Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of September 3, 2017…
Thank you, Pastor Eric for the message from 1 John 1:5-10, “Eclipse of Faith.” A blogger shared an interesting insight regarding the eclipse: With all of the turmoil in the world, filled with tragedy, death, violence, sadness, and pain, for a few hours, everyone’s eyes have been taken away from all turmoil and were lifted up to look heavenly, not earthly. God knew what we needed so He orchestrated the sun and moon to cross paths in order that we might look up at our Creator. It was such a profound thought. The world is hurting and dying and needs Jesus. God is calling us out to live authentic lives of faith, to be genuine, not fake, to be real and show Jesus to the world. “What does an authentic faith look like?”
1) Authentic faith believes in the truth of God and sin. (v.5) Authentic faith knows the very nature and character of both God and sin. Without this understanding, there simply is no true faith. “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.” Throughout John, there is an obvious contrast between light and darkness, good and evil, holiness and sin. However, when we take a deeper and broader look at what John has said, we get a grander picture of God. The question becomes, what is the message already given? In John 1:5 - The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. John 8:12 - Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.” John 9:5 - Jesus said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 12:35 - Jesus told His disciples - You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light before the darkness overtakes you. John 12:36 - Believe in the light while you have the light so that you may become children of light. Why repeat all of this? To show you what verse 5 meant is written in the bigger context of John’s writings. This pushes us to see this wonderful, beautiful, and glorious light in Jesus Christ. The entire gospel of John lays a strong foundation for us to see the character and nature of God. Jesus is the source of our life, our reason for living. Authentic faith begins with a clear perspective of Jesus, the truth about Him which in turn helps us to see the truth about our own selves and our sin.
2) Authentic faith doesn’t neglect the bond of Christ, but pursues it. (vv.6-7) Authentic faith doesn’t ignore the fellowship of Christ and the church, but chases after it. Authentic faith doesn’t see community as optional, but views the body of Christ as a necessary part of life. 6 If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 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. Your behavior will follow your belief and understanding of God, which affects our behavior and our relationship with the church. If we have fellowship with the light, then we shouldn’t have continuous fellowship in sin. (v.6) Otherwise, John calls us a liar, that we don’t practice what we preach and are hypocrites. This doesn’t mean after we become a Christian that we won’t sin. We’ll never be perfect and we will struggle and wrestle with sin. The beauty rests in the end of verse 7, God has already cleansed us of our sin: past, present, and future. Christ has already paid for your sin and He has already forgiven you and cleansed you. We can rest in the grace of God. This truth ought to cause us to run away from our sin and run toward Jesus. When we walk in the light of Christ, we have fellowship with one another. There is a special bond not only between Christ and us, but between each other.
3) Authentic faith doesn’t deny the reality of sin, but is honest about it. (vv.8-10) Authentic faith is real about personal struggles, weaknesses, and wrongdoings. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 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. In verse 8, if we say there is no sin, then we deny any need for Christ and the gospel, Jesus didn’t need to die on a cross, because there is no sin debt to be paid. Then in verse 10, we are not only denying a need for the gospel but we are making God a liar because He has said over and over again that He died for sinners. To deny the reality of sin is really to deny our God and His Word. Yet people claim - “people are good by nature.” Some churches have denounced the reality of sin and hell. All you need is love. Another way people deny sin is saying, “As long as my sin isn’t really BAD, then I’m okay. I’m a good person.” But if that’s the case, then the sufficiency and power of the cross is diminished because it says that God doesn’t need to save us from our sins. If we say we can do it all on our own, then we have replaced God with ourselves. So, what is the true reality? John answers in verse 9. The power of confession lies not in us, but in God. He is faithful and just and He will forgive you. God will never turn away a repent heart. God already has and will forgive those who will and do so. Jesus became our substitute to take upon our sin in order that we might be free from it. This is the overwhelming love of God. This is the saving redemption of Jesus Christ. This is the forgiveness of sin bestowed to us by our gracious God.
Is this what you confess, what you believe, is this the faith that you proclaim? If not, then take that first step of faith. Come to Jesus and receive His forgiveness. Believe in His amazing sacrifice for you. If you are a believer in Christ, then His love causes us to be honest about ourselves and our sin and we can then confess and proclaim our trust in His forgiveness and cleansing power. We can be real and genuine about our struggles and shortcomings without any guilt or shame, but with freedom, power, and relief. Cherish this moment to be honest and real with your Savior and one another. Let David’s confession and prayer be ours as well from Psalm 51:1-2 - Have mercy on me, O God according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
40 Days of Prayer:
Starting tomorrow, our church will be entering into 40 days of prayer as part of our capital campaign, GROW SANLO. The capital campaign is about reaching our goal of raising $1.5 million dollars in order to purchase a new facility, but it is much more than that. It is about seeking and savoring our Lord. It is about growing in Christ and being a gospel community of growth for every generation. It is about every single one of us coming together to pray. Please pick up a prayer guide, and pray with us. There is also a commitment card in the prayer guide so you can make a commitment to pray. You may also go online to our webpage slzjcc.org/grow-sanlo and sign up to pray. You can pick a specific day or you can pick every day. Our desire is that we all be praying in the Lord over the next 40 days.
Have a blessed week in the Lord,
Stan , for SLZJCC