Get Bright

Bible Book: 1 John  1 : 5-7
Subject: Christian Living; Light, Living in the

I have a question for you. How is it that you respond to darkness? Is it with a sense of discomfort or a feeling of wonder? But a bigger question is how do you respond to the darkness of your life? A second question is how do you respond when the light gets bright? Ah - relief, satisfaction, joy, things are like I want them to be. You know God knows how desperately stumbling we become in the darkness and He draws us to His light.

Today in the second of this sermon series of getting all of God, we're looking at coming to God and getting bright because God is Light. These are God's inspired words, through the apostle John, in I John 1:5-7: This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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, purifies us from all sin. I want to expose to you through the words that I share and most of all right out of the text three ways by which we can get bright, ways by which we can understand the illumination of God and the power and the warmth and the joy of being in His bright light.

I. Receive God's Light (v.5)

First is to understand that we must receive God's light. Now the light of God has always been burning since His presence has been upon the face of this globe from the very speaking of His word      about light coming to us and His light has been present. Light is seen in so many different factions and understandings. But the scripture teaches us that God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. We live in a world that is very dark and the contrast we experience between light and dark is a vivid reminder to us that sin keeps us in darkness. But the light of God brings us out of the stumbling of sin into the brightness and joy of understanding God's wonderful ways.

A. It Resembles a Relay

The best way to look at this is to understand that we are a part of a relay. I think what John is saying is that it resembles a relay. A light bulb represents to most of us our source of light. We screw it into our lamps at home, at the office, at school, wherever we may be and instantaneously when we flick the switch, light comes about. John is saying that he'd received the light and that as he had received the light, he didn't want to selfishly hoard it because he knew it was his responsibility to pass it on to other people. Jesus Christ was the Light of the world and He said that as He illuminated the lives of those who would believe and trust in Him, that we should not be selfish saints and hoard the light. John said, "We've heard about it, we've seen it and now we declare it to you." You know every one of us who have trusted Christ as our personal savior are bi-products of over 2,000 years of people passing the light! But John didn't get his light from an intellectual source. John didn't discover it because he had studied it long and hard or ever just stumbled on it by chance. John said that he'd received the light from Jesus himself. So have we, passed down from generation to generation to generation and those of us who have heard about Him should also be in the business of declaring Him to other people. I wonder, are you found faithful in that category?

B. The Three Levels Of Light: Physical, Intellectual And Moral

There are three levels of light that I'd like to express to you today because I think God not only speaks to us about what we hear, but also He speaks to us physically, intellectually and morally. Take a look at these three levels with me.

1. Physical

First of all, physically. How do we see God as light? Could I draw your attention back to the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis? Genesis 1:2 expresses that there was darkness over the face of the earth. It was dark.... never get up in the morning and see the sun rise; it was dark. Then in Genesis 1:3 God spoke and said, "'Let there be light,' and there was light." Oh what a wonderful word that was and how that light brought life and you see the same thing is happening to some of us physically, as well. We are coming to see and sense the light. But you know God led His people of Israel and as He brought them out of the land of bondage in Egypt, a time of darkness, He gave them an opportunity to sense who He was physically. He gave them a pillar of a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire, light, at night and they followed the presence of God. The presence of Jesus Christ is expressed as light as well as His clothes were illuminated, as He himself became the Light of the world as they looked at Him and understood Him. The Shekinah cloud in the Tabernacle and in the Temple is a physical expression of the Light of God.

2. Intellectual

I want you to understand with me that God has also exposed himself intellectually. He, who knows it all, gives to us the knowledge and the ability to know Him. God, as the Latin expresses, is omniscient. That means He knows everything, all knowing, and God who knows everything doesn't need any of our intellect. Sometimes we think we can teach God some things, at least we live that way; but there's nothing we can teach Him. He never has a new thought. God has always known what needs to be known and He doesn't need to learn anything from us. He is absolutely, completely enlightened. Some of us think that the longer we study and the more facts we cram into our mind, the more we can become truly in the light. Friend, you can study all of your life and become as intellectually powerful as anyone else, but you cannot know what God knows. Plug into the true Light; it expresses the knowledge of God.

3. Moral

Then we look at God in the level of morality. You see God speaks to us through His holiness. As we give tribute to the holiness of God, I'm reminded that this is John's primary reference as he's speaking to being enlightened by God morally. He's speaking to us about the God who's absolutely holy, totally moral and one hundred percent pure. We're not! That's why we need Him; that's why we must search for Him. Such light scatters all of the darkness and it exposes the hidden secrets of our life. There's no twilight zone with God. He knows what He's doing and He knows where He's been and He knows what we can do to follow after Him.

C. The Two Views of Light: Theological And Ethical

Just as there are three levels of light, there are also two views of light, two ways to look at this passage in verse 5.

1. Theological

The first way is theologically, looking at it from God's vantage point. Who is God according to himself as Light? Well if we're to believe this, and we should, the theological stance would express itself this way: God is truth and error can have no place with Him. There's no error in God. Jesus said, "I am the way, I am the life." Some of us think in terms of truth as being relative, what we learn or think about the difference between right and wrong, it's relative. I mean there is some truth that I will express and I will expand on, but my truth may be different from your truth. That's not what God is teaching us. Truth is not a matter of intellectual acumen. Truth is a person and His name is Jesus. Jesus is the truth and there can be no place for error in Him. He never made a mistake. He was the only sinless one and theologically we must look to God as being our source of light and truth.

2. Ethical

But if you look at it also from the ethical advantage point you'll understand with me that John is saying that God is good and evil can have no place beside Him. Everything of Jesus Christ was good, not just part good, not just 95% good, but altogether good. God is good. I wish I could say that about myself. I wish I could say that about our church and our churches at large and our Convention. But you see, there's enough evil on the pew and in the life and in the heart of every one of us to taint and bruise and hurt the heart of our holy God. He looks and longs for us to be like himself today and He says to us, "I am your light; follow after me." Are you, will you, won't you? You must. I'm calling you to receive God's light.

II. Remember God's Lifestyle (v.6)

The second way that we look at the brightness of God in getting Him into our lives is not only to receive God's light, but secondly to remember God's lifestyle. Did you know God has a lifestyle? Sure He does. He lived in such a way as to reflect His perfection. If you compare yourself to me or to a deacon or to your Sunday School teacher or to any of the staff or to your best friend or to even the greatest most righteous person upon the face of this earth, you'll still fall short. None of our lifestyles match up with what Jesus showed us and demonstrated to us. The lifestyle of God was perfectly demonstrated through Jesus Christ, but we try to excuse the way that we live and we try to bring it together with what we want people to see and to understand. In fact we make this kind of statement, "Don't do as I do, do as I say." Have you ever heard that before? Sure you have. You've heard it from parents. Parents have told their children, children have told their friends, teachers have told their kids in their classrooms, even political and national leaders have declared, "Don't do as I do; just do as I say." Do you know what I think the Christian must do at this point? I think you need to take a big fat marker pen and just put an "X" across that statement. That is not the maxim for the Christian lifestyle. We follow Jesus Christ because there was never any contradiction with the way that He lived His life and the way that He expressed it. His lips and His life were a perfect powerful match. They complimented each other instead of becoming a contradiction.

A. Don't Compromise Your Claim

Do you know what the scripture teaches us here? It teaches us that we have made a claim. In fact if you look back at verse 6, John says, "If we claim to have fellowship with Him," and indeed there is a host of people in our churches who've said, "I've got fellowship with God." You've made that claim, you've trusted Christ as your personal Savior, you walked down an aisle, you shook the hand of a preacher, you perhaps you were baptized in a baptistery and you said, "I've made that claim for Christ." But, friend, are you living up to the claim that you made? Are you a wonderful lifestyle example of what Jesus has done to transform your life?

B. Don't Weaken Your Walk

We're not to compromise our claim and I'm so grateful that John is a writer and an author and a mouthpiece for the Lord who didn't mince words. He doesn't tiptoe around any of these theological issues. He simply says that we, who claim to know Him, must also walk in Him. Yet there are some of us who are walking, as he says, "in darkness." That reminds me that if we're going to remember God's lifestyle, then we must not weaken our walk. You can't weaken your walk or at least you shouldn't. God is reminding us that every one of us has a walk. It's not the gait that we carry out, the number of steps it takes to cover a mile...that's not what God is looking at. God is looking at my lifestyle, the way that I walk, not physically, but spiritually; and He's watching the way that you walk too. We weaken our walk when we put one foot in the darkness of this world and one foot into the light of His life. The compromise that we make on the claim is emphasized in a weak walk, and listen to me very carefully, you cannot effectively serve God and walk on both sides of the fence! You cannot effectively serve God and do that. Some of us have found and discovered that we can get by with it and after all it hasn't hurt too many other people so I think I will! God says to you in this reminder that if you truly want to be in the Light and if you want to remember the lifestyle that Christ has set before you, you must not walk with one foot outside and one foot inside of the Light of Christ.

In preparation for this message I discovered this author whose name is James A. Michener. I found something that was declaringly important for us to understand. He said, "An age is called Dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it." Some of us may have spiritual blinders over our eyes. We know the Light is there, we know what the Truth is all about and we know the way that we should be walking, but we think maybe if we don't look at it or listen to it, then maybe we won't be responsible. But you see, we'll become dark not because the light is failing to shine, but because we're refusing to look at it!

C. Don't Live a Lie

God is reminding us again today that we are to look at Him and look at the way that He walked and we're to follow in like manner. If we don't, He says that we are living a lie! That's the third reminder for us, as we understand the lifestyle of God. Don't compromise your claim, don't weaken our walk and don't live a lie. How can you live a lie? We do it every single day. We say we want to walk with Jesus Christ, we say we have fellowship with God and yet our lifestyle doesn't reflect it. We either say or use our tongue or use our life in such a manner as to bring attention not to God, but to ourselves. The scripture says that we lie and that we do not live by the truth! I want to live by the truth; I want to follow Christ; I want us to see Him and to follow after Him and to be altogether who He's called us to be.

Someone coined a tongue in cheek phrase years and years ago by arguing that you might as well live in a coalmine and claim you're developing a suntan. You can't do that! That's crazy. That's preposterous! It doesn't match up. If you're not in the Light, you are not going to get all the Light has to offer for your life. Don't live a lie.

III. Reflect God's Love (v.7)

The third inflection of the scripture here in verse number 7 leaps up to us and tells us and reminds us that we are to reflect God's love. It's like a mirror, being a reflection of God's love. Christ so loved the world that God His Father sent Him to die for us that whosoever would believe in Him wouldn't perish, but have everlasting life. What a wonderful expression of God's love to you and to me. Forty- four boys and girls this week in Vacation Bible School received the love of God. They didn't do it out of coercion; they did it out of God's light exposed to their lives and the darkness in their lives became overshadowed with the Light that exposed their sin and they trusted Christ as their Savior. Some of you today need to do the very same thing.

But you see I discovered in many churches where God has privileged me to preach and teach His Word that there are a number of us who are like religious roaches. Here's what happens: I go down to my tool shed, I cut on the light and when I do the roaches scatter. They don't like the light. They run from it because they are more comfortable in dark spots. Could it be that some of us are more comfortable that way even today and we're not reflectors of God's love?

Martin Luther King, Jr. said it well as he said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." I'd like to take the opportunity and privilege just to revise that. I would like to say that only God's love can drive out hate. If you're at odds with another person, if there's hatred in your heart, only the love of Christ is big enough to drive that hate out. In some of our lives today we've been harboring hatred and anger and bitterness and God alone can drive that wedge out so that we can again become in perfect fellowship first with the Lord and then with each other.

A. Pick Your Path Carefully

I think what the Lord is trying to express to us here is that we've got to be certain we pick our path very carefully. Did you see it in the scripture? "If we walk in the light as He is in the light," the Psalmist said it wonderfully well. In Psalm 119:105 he said that, "The word of God is a lamp to my feet and a      light to my path." Could it be that we're stumbling because we're not following God's word, the Living Word as well as the written word? Could it be that we find ourselves saturated in sin because we are living the consequences of bad choices following the pathway that maybe someone else has drawn us to. You see, my friend, sin mars our fellowship with each other. It causes us to pick the wrong path. It causes us to go down the wrong avenue and to continue in that way and all the while God uses a sermon or a Bible lesson or His word or someone else or the Spirit of the Living God to draw us back to the right path. For some of you He's doing that today and that's a wonderful thing. You should thank Him because indeed He's asking you to reflect His love.

B. Follow In Fellowship Faithfully

It's a matter also of not only the path that we pick, but also of following in His fellowship faithfully. Here's a truth that I've learned - You cannot have real fellowship with God without sharing in fellowship and relationship with fellow believers. The same is true visa versa. You can't have true fellowship with each other until you have true open fellowship with God. It's vertical and horizontal and God uses it in a wonderful way to remind us that fellowship can be sweet.

But some of us are like the Lone Ranger. You remember him don't you, Tonto's friend, the Lone Ranger? Some of us are thinking that we can be spiritual Lone Rangers and do it ourselves. As long as our relationship with God is okay, we say we don't need a church and we don't need to get connected and we don't need to belong. If God knows us and we know Him, then we'll just do it by ourselves. The Bible teaches that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. But still some of us are on the peripheral.

We've been looking for weeks and months and maybe some of you for years. A fellow who joined in the last service said, "I've been here for over two years and now I need to belong. I want to become a part of a church family. I don't want to be a spiritual Lone Ranger." You know what? The Lord never intended for us to be alone. He gives for us the opportunity for not only fellowship but for accountability. And we can take care of each other and we can watch out for each other and we can show where the spiritual pits are so that we don't have to stumble in them and that's the responsibility that God gives to a church family and I hope you take that seriously.

C. Pleasure in His Purity Bodily

Lastly I want to remind you if we're going to reflect on the love of God, we can pleasure in God's purity bodily. Now I can't die for your sins. I can't even forgive your sins. I can forgive you if there's an offense that we have with each other. If you ask me for that forgiveness, I will freely offer that to you and you can forgive me for an offense I may have brought to you as well; but I can't forgive your sin. I don't have that power. Only Christ has that power and visibly today as you see Him hanging on that cross, it is a reminder to us that God's perfect reflection of His love was so that His sacrifice could forgive our sins, but our faith must be firmly planted in Him because without Him we have nothing. He alone was the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God. The scripture reads this way, "The blood of Jesus, God's Son, purifies us from all sin." I can't purify you. You can't purify me. But God can! I find it wonderful in that Greek word. In the language of the New Testament the word for purify there doesn't mean a one-time act; it is a continuing action. God continues to bring purity into our life as we continue to be washed by His blood as we confess to Him and as we come clean, He provides a perfect cover for our sin. Friend, Calvary covers it all. I can't; but God can! And the baseline is this - no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in the morning, no matter how difficult the circumstances, no matter how dark the hour might be, no matter how fierce the opposition against you, no matter how severe the trial - we live in a world that is ever-changing from season to season and we have Jesus because without Him we will be dark, but with Him we can come into the confidence that Christ alone provides for light.


Three questions - the first is simple - yes or no.

Are you walking in darkness today? Do you find yourself stumbling more often than standing for Christ? You have to make that mark. If it's yes, be honest and say, "Yes, I'm walking in darkness; I need the light; I need to get bright. Perhaps you would say, "No, I found the Light and I live in the Light and I walk in the Light and I'm in fellowship with God and I'm in fellowship with His people. That's a wonderful, wonderful experience.

The second questions - are you a religious roach? Are you running from the true Light? You see some of us are. All the while God says, "I want you to be drawn to me; I don't want you to run from me." "You can't run fast enough to get away from me," God says. "I love you and I will continue to give you my Light."

The final question - will you accept Jesus Christ's sacrifice for your sin, because only His sacrifice and His blood bring purity? He's calling and commanding and commissioning some of us to make an open declaration of His Light today. Some of you are in the darkness of separation because you've never trusted Christ. He's calling you to come today. Some of us have wandered a long way away and we need to come back to His Light and He's calling us today. Some of us want to join fellowship and hands with a church saying we don't need to be a spiritual Lone Ranger, we believe in the fellowship and the full faithfulness that God will provide for us as we hold hands with a family of faith.