Printable PDF: 4–18-2021 Easter 3 Sermon
David R. Clark ~ 1 John 1:5-7 ~ April 18, 2021 ~ Easter 3
WALK IN GOD’S LIGHT
5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7But 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, purifies us from all sin.
Brothers and sisters who walk in the light,
Maybe you have heard of the Dark Sky Association. It was begun to reserve certain places without such things as street lights so that people could stargaze or see planets. Many of our national parks are part of the association including the Grand Canyon.
If you are ever in a Dark Sky park you will notice a couple of things immediately. First, it’s REALLY dark, especially if there is no full moon. Second, if you are going to use a trail early in the morning (or even a public bathroom), you better bring your own light with you. I had personal experience with that at Phantom Ranch and the Bright Angel Trail!
Dark Sky parks aside, the importance of light is not new for anyone who has just celebrated the greatest example of walking in light in history, the resurrection of Jesus. Walking in the light is what we do! But because we live in such a dark world, it is easy to become spiritually confused or lost. St. John has the solution for us.
- His light changes how we live. (verses 5-6)
5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
John is using a familiar metaphor. Darkness is a symbol for sin and death. Light is a symbol for holiness and life. How precious it is for us to know that in a world that esteems shades of gray because it is still darkness, God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. God is not a light with a dimmer switch. God is not a light with a lower wattage or different color bulb. God is light. He is perfectly holy.
Through the resurrection of Jesus, God has given us his light. He has gone to great lengths to bring us into his light – even the death of his Son. As we believe, we walk in his light. To describe this walk which we all have as Christians, John uses the word, “fellowship.” It means that we have an intimate sharing based on the light.
That means there is a war going on for us. The dark world wants to be like it is and will use any means possible for that to happen. It will lure us, bully us, and confuse us. Walking in the light takes away any confusion there may be about moral or gender issues. Walking in the light sees God as the ultimate authority not a majority rule. Walking in the light sprinkles our conversation with words like, “I’m sorry,” and “I forgive you.” Walking in the light makes us satisfied with our job, our spouse, and our children. Walking in the light seeks to understand first before we are understood. The light of the gospel sets us apart from the rest of the world.
- His light creates fellowship. (verse 7)
Which all sounds well and good, but we don’t always stay on that path. Sometimes it seems we are running down a path with no light at all. Other times it’s like walking a tight rope over Grand Canyon with the winds howling around us. John talks about that too. 7But 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, purifies us from all sin.
So what hope is there for us when we want to walk our own path? Or what hope is there when we are tempted to walk the well-traveled path of our unbelieving friends or the unbelieving world? The world would tell you to think the way it does. The world will tell you it’s about what you feel or what makes you happy. The world takes the truth and spins it to say exactly the opposite of what God intends. That’s not the light! That’s darkness. So what hope is there for us?
On June 16, 2012 a seventh generation member of the flying Wallenda family was the first person to walk across Niagara Falls. He traversed the 1800 feet of the Falls on a 2-inch cable suspended 200 feet in the air from the United States to Canada. He could never have done that without some help. Certainly his wife and all the generations before him who trained him had helped. But what helped him most was a 30-foot-long pole that he carried for balance.
We also need more than generations of Christians or good training to overcome our failures. We have the blood of Jesus which purifies us from all sin. For when Jesus shed his blood, an innocent lamb led to slaughter, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, he cleansed us from all of our skipping, jumping, and rolling around in the darkness of this world.
Without the blood of Jesus, people focus on the things they don’t like about each other. It’s easy to look down on other people because they are single or married, have children or have none, live close or far, are young or old. That is not the fellowship created by God’s light.
Jesus’ blood that purifies gives us fellowship with God. It also gives us fellowship with one another. That fellowship is an uncommon blessing in this life. As you have been coming back to church, this is what you told me you have missed. We need to smile at each other and rejoice with each other. We need to cry tears together as Jesus did for Mary and Martha. The blood of Jesus makes that a reality, a blood that removes all of our differences and makes us one.
To do this we need more of that light. In his Word you will find it. In his Supper, you will find that blood that takes our failures away. In Baptism we become one with Christ and each other. In these means we have fellowship with God and with each other. And all of that is made powerful by Christ’s resurrection.
You may have been wandering around in the darkness. Perhaps you didn’t even realize it. If you were lost, now you are found. Stay on the path. Walk in God’s light and never be lost again. Amen