Sermon – Are You Afraid of the Light? (1 John 1:1 – 1:10) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
Plan your visit



Are You Afraid of the Light? series thumbnail
Sermons in series

Show all Down arrow 75 sermons

Spotify logo Apple logo Google logo

Sermon 24 of 75

Are You Afraid of the Light?

Graham Sayer, 1 John 1:1 - 1:10, 22 December 2019

Graham looks at the aspects of Christian fellowship described in 1 John 1:1-10.

1 John 1:1 - 1:10

1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—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. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

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. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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. 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. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Alright. Let's pray. Father in heaven, we are in the dark without you. Please, will you shine your light into our hearts, into our minds, give us the illumination that only you can give so that we see the light, your light, you, for who you are, We see ourselves for who we are, and we see your amazing love and grace and mercy. And we can be transformed by your spirit.

Please do these things in us and for us, we pray in Jesus' name. Oh, man. Well, what's your biggest fear? We've all got fears. What's your biggest fear?

I come from a land of big fears, Australia, arachnophobia? Is that your biggest fear? Okay? Aeroophobia, fear of flying. So arachnophobia is fear of spiders.

Yep. No one's got a fear of spiders. Okay? Cool. I'm looking for a bit of engagement here.

Aerophobia, fear of flying, okay, acrophobia, think acrobat, fear of heights, Maybe some. Yeah. Okay. Clostrophobia, small spaces. Some of you or videophobia, snakes.

Oh, you haven't got snakes really, have you? And what about this 1? Scotophobia. Do you know what Scotophobia is? Fear of the Scottish, you'd love it to be that, but it's not.

It's a fear of the dark. That's something particularly younger ones will struggle with. A big fear of the dark. Now, look, I want to put it straight out there this morning that actually none of those things are your biggest fear. The biggest fear that you have is actually this photophobia, which isn't a fear of pictures, although some of you have very big fears of pictures being taken.

It's a fear of light. It's the fear of light What we might like to think that fear of the dark might be a more common thing to be, afraid of, you know, the dark concerns hiddenness things could happen that might be threatening bad things could happen to me horror movies and so on feature on these things, major on these things. Anything could happen to me. I won't see it coming. I won't be able to react to it.

I feel scared of that, of the uncertainty. That's fear of the God. Could be scary. But fear of the light will beat that every time because the very thing that for some makes darkness, fearful is also what makes darkness attractive when you think about it in a certain way. And that's true for all of us.

John helps us to see that. Particularly in this letter, but also in the gospel that he wrote, back in chapter 3 of John's gospel. We read this after, you know, putting an argument together. This is the verdict, John 3 verse 19. Here's the verdict.

Light has come into this world. That's the Christmas y bit, by the way. Done that. Light has come into the world. It's the only Christmas y bit you'll get here.

Now light has come into the world but people loved darkness because their deeds were evil. People loved darkness instead of the light. Their deeds were evil. I don't even really need to argue hard for that, do I? Anyone got something to hide?

I know I have. And now I've just mentioned it, you're all thinking of it right now. At least 1 thing I'd imagine. But more than just diagnosing this problem, he presents. John presents to us in God's word here, the cure for it, or at least the way forward so that not only can we begin to overcome it crippling enslavement, and it is a crippling enslavement.

But our lives can change for the better in all sorts of ways. Today. They can. There's hope. And no area of our lives is bigger than the area of relation ships.

And no area of impact is bigger than the impact that this preference that All people have for darkness and fear of the light. No bigger area of impact than our relationships either. Both in the eyes of other people, as we think about the light shining on us, What do they see? What do we feel to be most crucial? It's often how other people see us, isn't it?

We feel that to be most crucial, but actually in the eyes of god is the most crucial level of thought And John uses a particular term for relationship. We read it in this passage. It's there in verses 3 and 4. Have a look at those verses. We proclaim to you what we've seen and heard so that you also may have, here it is fellowship with us.

And our fellowship, same word again, is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. 2 dimensions of this idea of fellowship. There's the this between people, us horizontal, if you like, And, yeah, so fellowship with people and then fellowship with god. Vertical.

Both are intimately related, fellowship with god and with Jesus. So let's think about this a bit more wants to think about the foundation of this fellowship here, the foundation of Christian fellowship in our first point. Because this fellowship, word, an idea describes a kind of relationship, but not any old kind of relationship. The word contains a number of different sort of ideas that help us understand what it's really getting at and what it's really expressing the idea of shared activity of participation in a common cause, partnership as in a business enterprise. Think Tolkien is a well worn illustration, but it's good because it sort of gets to what it is, the fellowship of the ring, first part of the lord of the rings.

A bigger cause brings a disparate group of people together with all of their gifts and all of their shortcomings, and they're all brought into this mix of this massive cause, the, well, it's the salvation of the entire world, isn't it? It's the idea of being on the same page. And even though people are so different, trust grows even despite shortcomings and failures. And this word fellowship describes the relationship between god's people, fellowship with us, and between god and his people. John puts it fellowship with the father and with his son.

So that's the fellowship, but what brings it about? Well, first 1, it's all there. It's that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we've seen with our eyes, which we've looked at, and our hands have touched this we proclaim concerning the word of life. The life appeared. We've seen it and testify to it.

And we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the father and has appeared to us. And the fellowship springs from that, from what? What's from Jesus, isn't it? Jesus brings this fellowship about, this kind of relationship, the specific thing that John is talking about. Well, more specifically, actually, it's the message about Jesus that brings this fellowship about who he is, what he came to do, and how you and I need to respond.

It is the message, the word of eternal life that creates this fellowship. It's all about Jesus. And John says of himself and his fellow disciples, our fellowship, our partnership Our trusted shared relationship in the cause is with god, the father, and with his son, Jesus Christ in verse 3. And through John proclaiming that message and that word, he says, that fellowship is possible between us. We proclaim to you what we've seen and heard that you also may have fellowship with us.

And our fellowship is with the father and with his son, Jesus Christ. And then he goes on to say, this is also intensely desirable. Don't miss that verse 4. We write this to make our joy complete. And when we read that, it might just jolt us to think we might need to actually upgrade our idea of what fellowship is.

Don't you think? What we understand by fellowship? So of course, it is going to be nice to have a cup of tea or coffee after but I'm not sure just doing that is going to complete my joy or yours. It might. And so it's far more than just small interaction It's not less than that.

That's part of it, but it's not just that, a time of fellowship and so on. It's about this cause that we've been brought into. Then that's why we're here. We're together in this and we then go out to be together in that The foundation of true fellowship is the message about Jesus the gospel. It brings people together with god and it brings god's people together into god's majestic cause in this world.

Just to save people, to win them for Jesus. So there's these 2 dimensions in view, of fellowship with god and fellowship with 1 another. Let's look at each of those in turn. So our second point, really, I wanna say is this, the miracle of fellowship with god. It's what we have here.

And here's where we get to the light. It describes god. There it is verse 5. It's a bold statement. God is light.

You get that? Well, if you didn't, in him, there is no darkness at all. It's a astonishing statement. It's not even a metaphor. It's not god is like light.

It's it's actually saying he is light The brightest light, nothing exists within him to cast a shadow. There's no hidden recesses in him. Pure, intense, holy light. Now, I don't know what the brightest light that you've ever experienced is. You can tell me about it after in our time of fellowship, the beginning of our time of fellowship.

For me, it was when I lived in Kingston. But it really was just down the road. As far as I can tell, I nearly got struck by lightning, I was walking to Hook evangelical Church down the very dark and dim brook road, which it's on, there's a storm in progress and suddenly an explosion. I mean, that's how thunder sounds when it is right above your head. And instantaneously with that, this isn't my conversion story, by the way.

Instantaneously, with that, the most blinding light I've ever experienced, such that I'm walking along, I can see the pavement and the fence and the parked cars, there is some light down book road, but suddenly all of that just was whited out by this blinding flash accompanied with this enormous explosion. When god is that sort of light, I think our response would be similar to mine in that storm. I was a bit shaken. That's what I was. And it should shake us to know that god is that sort of light.

John 3 again, this is the verdict. Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. It's a scary intensity to who god is and it it exacts a response, a natural response from people like us. Now most of us have done this. We've grabbed a rock or a log, and we've lifted it from its position.

By the way, If you do that in Australia, most of your phobias will be underneath it. So be warned. But what do you see when you lift the log or you lift the rock? Light floods in to an otherwise dark spot. And all of these creatures is like, off they go.

They're exposed They're scurrying for the safety of the darkness. Again, they're trying to get away from this light because it's well presumably on trying to think for them here, but it's not safe. There's a reason why they were under the rock in the first place. They don't feel secure. We any different?

Are we any different from that, really? Don't we love the darkness? At least when it hides the things that we want to remain hidden. We do love the darkness really, don't we, if we're honest, for that reason? But here's the thing.

God is light. John says to us. And in him, there is no darkness at all. And so he's saying something here about, well, a number of things, but certainly his holiness, his purity that that blazes in such a way that anything that is impure is instantly identifiable. There's no gray areas.

With god's light. I think it also means that nothing is dark to god either. His light searches out everything gets in to all those places that otherwise you wouldn't be able to see. There's no dark cracks, no hidden crevices, no niches, that he cannot, his light cannot penetrate to. And the reality is in that sort of light and with that idea of who god is and what he's like, the reality is there are no rocks for us to hide under when it comes to who god is and what his light is like.

That doesn't stop us trying though, does it? We we try and scurry away under the rock of pretense verse 6. Have a look at verse 6. Here's pretense. If we claim to have fellowship with him, with god, with god and Jesus, and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

Might be self righteousness of some sort, claiming I'm good enough. I'm doing okay in my own eyes. I want you to think I'm doing okay even. I put the pretense out there, but actually the reality is very, very different, hiding everything away. We can hide under a rock of denial.

Can try and do that? Verse 8, if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. So what we actually do with this is we redefine what sin is so that it is not what we have done And it's certainly not what god says it is. So we redefine it so that it's not what we're doing. Or we can hide under a rock of rebellions straight out.

If we claim verse 10, we have not sinned. We make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. That's a further step of the previous 1. Actually, god is the liar he's in the dark and I'm in the light. You see what we've done there?

We flipped the whole thing. That's the nature of sin, though, isn't it? Twist perverting so that it would seem even to redefine darkness as light and god's light as darkness. But you know what? God sees through it all because he is light.

God is light and walking in that light equals fellowship with god, which is scary. Why is it scary because his light shows all my darkness, all of my darkness, and all of your darkness too, which is a problem, right? That feels like a problem and there's a reason it feels like a problem is because that is actually a problem. That seems to be the qualification. When we're talking about god who is holy, that seems to be the precise qualification of no relationship with god, doesn't it?

God is light and I'm full of darkness. And so what hope is there for us? Well, the only hope is it's gotta be a miracle of some kind. And that's what we're gonna see. It is a miracle.

Contrary to our fear, it doesn't involve turning the light off. Court in the spotlight, the glare. All of my stuff on show before god the answer, the hope the miracle does not involve turning the light off. And we'll begin to see that as we look at the other dimension of fellowship 0.3 challenge of fellowship with 1 another. We'll see the miracle worked out as we look at fellowship with 1 another.

The challenge of fellowship with 1 another. Verse 6, if we claim to have fellowship With him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth, but if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with 1 another, and the blood of Jesus, his son purifies us. From all sin. So for John writing this, walking in the light, equals fellowship with god. So you can't walk with god are you walking in the light and walk in the darkness?

That's what he's saying. It's simple, really. And yet you can because you might look like you have fellowship with god, but you actually don't. It's the only way you can do it. It it it it just can't happen in reality.

You can't have fellowship with god and walk in the dark. But look at what he says in verse 7. If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with 1 another. Do you see what that's now saying? Connected to fellowship with god in verse 6.

In verse 7, if you and I are walking in the light, as god is in the light, we actually have fellowship with 1 another, which is very counterintuitive We're walking along. The light is on us showing us all our darkness and yet we have fellowship with 1 another. It says do the thing you really don't want to do, which is come into the light. And when you do that, Felloworship is possible. It sounds hard.

But it does make sense. Why does it make sense? Because in god's light, in the light of god. This fellowship is firstly a fellowship of failure, isn't it? It's a fellowship of failure.

We're all failures. We're not as bad as we could be, perhaps, but we're almost certainly worse than we think we are, even in our own sight. Let alone other peoples. And certainly in god's. Understanding that reality leads not or shouldn't lead to her, anyway, holier than their sort of perspective.

As we tend to do, we look around and see who's below us in our own thinking, and we'll focus on them. And we can start to think, oh, well, I'm not as bad as they are. So I'm actually doing alright. But it shouldn't lead to that. This sort of judgmentalism and looking down on those around us.

I think that's what we fear with coming into the light with people knowing something about me. With making myself vulnerable. That's what we fear and rightly so, sadly. We've gotta be careful how we work this out. But it shouldn't lead to that.

What it should lead to is this, humility before god. Humanity as we walk in the light. I'm no more sorted than you are. I don't really even know most of you, but I could actually say that. It's important that I understand that, and it's actually important that you understand that too.

This isn't a message coming to you from through someone who thinks they're better than you are. It's absolutely not the case. It's coming from someone who needs this, who's in the dark, and who needs the light. That's how it's coming to you. And so if we walk in the light, the increasingly holy person is the increasingly humble person.

Do you understand that? Yes. They may be succeeding in some areas of their struggle against sin by god's grace. But they are increasingly aware every single day of the size of the struggle. Aren't they?

Increasingly aware of the areas of their life they hadn't even thought about, but they can suddenly see because god's light shines in and exposes another area where the struggle begins now. That doesn't make you triumphalistic, makes you humble and more in need and more desirous of god and his grace. That's why in verse 9, We read about confession. Let's have a look at verse 9 there. If we confess our sins He's faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness We don't confess once when we become a Christian and then just jump on justification.

I've sinned. It's alright. I'm justified. No. We're missing some steps there.

Justiceification's great. Do you not hear me say that it is not great and central? But god's light shines on us exposes us. And John tells us that confession is a thing because what does confession do? It shows us what speaks of a reality that we've come to know.

I have something to confess. And that then leads to repentance, which is the step we can often miss by just going straight to justification, stopping, turning around heading back god's way. We only get to do that because we are justified. We're declared right in Christ. But when it comes to walking in the light, confession, repentance, Those are aspects, essential aspects of our fellowship.

So walking in the light leads to a fellowship of failure, but it doesn't stop there. Does it thank god? It leads to a fellowship of the gospel. That's where failure takes us to the gospel. Verse 7, We walk in the light of cities in the light we have fellowship.

We're all clearly sinners. We're all in the same boat. We all have sinned and fell short of the glory of god. And then In our shared need, we read what we need most of all, and the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin. Together in our fellowship of failure, We lay hold of the only thing that can help us.

It's the gospel, it's the good news, it's the blood of Jesus. And what that shines into our lives is the light of hope, doesn't it? For god, whose light searches everyone in every way, missing nothing exposing all our darkness has now made it possible through Jesus for us to have fellowship. With him, and therefore, to have fellowship with each other. And so we're not ending up displaying some hopeless attempt at becoming morally perfect.

That's not what the Christian lied about. To do that even before a watching world. They already think that we should be good. The world already thinks that that's what we should be, but the reality is we're all in the same boat. And what we need is the gospel.

Instead, we're walking humbly before god and walking humbly with each other, living and showing what it means, and what it does that Jesus shed his blood for each 1 of us. Guys, this is what the world needs to see. They'll always take potshots. This secular world needs to see the gospel in action. Needs to see hope and light from people who are in the same boat as them.

We're all in the same boat. Needs to see the gospel being worked out. Yes. God is light. That's a scary thought.

But we don't have to fear walking in his light because the blood of Jesus Christ god's son has purified us from all sin. When I was at uni, the pastor in the church, that I went to He had a funny way of speaking. When something was really important, he would go like this. Sort of approaching saying it, and then he'd come out with it. So he always knew it was important.

In communion. And I this the reason I chose this sermon to to speak on is because it didn't need much changing, for a start because Pete gave me late notice. But it's for a lord's supper. You see how important this is for the lord's supper and thinking about what it means to be the body of Christ and the church and fellowship with god and fellowship with 1 another. How you can't separate those things.

Well, he always used to emphasize, and I'll do it his way. This verse. The blood of Jesus Christ god's son cleanses us from. All sin. And that's just stayed with me in ever since.

All sin. God is light. He exposes our darkness. But he purifies us through the lord Jesus Christ. It is scary that god is light.

But later in this letter, and this is something you haven't got to yet in John, 1 John, he writes something else that god is. God is light. Yes. Chapter 4, god is love. For verse 18, there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.

Because fear has to do with punishment. And god demonstrates his love to us in this while we were still sinners while we were still while we were sort of caught in god's light with sinners, Jesus died for us in that state, taking the punishment we deserve and allowing us now to live in fellowship with god and with each other. Yes, it's scary that god is light. But not when you know that god is love through the gospel. So who's scared of the light?

Well, I guess we still will be, won't we? We still will be, but god's given us what we need to help us with that. And to have true fellowship. His light shines into our lives, opens us up gives us the ability to be open. So why not allow god's perfect love in the gospel to drive out the fear that we so often have and come and walk in the light.

Let's pray. Almighty god and loving heavenly father. To be honest, our tendency certainly mine anyway. Is to run under a rock. In order to pray that you'll help me and help us, not to shut out your light, but to love it to desire it, to see, not just justice, to know grace and mercy, to know that you love us, even though you see what we're all really like.

And to then lay hold of Jesus, the word of life, the word of eternal life. And lord, when that light comes into us, lord may blaze out from us. Not as we go out and judge anyone and any person all around us because we feel ourselves to be better. No. That's living in the dark, but instead because we shine out the grace we proclaim the grace that you have revealed in the lord Jesus Christ, and we shine that light.

We hold that out to them. Anyone around us, so many people don't know this. Lord, please use us. Lord, if we're here this morning and we don't know of this light, please Don't allow us to block it out. Help us to see Jesus and to know your love We ask it for your glory alone.

I'm in.

Previous sermon Next sermon

Listen to our Podcasts to help you learn and grow Podcasts