Alright friends, I need you to do me a favor…I need you to get comfortable. Go ahead, rearrange yourself so that you are comfortable. Sit back, relax…Okay? We good?
Good. Here’s why. I want to talk about something that’s generally, uncomfortable. So my hope is, if I can get you sitting comfortable, then maybe we won’t be so uncomfortable as we talk. What are we talking about? We’re going to talk about sin.
Yeah, I know. Sin. The only subjects more uncomfortable to talk about are MONEY, POLITICS, and SEX,
( which I actually love talking about. Sex that is. Not money and politics. ).
You see, no one likes to talk about sin, because we don’t like the idea of anyone else telling us that we have sin. Even worse, we fear that someone might discover our sin, and so the guilt and shame of what we’ve done drives us to avoid any and every discussion that includes the topic of sin.
But, here is my hope. If we can endure the discomfort of our discussion on sin, we will discover the greater comfort that comes in knowing that our sins have been forgiven.
So, I want to ask that you take out your Bibles, or the insert in the bulletin, and let’s turn to 1 John. All summer long, we will be walking through John’s letter to the church, looking for the answer to the question, What does it look like to live a Christian life?
Let’s look at what John is writing to us.
We started our journey talking about epic movie openings, and said that John begins his letter with a couple EPIC statements about who God is and how we are called to live. I have another epic statement for us to consider.
If God is light, and if he desires the worshipful fellowship of humans, then those humans must somehow be delivered from darkness—that is, from sin, whether conceived of as so-called sin nature or as particular wrongful acts.
The author is saying, that if God is pure and holy, the description of LIGHT, and if he desires a relationship of love and obedience, that is our worship, then we, the humans, must be rescued from the darkness we live in, or rescued from our sin. Because darkness and light don’t mix.
Let me continue.
To this end, their privilege is to embrace a saving knowledge of God, who is LIGHT.
Sin. John says, in verse 8, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
Brothers and sisters, let me remind us of something that I think most of us already know. But if you didn’t know, here it is.
We are all sinners.
Back in the late 70’s, Dr. Pepper ran an ad campaign with a little jingle that went like this...
The chorus goes like this...
Oh I'm a pepper
He's a pepper
She's a pepper
We're a pepper
Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too!
Anyone remember that little ditty? We could rewrite it…
Oh, I’m a sinner
He’s a sinner
She’s a sinner
We’re ALL sinners
Sinning is just something that we do!
It’s true, we’re all sinners. Every single one of us.
But, John continues, in verse 9.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So, we have sin. Great. Awesome.
But, we also have forgiveness. And, that's awesomer!
John begins this next part of his letter...
1. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
So, he says, Hey, my hope is, now that you know that Jesus died on the cross for you and that you are called to live as Jesus lived, you will embrace this new life and live it as you ought, sin-free.
We could look at it like this. In John’s mind, if you profess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are moving away from unbelief and closer to belief.
At the same time, John’s theology also leads us from disobedience and the lack of good works to obedience and the presence of good works.
In other words, if you say you are a Christian, then your life must reflect a lifestyle that is growing inward in belief and upward in obedience. Thus, friends, live a life that is in the LIGHT.
Good thing we’re killing it, right?
No. John knows that this life is a journey with ups and downs. And sometimes we get it right, but in many cases, we get it wrong. That’s why he gives us the hope.
We have an advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the Propitiation for our sins.
Now, if you’re reading the NIV, your translation of John’s words are a little different. The NIV has it…
“…we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (NIV)
But I like ESV because I like to say PROPITIATION. It’s fun to say. PROPITIATION. Come on, try it. PROPITIATION. PROPITIATION.
Plus it makes me feel smart when I use big theological words like PROPITIATION and THEOLOGICAL.
We have an advocate; paraklētos, referring to a “helper,” such as an attorney in a legal matter.
Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2269). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.
John says that Jesus acts as our defense lawyer. There is the prosecution, launching accusations of wrong doing against us, and there’s the defense, arguing on our behalf, defending us, and in the court of God, that’s Jesus.
So the question is, how does Jesus become our advocate?
That's the question we will answer tomorrow!
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 28 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the director of family ministry at a church, located in West Virginia. Jay has been married to Amy for over 23 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.