Restored Fellowship (I John 1:9)

By | Nov 15, 2016

This Epistle has a three-fold theme: Light—Life—Love:    Light for those in Darkness—Life for those Dead in Sin—Love for those who are Depraved. I lift the third of that trilogy and seek to emphasize His great love!

John tells us that “God is love” and love longs for fellowship. Fellowship is not only a human desire it is also the desire of Deity. It was that loving desire for fellowship that moved the triune Godhead to create man.

Long before the flowers ever bloomed in the Garden of Eden God said, “Let us make Man in our image and after our Likeness.” Even in the great society of the triune Godhead we see the expression of fellowship in the words, “Let Us!”

It was the breath of divine love that breathed life into the nostrils of man. There was soul union of divinity and humanity as man opened his eyes and for the first time came face to face with his Creator and God said, “It was very good.”

Later, Adam having that God-like need for fellowship and love looked over all creation and found no creature like himself and God said, “It’s not good that man should be alone!” Out from his side He “made the woman and brought her unto the man.” From that moment on sweet fellowship was enjoyed between God and man. One can only imagine how blessed that fellowship must have been when God would meet in the cool of the day with man and woman as they walked and  talked amidst the beautiful Garden. I have often wondered what the conversation was about.

However there came an evening when Adam was not waiting for his Creator so God called to him, “Adam where art thou?” It was then, through man’s disobedience to his Creator, that the fellowship that had been so sweet and blessed was severed and now it was the beginning of the world’s loneliness. Man was now alone without God and God alone without man. Loneliness is probably the most unbearable and inexpressible pain one can suffer, even worse than physical suffering

But because God’s love is eternal, He could not abandon man. He put into motion the plan of salvation that was made in Heaven even before man was created. That plan required God to give part of the Godhead to redeem man and restore the broken fellowship. The Son stepped forth to offer Himself to His Father as the sacrifice for man’s redemption. It would be the greatest climax of Divine Love that the world would ever witness.

My text conveys the purpose of that plan. There are only twenty-two words, only four of which have more than a single syllable. They represent the ruin of man, the mercy of God, the fact of human responsibility, and the possibility of complete remission of sins and purifying of the heart and restoration of fellowship between God and man. I want to lift out only two of the twenty two words of my text to give us guidance. One is ‘confess’ and the other is ‘cleanse’.

I. CONFESS:

Confession pre-supposes conviction and true repentance. Through the illumination of God’s word and reproof of the Holy Spirit one is made to realize the sinfulness of sin. This brings about a stirring of the conscience and an awakening of one’s need of salvation. It is one thing to admit you are a sinner; it is decidedly another thing to confess and turn from your wicked way. The former is often done with a smile, the latter, more often than not, is done with a sob.

David prayed, “I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalm 51: 3) While confession is no part of the punishment of sin; it is the means of release from its grip. One soon realizes that their tenacity in cleaving to the good is no greater than the intensity of their abhorrence of evil. Through repentance and faith, God through His grace grants forgiveness. God grants a pardon from all the guilt of the past.
“He breaks the power of cancelled sin and sets the prisoner free,
His blood can make the vilest clean, His blood availed for me.”

He imparts life to the one who has long been dead in their sins and adopts them into the family of God. “Being justified by faith, he has peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5: 1)
“My God is reconciled, His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child—I shall no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh,
and Father, Abba, Father, cry.”

II. CLEANSE:

David not only prayed for God to “blot out his transgressions” but he also prayed that God would “create in him a clean heart.” Full restoration is the provision of Calvary. The God who justifies will also sanctify. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1: 7)

To walk in the Spirit is to agree with the leadings of the Holy Spirit. To walk in the light I to agree with God-given commands and convictions. One may ask, ‘how much light?’ John tells us, “as He is in the light…and in Him is no darkness at all.” He is both the example and extent of the light we are to walk in.

a.    The Word is the light that proclaims my need of cleansing.
b.    Faith lays hold of the Word of Promise for my cleansing.
c.    The Blood of Calvary is the provision for my cleansing.
d.    The Holy Spirit is the power the effects the cleansing blood.

There is a distinction between forgiveness and cleansing, note the following:

1.    Forgiveness is a Judicial act; Cleansing is a Priestly ministry.
2.    Forgiveness takes place in the heart of God; Cleansing takes place in the heart of the believer.
3.    Forgiveness deals with the wrong I have done; Cleansing deals with the wrong I am. What I have done is Volitional; What I am is Dispositional.
4.    Forgiveness gives me standing before God; Cleansing gives me union with God.
5.    Forgiveness makes me an heir; Cleansing gives me an inheritance among them which are sanctified.
6.    Forgiveness provides peace with God; Cleansing imparts the peace of God.

God longs to reconcile and restore us to that fellowship which was severed in the Garden of Eden through the fall. Man will ever be restless until he finds his rest in God. God, like the prodigal’s father, is lonely and longs for us, like the prodigal son, to return. It was for the Joy of this restoration that He was willing to “endure the cross” even though He “despised the shame.”

The hymn writer, Barney E. Warren stated it well in the lyrics of the song:
“It is Truly Wonderful.”

“He pardoned my transgressions,
He sanctified my soul,
He honors my confessions,
Since by His blood I’m whole.”

“It is truly wonderful what the Lord has done!
It is truly wonderful! It is truly wonderful!
It is truly wonderful what the Lord has done!
Glory to His name.”

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