1. In vs.4 John revealed his purpose for writing: "that your joy may be full." 2. In the opening chapter John mentioned "fellowship with God" 3 times. 3. John's teaching indicates that "fellowship with God" is the basis of true joy. 4. In our lesson we are studying some important principles that relate to "fellowship with God." 5. Let us first point out . . .
I. HOW WE GAIN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
A. According to vs.1-3, fellowship with the Father is based on fellowship with Jesus. B. Jesus said in John 14:6 that the only way to go to the Father is through Him. C. (John 1:12-13) Jesus will enable us to become God's children if we receive Him -- receiving Jesus includes believing on His name and being born of God. D. (John 3:3, 5) Those who experience this new birth are able to have fellowship with God in His kingdom (see Galatians 3:26-27). E. Let us turn our attention to the verses read earlier where John shows us . . .
II. HOW WE STAY IN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
A. (vs.5-7) In order to stay in fellowship with God, we must walk in the light. 1. (vs.5) God is light -- there is no darkness in Him. 2. (vs.6) One who claims to have fellowship with God while walking in darkness is guilty of lying, and he fails to practice the truth. 3. (vs.7) One who walks in the light as God is in the light has fellowship with God and is continually cleansed by the Lord's blood. 4. In order to stay in fellowship with God, we must walk in the light. B. (vs.8-10) In order to stay in fellowship with God, we must confess our sins. 1. John shows us what sin is -- the transgression of God's law (3:4). 2. According to Isaiah 59:2, sin separates us from God. 3. (vs.8) One who says that he has no sin only deceives himself. 4. (vs.10) One who says that he has not sinned does not have God's Word abiding in him. 5. However (vs.9), those who confess their sins will receive forgiveness. 6. Since the confession of sin is such a serious matter, let us briefly look at . . .
III. SOME PEOPLE WHO SAID, "I HAVE SINNED"
A. Pharaoh (Exodus 9:27) 1. The Egyptians were suffering from the plague of hail, and Pharaoh said that he had sinned. 2. It seems from vs.34 that he made this statement because he did not want to suffer from the hail any more. B. Saul (1 Samuel 15:24) 1. Saul had disobeyed God's instructions to destroy the Amalekites. 2. Saul did not admit that he had sinned until after Samuel informed him that God had rejected him as king. 3. It would appear that Saul made this statement because he did not want to lose his position as king. C. David (2 Samuel 12:13) 1. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. 2. After Nathan the prophet pointed out David's sin to him, he confessed that he had sinned (Psalm 51:4 -- "Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight"). 3. God forgave David, but David had to face the consequences of his actions. a. The sword never departed from his house (vs.10). b. Bathsheba's child died (vs.14). D. Judas (Matthew 27:3-4) 1. Judas acknowledged his sin of betraying the Lord. 2. However, he did not go to the right source for forgiveness. 3. He took his own life (vs.5). E. The prodigal son (Luke 15:18, 21)
1. We showed earlier from John's letter that confessing sin is a condition for having fellowship with God. 2. However, by looking at these people who said they had sinned, we see that simply saying, "I have sinned," is not sufficient. a. Sin must be acknowledged. b. Repentance must take place. c. Forgiveness must be sought in humility. 3. Thankfully, the Lord's blood will cleanse us from all sin and unrighteousness. 4. Long ago, the wise man summed up the things we have studied in Proverbs 28:13 -- "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." 5. Let us comply with these principles as we go through 2020 -- it will be a year of joy.