IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS
1. John in this Epistle (The word "epistle" means a "letter") is revealing the criteria one must have in order to be in fellowship which God.
Only a saved, born-again Christian can be in fellowship with the Lord.However this fellowship can be broken. If a believer is in sin then he is out of fellowship with the Lord and as stated in verse 1:6, and is referred to as "walking in darkness." Walking in darkness simply means walking where God is not! It refers to living without God's direction, communion, and blessings letting one's self be controlled by one's own selfish desires, lusts, and pleasure.
This does not mean that the Christian has lost his salvation, but rather has lost his personal communion with God and the blessings of that relationship . The relationship with God begins when one believes and receives Jesus Christ as his Savior and is an eternal relationship. Once one becomes a child of God the relationship with God is established. A believer cannot lose his relationship with God as a child of God but he can get our of fellowship with the Lord.
If a person professes to know God, and in truly is saved there will be evidences of his relationship with God that can be seen in his life.
A believer in fellowship with the Lord walks in LIGHT, or were God is and lives as God directs.
Its is really somewhat cut and dry.
ILLUS: Years ago, there was a man that was called the Great Impersonator. He once identified himself as a Canadian Military Officer and many other professions including a medical doctor. In most of his impersonations he did such a good job that people believed he was actually what he was only impersonating. He for a while impersonated a doctor he actually saved lives. However, the truth was he was not a doctor and when the authorities began to detect problems and began to investigate him, he would suddenly disappear and begin a new impersonation somewhere else.
There is a great deal of confusion today as to what is true and what is false!
Many churches which call themselves Christian churches have doctrines that are blatantly contradictory to the teachings of the Bible. Each claims to be following the Bible and proclaims they are right. It is clear that when churches are teaching that are contrary to one another both cannot be true. Many people ask the question...how can you know!?
2. The answer is to turn to the Bible which is literally God's Word to man!
It has stood the test of time even though for centuries some have tried to destroy it even burning Bibles in mass, yet God's word the Bible remains.
It is interesting that no one questions the Odyssey-Iliad, written by Homer, which is said to date from the 9th Century BC. Yet, the first complete extant manuscript dates from the 13th Century AD. Yet many try to destroy the credibility to the "Bible"and say it cannot be trusted because it is a least 1900 years old. Yet today, almost 6000 manuscripts of the New Testament exist, over 10,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts and 9300 other early translations. Further there are 24,000 manuscripts which contain portions of the New Testament.
Most people have never heard of the 4000 lectionaries which were the sermons of the pastors of the churches who followed the Apostles. These men are referred to as the "Church Fathers" and their writings contain enough Scripture quotes that most of the New Testament could be reconstructed if all the New Testament manuscripts were lost. Further their quotes help authenticate doctrine and teachings of their day.
Contrary to the claims of the deceives and uninformed, there is no question of the authenticity of the Bible. There never has been with those who study the matter. That we cannot trust that God has preserved His word unto our day, is a lie coming from the Devil that is intended to cast a shadow over the credibility of the Word of God. Those that question the Bible is real and true are the uninformed, liberals, unsaved and unbelievers who mostly deny the deity of Jesus Christ, the miracles, and the inspiration of the Scriptures.
The manuscripts agree with each other in over 98% of the time and where it disagrees, which are called variant readings, it only involves spelling and punctuation. It is interesting that no doctrine is affected by any variant reading.
Folks no real honest scholar would say the Bible is not authentic, and preserved down through these 2000 years.
3. Bottom line is this: The Bible is clearly God's preserved Word. It can be trusted. If you deny the Bible is the very word of God...then where do you go for truth? What teacher do you trust to know the mind of God and tell you correctly what is God's word? If you deny the Bible you are left with only the word of man and can you trust a man who is a sinner just like you are and commit your eternal destiny and soul into his hands!?
If you want to know what God says about the matter then, read and study the Bible as we are doing in this Epistle of I John, because that is why God had him write it.
GOD WANTS THROUGH THIS EPISTLE TO SHOW US HOW CAN WE BE ASSURED THAT WE ARE IN FELLOWSHIP WITH THE LORD?
I. GOD SAYS BY CONFESSING OUR SINS. V8-10.
A. The Bible in both the Old and New Testament has a great deal to say about confession of sin.
1. Genesis 41:9 The butler, who was in prison with Joseph, told Pharaoh, I remember my faults this day. He told Pharaoh, about Joseph interpreting the dream he had.
2. Genesis 44:16, Judah, standing before Joseph his brother whom he had helped sell into slavery confessed, "what shall we say unto my Lord, What shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out our iniquity."
3. Exodus. 9:27 and 10:16 Even Pharaoh, in trying to get the plagues lifted, began by saying "I have sinned against the Lord."
4. In 1 Samuel 15:24, Saul confessed to Samuel, "I have sinned."
5. In 2 Samuel 12:13, David confessed to Nathan "I have sinned against the Lord."In 2 Sam 24:10, David confessed he had greatly sinned in numbering Israel. In at least 6 other times the Bible records David confessed his sin. That is one reason God said that David was a man after His own heart.
6. In Isaiah, Isaiah 6:5, when Isaiah saw God he saw himself as the sinner he was and cried unto the Lord, "Woe is me, For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips."
7. Daniel 9:20...Daniel, a man of prayer who loved God and who lived close to the Lord, and whom the Bible says nothing of in a negative manner being a righteous and godly man, yet he confessed his sins in daily prayer.
8. Judas, confessed his sin too late in Matthew 27:4 after betraying the Lord Jesus Christ.
9. Peter on being rebuked by Christ, cried "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man."
10. The Publican, in Luke 18:13, who Jesus said went away justified, prayed, and smote his breast, saying God be merciful to me a sinner.
11. Paul addressing young Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15 said, "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the World to save sinners, among whom I am foremost.12. Saved men who believed in God have always sinned against God and godly men who really loved the Lord confessed their sins in repentance.
B. Today it is not popular to call someone a sinner who is living apart from God. I recently had a man who professed to be a devout Christian, leave our church because he said he did not like to hear that men are sinners. He then went to a liberal Protestant church who voted to ordain homosexuals as ministers. Yes, there for sure he would not be reminded of the fact that man is a sinner and even Christians sin and need to confess their sins.
1. The Bible is accused of presenting an antiquated and narrow, view of morality, which is out of step with modern times. Self-esteem is the rule of the day. No matter what I do I should feel good about myself. The men in the Bible saw the reality of their sinfulness before God and confessed it openly admitting their fault. Nothing has changed the need that man has to confess his sins and be restored to fellowship with the Savior.
a. Psychologists say sin is the result of things that happened to you before and after you were born and you are not responsible what you do.
ILLUS: My sister, whom I deeply loved, died of cancer at 46 years old. For a number of years prior to her death she was regularly seeing a psychologist. She called me and began asking me all sorts of question about her childhood and things that supposedly had happened to her. It was very clear her counselor was blaming all her present problems on her past. The problem was my sister had been raised in a Christian home and taught Biblical values...but my sister had rebelled against them. Sadly, that was her problem. She refused to admit her sin or to take responsibility for it and it was destroying her life. The psychologist was telling her what she wanted to hear...it was not her fault. Yet it was her fault. Thank God before she died she got things right with the Lord and we saw the a tremendous change in her life. She died at peace with the Lord. Yet, for many years unconfessed sin destroyed her life. What a tragedy that she wasted most of her life, when if she had confessed her sin God would take it away and cleanse her.
b. Many say quilt is the negative result of being taught something right and wrong. They conclude therefore that we should not teach things are right or wrong. The child who is asked what is one and one and gives the answer three is told that he is giving a good answer and if he wants it to be three then that is OK. What a foolish people we have become.
One group which lives this philosophy is the movement advocates sex which children. Right or wrong is only in the mind of the person and it is only a hold over from cave-man days.
c. Yet, psychologists are in a booming business! They do not lack for customers. Interestingly there is now even a growing number of animals psychologists. I think they are just beginning to find their true clients! It is certainly not for God's creation man. Their council comes straight out of the cunning mind of the Devil himself. It is the Devil's substitute for biblical council. God biblical counseling frees man of sin, of guilt and brings peace to the trouble heart. Please understand that I am not talking about mental problems that psychologists deal with that come from physical problems. Some mental problems come from medical conditions. What I am talking about is those problems that come from sin.
What true peace there is in knowing we have a loving God and Savior who cares for us and is ever there to forgive comfort, lift up and have a personal relationship with us. I strongly disagree with the philosophy of the AAA. I have watched their meetings in which at man or woman who was fighting alcoholism would stand up and say "My name is Sam, I am an alcoholic." But compare that with what God says....He said "You are forgiven, a changed born again child of God." God can take was the alcoholism completely. I have known over the years so many who suffered from alcoholism who were totally and absolutely cured! No longer alcoholics, these saved born again children of God, do not have to declare themselves as alcoholics, because God has cured them.
d. It is also popular today to refuse to believe in a judgment, and hell. People will accept heaven but refuse to believe that God is a just God and that all men will given an account of their deed before Him. (Rom. 14:11, Phil. 2:10, Heb. 9:27) Even church members ignore it and are sometimes offend by preaching they label "hell fire and brim stone" preaching.
But it is a part of human nature to try and hide our sin...even the youngest child will lie to in order cover up some wrong doing. Yes, adults too lie to others and themselves in order to cover up their sins.
2. In Malachi the Bible gives us some really good examples of men trying to hide or lie about sin.
a. In Malachi 2:1-4, the Bible records that the Israelites were not admitting their sin, and God said he would judge them for it.
b. In Malachi 1:6, When told that God regarded them as despising His name. The responded ...."when have we none that!?" In Malachi 2:11-12 God said they had begun to worship idols and allow their daughters and sons to marry the heathen., yet in Verse 14 again they replied, "Yet, ye say, wherefore" meaning they said, "when did we do that"?
Yet they fully knew what they were doing. Even in the face of God they would not admit sin and they suffered greatly under the burden their sin brought.
c. In Malachi 3:8-9, they refused to give God His tithes and taxes to support the government and the work of the Lord. When God confronted them and accused of robbing Him said, in denial they replied, "Hey when did we do that?" They fully knew they were shorting the tithe, and not giving the best to the Lord, but instead were giving sick, deformed, and corrupt offerings.
The same thing is present in every church in this country. Professing believers come Sunday after Sunday, putting a mere penance in the offering, refusing to title and give offering unto the Lord and they think they are OK in God's sight. The fact is they are walking in darkness......where God is not! They are walking in plain disobedience to God and they put it out of their minds and convince themselves they cannot tithe or it is not necessary. I challenge anyone to find in the Old Testament where God allowed anyone to come before Him in worship and without bring his tithe and offerings. Good luck on your study....I hope you learn something. You cannot worship God and not bring a thanksgiving offering to Him. True worship is being grateful to God.
d. Malachi 4:1 says, "For, behold the day cometh, that shall burn like an oven, and all the proud, yea and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble. That is a frightening statement.
Ignore it or not God says "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). For the believer it means being outside the blessings and peace that God gives. There are many Christians who experiencing the "wages" of their sins, because they refuse to confess to God they are sinning against Him.
C. Note 1 John 1:8 This verse says all have and do sin!
Yet, God is love and He has made provision for us in that when we sin He will forgive us if we simply confess it and in admitting it, ask for forgiveness. All you have to do is humble yourself before your loving God and Creator and ask him to forgive you.
What happens if we are trying to overcome sin and we fail? God zaps us, right? NO! He forgives and helps us to overcome the same sin again and again until we overcome it.
1. It does not mean we go through some ritual, or do some type of penance! How foolish and ignorant of the Word of God is the Roman Catholic who confesses to sinful priest who represents an apostate church and is told to do "Hail Mary's" or some penance to merit or earn God's forgiveness and help in overcoming sin. There is no more pagan and unbiblical religion on the earth today than Roman Catholicism.
We ask God in sincerity to forgive us, because we know what we did was sin and harmful and we want to overcome it!
2. To confess means: To say the same thing. It mean to admit sin.
3. God loves us and knows that we have a sinful nature....He knows our failures and wants to forgive and helps us overcome them.
4. Dear friend, do you realize that the sin you commit this day had to be paid for on the old rugged Cross, by the Lord Jesus Christ. Your sin today caused Him suffering 2000 years ago as He agonized on the cross under the punishment for your sin. How calloused we are today....to blatantly sin with no regard for the suffering it caused the Savior.
5. Please also do not dismiss your sin and say you could not help it...poor pitiful sinner you are. Well, you do not get away with that excuse. The black comedian Flip Wilson was famous for saying "The Devil made me do it." But listen to what God says:
1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
In simple terms it means that you willingly with full knowledge of what you are doing choose to sin. You have no excuse!
II. THE DECLARATION: 1 John 1:5 - God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
A. A true believer when saved will then be forever in fellowship with Christ. He cannot be separated from God.
1. This is the key foundation of distinguishing a false Christian from a true one.
ILLUS: I heard a man call in to a "Christian" TV talk show. He was asked by the show's host if he knows Christ as his Savior?" Oh, yes the man replied, "I have a deep abiding relationship with God." He then continues, "My problem is at I'm really hooked on drugs,coke and etc. For three years I have been on and off." The host of the calling in show ask him how did he support his habit, (the caller was silent!), The host then asked him if he stole to get the money?, he answered, "I'd rather not say!" You see the problem...this man seemed to believe that being a thief and a drug addict had not bearing on his relationship with the Lord. I do not know if they man was saved or not, but one thing was sure...he was not confessing his sins and he was therefore getting no help from God.
In another interview an the inmate who is in jail for his conviction explained to the pastor host that he was a Christian. He said he has been a "spirit filled" Christian for 12 years. During his time as a "spirit filled" Christian he was convicted of stealing, assault and sentenced to jail four times. What he really meant was that he was a tongues speaker and some lying preacher and church misrepresented what being "spirit filled" meant. He in glowing terms told how he was going to get out and be a good husband to his "third" wife!
Now comes the profound message of this passage. Listen carefully:
The Bible says, if you say or profess to be in fellowship with the Lord and walk in darkness you are a liar!. I actually had a woman tell me she left our church because I used the word "liar" when preaching. I actually was preaching this very message. She said we shouldn't call anyone a liar. Well, God calls the devil and men liars who do not tell the truth. Do you see her denial of sin in her objection to using the word liar.
There are a lot of "professing" Christians who are lost in their sins and do not know the Lord. They are the pretenders and hypocrites, who claim to be believers and yet by their lives show they do not believe....they deny every truth of the Word of God. They will often give it lip service, often say noble things about Christ, God and the Bible....but their lives are lived apart of any true knowledge of God. God says they are liars. But who are they lying too? Sadly, to those around them and the greatest tragedy is they are lying to THEMSELVES!
2. Verse 8, says we all sin, but the person who confesses it is the ONLY one who is forgiven. Do you see that. It is the true child of God that has the Light of God in his heart and who will hate sin and will confess it to God.
a. God cannot forgive, or help one overcome sin when the person refuses to admit is there.
b. God wants us free from sin and stand ready to forgive,however, we must admit it.
B. The Publican of Luke 18 admitted to being the sinner he was and cried unto God, "Be merciful to me a sinner." He was not a liar and God heard His prayer and will hear ours too.
1. God's not asking us to accept a new philosophy or some higher moral value system. He is not saying we are to seek some new "encounter with God."
He's asking us to...confess that, Yes, we are sinners and if a person does that, he sees how important it is to be forgiven.
Then he pleas to God, "Please forgive me! Oh, God help me to overcome my sin."
2. And God does, instantly and completely, the sin is described as God putting it behind him, or in the deepest valley of the ocean. NEVER, to be remembered, no judgment, no guilt and free...free at last....
My friend where are you with God this morning?
In fellowship, walking in the Light, confessing your sins, seeking God's help to be free of sin and it destructive influences. Free to be in close fellowship with the Lord and having the peace and satisfaction of knowing God is pleased with you.
Or, maybe out of fellowship, saved but you have let the world take you in and you have left that sweet place of fellowship with the Lord. You have justified your sin and ignored it. I do not need tell you what to do. God said it clearly in 1 John 1:9.
Then, there might be those here who profess the Lord, but you know deep down you do not know Him as your Lord and Savior. You never repented of your sins. You might be hoping that when judgment day comes God will over look you sin. My friend. God will not overlook your sin, it must be dealt with and you will either humble yourself and beg God to save you, or die in your sins to spend all eternity in fires of Hell.
Oh, dear friends. Lets get the matter settled now. Why wait? Get your heart right with God this morning. Step into the blessing of the wonderful Light that God gives.