Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

1 John: True, Fulfilling Fellowship With God
Part III: Identifying And Handling Sin For True Fellowship With God
(1 John 1:5-2:2)
  1. Introduction
    1. Sin breaks fellowship with God, but righteousness keeps one in the realm of fellowship with a holy God.
    2. However, those who walk in spiritual darkness outside of God's special revelation are widely deceived as to various sins they do (Isaiah 8:20), so special divine insight is needed for even defining sin and darkness, not to mention properly handling sin, that even the believer's broken fellowship with God be restored.
    3. 1 John 1:5-2:2 offers comprehensive insight on both identifying and handling sin for fellowship with God:
  2. Identifying And Handling Sin For True Fellowship With God, 1 John 1:5-2:2.
    1. As we saw in our last lesson, "walking in the light" in 1 John 1:5-7 means ordering one's life in alignment with God's special revelation in His written Word and in the earthly life of His Son, Jesus Christ.
    2. Living this way keeps us in spiritual fellowship with the Lord, and, by way of application, in spiritual fellowship with one another as we mutually walk in the light (1 John 1:7, 3), and the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses us from all sin, sin being the violation of God's Word, 1 John 1:7b with 3:4b.
    3. Introducing the topic of sin in the believer leads to the 1 John 1:8-10 clarifications on the issues involved:
      1. If we believers -- the "we" here being believers in Christ (1 John 1:1-3) -- say we have no "sin," that is, no sin nature (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV , 1978, ftn. to 1 John 1:8; Rom. 7:21-25), we deceive ourselves, for we are in darkness, and the truth of God's revelation is not in us, 1 John 1:8.
      2. Obviously, then, the sin nature was not eradicated at our justification in Christ; rather, it will be done away at the rapture of the Church (1 Corinthians 15:51-57), so "we" Christians have all committed acts of sin in violation of God's Word in our lives, 1 John 1:10a. Failure to admit this truth is to make God a liar, showing that His Word is not in us, and that we walk in spiritual darkness, 1 John 1:10b.
      3. Accordingly, when we commit an act of sin, we are to confess it to the Lord, "confess" being the Greek word, homologeo, meaning "acknowledge, agree" with God that what we have performed is sin (Arndt & Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the N. T., 1967, p. 571). God is then faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, even what we might be unwittingly doing in unrighteousness that our spiritual darkness is hiding from our viewpoint, 1 John 1:9!
    4. Lest we think that God wants us to use confession in a cheap way to keep out of divine discipline by confessing our sins right after going ahead and willfully planning to sin, John claims he wrote what he did that the believer might not sin, 1 John 2:1a. Sin violates God's Word, and walking outside of God's Word puts one out of fellowship with God in the dangerous, destructive world of spiritual darkness in one's experience (1 John 1:5-7; Isaiah 8:19-22 NIV), so our goal should be to avoid committing acts of sin!
    5. However, John did write to explain God has provided a way to correct a walk in darkness by confession of sin in realignment with His Word so that believers might not become distraught over the occurrence of an act of sin they commit: they have an Advocate, a "defense attorney" with God the Father Who is our Judge -- that Advocate being Jesus Christ the Righteous One, 1 John 2:1b NIV. Like Jesus in His preincarnate glory in Zechariah 3:1-5 as the Angel of the Lord Who pleaded the cause of Israel's High Priest, Joshua before God the Father, when Satan stood by Joshua to accuse him to God, so Jesus stands as our Divine Attorney, our Advocate, to plead our case against Satan's charges against us to the Father!
    6. Finally, Christ's advocacy is sufficient to attain our forgiveness as we confess our sins to God, for He is the "propitiation," the satisfaction of God's wrath against our sin by His death on the cross, 1 John 2:2a.
    7. Indeed, Jesus' atonement is SO sufficient, He is the "propitiation" for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2b), meaning His atonement is unlimited, that He died for all the sins of all mankind in history!
Lesson: We believers in Christ still have sin natures, and can violate God's Word, or sin, so we must confess our sin as sin unto God for cleansing that we might be restored to fellowship with Him. We are not to use this access to cleansing as an excuse to sin, but stay in blessed spiritual fellowship with God. Yet, we are to be assured of forgiveness by Christ's all-sufficient atonement and advocacy in our behalf.

Application: May we thus gain victory over sin as believers to enjoy CONTINUED fellowship with God.