The Road to Authenticity - Sharing your faith adventures to others

The Road to Authenticity

Big Idea: Walking in the light, in right relationship with God, requires walking in authentic relationship with other believers (vs. 7). It means being open about our failures—to God and others—rather than just trying to save face (vs. 8).

5 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. 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. 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. 1 John 1:5-10 ESV

Purpose, Occasion, and Background
It is customary to understand 1 John as a response to the rise of an early form of Gnosticism. This was a religious mysticism that pirated Christian motifs to propagate an understanding of salvation based on esoteric “knowledge” (Gk. gnōsis). According to this view, redemption is through affirming the divine light already in the human soul, not through repentance of sin and faith in Christ’s death to bring about spiritual rebirth. The ESV Study Bible Purpose, Occasion, and Background

The present dangers we live in today is not new from the people in the past.

2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

The title of the message is, “THE ROAD TO AUTHENTICITY

God did not promise an easy life but he promised that his presence would always be with us. The same is true with living an “AUTHENTIC LIFE”, it’s not easy, it’s hard and requires a big investment on our part but it is doable.

The road to authenticity starts with God.

1. The TRUTH about AUTHENTICITY

1 John 1:5 ESV 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.

Authenticity starts with GOD! God is light. This is an absolute statement. Everything about God is absolute. There is no darkness in Him, no shades of grey. When John declared that God is light, he is saying that he is the revealer of all things. Nothing can hidden from him. In his presence there is no darkness.

John 1:4–5 ESV In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

Genesis 1:3–5 (ESV 3 And God said, Let there be light,and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Darkness flee in the presence of light.

John's message is consistent with that of Paul and James.

1 Timothy 6:16 ESV who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

Psalm 104:2 ESV covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.

Moses one time requested that he see God's glory. Exodus 33:18 ESV Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”

But God said, Exodus 33:20 ESV But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”

God is light means...

James 1:17 ESV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

If we are to talk about Authenticity, we need to begin with God who is Holy, Righteous and Perfect. He has no darkness in him. There is nothing about God that you can fashion according to your likeness or preferences. You either submit to him or not. There's nothing in between. The true light comes from God not from within us.

Romans 3:23 ESV for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We cannot attain the light God has in himself. He is the source and the only giver of light. This truth runs counter culture. We don't have and never will apart from God. We live in a culture that promotes self absorption. Were outside image is better than inner qualities.

John in the next verses outlines how we can test our Authenticity. How we can prove if we real or fake?  We need to take a hard look at our selfto see if claim matched our life.

 

2. The TEST of AUTHENTICITY

“A fake I.D. is normally used to give the impression that a young person is older than they really are. Many Christians come to church with a fake I.D., giving the impression that all is well when all is not. We show an I.D. of harmony when our lives are really in discord. We show an I.D. of having it all together when we don’t even know where all the parts have gone. However, God saved us for authentic relationships and fellowship with one another,” (Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations).

John started the TEST of authenticity with the a conditional question, IF WE SAY"

John said the same thing in three different ways.

a. In the area of claiming to know or believe in God

1 John 1:6 ESV If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Ø  What we claim with our mouth: we have fellowship with God
I know Him and I have personal relationship with him - I am a believer, I am a Christian…

The demons believe too - James 2:19 (ESV) 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

 

Ø  What we do, our action: while we walk in the darkness - live a life opposite to the light, consistently living a life opposite to God's will - not perfection but obedience

Living a double life is claiming to believe in God and living the opposite is true to many Christians.  Paul had to deal with this in Corinth. Case of incest

Just like mold, sin grows in the dark. When we keep it hidden, it has more power over us.

1 Corinthians 5:1–5 ESV

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Paul list of sins for which the church members should come under discipline.

1 Corinthians 5:9–13 ESV

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Ø  The reality: we lie and do not practice truth.

We are either have fellowship with God or we are living in darkness - nothing in between - no gray area. Lying is simply not practicing the truth.

John 3:21 ESV But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

 

b. In the area of personal holiness

1 John 1:8 ESV If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

But when a believer is experiencing true fellowship with God he may then be tempted to think or say that he is, at that moment at least, free from sin. John warned against this self-deluding conception.

Ø  What we claim: we have no sin.

This is not possible because as long we are in the flesh, living in this world, living in the presence of sin, we cannot say we have no sin. 

If Christians understand the truth that God’s Word teaches about the depravity of the human heart, they know that just because they are not conscious of failure does not mean that they are free from it.

Walvoord, J. F., & Zuck, R. B., Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 885). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Whether someone claims to be “without sin” for a brief period of time or claims it as a permanent attainment, the claim is false.

Ø  What we do: we deceive ourselves, we are only fooling ourselves,

Ø  The reality: the truth is not in us. We are not in the light.

1 John 2:4 ESV Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

c. In the area of personal responsibility

1 John 1:10 ESV If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Ø  What we claim: we have not sinned

Ø  What we do: we make God a liar

This statement should be read in direct connection with verse 9. When a Christian is confronted by God’s Word about his sins, he should admit them rather than deny them. To deny one’s personal sin in the face of God’s testimony to the contrary, is to “make” God “out to be a liar.” By contradicting His Word, a person rejects it and refuses to give it the proper “place” in his life

Ø  The reality: His word is not in us, we don't have the truth, the truth is not in us.

If what we claim does not match with what we do, the only conclusion John gives us is we are still in the dark. The light of God is not in us. We don't create, we don't have the light in us.

The truth about AUTHENTICITY = GOD'S LIGHT IS ABSOLUTE, TRUTH IS ABSOLUTE
The test of AUTHENTICITY = GOD'S TRUTH FLESHED OUT OF OUR LIFE

It does not end here. John laid down an AUTHENTIC life is a transformed life. The goal is not perfection but faithfulness and obedience to God and his truth.

3. The TRANSFORMATION to AUTHENTICITY

John is not only concerned with TRUTH but GRACE and TRUTH. This is what Jesus is all about.

John 1:14–18 ESV

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

So TRANSFORMATION to AUTHENTICITY or AUTHENTIC LIFE is made possible by GRACE and TRUTH which is in Jesus alone.

Transformation to AUTHENTICITY happens is community.

a. Our Walk with the community

1 John 1:7 ESV 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.

There is only one reality that Christians can have a communion with God - the light itself. 

John’s point is that if Christians live in the light where God is, then there is mutual fellowship between Himself and them. That is, they have fellowship with Him and He has fellowship with them. The light itself is the fundamental reality which they share. Thus true communion with God is living in the sphere where one’s experience is illumined by the truth of what God is. It is to live open to His revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ. As John soon stated (v. 9), this entails believers’ acknowledging whatever the light reveals is wrong in their lives.

Walvoord, J. F., & Zuck, R. B., Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 885). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

To walk in it, however, suggests instead openness and responsiveness to the light. John did not think of Christians as sinless, even though they are walking in the light, as is made clear in the last part of this verse. For John added that the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin. This statement is grammatically coordinate with the preceding one, “We have fellowship with one another.”

 The statement of verse 7, in its entirety, affirms that two things are true of believers who walk in the light: (a) they are in fellowship with God and (b) they are being cleansed from every sin.

So long as there is true openness to the light of divine truth, Christians’ failures are under the cleansing power of the shed blood of Christ. Indeed, only in virtue of the Savior’s work on the cross can there be any fellowship between imperfect creatures and the infinitely perfect God.

There will be time that we will fall into sin. When those happen, we don’t have to deny it, ran away or ignore but confess it - agree with God that it is what it is - SIN.

1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

John acknowledged that we are not yet perfect, that’s why we need the grace of God to help us walk in the light again.

Confession brings us to a place where God is the only hope we have. When we confess, we appeal to God's character - His faithfulness, -His justice. 

As we do that, he grants us forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness.

The word “confess” is in the Greek present subjective active tense. This means it is implied that the action is repetitive, continual, and ongoing. In other words, confession of our sin isn’t a one-time thing when we get saved; it is a continual action that helps our relationship with God stay healthy. How often do you (or should you) wash your hands? As often as they get dirty. How often should we confess our sins and be cleansed from them?

 

b. The confessing our sins to one another

Romans 10:9 ESV because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 14:11 ESV for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

Philippians 2:11 ESV and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Closing: God is light and in Him there is no darkness. This is the message we proclaim and the message we live. 

 

Discussion Questions:

1.    What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?

2.    What does this passage reveal about God’s nature?

3.    Why do some people hesitate when it comes to authentic accountability?

4.    How have you experienced the truth that this passage talks about?

5.    Is there anything you need to bring to the light right now?

6.    How can I pray for you?