Transcript

ROBERT >> 1 John was written to help us test our connection with God. The letter can be broken down into 10 questions that help us to see if we’re really connected. How you answer these questions will determine your connection with God.

>> Blessed be the Lord God Almighty who reigns for evermore.

ROBERT >> The first question that we have considered from 1 John 1:1-4 is this: “What do you think about Jesus?”

We learned that he was the Son of God who came in the flesh, and we have the eyewitness testimony of those who were with him. And most of you are probably thinking, “You know, I got that one right. I know who Jesus is, so I don’t have to worry about my connection with God.” But that’s just the first question. You have to get all the questions on this test right to stay connected.

A wrong answer on any of the 10 questions from 1 John will break your connection with God. So this morning let us take a look at question 2.

“Are you honest about your sin problem?” Let’s read 1 John 1:5 through chapter 2 and verse 2.

“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. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and 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 Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

You see, God has no sin. He is absolutely sinless. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” And therefore, he can have no fellowship with sinners.

Habakkuk 1:13 reads, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.” Psalm 5:4, it says, “For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You.”

You see, it is our sin that separates us from God, just as Isaiah warned Israel in chapter 59 verse 1 and verse 2. So if we’re honest about this, that our sin is a problem, that it separates us from God, then we will strive not to sin.

Let me read with you Hebrews 10:26-27. The Bible says, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

Too many, I’m afraid, profess to have God while willfully, knowingly, that is deliberately in high handed rebellion committing sin as though it doesn’t matter, or that God will just overlook it. But we can’t walk in the darkness like that and think we have fellowship with God.

No, we must walk in the light as he is in the light. You see, in order to maintain fellowship with God, we must make every effort to please him. This is what Paul was saying in 2 Corinthians 5:9. “We make it our aim,” it’s our goal, it’s more literally, our ambition in life “to be well pleasing unto him.”

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, he warns us not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” and reminds us that “light cannot have fellowship with darkness,” to “come out from the world,” to “be separate,” to perfect “holiness in the fear of God”.

That’s what we’re striving for. And in doing that, yes, we’re going to still sin unintentionally, ignorantly, inadvertently, in weakness; but our fellowship with God is not broken because the blood of Jesus cleanses us, as John says, “from all sin”.

Read down with me again in 1 John 2:1-2. “My little children, these things I write to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

An advocate is a lawyer who pleads the defendant’s case before the judge in a court of law. Jesus is our advocate. He is our advocate before God’s throne of judgment. And he has one argument: “I’ve already paid for their sins.”

This reminds us of how blessed it is to be in Jesus Christ and to know forgiveness. In Psalm 32:1-2 the Psalmist understood this blessedness when he wrote,

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

In the New Testament, in Romans 8:1 the apostle Paul says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

And later in that chapter in verse 33 and 34, the question is asked, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?” And the answer? “It is God who justifies.”

Again a question is asked. “Who is he who condemns?” The answer? “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Ephesians 1:7 puts it simply, “In Him,” (in Jesus Christ), “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Yes, your sin is a problem, my sin is a problem; but thank God for the forgiveness that we know through Jesus Christ.

But let’s notice a second thing from our text here in 1 John chapter 1. And that’s simply this: You still have a sin problem.

Even though you may be a Christian and have come to know Jesus Christ as your Lord, as your Savior in your obedience to the gospel, yes, even we still have a sin problem. Let’s read again chapter 1 verse 8-9.

“If we say that 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.”

Yes, even though you may strive not to sin, you will never get to the point where you are without sin. That’s true about all of us who are Christians.

Even the apostle Paul, that great servant of the Lord, I want to read to you what he said about himself in Philippians 3:12-14. Here in this chapter Paul says, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to the things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

You see here in this passage where the apostle Paul said, “I’ve not yet attained”, “I’m not there yet spiritually”, “I’m not perfect, absolutely sinless”. But he says “I’m pressing on.” He says “I’m striving towards that goal.”

I’m afraid that some think they’re above sin, that it never shows up in their life. They’ve closed their eyes to any and every sin they have. But I don’t care who you are, an elder, a preacher, a deacon. I don’t care how perfect you think you are. You are not without sin. Make no mistake about it. We all have a sin problem.

1 Kings 8:46, the Bible says, “There is no one who does not sin.” Another passage in Job 15:14, “What is man, that he could be pure? And he that is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?” Proverbs 20:9, the Bible says, “Who can say I’ve made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

The fact is as we read in Ecclesiastes 7:20, “There’s not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” Finally, James 3:2 tells us, “We all stumble in many things.” Yes, the Bible says that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23).

The difference between one who denies his sin and one who confesses his sin? It’s like the difference between the Pharisee and the tax collector in that parable of Jesus in Luke 18:9-14. Let’s read it together. Luke 18:9-14.

“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

You see, that Pharisee thought he was better than everybody else. And when he prayed, he prayed with himself.

It didn’t even get past the ceiling. He was convincing himself of how good he was.

But the tax collector in humility beat his breast. Couldn’t even look up into heaven. “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” It was that poor tax collector who humbled himself and confessed his sin before God that went away justified rather than the other.

When you realize that you have committed a sin and are honest enough to confess it, you can trust that God has forgiven you of it, whatever the sin.

To confess literally means “to say the same thing”, to agree with God about your sins. It is a humble acknowledgment that what you did was wrong and that you deserve to be separated from God because of it.

It implies a decision to turn from your sins, trusting in God’s forgiveness. As Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper; but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

Yes, your sin and my sin, it’s a problem. And we still have that problem. But I want you to notice this final thing from 1 John chapter 1.

You had a sin problem before, just like I did.

Look at chapter 1, verse 10. “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

Before becoming Christians, all of us were sinners. Romans 3:23, we’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But isn’t this why you came to Christ? You were under the condemnation, you were under the guilt and the power of sin, but now have you forgotten how that Christ set you free from sin?

Peter spoke of the Christian who is “short-sighted even to blindness and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins,” (2 Peter 1:9).

Is that you Peter was talking about?

Have you ever been in the deep caverns under the earth where it’s so dark you can’t even see your hand in front of your face? You know, there’s an interesting fact about this. A person who lives in total darkness for just a few months will become irrevocably blind.

Darkness not only hinders sight, it causes blindness.

I’m afraid that this has happened to some Christians, because they’ve been walking in darkness so long, it’s impossible to renew them to repentance, as the Hebrew writer says in Hebrews 6:4-6. In 2 Peter chapter 2 the Bible speaks of those who were once Christians who are now “denying the one that bought them” and how they were leading many others astray. And especially in verse 14 how it’s said that they were in darkness so much that they now could not cease from sin.

I believe that John speaks of this same kind of condition in 1 John 5:16-17. Here’s what he says: “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and he will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.”

You see, if we deny our sin, if we continue to walk in our sin, if we will allow this to take place in our life, there comes a point where we commit that sin leading to death. That is, there’s no more sacrifice for our sins because we cannot be renewed again to repentance.

If you deny that you had a sin problem before, you’re not being at all honest about what God has said and about what God has done to save you from your sin problem.

Earlier, Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 1 some words that I think are especially important to this lesson today. 1 Peter chapter 1, let’s begin in verse 17.

“And if you call on the Father who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Notice in that passage what ought to bring fear to our hearts, what ought to put the fear of God in us more than the fact that we’ll be judged by God is knowing the sacrifice that Jesus made to pay for our sins.

How dare I ever sin against that one!

So I want to ask you this morning, are you honest about your sin problem? Will you go on denying that your sin is a problem? Or will you start again to make a sincere effort to quit sinning and to do all things pleasing to the Lord?

Will you admit that you still have a sin problem and confess your sins? Will you acknowledge that you had a sin problem before and remember what the Lord has done for you through Jesus Christ?

Wherever you are, come clean about your sin problem. Oh, there is no one in this world without it. Sin’s our problem. But thanks be to God and his love and his mercy and his grace. He gave us the solution through Jesus Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ who was with God, the Son of God, came to this earth as one of us. And having lived a perfect life, being tempted and tried, and yet without sin, he offered that perfect sacrifice from the cross of Calvary.

He was betrayed, he was rejected, he was beaten, and then he was nailed to the cross. He did that for us. They took his body and placed it in the tomb. But on that third day he was raised up again.

He in his death, in his burial, in his resurrection, showed that he has power over Satan, over sin, and over death and that through him we can be forgiven, we can be given new life, and we can live forever with him.

If you’ve never made that connection with God, you can come to him today by turning from your sin, confessing Jesus the Son of God as your Lord and Savior, and being baptized into Christ. If you’ve lost that connection, you once had, come back to God. Come back to his church. We here at The Truth In Love want to help you towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you today.

>> Boundless love, unending joy.
This is my life, it’s what I know.
I can’t believe that he selected me.
Jesus my Lord, it’s you I owe.

Boundless grace, because of Calvary, his life he gave, his love outpoured.
I now can live with him eternally.
Jesus my Lord, it’s you I love.
Jesus my Lord, it’s you I love.

>> Nearer, still nearer,
close to thy heart
draw me my savior,
so precious thou art.
Fold me, oh fold me
close to thy breast.
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.

>> Be with me, Lord, I cannot live without thee.
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life unaided.
I need thy strength to lean myself upon.

Be with me, Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap everywhere about me,
They cannot harm or make my heart afraid.

Be with me, Lord,
No other gift or blessing
Thou couldst bestow could with this one compare,
A constant sense of thy abiding presence,
Where’er I am, to feel that thou art near.

Be with me Lord, when loneliness o’ertakes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain.
And when shall come the hour of my departure for worlds unknown,
Oh Lord, be with me then.

ROBERT >> I’m so glad that you’ve watched the program today and hope that the lesson has been a blessing to you, helping you on your journey towards heaven.

Let me encourage you to consider carefully the words that have been spoken, and like those fair minded Bereans in Acts chapter 17:11, search the scriptures to see if what is said is really so.

Every week on this program we strive to speak the truth in love. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” John 8:32.

John warned us that “there are many false prophets” in the world and for us to “test the spirits to see whether they are of God,” 1 John 4:1.

It’s not our intention to lead anyone astray, but help everyone find the way that God has set out for us in his word, the Bible.

Our motivation is a genuine love for your soul and its salvation in heaven forever with God. So please let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

Write us with your comments, questions, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

E-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

You may order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form. And also please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember, all of our materials and services are offered to you absolutely free of charge, being provided by the churches of Christ and individual Christians that support this program.

Let me encourage you to visit one of the congregations that you’ll see on the screen at the end of the program today, and let us know if you’d like a personal home Bible study or a Bible correspondence course that you can work on your own, or if you need prayers from the church, whatever your need, please let us know what we can help you towards heaven.

And don’t forget to join us again next time right here on The Truth In Love.

>> The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord lift his countenance upon you,
and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and be gracious;
the Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.
Amen, amen, amen, amen.

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