Part 5

God does some incredibly special things for those He has chosen in Christ. These things are available to anyone who will place his or her confidence (a) in Jesus Christ and (b) in the things God accomplished in Jesus' death. Being a part of God's chosen is a matter of entering and living in God's mercy.

If we choose Christ, God chooses us. On neither side is that choosing irresponsible or inconsiderate. God is very committed in the promises He made to those who are in Christ. Those who are in Christ must be very committed to being God's people.

This evening I want to focus your attention on one of the most incredible gifts God gives to His chosen. I would like for you to read with me 1 John 1:5-10.
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

  1. This is my understanding of the content of 1 John.
    1. The author, John, is writing to Christians (the letter's emphasis and challenge's indicate the writing was first written to those who were in Christ).
    2. He wrote as a self-declared eye witness and personal associate of the physical Jesus in his ministry.
    3. He wrote to encourage Christians to embrace Christian morality as they lived among deceitful, discouraging circumstances.
    4. He began his letter by noting a blessing that should be of profound encouragement to every man and woman who was (and is) a Christian.

  2. An overview of the promise involved in God's forgiveness of the man or woman who is in Christ.
    1. A person comes to God with an understanding and acceptance of the fact that there is no evil in God.
      1. Jesus was clear about this truth.
      2. No matter what God expects of a person or requests of a person, there is no injustice in God (even if He requests death on a cross).
      3. Even when God's requests require physical suffering, God seeks the person's best interest.
      4. Therefore anyone who wishes to move away from the blackness of evil and toward to light of God will consciously move toward God.
    2. The very first understanding these Christians needed to grasp and accept was an understanding of the forgiveness of God.
      1. Without an understanding of God's forgiveness in the life of a person who belongs to God by coming to Him through Christ, they would not understanding the meaning or significance of the lesson they were to follow.
      2. Basic understanding: a person who is in Christ cannot continue fellowship with God and deliberately, by conscious, continuous choice live a lifestyle of evil.
      3. When a Christian attempts to do that (which is impossible!), he or she is not practicing the truth.
        1. It is not enough to know that God's holy people should not live an evil lifestyle!
        2. It is not enough to condemn evil lifestyles in others!
        3. The commitment of being in Christ involves knowing and doing.
    3. This understanding is based on an incredible promise from God.
      1. To the man or woman who is committed to coming to God, committed to a lifestyle of holiness, is obviously committed to a lifestyle consistent with God's holiness.
        1. In this commitment, the person who is committed to being God's holy person associates with and encourages others who are committed to a lifestyle of holiness.
        2. God's promise to such people is that He will continuously cleanse them from all sin.
      2. John gave this caution to those Christians: "Do not say you have no need for God's continuous forgiveness, continuous cleansing from all sin."
        1. If a Christian says, "I do not need to be forgiven; I do not have any sins," these two things are true of him or her.
          1. That person is self deceived.
          2. That person does not have the truth in him or her.
        2. This person knows he or she is dependent on God's forgiveness every moment of life.
          1. Instead of denying sin exists in his or her life, he or she confesses sins.
          2. If we as Christians are willing to admit our sins as they occur, God will do two things: He will forgive the sins we confess, and He will cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
    4. Special consequences await the Christian who denies his own sinfulness (is blind to his own evil).
      1. Instead of being a person on a journey to God and holiness, he becomes a person who makes God a liar (in his or her arrogance, he or she is a self-righteous person who says, "I do not need what God says I need").
      2. He or she makes it impossible for God's words to dwell (live) in his or her life.

  3. We need to spend a few moments on the application of these statements to Christians' lives right now.
    1. The first understanding: forgiveness is what Jesus' blood is all about.
      1. Redemption is in Jesus' blood (that is the only way we can be bought back from evil).
      2. Atonement is in Jesus' blood (that is the only way our sins can be paid for).
      3. Cleansing is in Jesus' blood (that is God's sacrifice for our sins).
    2. The second understanding: the cleansing blood of Jesus flows in the Christian's life on a continuous basis.
      1. There is no "in and out" situation that daily, at each moment, places us in and takes us out of God's forgiveness.
      2. One is not forgiven when he or she because of faith in Jesus and repentance of sins is baptized into Christ because he or she has a perfect understanding and a total recognition of all evil in his or her life.
        1. That is impossible!
        2. He or she knows and accepts the fact that he or she is a sinner who needs to be forgiven.
        3. At the moment of baptism God does not merely forgive the sins he or she realizes, but forgives all his or her sins.
        4. God's forgiveness of His children, of those who are in Christ, is not dependent on perfect knowledge and understanding of every form of personal evil.
        5. That forgiveness is dependent on Jesus' blood and God's promise to forgive.
        6. Forgiveness begins when one is baptized into Christ and continues as long as the person chooses to remain in Christ--it is a lifetime promise!
    3. Third understanding: does that mean the person who is in Christ can live irresponsibly by ignoring God's call to holiness and living as he or she pleases? No!
      1. Continuous forgiveness of the person in Christ that is based on the person's willingness to acknowledge his or her need to be forgiven occurs in the person committed to learning and living a lifestyle of holiness (godliness).
      2. This Christian so appreciates the incredible thing God does for him or her on a daily basis that he or she moves toward God's holiness in a hatred of evil within self.
      3. He or she cannot be both godlessly irresponsible and appreciative at the same time!
      4. He or she cannot meaningfully say, "Thank you, God!" and deliberately, knowingly live in a way that insults God.
      5. Continuous forgiveness moves the person in Christ to a higher level of commitment, not a lower level of commitment.
    4. The fourth understanding: God's promise of continuous forgiveness is the perfect solution for the human reality.
      1. No Christian can live with the stress and discouragement of the impossible, of constant failure, of constant agony and frustration.
      2. It is impossible for a human to be sinless--there are constantly failures to temptations, failures that are behavioral, failures that are mental, failures that are emotional.
      3. To impose the responsibility of sinless existence is to impose the impossible!
        1. It is suggesting that it is possible for a Christian to know all evil in every form, and to never be deceived or mistaken in his or her identification.
        2. Spiritual maturity involves the constant discovery of how evil we are.
        3. That discovery only deepens our appreciation of God's forgiveness.
      4. God's forgiveness is not based on achieving absolute sinlessness.
        1. It is based on a genuine, continual, committed effort to move toward God's light.
        2. It is based on continuously trying, and God knows both my heart and my effort.
        3. Every Christian can live with that!
      5. God's solution is perfect for my need!

This incredible blessing is promised by God to those who are in Christ! We cannot earn it! We must trust it!

To be a part of God's chosen is to benefit from some incredible blessings!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 31 August 2003
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