is on every level of human experience. If you want to understand the character of God, then observe what light is. What light does, God does. What light accomplishes, God can accomplish in your life.” Light does essentially three things. 1. It reveals. 2. It measures. 3. It energizes. You know the first is true when you got up this morning because one of the first things you did was to flip on the light. God reveals what is, particularly what will cause you to stumble and where the safe ground is. Like light He reveals all of what is really there both physically and spiritually. But light also measures, like the way light in a laser measures eyes or the lasers on bulldozers to the right grade or by your garage door to measure if it’s clear to close. Even so God measures all things. He measures good and evil, the thoughts and intentions of your heart, your faith in Christ as it relates to what you do. He even measures the blood of Jesus Christ that the atoning work of the cross would cover everyone it was designed to cover. And then Light also energizes, we know that through grade 6 photosynthesis classes, the way that light causes plants to grow and produce oxygen. We know that the medical world uses light to destroy cancer cells and stimulate healing. Even so God energizes the lives of people, He energizes the souls of people and causes them to see reality and He invites them to agree with Him about what really is.
There is no darkness in light and there is no darkness in God. Who He is, is always light, revealing hope, measuring faith, energizing love. That’s the reality of Who God is. We could use words like holy, just, loving, merciful, true as they begin to frame the relational way we experience God. So the third most important thing for all people is to know the reality of God Who is all about you, around you through you and in you. Know the reality that the chief thing He has revealed to you is His Son Jesus Christ. The Son, the exact image of the invisible Father, has incarnated into humanity that Jesus would confront death and the very cause of death, sin. So you cannot start talking about knowing the reality of God without also coming face to face with the reality of you!
Look at how John describes the interface of you and God, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Three questions jump out at us from this statement. What does it mean to have fellowship with God? What does it mean walk in darkness? What does practice the truth mean? Fellowship, it’s the Greek word ‘koinonia’ signifying partnership, benefaction, communion. So fellowship is more than just knowing about Him, it’s the recognition that I’m connected to Him. I benefit by that connection as He reveals what I cannot see. I’m brought close to Him, I commune with Him, that’s what fellowship implies. The opposite of that is what is implied in darkness. A loss of partnership, a loss of benefaction and a loss of communion with Him. I’d say, and you’d agree, that darkness is really dark if it brings about those kinds of consequences. To walk in darkness means a steady progress in replacing God with something else. In short, to walk in darkness will always be an expression of idolatry. The thing about walking in darkness is that we can lie about it and usually the first person we lie to is ourselves. We deceive ourselves. Don’t forget this letter is addressed to Christians, so the light shines on us revealing, measuring and hopefully energizing us towards truth. So the conclusion is that when we willfully walk in the darkness we do not practice the truth. To practice is continually exercise faith that strengthens us in every area of who we are, with each other and with God.
Look what John says next 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 Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” The speed of light has been calculated as 299,792,458 meters per second, it is the fastest thing that exists. I would suggest to you that the speed of light is representative of how fast it takes God to forgive you of your sin if you but bow the knee and confess it to Him. It is the fastest form of being cleansed known to man. That’s what the blood of Jesus Christ His Son does, it moves like light revealing sin, it moves like light measuring the depths of Christ’s forgiveness purchased on the cross for you, it moves like light energizing your soul with reconciliation and restoration. It restores you, with other believers and especially with the Father. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin is a reality claim that is about Who God is and who you are. Compare for just a moment verse 8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”, with verse 10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” There is a definite parallel structure to these two statements, yet they are saying two different things. The first is calling you to agree with the fact that you have a sin nature. The second invites you to agree with the fact that you exercised that sin nature in a way that was self-serving, placing you above God. In the first statement you lie to the reality of yourself, you deceive yourself saying that you are basically good and have no sin nature. In the second statement you call God a liar, meaning you call what he reveals error, what He measures irrelevant, what He energizes unnecessary. When you deceive yourself or call God a liar the reality is that God calls out to you, calling you to turn back, to agree with Him. It’s from here that He awakens your sense of need, the need of a Savior who can do what no other can, He restores your soul. Look at 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We confess our sins, sometimes to one another but always to God. To confess essentially means to agree with God about what He knows is true or real. Our sin is real, and if we agree with God about that He is faithful, just, forgiving and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
There is more to God than your assumptions or experiences tell you. And there is more to you that just flesh and blood. Know the reality of Who God is and who you are, it’s where light comes into your life in the wonder of Christ in you.